What is the main genre of "hacking" films which have hackers as characters in the film, e.g., "Die Hard 4" or "Nikita"?

I tried to look up the genre of them but they are just Action | Crime | Thriller. Isn't there a main genre for the movies like them?

  • 4
    There is no specific genre for movies that includes hackers... Genres categorizes movies in a much more general sense, like action, drama, comedy, etc. Hence the word "genre", which means "sort" or "kind". Categorizing movies by the different occupations would be ridiculous... You can find hackers in all kinds of movies, from romantic comedies to political dramas to sci-fi action. If you really want to see more hacker movies, you should probably look in the genres that you listed. Action, Crime, Thriller, and probably Sci-Fi as well
    – Tom
    Commented Aug 24, 2013 at 23:52
  • Any movie that revolves primarily around hacking is pretty much going to be sci-fi, action or sci-fi-action. Any other movies that 'have a bit of hacking in them' can pretty much be any movie these days
    – Robotnik
    Commented Aug 25, 2013 at 13:55

2 Answers 2


It's a bit more of a buzzword rather than a formal genre, but I think what you are looking for is techno-thriller:

Techno-thrillers (or technothrillers) are a hybrid genre, drawing subject matter generally from science fiction, thrillers, spy, action and war. They include a disproportionate amount (relative to other genres) of technical details on its subject matter (typically military technology); only science fiction tends towards a comparable level of supporting detail on the technical side. The inner workings of technology and the mechanics of various disciplines (espionage, martial arts, politics) are thoroughly explored, and the plot often turns on the particulars of that exploration.


Okay, this answer is strictly subjective.

Firstly, I'm sorry to see this question downvoted and to read Tom's comment with uncalled-for arrogance.

To answer your question, there is no such genre. Currently.

You see, in case of movie subgenres, necessity is the mother of nomenclature. For example, we had horror-comedies for a while. Then 'Shaun of the Dead' happened and suddenly the 'zombie-comedy' entered pop culture. Because that movie influenced a lot of filmmakers all over the world and many more movies of the genre got made. We still don't have vampire-comedies or werewolf-comedies, (though there are movies which fit the bill), simply because the number of movies like that isn't big enough to warrant a subgenre term of their own. And so movies like 'An American Werewolf in London' continue to be called horror-comedies.

Similar is the case with the 'found footage' -- a genre which was virtually non-existent before 'The Blair Witch Project' (exception: 'Cannibal Holocaust from 1980), but then influenced a lot of films in a lot of genres, which include horror ('Paranormal Activity'), zombie ('REC') and disaster ('Cloverfield').

So if some movie centered on hacking comes along which spawns a lot of similar movies, sure, hacking movie could become a genre. It's not now, as the number of such movies isn't big enough. (Off the top of my head, I can only think of 'Hackers' and 'Swordfish'.) Till then, such movies will continue to be classified under other genres.

@tom- I disagree, it's not ridiculous. It's perfectly ordinary for new genres to come up and for one movie to belong to multiple genres. If you can find hackers in all kinds of movies, it would be logical to classify them all under hacker movies should such a genre exist. You can find vampires in horror, romance, and comedy. And it's still called a vampire movie. (Maybe someone should make a movie about vampire hackers!!)

@jonsca- Techno-thriller is a broader term, IMO. And it applies more to novels than movies. Like the works of Michael Crichton and Robin Cook. I never heard anyone describe 'Jurassic Park' the movie as a techno-thriller, even though the book is a prime example of one.

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    I don't think Tom's comment is in any way arrogant. Consider IMDB's definition of genres. They only consider the umbrella terms (e.g. romance, thriller, war) as genres. They wouldn't consider something like found footage as a genre, as it depends on the situation occurring in such a film (is it in a horror context, a romantic context?). Similarly, I don't know of anywhere that considers vampire films a genre. They're simple a subgenre of either horror/romance/thriller, etc. Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 9:59
  • Ultimately, genres are very fluid and have different interpretations according to different people. That's why, in the mainstream, only the biggest terms have survived, whilst smaller genre terms (e.g. slasher, monster) tend to be subsets of parent genres. On a side note, zombie comedies pre-date Shaun of the Dead by a very, very long time. Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 10:00
  • @Andrew: I agree with you that only biggest term are used in mainstream, which is the logical thing to do, as there's no end to subgenres. But subgenres are there and very real. IMDb is NOT the authority on this. Google 'best vampire films' and you'll get a number of lists by reputed magazines. BTW, if you do an advance title search in IMDb, there's a field for keywords which you can use to search for subgenres like slapstick or screwball or found footage.
    – Tushar Raj
    Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 11:52
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    But you yourself have just categories things as subgenres. There can be any number of subgenres of film. We can pull them out of thin air. Thousands exist. The question specifically asked for a main genre. As Tom correctly said, there isn't one. Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 11:54
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    So, with respect, if you're not answering the question asked, what are you doing? Remember, the Stack Exchange isn't for discussions - it's purely a Q and A forum. Commented Dec 3, 2014 at 12:01

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