We live in the age of technology. It surrounds us, penetrates every sphere of our everyday activity, shapes the mind of the whole society, and changes our life. At the same time, as technology offers us access to new information, disseminates it, and forms the basis for future discoveries, we share information about technology and innovations.
We live in a time when one invention can tell us about multiple new discoveries or scientific breakthroughs. This is definitely movies and related products – videos and films of versatile genres. In our top list, we gathered some of the best movies regarding technology, the future, science, and genius people every IT specialist should see.
Whether you are a novice or a seasoned professional in the IT domain, every movie in our list contains valuable insights. Some movies based on true stories can serve as an encyclopedia as they provide detailed histories and technical descriptions of some inventions. The others offer valuable life lessons on the role of technology, interpersonal relationships, issues of conscience, and human worth in the digital age.
Biographical films can highlight the logical chains, ways of thinking, and peculiarities of the environment that allowed this or that person to make a scientific or technological breakthrough. An excellent choice for tech geeks who dream of breakthrough ideas. You can find personal inspirations or ideas for your own innovations there as well.
Documentaries, in their turn, shed light on the daily painstaking work of engineers, their approaches, hypothesis testing, and efficient, practical solutions. Such movies are certainly worth watching for deepening knowledge in a particular sphere. Finally, many movies about technology touch on related topics that any person involved in the IT sector needs to understand, such as information security, sensitive and classified information, copyright and intellectual property, or state policy in the field of digital technologies.
So, let’s take a look at our catalog of the best films about technology and find what valuable information IT professionals can find there.
TOP 14 IT Industry Movies Based on True Stories
We decided to show you first the movies that have real stories behind their plots. In our opinion, the main advantage of such films is the combination of true stories and artistic retelling that makes stories much more suitable and favorable for understanding and shoving empathy. Here are the best examples:
- Pirates of Silicon Valley – Origins of Apple and Microsoft
- Takedown – Genius or Cyberterrorist
- Middle Men – Internet Commerce Pioneer
- The Social Network – How Facebook Started
- Underground: The Julian Assange Story – Early Career of Wikileaks Founder
- The Fifth Estate – The Truth VS Security
- Jobs – From College Dropout to iPod Introduction
- Steve Jobs – Behind the Scenes of the Digital Revolution
- The Gamechangers – Video Games Impact
- Snowden – Hero or Traitor
- Valley of the Boom – History of Tech Boom in Silicon Valley
- The Dropout – Business VS Science
- WeCrashed – Rise and Fall
- Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber – The Roller-coaster Ride
1. Pirates of Silicon Valley, 1999 – Origins of Apple and Microsoft
This American biographical drama that tells us a story of the origins and initial competition between Apple and Microsoft and, of course, the interrelations between their creators – Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.
On the one hand, the movie focuses on the personal stories of two tech enthusiasts, their work on respective products, and their vision of technological progress. On the other hand, the film also depicts the general background of the information technology sphere at those times, and how the rivalry between the two 20-year-old geniuses influenced the ICT domain in particular.
Pirates of Silicon Valley shows a detailed depiction of the personal computer’s development history, allowing viewers to understand what technical solutions led to the gradual improvement of such machines and their software.
Martyn Burke, a Canadian director, perfectly used flashbacks and time-switching techniques to show different periods and essential developments in the protagonists’ lives. The running time is 95 minutes, so this film is a perfect choice for an evening movie-watching.
2. Takedown, 2000 – Genius or Cyberterrorist
Takedown shows the story of the capture of computer hacker Kevin Mitnick. The main hero is a gifted programmer who creates a unique program to extract secret information, and impact financial transactions, messaging, or flight management.
Viewers may consider the main hero a freedom fighter since, in his opinion, this program ensures the public’s right to know what is going on in their country. The law enforcement agencies, however, have a different vision of the protagonist’s activity. The film shows us a clear hacker vs police rivalry around socially sensitive issues like freedom of speech or protection of personal information.
Takedown is an excellent movie for all interested in information security, as it brings us back to the birth of code encryption. At the same time, via the storyline of Tsutomu Shimomura you can explore the peculiarities of the profession of an expert in computer security technology.
3. Middle Men, 2009 – Internet Commerce Pioneer
Drugs, millions of dollars, entertainment for adults, mafia, law enforcement agencies, bribes, and multiple crimes. All these things completely surround the main hero – Jack Harris – a pioneer in the domain of internet commerce.
The movie shows us a complicated life story of a tech enthusiast against the background of human interrelations, sins, and the criminal world. It is 1995, and everyone is discussing the emergence and development of the Internet. The main hero finds a way to make a fortune simply by acting as an intermediary in e-commerce. But what started as a brilliant business with limitless possibilities suddenly faces serious challenges.
The most exciting part of the movie is the explanation of how the e-commerce domain works, how the online payment systems were first introduced, and how IT technologies started slowly merging with financial services.
At the same time, the movie shows not only the professional activity of the e-commerce businessman. It also covers the mix of his work and personal life – how he wrestles with his morals not to fall into a flood of con men, mobsters, and drug addicts. The film director brilliantly combined comedy and drama elements, making the film even more engaging.
4. The Social Network, 2010 – How Facebook Started
Millions of people use social networks every day. Facebook is by far the most popular. But how did it appear? The Social Networks tell us a story about young Mark Zuckerberg and his founding of the social networking website which later grew to the largest social network.
The tagline: “you don’t get to 500 million friends without making a few enemies,” clearly depicts all the tremendous drama that accompanied Mark Zuckerberg’s success. The movie brilliantly combines the storylines of tech innovation and resulting quarrels with consequent lawsuits.
Watch the excellent example of immense software development opportunities the big data and behavioral patterns analysis offer. Due to the exciting plot, incredible cast, and profound philosophical dilemma of the modern world, many critics and viewers consider The Social Network one of the best movies in the 21st century. So, it’s definitely worth spending a couple of hours on such a biographical drama.
5. Underground: The Julian Assange Story, 2012 – Early Career of Wikileaks Founder
Julian Assange is a well-known journalist, editor, publisher, activist, hacker, and founder of WikiLeaks – an international organization that publishes news leaks. His life story is full of unimaginable events, challenges, investigations, and disclosures. But how did everything start?
Underground: The Julian Assange Story tells us about the early career of Julian Assange. With his friend, Julian formed a group called the ‘International Subversives’ and defined themselves as “white hat hackers” – those who look but don’t steal. Explore how these tech geeks used early home computers and their relatively primitive programs to break the security system of some of the world’s most influential and secretive organizations.
6. The Fifth Estate, 2013 – The Truth VS Security
Another movie dedicated to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks with Benedict Cumberbatch starring. A dramatic thriller based on real events depicts how the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power led to the emergence of one of the most fiercely debated organizations. And about how the lives of people who wanted to expose these corruption and deception on a global scale are changing.
Viewers can witness how access to information and the ability to share it empower people and make them influential. At the same time, the movie gives some valuable lessons on digital hygiene and how to handle personal data in the digital age. Moreover, it raises fundamental questions of freedom of speech, national security priorities, and whether the vast audience is entitled to know the truth about controversial and complicated developments.
How far is a person willing to go to reveal the truth? How far is the government willing to go to keep its secrets?
7. Jobs, 2013 – From College Dropout to iPod Introduction
Steve Jobs is one of the most famous entrepreneurs, industrial designers, business magnates, inventors, and tech pioneers in the world. No doubt there are many biographical movies depicting his life and activity.
“Jobs” can serve as a story to study, analyze and look for inspiration as it shows us in detail the life of Jobs from his college studies in 1974 to the introduction of the iPod in 2001. We can witness Steve’s creative approach to technology, his cooperation with Steve Wozniak, the foundation of Apple, and versatile challenges on his way to success.
Take a look at the most important developments in the life of Steve Jobs, the combination of the life of an ordinary person and the innovative activity of a genius, and see how he managed to succeed despite the opposition of the big bosses
8. Steve Jobs, 2015 – Behind the Scenes of the Digital Revolution
Steve Jobs was a brilliant inventor. His activity skyrocketed Apple corporation. However, even in his life, full of challenging tasks, multiple successes, and fateful decisions, some events were particularly important.
Steve Jobs is an excellent movie, primarily for product managers, as it shows a backstage story around the three iconic product launches and offers some insights on how to prepare your product for a release. The film shows the inner workings of Apple – a precursor of the coming digital revolution, as well as the life of Steve Jobs – a genius person at its epicenter.
Film creators brilliantly depicted the working environment of a large company, full of envy, undercover games, and intrigues. They also contrasted it to a passion of a one person who wanted to make his product available for all.
Viewers can feel the protagonist’s experiences, see the relationship between his personal life and his work, and feel how the achievement of the goal, namely the successful release of the product, writes the name Jobs into the history of technology.
9. The Gamechangers, 2015 – Video Games Impact
Ready to bet you have heard multiple times that video games negatively affect the human psyche, that they cause aggressive behavior, and may even provoke some neurological diseases. And you definitely heard about Grand Theft Auto games or most likely played one or even all of them.
The Gamechangers is a British documentary drama that depicts the story of the controversies caused by a successful video game series, primarily the psychological effects of violent video games. The film focuses on the legal feud between Rockstar Games president Sam Houser (Daniel Radcliffe) and Florida attorney Jack Thompson (Bill Paxton), as well as on multiple attempts to stop the game release.
The film raises many pressing questions, demonstrates weighty arguments from both sides, and confronts viewers with the difficult choice of which side to support in their inner perception of the situation. Apart from this, the movie shows some tendencies and trends in the game development industry, primarily explaining the GTA’s popularity via the vast audience demands for video games.
10. Snowden, 2016 – Hero or Traitor
Snowden is a biographical thriller that tells the story of probably the most famous whistleblower in the world – Edward Snowden, a Central Intelligence Agency subcontractor who copied and leaked highly classified information from the National Security Agency. As a result of exposing the shocking illegal surveillance activities by the NSA, Edward Snowden became one of the most wanted people in the world.
The movie depicts the life and work of the main hero, simultaneously an ordinary person and a secret agent, hacker, spy. The film emphasizes the dilemma between privacy and national security, obligations, and honesty. Viewers can clearly see the contrast between the normal life of a technology professional and a person who knows much more than expected.
This is a perfect choice for those who want to explore information security, big data, search engines, artificial intelligence, and machine learning topics.
11. Valley of the Boom, 2019 – History of Tech Boom in Silicon Valley
Silicon Valley is the top world center of technology, innovation, and progress. Thousands of companies have their offices therein. And many tech geeks continue gathering in California to implement the craziest ideas. Wonder how it started?
Valley of the Boom is a docudrama consisting of 6 episodes that tell us the story of dot-com companies, the pioneers of the technological boom in Silicon Valley: Microsoft, Pixelon, theGlobe.com, and Netscape. Explore the emergence of first browsers, social networks, and high-quality distribution companies and how they lost the competition to current industry leaders. Finally, the movie shows what decisions and solutions allowed Microsoft or Facebook to take the lead.
Movies’ director used an interesting method of incorporating real interviews with many of the people present as heroes in the film. This is another sign of a true story in the movie’s heart.
12. The Dropout, 2022 – Business VS Science
If you work in a health-tech company that combines medicine and computer science, you should look at The Dropout. The movie shows how the wrong scientific and engineering calculations led to the fake innovations.
The Dropout tells us the story of one of the largest frauds in the 21st century – Theranos. The plot of the movie revolves around the true story of the main character – Elizabeth Holmes, an enthusiastic young scientist and entrepreneur who tries to revolutionize the health-tech industry.
Elizabeth dropped out of college and started a technology company – Theranos, which many considered a breakthrough health technology company. This company claimed it had invented special blood tests requiring only a drop of blood. Moreover, almost everyone could perform the test rapidly and accurately due to the small portable devices the company had developed. Theranos raised more than US$700 million, resulting in approximately $10 billion value at its peak. All this, however, appeared to be a fraud.
The creators of the film unambiguously chose the movie title “Dropout”. On the one hand, it illustrates the shift from science to business that the protagonist made. On the other hand, it highlights one of the most important “breakthroughs” of the company – the approximate amount of blood (one drop) necessary to make a test, according to Theranos.
13. WeCrashed, 2022 – Rise and Fall
WeWork, a coworking space company, is one of the top startups with a valuation of $47 billion at its peak. The emergence of this startup is an outstanding story. Hard to imagine how narcissism, passion, and chaotic love made it all possible. Eight episodes of the WeCrashed tell us the story step by step, each intriguing even more. The film received generally favorable reviews. Many critic reviews particularly highlighted the cast, which is definitely a strong point of the film.
There are some debates regarding the accuracy of the movie. In general, WeCrashed contains a mix of real and fictional characters and events. However, the absolute majority of the fictional elements tend to have a basis in real life. An important feature of the movie is that it tries to explain the technological and business sides of the company’s history: business model, custom software solutions, and flexible design that allowed WeWork to achieve great success.
14. Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, 2022 – The Roller-coaster Ride
If you doubt whether to start exploring mobile software development or wonder whether mobile applications have a potential to grow in the future, take a look at this movie. Uber is one of the largest and most famous transportation and mobility companies. Super Pumped depicts the story of how a single mobile application boosted a company and allowed it to gain the top position in the domain.
An amazing story about the development of a tech company and a personality in the center of all processes. The plot tells us about multiple developments, betrayals, and underhand intrigues that embody the highs and lows of Silicon Valley. A stunning cast with Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Kyle Chandler, and Uma Thurman perfectly transmits the spirit and atmosphere of the inner workings of a huge technology company.
TOP 11 Documentaries About the IT Industry
Movies based on real stories provide viewers with an adapted version of events. Though they contain a lot of actual personalities and developments in their core, a lot of facts may face changes or modifications as well. Documentaries, on the other hand, focus on depicting the story as accurately as possible. So, we prepared a list of the best documentary movies regarding the IT industry of all time.
- The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires – History of the Personal Computer
- Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet – World Wide Web from 1969 to 1998
- E-Dreams – Rise and Fall of an Online Convenience Store
- Freedom Downtime – An Alternative View On Hackers
- Revolution OS – Alternative Software
- BBS: The Documentary – Computer and Phone
- The Pixar Story – Success Story from the Ground up
- Welcome to Macintosh – History of Apple
- Hackers Are People Too – Alternative Perception of the Hacker Community
- RiP: A Remix Manifesto – Copyright Debate
- Macheads – Exploring the Loyalty
1. The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires, 1996 – History of the Personal Computer
Personal computers or PCs became an integral part of our life decades ago. Their creation and development history is very long and full of exciting innovations and achievements.
The Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires is a three-part documentary series that shows a detailed history of the birth of the personal computer and its evolution in the United States from World War II to 1995. Viewers can learn about both technological advancements and the improvement of the software.
A truly fascinating peculiarity of the movie is the presence of candid recollections of the pioneers in PC development, like Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates. Steve Wozniak considered the movie to be extremely thorough and insightful, so we strongly recommend tech fans to watch this documentary.
2. Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet, 1998 – World Wide Web from 1969 to 1998
Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet – also known as Glory of the Geeks – is the following set of television documentaries now focusing on the history of the Internet. The movie explores the emergence and development of the ARPANET, the internet, and the World Wide Web from 1969 to 1998.
This movie can serve as an introduction to the Internet and web engineering. It explains the origins of the global network and shows how software development started to serve the needs of people on the Internet.
The documentary consists of three segments. The first one shows the story of professionals who worked to expand the ARPANET since the 1960s. The second illustrates the achievements of the government of the United States in the Internet domain. The last episode depicts the history of the World Wide Web.
3. E-Dreams, 2001 – Rise and Fall of an Online Convenience Store
If you want to better understand the technical side of e-commerce entities, online shopping and delivery, as well as the origins of the internet of things, E-Dreams is an excellent opportunity.
E-Dreams is a 2001 American documentary showing the story of the rise and fall of Kozmo.com. Kozmo.com was among the pioneers in applying online services in daily life. It was an online convenience store that used bike couriers to deliver goods ordered online within a very short period. Looks familiar, doesn’t it?
The movie follows the founders of Kozmo.com and their success in building an 11-city network of warehouses with more than 3000 employees just within a year. It also depicts how the lack of an efficient and sustainable business plan, the inability to raise extra investments due to the dot-com bust, and stock market correction led to the collapse of the company.
4. Freedom Downtime, 2001 – An Alternative View On Hackers
This documentary is about the Free Kevin movement and the hacker world. Kevin Mitnick is a computer hacker who is best known for his high-profile and very controversial arrest in 1995 and five years in prison for multiple computer and communications-related crimes.
The movie communicates a different view of the hacker community from what the mainstream media usually show. The film also questions the rationality and necessity to place computer hackers who went “over the line” in the same environment as those who committed serious crimes.
5. Revolution OS, 2001 – Alternative Software
Revolution OS is a 2001 documentary film that depicts the story of GNU, Linux, open source, and the free software movement. Microsoft’s Windows became the world’s most widely used operating system for PCs. However, many experts argue about Microsoft’s strict policies concerning licensing, ownership, distribution, and alteration of their software. At the center of the depicted “the Open Source Movement” is the idea that computer software should be free in the economic and intellectual senses.
Revolution OS examines the genesis of this movement and the origins of Linux, an alternative OS at that time. The film describes peculiar features of Linux that differ it from other OS and elaborates on how exactly the users can benefit from them. The interesting thing is that the movie explains the technical issues in a manner that even non-specialists can easily understand everything.
6. BBS: The Documentary, 2005 – Computer and Phone
IT specialists go on inventing new ways of online communication: messengers, video call platforms, meta-universe, etc. BBS: The Documentary, however, gets us back to the times when the internet hadn’t beaten the phone yet, when the first cross-platform integrations took place. The movie tells us a 25-year-long history of the Dial-Up Bulletin Board System. Through 8 episodes, viewers can explore the modem-connected computer system technology that allows others to connect to a PC over a phone line and, in this way, leave messages and trade files.
The movie’s narrative includes 200 interviews which together form a continuous storyline due to a high-quality montage. All the episodes gradually depict the history of technology. It covers the timeline from the very beginning up to the end of the dial-up BBS and its integration into the Internet
7. The Pixar Story, 2007 – Success Story from the Ground up
Pixar Animation Studios is one of the most successful computer animation studios, well-known for its computer-animated feature films. The Pixar Story brings the audiences behind the scenes of the growth of this groundbreaking company that became a pioneer in the new generation of animation.
The Pixar Story tells the viewers about the long evolution of the company, its approaches, and techniques that contributed to amazing achievements, which many may consider an overnight success. If you work with video editing or graphic design, you definitely need to explore how people got there, how they combined physics and computer science with arts, and how they forever changed the face of filmmaking.
8. Welcome to Macintosh, 2008 – History of Apple
Apple corporation invented and introduced a lot of craziest innovations in the IT technology domain. Many of them revolutionized and forever changed the industry. Welcome to Macintosh documentary film focuses on the history of Apple and, in particular, its Macintosh line of computers – pioneers in the realm of personal computers.
The movie discusses the philosophy, practices, and approaches the Apple team used to elaborate on their machines. Macintosh computers contained multiple solutions that fostered the future evolution of PCs. You can find a detailed explanation of them due to numerous interviews with people who worked in the company. They shed light on the details of how the corporation worked.
9. Hackers Are People Too, 2008 – Alternative Perception of the Hacker Community
What picture does your imagination draw when you hear the word hacker? Secretive tech geeks hiding from the law who spend all their time in front of a computer searching for some classified information or breaking security systems of some important government institutions? Or maybe some secret agents in the service of transnational underground groups that seek to establish their world domination?
But what if we say that you are unlikely to find a hacker among a group of people? What if their behavior, habits, lifestyle, and hobbies do not differ from those of all other people? Hackers Are People Too challenges preconceived notions and media-driven stereotypes and offers an alternative vision of the hacker community. In this movie, hackers speak for themselves and provide their own introduction of the hacker society.
A great documentary for those who want to dive deep into understanding the phenomenon of hackers, what makes people become hackers, how they live their lives, how they combine challenging work with everyday routine, and what are some of the most common practices of information search.
10. RiP: A Remix Manifesto, 2008 – Copyright Debate
The development of computer technologies influenced many spheres, including music. New record and display opportunities, new editing tools, new platforms to store and distribute the music. If it resonates to your interests, RiP: A Remix Manifesto is 100% for you. This documentary examines the changing concept of copyright in the information age, primarily on the example of the music domain.
It took six years to create the documentary film. Hundreds of people have elaborated on the collaborative remix work during this period by contributing to the Open Source Cinema website.
The idea of the manifest is that the past builds culture and tries to control the future. As a result, the future becomes less free. Consequently, people must limit the control of the past in order to build a free society. Definitely a great movie about the coexistence of technology and society.
11. Macheads, 2009 – Exploring the Loyalty
Macheads is a documentary movie that tries to study the fanaticism that surrounds the Apple brand. We have all seen long queues for new Apple products and the genuine emotions of thousands of people from the acquisition of a new gadget.
If you are a fan of Apple gadgets, you would probably enjoy this film, since it gives an in-depth analysis of what exactly makes the Mac, the iPhone, and other goods produced by Apple a cultural phenomenon rather than simple machines. What exact solutions, technical peculiarities, and software features make Apple products so desired? The film encompasses many interviews with Mac evangelists and ordinary members of the Mac community in an effort to demonstrate a vision of the situation from the inside.
An excellent work that combines approaches from psychology and technology features to better understand human behavior.
Technology and technological progress constantly change our life. In the 21st century, we can see the introduction of innovations and advances in every sphere of our activities, including television and filmmaking.
But there is also a simultaneous process of depicting technology, science, computer breakthroughs, and the craziest tech enthusiasts via movies of different genres: dramas, comedies, documentaries, and, of course, films based on true stories.
We have assembled a list of the top movies related to the IT domain that reveal to us the stories, often previously untold, about some of the most important inventions and innovations of all time. And certainly about the tech geeks, genius personalities who pioneered the IT sphere, revolutionized computer science, and challenged the technological status quo.
Apart from describing the lives of IT innovators, events, or technological tendencies and trends, many films also touch on pressing social issues like freedom of speech, human rights vs national security, as well as the moral aspects of the work of some companies.
Double-check our best tech movies list and get ready to experience the exciting, shocking, controversial, sometimes dangerous but unique life stories of IT professionals and high-tech companies that forever changed our perception of technology and its usage.
If you are a fan of technologies, make sure to check our website for further information and to find out how we transform the IT domain.