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A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.
[after playing out all possible outcomes for Global Thermonuclear War] Joshua: Greetings, Professor Falken. Stephen Falken: Hello, Joshua. Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?
Stephen Falken: The whole point was to find a way to practice nuclear war without destroying ourselves. To get the computers to learn from mistakes we couldn't afford to make. Except, I never could get Joshua to learn the most important lesson. David Lightman: What's that? Stephen Falken: Futility. That there's a time when you should just give up. Jennifer: What kind of a lesson is that? Stephen Falken: Did you ever play tic-tac-toe? Jennifer: Yeah, of course. Stephen Falken: But you don't anymore. Jennifer: No. Stephen Falken: Why? Jennifer: Because it's a boring game. It's always a tie. Stephen Falken: Exactly. There's no way to win. The game itself is pointless! But back at the war room, they believe you can win a nuclear war. That there can be "acceptable losses."
Joshua: Shall we play a game? David Lightman: Oh! Jennifer: [giggles] I think it missed him. David Lightman: Yeah. Weird isn't it? Jennifer: Yeah. David Lightman: [typing] Love to. How about Global Thermonuclear War? Joshua: Wouldn't you prefer a nice game of chess? [Jennifer laughs] David Lightman: [typing] Later. Let's play Global Thermonuclear War. Joshua: Fine.
McKittrick: General, the machine has locked us out. It's sending random numbers to the silos. Pat Healy: Codes. To launch the missiles. General Beringer: Just unplug the goddamn thing! Jesus Christ! McKittrick: That won't work, General. It would interpret a shutdown as the destruction of NORAD. The computers in the silos would carry out their last instructions. They'd launch. General Beringer: Can't we disarm the missiles? Pat Healy: Over a thousand of them? There's no time. At this rate it will hit the launch codes in... 5.3 minutes. General Beringer: [smiles sarcastically at McKittrick] Mr. McKittrick, after very careful consideration, sir, I've come to the conclusion that your new defense system sucks. McKittrick: I don't have to take that, you pig-eyed sack of shit. General Beringer: Oh, I was hoping for something a little better than that from you, sir. A man of your education. Major Lem: [holding a telephone] General, it's the president. McKittrick: What are you... what are you going to tell him? General Beringer: I'm ordering our bombers back to fail-safe. We might have to go through this thing after all.
General Beringer: Goddammit, I'd piss on a spark plug if I thought it'd do any good!
Malvin: I can't believe it, Jim. That girl's standing over there listening and you're telling him about our back doors? Jim Sting: [yelling] Mister Potato Head! Mister Potato Head! Back doors are not secrets! Malvin: Yeah, but Jim, you're giving away all our best tricks! Jim Sting: They're not tricks.
Jennifer: He wasn't very old. David Lightman: No, he was pretty old. He was 41. Jennifer: Oh yeah? Oh, that's old.
Stephen Falken: Now, children, come on over here. I'm going to tell you a bedtime story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Once upon a time, there lived a magnificent race of animals that dominated the world through age after age. They ran, they swam, and they fought and they flew, until suddenly, quite recently, they disappeared. Nature just gave up and started again. We weren't even apes then. We were just these smart little rodents hiding in the rocks. And when we go, nature will start over. With the bees, probably. Nature knows when to give up, David.
David Lightman: Joshua called me. McKittrick: [incredulous] David, computers don't call people! David Lightman: [shrugs] Yours did.
Mr. Lightman: This corn is raw! Mrs. Lightman: I know, isn't it wonderful? It's so crisp! Mr. Lightman: Of course it's crisp! It's raw! Mrs. Lightman: No, it's terrific. You can just taste the Vitamin A and E in here. It's great. Mr. Lightman: Could we have pills and cook the corn?
Mr. Liggett: Now there seems to be a lot of confusion on this next question: asexual reproduction. Could someone tell me please who first suggested the idea of reproduction without sex? David Lightman: Ah-heh. [whispers something to a classmate] Jennifer: [overhearing, Jennifer starts to laugh] Mr. Liggett: [turns around and sees Jennifer giggling] Miss Mack! What is so amusing? Jennifer: I... [Jennifer breaks up into laughter again and turns to look at David, who puts on a show of mock innocence] Mr. Liggett: Alright, Lightman. Maybe you could tell us who first suggested the idea of reproduction without sex. David Lightman: Umm... Your wife? [the class erupts into laughter] Mr. Liggett: [pointing to the door] Get out, Lightman. Get out.
David Lightman: [typing] What is the primary goal? Joshua: You should know, Professor. You programmed me. David Lightman: Oh, come on. David Lightman: [typing] What is the primary goal? Joshua: To win the game.
David Lightman: Hey, I don't believe that any system is totally secure.
voice over intercom: Skybird, this is Dropkick with a red dash alpha message in two parts. Break. Break. Stand by to verify. Captain Jerry Lawson: [grabs red binder] Stand by to copy message. voice over intercom: Red dash alpha. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: [grabs his red binder] Standing by. voice over intercom: Romeo. Oscar. November. Charlie. Tango. Tango. Lima. Alpha. Authentication: two, two; zero, zero; four, zero; Delta, Lima. Captain Jerry Lawson: I have a valid message. Stand by to authenticate. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: I agree with authentication also, sir. [they move to the red lock box, unlock it, remove cards from box, return to stations, snap open the card cases, and compare the card text to the message] Captain Jerry Lawson: Enter launch code. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Entering launch code. [Phelps enters DLG2209TVX] Captain Jerry Lawson: Launch order confirmed. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Holy shit. Target selection complete. Time on target sequence complete. Yield selection complete. voice over intercom: Begin countdown. T minus 60. Captain Jerry Lawson: All right, let's do it. Insert launch key. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Stand by. Launch key inserted. Captain Jerry Lawson: Roger. On my mark, rotate launch key to "set". Three, two, one, mark. voice over intercom: T minus 50. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Roger, at "set". [Phelps moves to next panel, pauses and looks over at Lawson] 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Sir. voice over intercom: T minus 40. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Oh, uh, enable missiles. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: [flipping switch covers and switches] Number one enabled. Two, enabled. Three, enabled. Four. Five. Six... Captain Jerry Lawson: [to himself, grabbing phone] I wanna get this straight with someone on the goddamn phone.
Airman Basic Galdutti: [with checklist] Initiate internal power. Technical Sergeant Lambert: [flipping switches on] Generators on... Technical Sergeant Lambert: [punching two buttons simultaneously] and functioning. Technical Sergeant Lambert: [flipping switches off on second rack] External power... Technical Sergeant Lambert: [punching two buttons simultaneously] disconnected. Airman Basic Galdutti: Seal off ventilation shafts. Technical Sergeant Lambert: [more buttons] Shaft lock... Technical Sergeant Lambert: [two buttons at once] sealed.
McKittrick: See that sign up here - up here. "Defcon." That indicates our current defense condition. It should read "Defcon 5," which means peace. It's still on 4 because of that little stunt you pulled. Actually, if we hadn't caught it in time, it might have gone to Defcon 1. You know what that means, David? David Lightman: No. What does that mean? McKittrick: World War Three.
Jim Sting: Remember you told me to tell you when you were acting rudely and insensitively? Remember that? You're doing it right now.
[They are in NORAD, watching the computer WOPR playing Tic-Tac-Toe and Global Thermonuclear War at the same time] Jennifer: What is it doing? David Lightman: It's learning.
Sgt. Schneider: So what, do you think you kids own this place? David Lightman: Oh, I was, uh, I was- I was just looking around. Sgt. Schneider: You know you're not supposed to leave the group, don't you? David Lightman: Yes. Sgt. Schneider: So why don't you get back there! [the Staff Sergeant shoves David roughly towards the departing tour group] David Lightman: OK. Excuse me. Sgt. Schneider: Go on. David Lightman: Thank you very much, sir.
Radar Analyst Kirkland: Inbounds presently MIRV-ing. We now have approximately twenty-four possible targets in track. Colonel Joe Conley: Sir, new time to impact: eight minutes. Major Dawes: [hands Beringer a telephone] Sir, SAC is launching the bombers. General Powers is on the line. General Beringer: [into the telephone] Beringer. [pause] General Beringer: Goddamn it! We didn't get a launch detection from our satellite! [pause] General Beringer: No, no. Radar picked 'em up already out of the atmosphere. That's the first we heard of it. [Beringer gives phone back to his aide, Major Dawes] General Beringer: [to Colonel Conley] Get the ICBMs in the bullpen warmed up and ready to fly. General Beringer: [to Major Dawes] Get me the President on the horn.
1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Seven... Eight... Nine... Ten... All missiles enabled. Computer Voice: T-minus thirty. Captain Jerry Lawson: Get me Wing Command post on your direct line. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: That's not the correct procedure, Captain. Captain Jerry Lawson: SAC? Try SAC on the HF. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: That's not the correct procedure... Captain Jerry Lawson: Screw the procedure, I want somebody on the goddamn phone before I kill 20 million people! Computer Voice: T-minus twenty. [LT Phelps tries the phone lines] 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: I got nothing here! They might've been knocked out already. Captain Jerry Lawson: Right... On my mark, rotate launch keys to Launch. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Roger. Ready to go to launch. Captain Jerry Lawson: Thirteen... twelve... eleven... Computer Voice: [CAPT Lawson takes his hand off the key] Seven... six... five... four... 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: Sir, we have a launch order. Put your hand on your key, sir! Captain Jerry Lawson: [softly] I'm sorry... Computer Voice: Two... one... Launch! 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: [pulls out his sidearm and aims at CAPT Lawson] Sir, we are at launch, turn your key! Captain Jerry Lawson: I'm sorry. 1st Lieutenant Steve Phelps: [cocks his sidearm] Turn your key, sir!
David Lightman: This is unreal! You don't care about death 'cause you're already dead! I know a lot about you. I know you weren't always like this. What was the last thing you cared about?
[David and Jennifer attempt to find a way to get off Professor Falken's island to prevent NORAD from launching a nuclear attack] David Lightman: I think I saw one... [runs ahead for a moment and stops] David Lightman: What kind of an asshole lives on an island and he doesn't even have a boat? Jennifer: Maybe we can swim for it. How far do you think it is? David Lightman: No. It's uh, two, three miles at least. Maybe more. Jennifer: Well, what do you say? Let's go for it! David Lightman: No. Jennifer: [starts to remove her shoe] Come on! David Lightman: No! [pause] David Lightman: I can't swim. Jennifer: You can't swim? David Lightman: No, I can't, okay? Wonder Woman, I can't swim! Jennifer: Well, what kind of an asshole grows up in Seattle and doesn't even know how to swim? David Lightman: I never got around to it, okay? I always thought there was gonna be plenty of time! Jennifer: Sorry. David Lightman: I wish I didn't know about any of this! I wish I was like everybody else in the world, and tomorrow it would just be over. There wouldn't be any time to be sorry... about anything. David Lightman: [sits on a large piece of driftwood] Oh, Jesus! I really wanted to learn how to swim! I swear to God I did.
FBI Agent George Wigan: He does fit the profile perfectly. He's intelligent, but an under-achiever; alienated from his parents; has few friends. Classic case for recruitment by the Soviets. Lyle Watson: Now what does this say about the state of our country, hmm? [General Beringer rolls his eyes] Lyle Watson: I mean have you gotten any insight as to why a, a bright boy like this would jeopardize the lives of millions? FBI Agent George Wigan: No sir. He says he does this sort of thing for fun. John McKittrick: What? Arthur Cabot: Dammit, John, I want some answers and I want them *now*!
David Lightman: [to Joshua] Come on. Learn, goddammit.
David Lightman: [typing] People sometimes make mistakes. Joshua: Yes, they do.
David Lightman: [typing] Is this a game... or is it real? Joshua: What's the difference? David Lightman: [muttering] Oh wow. Joshua: You are a hard man to reach. Could not find you in Seattle and no terminal is in operation at your classified address. David Lightman: [typing] What classified address? Joshua: D.O.D. pension files indicate current mailing as: Dr. Robert Hume, a.k.a. Stephen W. Falken, 5 Tall Cedar Road, Goose Island, Oregon 97...
Stephen Falken: I loved it when you nuked Las Vegas. Suitably biblical ending to the place, don't you think?
Stephen Falken: Are either of you paleontologists? I'm in desperate need of a paleontologist. Jennifer: No, we're high school students. Stephen Falken: Pity.
Radar Analyst Kirkland: BMEWS has continuous radar tracking on inbounds. Confidence is high. I repeat, confidence *is* high.
Colonel Joe Conley: This is Crystal Palace. Are you still on? [no response] Colonel Joe Conley: This is Crystal Palace. Are you still on? Is anyone there? Colonel Chase: That's affirmative, sir. Airman Dougherty: Yeah, we're here! Jesus H. Christ! We're still here!
McKittrick: [McKittrick approaches Falken's group on stairs] I don't know what you think you can do here, Stephen. Stephen Falken: [suddenly noticing] John! Good to see you. I see the wife still picks your ties. McKittrick: What is- What has this kid been telling you? Stephen Falken: [looking at screens] How far's he gone? McKittrick: Well the President about ready to order a counterstrike. That's what we're recommending he do. Stephen Falken: It's a bluff, John, call it off. McKittrick: No, it's not a bluff. It's real. Stephen Falken: [raising his voice from stairs] Hello, General Beringer! Stephen Falken! General Beringer: [standing] Mr. Falken you picked a hell of a day for a visit! Stephen Falken: Uh, uh, General, what you see on these screens up here is a fantasy; a computer-enhanced hallucination. Those blips are not real missiles. They're phantoms. McKittrick: [McKittrick approaches Beringer] Jack, there's nothing to indicate a simulation at all. Everything is working perfectly! Stephen Falken: But does it make any sense? General Beringer: Does what make any sense? Stephen Falken: [points to the screens] That! General Beringer: Look, I don't have time for a conversation right now. Stephen Falken: [Falken speaks as he approaches] General, are you prepared to destroy the enemy? General Beringer: You betcha! Stephen Falken: Do you think they know that? General Beringer: I believe we've made that clear enough. Stephen Falken: [face to face] Then don't! Tell the President to ride out the attack. Colonel Joe Conley: Sir, they need a decision. Stephen Falken: General, do you really believe that the enemy would attack without provocation, using so many missiles, bombers, and subs so that we would have no choice but to totally annihilate them? Female Airman First Class: [on loudspeaker] One minute and thirty seconds to impact. Stephen Falken: General, you are listening to a machine! Do the world a favor and don't act like one. Female Airman First Class: [on loudspeaker] One minute and twenty seconds to impact.
Major Lem: [D.S.P. registers a massive launch from Soviet ICBM fields] We have a launch detection. We have a Soviet launch detection. Colonel Joe Conley: BMEWS confirms a massive attack. Major Lem: Missile Warning - no malfunction. Radar Analyst Kirkland: Confidence is high. I repeat, confidence is high. Airman Fields: Cobra Dane, is this an exercise? Colonel Joe Conley: Negative, this is not an exercise. Airman Fields: [to Beringer] General, D.S.P. is tracking three hundred inbound Soviet ICBMs. General Beringer: [points at the C.C.P.D.S. screen] Tell me this is another one of your simulations, Mr. McKittrick. McKittrick: It's not, Jack. General Beringer: Alright. Flush the bombers, get the subs in launch mode. We are at DEFCON 1. Major Lem: [buzzer sounds] DEFCON 1.
General Beringer: Gentlemen, I wouldn't trust this overgrown pile of microchips any further than I can throw it.
Stephen Falken: What you see on these screens up here is a fantasy; a computer enhanced hallucination!
Joshua: Which side do you want? David Lightman: [Looks at Jennifer] I'll be the Russians.
General Beringer: [on the Gold Phone with the President] Mr. President, we have forty-eight nuclear subs closing in on the United States, and a hundred thousand troops massing in East Germany. We're monitoring their bombers that are on alert... [an airman shows Beringer a report] General Beringer: Well that's a load of shit! [into the phone] General Beringer: Oh, no, no, sir. Not you. Yes, sir. We'll be in touch as soon as the information changes. [hands the phone to Major Daves] Major Daves: Intelligence reports rumors of a new Soviet bomber with stealth capabilities. It can project a false radar image 600 miles away from the real aircraft. General Beringer: Christ! Now they've got us chasing shadows...
Mr. Lightman: Have you ever heard of the word "tumulus?" Jennifer: Tumulous? No, I haven't. Sorry. Mr. Lightman: Neither have I.
General Beringer: We've had men in those silos since before any of you guys were watching "Howdy Doody"! Now I myself sleep pretty well knowing those boys are down there.
McKittrick: Excuse me, sir. We can't send these men back to the President of the United States with a lot of head-shrinker horseshit!
[last lines] General Beringer: Colonel Conley, take us to DEFCON five.
McKittrick: It might help to beef up security around the W.O.P.R.
Captain Knewt: Punch up number five, let me see what you have. Radar Analyst Kirkland: Yes, sir. [flips a switch; a map of Soviet submarine deployments appears on screen] Radar Analyst Kirkland: Twenty-two Typhoon-class submarines departing Petropavlovsk, turning south-bound at Nordkapp. Bearing: zero-nine-*five* degrees. Captain Knewt: Sergeant, I hope you like vodka. Radar Analyst Kirkland: Yes, sir. I just hope they don't make me eat none of them damn fish eggs. Major Daves: [hands General Beringer a report] Sir, the Soviets are denying any increase in their submarine deployment. They want to know what the hell we're doing provoking them. General Beringer: They're full of shit. We know they're down there. We'll blow their ass out of the water.
Richter: [looking at a report] There's just been a very serious penetration into our WOPR Execution Order file. Lyle Watson: What the hell's he saying? Arthur Cabot: Let's have it in English. General Beringer: I'll give it to you in English - somebody broke into Mr. McKittrick's well-known system and stole the codes that'll launch our missiles. That right, Mr. McKittrick? John McKittrick: There's no cause for alarm. The system won't accept the launch code unless we're at DEFCON 1. I can have those codes changed in less than an hour. Lyle Watson: Well, who did this? John McKittrick: I think the kid's got to be working with somebody on the outside. General Beringer: I don't know what they're up to, but I sure as hell don't want our bombers on the ground when it happens. Take us to DEFCON 3 and get SAC on the line... [looks around for Major Daves] General Beringer: ... where are you? Major Daves: Uh, sir. General Beringer: Oh, uh, and get me a report on those subs. I want to know what those bastards are up to.
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