In the scene below from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Natasha is referencing an old-fashioned computer asking this question. What film is this?

Natasha Romanoff: Shall we play a game?

[Smiles and turns to Steve]

Natasha Romanoff: It's from a movie that...

Steve Rogers: Yeah, I saw it.


2 Answers 2


According the Director's Audio Commentary, the film Natasha was referencing was Wargames (1983).

"Let's talk about the Wargames joke for a second. That was written on the day about five minutes before we shot it, one as a way to lighten the tension in the scene, [and] two, as a way to illustrate what the scene is actually about, like it's a pop-culture reference we could make that would actually allow you to understand what's going on."

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    I have made this the accepted answer on the grounds that this has evidence to support it Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 12:34
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    One of the things about this line is it probably is just a matter of how old you are. If you saw this movie when it was new, the line sticks with you forever.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 18:00
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    @Tetsujin, Even if you haven't seen the movie, it was extremely very well known. I have not seen the movie, yet I instantly knew the reference. And it immediately brings to mind “The only winning move is not to play" from the same movie.
    – ikegami
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 19:00
  • @ikegami - Having seen it when new, it's hard to objectively judge how it became 'meme-ified' to later generations.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 15:55
  • I was older than the intended audience when it came out, have never seen the movie, but like @ikegami know the line quite well, along with the "only winning move" follow-up. It's absolutely everywhere in American culture.
    – JonathanZ
    Commented Apr 12, 2023 at 17:20

I imagine it's a reference to WarGames (1983), which does feature a computer asking the question...


... as shown around the 1:00 mark in the video below.

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    It turns out that Hollywood is a very small place. The two films shared a stunt coordinator; imdb.com/search/name/?roles=tt1843866,tt0086567
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 6:55
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    It does seem a bit strange that with 70 years of popular culture to catch up on, Steve includes War Games. Pretty sure it wouldn't have been in the list that Sam gave him. Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 8:05
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    @DanielRoseman He’s a soldier! It’s important he gets up to speed on the computerisation of warfare quickly. Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 9:00
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    @DanielRoseman Wargames remains the most accurate depiction of hacking in cinema, it’s a good movie, it was very socially relevant, and an important early milestone in Matthew Broderick’s career. If you wanted to summarize the 80s in film, Wargames is one very good choice. Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 10:52
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    also teaches us about the importance of good passwords.
    – ths
    Commented Apr 11, 2023 at 14:25

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