Hackers Movie Poster Image




Jolie's high-tech thriller falls flat.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 1995
  • Running Time: 105 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Computer hacking. The creation of destructive viruses is celebrated.

Not applicable

Suggestive dancing; explicit sexual fantasies.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Smoking and some drinking; no consequences.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that there's a little drinking, a fair amount of smoking, and some quite explicit sexual fantasies in this film. The anti-authoritarian culture of computer hacking is glorified, and little distinction is made between harmless pranks and destructive viruses.

What's the story?

Super-hacker Dade Murphy (Jonny Lee Miller), infamous for his creation of a destructive virus at age eleven, has just moved to New York City. A high school senior, Dade wins the respect of a group of teenage hackers and struggles to start a romance with sexy Kate (Angelina Jolie). When a member of the crowd hacks into a corporate computer system, Dade and his friends draw the attention of the FBI and of "Plague," a former hacker turned corporate security officer. Plague launches a virus designed to create oil spills and frame the kids while covering up his own multi-million dollar scam. The teens (with help from hackers everywhere) must dash to stop the virus, unmask Plague's villainy, and keep themselves out of jail.

Is it any good?


This attempt at cyberpunk suspense never gets any traction. Leaden scriptwriting, expressionless acting, and a startling lack of suspense leave HACKERS less than thrilling. The plot trickles along at a snail's pace, and the actors seem to be competing to see who can speak in the slowest monotone. Plague may well be the most whiny supervillain in the history of film; neither he nor a hapless FBI agent (obviously a bad guy since he can't speak computer lingo fluently) provide any real sense of menace.

The romantic subplot is equally flat, with lots of long, supposed-to-be smoldering looks between Dade and Kate to make up for the lack of either chemistry or interesting dialogue. Attempts at coolness only look contrived, and the high-tech edge is considerably blunted by the passage of time. (What, no wireless?) Posturing, silly, and above all, dull.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about computer hacking and the ethics of the online world. Should information be shared freely or controlled? How would you feel if somebody hacked into your computer or if a virus damaged your files? This might be an opportunity to find out what your kid thinks about common activities like downloading music -- is it wrong to shoplift something from a store but okay to download music without permission?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 15, 1995
DVD/Streaming release date:August 25, 1998
Cast:Angelina Jolie, Jonny Lee Miller, Matthew Lillard
Director:Iain Softley
Run time:105 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexuality and brief strong language

This review of Hackers was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Suspenseful Cold War tale with teen gamer in control.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byRick S. December 8, 2010

Has mixed messages, yes, but the overall theme is positive.

Good film. I find it odd that the "Common Sense" profile for this film states that the film supports "The creation of destructive viruses is celebrated.", which is NOT TRUE because in the film, the hackers (i.e. the protagonists) work towards the end-goal of stopping the virus...
Teen, 13 years old Written byNetvorMcWolf October 19, 2015

Content Review, "Pretty good movie in my opinion"

!Very small amount of spoilers! Review: The movie is pretty good... Kinda liked it Sexy Stuff: Girl and a boy kissing on a bed while the protagonist and his friends are watching, Dade Murphy the protagonist has a dream about a girl that he met in school... The dream is about her entering his room, taking her shirt off (Exposing her small breasts for a split second) and then starts making out with Dade but suddenly the Police bust down the door taking both of them out of the room, following by Dade waking up and realizing it was just a dream.. Drinking/Smoking: Movie villain drinks champagne with his "girlfriend", a friend of the protagonist smokes cigarettes which in my opinion makes him look awesome so some kids might want to do the same thing so watch out for that.. Violence: Nobody gets hurt, there's only Police pointing guns at the protagonist and his friends... Swearing: Nothing today's kids couldn't handle..
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking