Sneakers turns 20

There’s two sayings about movies I love. The real reviews for movies are written five to ten years after a film is released, and time can be a filmmaker’s best friend.

In the case of Sneakers, which starred Robert Redford, Sidney Poitier, and the late River Phoenix, it was well received when it first came out, so it didn’t need five to ten years to be rediscovered. And as we see today, it’s still revered twenty years after it came out.


They key that Sneakers really did something right is even with technology becoming far more advanced in the twenty years since its release, the story and the filmmaking still holds up strong.  As the L.A. Times reports, a 20th anniversary screening was organized in Los Angeles by screenwriter Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood, 1408), and as Larry noted, “It was one of the first movies to get the Internet right.”

Sneakers was co-written and directed by Phil Robinson (Field of Dreams), and WarGames screenwriters Walter Parkes and Lawrence Lasker. WarGames is another film, which hit its 30th anniversary this year, that holds up well even if the technology in it may be a little dated. Again, the story’s so good you don’t care. 

As we’ve reported before here on TG, it brought computer hacking to the attention of the world right as the phenomenon was exploding. In fact, Parkes and Lasker learned the term “sneakers” when researching WarGames.

As the Times points out, Sneakers launched the computer thriller genre that spawned films like The Net and The Pelican Brief.

As Susan King writes, “The computer technology in {Sneakers] has dated badly,” which is understandable after twenty years. “But the plot remains relevant.” And as a fan on IMDB wrote, “I’ve watched it many, many times over the years, and it continues to entertain. It is, perhaps, the last good ‘hacker’ film.”