The Worst Hackers in Film and Television

For years, film and television writers have tried to crystallize what a hacker is and explain it to the technophobes of the world, but more often than not their depictions of console cowboys are one note and completely flat. Why write a nuanced character when all you need to do is slap some black hair dye on an actor and make them spout a bunch of techno babble? On this list you'll find some of the worst hackers in film and television, from Superman 3 to CSI.

A lot of the hackers on this list come from the time capsule that was the '90s, a time when everything felt possible and no one knew what was coming next from Silicon Valley. Some writers felt that virtual reality was the next step in the burgeoning technological evolution, while others thought that we'd be jamming information straight into our heads by the year 2000. Almost no one assumed that we would be carrying around tiny computers in our pockets. Regardless, hacking in movies and hackers on TV often missed the mark, leaving us with these hacker characters, who definitely leave something to be desired.

So with the sense of superiority that comes with hindsight, we're looking back at the hackers of film and television's yesterday and laughing our virtual faces off at their anachronism, ridiculous techno speak, and dumb hair. Vote up the hacker you think is the worst, and feel free to add anyone we missed from hacking films.

  • 1
    440 VOTES

    Everyone - CSI

    Everyone - CSI
    Video: YouTube
    What are you talking about, CSI? Did you have a stroke? WHAT DO THESE WORDS MEAN?
    440 votes
  • Stanley Jobson - Swordfish
    Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
    There are so many terrible hacking scenes in Swordfish that it's hard to pick one, but our favorite is Hugh Jackman's hacker tryout scene where he has to do some silly computer stuff while a sexy lady does sex stuff to him. Give us a break Swordfish, if that ever happened to a real hacker he would immediately explode into ones and zeroes.
    298 votes
  • Angela Bennett - The Net
    Video: YouTube
    291 votes
  • Lex Murphy - Jurassic Park
    Video: YouTube
    With a name like Lex Murphy you know she's a great good... um you know she's a hacker. It's cool that Jurassic Park uses Unix but does that really give you full control over the park's system? In her defense, it was designed by the mailman from Seinfeld so what do you expect?
    384 votes
  • Boris Grishenko - Goldeneye
    Photo: MGM/UA Distribution Company (US)/ United International Pictures
    Boris is the worst. The worst hacker, worst person with a Russian accent, worst everything. From the moment he hacks the CIA at the beginning of the film to his whole pen "on/off" thing, we were retching.
    275 votes
  • 6
    147 VOTES

    Oswald Paxton - Masterminds

    Oswald Paxton - Masterminds
    Photo: Sony Pictures Releasing/Columbia Pictures
    Okay, so we couldn't find the hacking footage from Masterminds, but believe us - it's terrible. Columbia Pictures must have hired Zero Cool or Acid Burn to DELETE IT FROM THE MAINFRAME! Or something? In the film, Oswald is a teenage hacker who pirates a video game by hacking into the company's "online fortress" and fighting skeletons in a kind of first person shooter-style hack off. It is truly awful. We suggest you see it for yourself before you do any more hacking. Specifically hacking every physical copy of this film to bits with a hatchet.
    147 votes