Hacker News Re-Imagined

‎Cracking the Code: Sneakers at 30

  • 269 points
  • 8 days ago

  • @DerekBickerton
  • Created a post

‎Cracking the Code: Sneakers at 30

@crmd 8 days

Replying to @DerekBickerton 🎙

I distinctly remember Sneakers DVD having a fabulous director’s commentary track, where they talk about writing and filming the movie shot-by-shot, however it doesn’t seem to be available in my Apple TV purchase. Does anyone know if it’s possible to hear the commentary track with any streaming service?


I'm fairly certain my life would have gone in an entirely different direction had my mom and I not decided - rather randomly - to go see this movie in theaters one weekend when I was 11.


@wdr1 8 days

One of the things I love about it, is that Sneakers has a mathematical consultant in its credits: Len Adleman. The "A" in RSA.


@Terry_Roll 8 days

An excellent film, should be part of any computer science curriculum or at least some homework. Never noticed or knew that Hollywood went into such details with the "Easter eggs" back then so next time watching it will look out for them.

As also mentioned here, its up there with War Games, Tron and The Lawn Mower Man when considering the biological & chemical knowledge we have at our fingertips today.


@Stratoscope 8 days

Here is a fun article by David July, who tracked down some of the filming locations. It has some nice photos of the iconic PlayTronics building at 400 National Way in Simi Valley:


He did misidentify the bridge the white van drove over. It's the Dumbarton, not the San Mateo, and they are driving in the correct direction. (From SF you would take 101 to Marsh or Willow and get on the Dumbarton from there.)

A sad note: The PlayTronics building was converted to an Amazon distribution center a few years ago, and the entire front of the building was torn down and made into loading docks.

I suppose it is ironic that I watched Sneakers on Amazon Prime!


@nullc 8 days

Anyone have a really old copy of Sneakers (like on laserdisc)? I noticed in the background of the bluray transfer https://files.catbox.moe/nnywzq.jpg there is this asiacrypt poster and I wondered if it was composited in later transfers over something else, as I think the conference would have been too late for the movie production.

I think sneakers still holds the record for the best number theory jargon in movie history:

"While the number-field sieve is the best method currently known, there exists an intriguing possibility for a far more elegant approach. Here we would find a composition of extensions, each Abelian over the rationals, and hence contained in a single cyclotomic field. Using the Artin map, we might induce homomorphisms from the principal orders in each of these fields that z by f z. These maps could then be used to combine splitting information from all the fields... this in turn would require the standard Kummer extensions that nontorsion form of the Jacobians of the Fermat curves gives rise to. It would be a breakthrough of Gaussian proportions and allow us to acquire the solution in a dramatically more efficient manner. Now, I should emphasize that such an approach is purely theoretical. So far, no one has been able to accomplish such constructions, yet."


@posharma 8 days

Cracking the code...I thought this was about cracking coding interviews. I need to take a break :-).


@rmatt2000 8 days

My favorite scene is the one where the Cray supercomputer inexplicably had the Windows 3.1 GUI.


@dang 8 days


Memories of the “Sneakers” Shoot (2012) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29840802 - Jan 2022 (198 comments)

Sneakers: Robert Redford, River Phoenix nerd out in 1992’s prescient caper - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=29620095 - Dec 2021 (7 comments)

Sneakers (1992), the Film - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26111977 - Feb 2021 (2 comments)

Tool Recreating the “Decrypting Text” Effect Seen in the Movie “Sneakers” - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11643270 - May 2016 (54 comments)

Sneakers - movie about pen testing, crypto/nsa, espionage, and deception (1992) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6196379 - Aug 2013 (5 comments)

What it was like shooting the movie Sneakers - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4498985 - Sept 2012 (46 comments)

Sneakers (Film, 1992) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1499298 - July 2010 (1 comment)

Joybubbles: the blind phreaker whom Whistler was based off of in Sneakers - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1443241 - June 2010 (1 comment)


Sneakers is just a training movie on how a red team should do a pentest.


@kappuchino 8 days

The Internet Archive has the original press kit preserved - as a virtual floppy disk, including an (easy) password guessing to access some content. See here: https://archive.org/details/Sneakers_Film_Promotional_Floppy


@y0ssar1an 8 days

The film score is a James Horner masterpiece: https://web.archive.org/web/20130128143052/http://www.slate....

It's very interesting because it predates the modern consensus that hacker movie music should be electronic. If it were made today it would be full of synths, but back then nobody knew what a hacker movie was supposed to sound like. So you get lots of choir vocals, strings, and piano. It's beautiful!


@Angostura 8 days

Shout out to James Horner for his lovely musical score that makes the film.


@jordanpg 8 days

The Unclear and Present Danger podcast covered this movie in their latest episode.



> It’s also not difficult to imagine Bishop as an older version of the more principled protagonists he played in Three Days of the Condor and All the President’s Men.

That's a fun idea. If only the movie ran for just a bit longer and mega-casual assassin Max Von Sydow and spooky garage conversation informant Hal Holbrook could've been in on things somehow.

"You've got to follow...the macguffin!"

(Also this clock tower thing...yeah I admit I never noticed, loved the van and mustache though)

A fun read, thanks op!


@AnimalMuppet 8 days

I loved the bit about trying to guess the password from the video, and nobody being able to do it, and the blind guy hearing the sound over and over and figuring out that it's in the box on the desk. And the audience realizes, "Hey, we were so busy looking at stuff that we didn't listen."


@z303 8 days

Sneakers is one of the most fun and often under appreciated geek movies out there. Hackers got some points for including the Hacker Manifesto but was over the top to the point of comical. Sneakers captured the mindset, the vibe, and some of the mechanics.. a bunch of slightly odd guys driven by curiosity and skepticism.

The fact that they got Redford, Poitier, Aykroyd, and many other greats made it shine.

Edit: And from the article, just learned that the screenplay was written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes who also wrote War Games.


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