If you work in IT, you’ll know that we are people who work hard, giving it 100%. As a result, after a full day at work, we need ways to unwind. This is why we have put together a list of the top 10 movies for programmers and software professionals that you can enjoy in your free time.

Some of these movies are based on events that created the current software landscape, while others might have a programming or hacking theme. However, they are all entertaining in their own way.

The Social Network

The Social Network is a 2010 film directed by Aaron Sorkin, based on the 2009 book, ‘The Accidental Billionaires’, written by Ben Mezrich. This biographical drama was based on how Mark Zuckerberg founded the popular social media network, Facebook.

This is one of the top 10 movies for programmers, not just because of its associations with one of the defining software products of our generation, but also for its beautiful direction and excellent script.


Jobs is a 2013 movie based around the life of Steve Jobs and how he created the Apple phenomenon. Ashton Kutcher plays the role of Jobs, and has been applauded for his incredible performance.

This is one of the must-watch movies for programmers and software professionals, if only for its portrayal of one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our times.

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game is a 2014 film based around the role Alan Turing played in cracking the Enigma code during World War II. Alan Turing, played by Benedict Cumberbatch, was a mathematician, cryptanalyst, logician, and early computer scientist who proposed what we call the ‘Turing Test’ to determine if machines can think.

This is a great film for programmers and software professionals as it shows us how the invention of computers played such a vital role in winning the war. Also, because it is about Alan Turing, the man who developed the concept of algorithms!

The Fifth Estate

Another film in our list that stars Benedict Cumberbatch, The Fifth Estate is about WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange. This movie received criticism for certain aspects, including direction, but was almost unanimously praised for the acting, especially of Mr Cumberbatch as Julian Assange.

Pirates of Silicon Valley

Pirates of Silicon Valley is a 1999 movie directed by Martyn Burke. It comes in the list of the best movies for programmers and software professionals because it shows how the rivalry between Bill Gates and Steve Jobs influenced the development of the personal computer. With Noah Wyle playing Steve Jobs and Anthony Michael Hall as Bill Gates, this film has stood up to the test of time and is widely acknowledged as a brilliant work of art.


WarGames is a movie about a young hacker who unwittingly manages to hack his way into a military computer and almost starts World War III because he thinks it’s a game. This 1983 film starring Matthew Broderick is considered a classic movie for programmers for its portrayal of the repercussions of irresponsible hacking.


Swordfish is an action movie even though it has a hacker character central to its plot. The hacker, Stanley Jobson (played by Hugh Jackman) is recruited by Gabriel Sheer (John Travolta) to program a computer worm that would allow them to steal money from a government bank account. Whilst not a critical success, its cult following has made Swordfish one of the top 10 movies for programmers.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch is an extension of the sci-fi anthology TV series Black Mirror. It’s an interactive film directed by David Slade. The story follows a video game developer as he tries to complete a game and find success while dealing with childhood trauma. You, the viewer, can create different paths and endings based on the choices you make at critical points.


Hackers is a 1995 film directed by Iain Softley, starring Jonny Lee Miller and Angelina Jolie. This is one of the best movies for programmers for its depiction of the hacker culture. Whilst it might not be too close to reality in its details, it does portray the concepts of hacking quite well. Moreover, the visuals of the film quite accurately capture the cyberpunk look imagined in William Gibson’s classic sci-fi book, Neuromancer.

The Matrix

The Matrix is one the most famous films to explore the idea that we live in a virtual world where reality can be ‘hacked’. This 1999 cult classic was made by the Wachowskis and stars Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Hugo Weaving. As a result, it’s not just one of the top 10 movies for programmers and software professionals, but also one of the top 10 movies ever made, in our opinion.