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11 Things Movie Hackers Always Say – Thrillist

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Quotes for those times you need to bypass the firewall and hack into the mainframe.

hackers movie

Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller in ‘Hackers’ | United Artists/Getty Images

Angelina Jolie and Jonny Lee Miller in ‘Hackers’ | United Artists/Getty Images

We all know a movie hacker when we see one. They’re the only person our heroes (or sometimes villains) can call whenever they come across anything having to do with computers. But movie hackers are legion: they’re uncool, yet very cool; they’re usually male, but sometimes they’re women; no two ever look exactly the same, yet they all have that look. Some dress in tiny sunglasses and long trench coats like Neo from The Matrix or Hugh Jackman in that Van Helsing movie, while some opt for some skinny jeans, sneakers, and maybe a metal band T-shirt, when they can be bothered to engage with our infantile pop culture at all.

Movie hackers are villains and not, existing on the fringes of morality, coerced into heroism by the feds using threats of prison, or assisting evil masterminds if it suits their personal code. The outside world matters little to them — all they care about is the challenge, the chase, the anarchic cyber-world of bits and bytes wherein they have their fun. Hacker cinema will never die, not while the Internet is ripe for plundering, but movie hackers hit a peak in the late ’90s and 2000s, when cyberspace still held the promise of a new frontier. They were the console-cowboys, the modern pirates, the proto-spacefarers shuttling humanity into its new age of information and equality for all.

Hackers, derided upon release in 1995 but a bona fide cult classic now, is the amalgamation of the hackers who came before it, as well as the blueprint for those who’d come after, backlighting its fast-talking, arrogant, leet-speaking mercenaries, led by Angelina Jolie, Jonny Lee Miller and Matthew Lillard, with the fiber-optic blue-screen glare of the future. To celebrate Hackers‘ 25th anniversary, and to celebrate the hacker cinema that inspired and was born from it, we’ve compiled a list of classic hacker movie lines that you’re bound to find these characters muttering between chugs of Red Bull. You won’t find all of these lines in every single movie, but all hacker movies have at least one.

wargames
Matthew Broderick in ‘WarGames’ | MGM

“We’re in.”

This is it, the classic hacker line that nearly all movie hackers say. To hack is to constantly be getting “in,” and, whether it’s an ultra-encrypted government database, a conglomerate’s e-mail server or a target’s social media accounts, movie hackers love to congratulate themselves audibly immediately upon gaining access, even if they’re alone. Their need to announce “We’re in” is strong, and helpfully indicates to the audience that the game’s afoot and the fun is about to begin.

hackers movie
Jonny Lee Miller in ‘Hackers’ | MGM

“I don’t play well with others.”

Movie hackers are, by nature, solitary humans, preferring to exist in cramped apartments or parents’ basements, living out their true lives in chatrooms and websites, converting their minds into streams of data and equations. They’re always trying to one-up each other, and they’re certainly too cool for you, which tends to make them bad at group projects, especially if those they’re working with don’t even know a kernel from a processor.

the core movie
DJ Qualls in ‘The Core’ | Paramount Pictures

“I couldn’t think as slow as you if I tried.” 

No matter how smart you think you are, you’re not as smart as the hacker in the room, and they’re not the type to let you forget that. They know you need them, and they know you’ll just have to stand there and take a few insults, because what are you going to do? Find a better hacker? Good luck with that.

skyfall
Ben Whishaw in ‘Skyfall’ | Sony

“I invented it.”

Because movie hackers are the world’s most brilliant people, they’re always coming up with things. And because imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they often find their own inventions used against them. If the hacker made it, obviously you know it works perfectly, but if they’re familiar enough with the virus or security program, they will probably also know how to outwit it, leaving a backdoor for themselves just in case.

goldeneye
Alan Cumming in ‘GoldenEye’ | MGM

“Now the hunted becomes the hunter.”

Because shot after shot of text on screen isn’t exactly cinematic — and because movie hackers love nothing more than congratulating themselves in front of an audience — they often narrate what’s happening on their computers so that the idiot n00bs looking over their shoulders can maybe understand a tiny smidge of what’s going on. To be a hacker is to be a predator, finding the weaknesses in your prey’s armor and exploiting them, devouring its defenses or turning them against your enemy in a battle of wits to confound even the world’s greatest chess masters.

the social network hacking
Jesse Eisenberg in ‘The Social Network’ | Sony

“Let the hacking begin.” 

Silmilar to “we’re in,” this variation is a movie hacker’s way of announcing to the world — or just to the empty room around him or her — that things are about to go off. You think what you saw before was hacking? No way. This line is usually accompanied by more than a few self-satisfied keystrokes and a bit of wicked hand-rubbing.

johnny mnemonic
Keanu Reeves in ‘Johnny Mnemonic’ | TriStar Pictures

“Come on, baby.”

Because movie hackers are often starved of what we normies would refer to as “human contact,” they tend to personify their devices and grow attached to their programs. They’ll often use pet names to address their machinery and talk to it as if it were a partner, or a lover. Movie hackers may not be outwardly sexual individuals, but there is something like intimacy inherent in exploring a computer’s interface, or flitting their way in and out of a particularly complex program.

the net
Jeremy Northam in ‘The Net’ | Sony

“It’s beautiful.”

Because the ‘net is where a gearhead feels most at home, their sense of aesthetics may differ a little from ours. They find beauty in the ones and zeros of code, elegance in the simplicity of a particular program. They’re always going on about how “gorgeous” a particularly nasty virus is, or how “exquisite” a server’s powerful protective software turns out to be. Sure, if you say so.

blackhat chris hemsworth
Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’ | Universal Pictures

“Now, we wait.”

The eye of the storm: the moment after the hacker has finished the dirty work and only has to sit back and relax while whatever virus he was uploading takes effect, or his keystroke logging program transmits his target’s most sensitive data back to him. His work isn’t done yet, but he’s allowed a bit of a rest after a hard day’s work cracking security codes and bypassing firewalls. 

swordfish, hugh jackman
Hugh Jackman in ‘Swordfish’ | Warner Bros.

“Too easy.” 

Movie hackers may love a challenge, but they also love making all of this esoteric computer stuff look like child’s play for their audience. You think they’ll let on that breaking into the NSA’s most secure servers on a viciously short deadline made them break a sweat? Not a chance.

wargames hacking
Some confused suits in ‘Wargames’ | MGM

BONUS: “In English, please!” 

As a bonus, the other line you’re likely to hear in almost all of these movies, but never spoken by a hacker himself. Because normie skulls are too thick to translate even the simplest programming lingo, we’ll often have to ask the hacker if they could please put it into terms the rest of us can understand, and, after much eyerolling, they’re happy to do so. We never said hackers weren’t helpful. You just have to bypass all the mumbo-jumbo first.

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.



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