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Starring the Computer is a website dedicated to the use of computers in film and television. Each appearance is catalogued and rated on its importance (ie. how important it is to the plot), realism (how close its appearance and capabilities are to the real thing) and visibility (how good a look does one get of it). Fictional computers don't count (unless they are built out of bits of real computer), so no HAL9000 - sorry.

Please let me know if you spot any mistakes, or have any tips about films not mentioned here that feature computers.

James Carter <james@starringthecomputer.com>


News

2022-05-14 11:12 More PCs
Patriot Games sees the debut appearance of the Data General Dasher/386 as well as an IBM PS/2. There are IBM PC XTs in Miami Connection, X-Men: Apocalypse and "The Ray Bradbury Theatre" episode The Coffin. There is a Zenith Z150 in the "Hunter" episode The Usual Suspects, and finally a Compaq Prolinea makes an appearance in The Fast and the Furious.
2022-04-24 14:38 Terminated again
We already had the iconic appearance of the Atari Portfolio in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, but here are a few more machines from the film. There are IBM PC ATs and two other machines making their Starring-the-Computer debut: the IBM System/38 and the Mindset computer.
2022-04-18 17:21 More Big Iron
Here's a bunch more big iron. We start with a machine making its Starring-the-Computer debut: the Bull Gamma 60 plays a crucial role in Alphaville. Next is a trio of machines that have made many appearances: the IBM AN/FSQ-7 in Orgazmo, the Burroughs B205 in an episode of The Green Hornet and the ICT 1301 in the "Doctor Who" story Warriors of the Deep. There's a more rare appearance for an ICL 2900 in The Playbirds. And finally a couple of machines I'd missed on the first watch through: a LEO Computers LEO II in The Man with the Golden Gun and a Honeywell 6000 in 2010: The Year We Made Contact.
2022-04-10 15:56 The Computers and Loves of a She-Devil
Here are the computers that appear in the 1986 mini-series "The Life and Loves of a She-Devil". Episode 1 has the Apple Macintosh and, making its debut appearance, the Sinclair ZX Spectrum 128. Episode 3 has a Compaq Portable and some IBM PC XTs.
2022-04-03 21:27 April Apples and Assorted Additions
Loads of Apple machines here with a few others here and there. Season 1 of The Sleepover Club has the Clamshell iBook G3 and iMac G3. The "Don't Blame the Koalas" episode Guru Mark has a Powerbook 5300, and the "Home Improvement" episode Burnin' Love has a Powerbook 180. Catch That Kid has an iBook G4 and an iMac G4, along with an IBM Thinkpad T20. There is a Macbook Air along with Macbook Pros and Unibody iMacs in The Intern. The Macbook Air also appears in Fifty Shades of Grey. The Challenger Disaster has a IIe, a Macintosh and a Macintosh Classic (with the Tandy TRS-80 Model 4 thrown in for good measure). And finally, National Treasure: Book of Secrets as a Macbook and a Sony Vaio UX.
2022-03-16 00:33 Three more PCs
A Compaq Portable II plays an important role in the "Matlock" episode The Thief: Part 1. The first episode of Pugwall has a brief shot of an Olivetti M24. And finally, the Vendex Headstart Explorer makes its Starring-the-Computer debut in Guns.
2022-03-06 17:11 Cruella
It's always good to see another appearance of Starring the Computer's mascot - the Acorn Electron. It's latest outing is a brief appearance in the 2021 film Cruella.
2022-02-20 15:53 Three more computers
Three more machines make their debut appearance on the site. The Toshiba Pasopia 16 appears in Sotto il vestito niente, The Steal offers a Compaq LTE Lite (along with an Amstrad PCW 9512 and an Apple Macintosh Quadra 700) and Stranger in the House gives us our first Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer 3 (along with the more mundane Apple Macintosh Classic).
2022-02-13 16:31 Magnetic Monster Computers
There are not very many movies from the 1950s that feature computers, and this is the first here with two! The Magnetic Monster has some stock footage of the GE Differential Analyzer and the first appearance of the National Bureau of Standards SWAC both playing the part of the MANIAC computer.
2022-02-05 22:00 Doctor Who
There have been rather a lot of computers in Doctor Who over the years and here is a selection of those appearances. The ICT 1301 appears time and again in stories including The Claws of Axos, The Mind of Evil, The Sea Devils, The Time Warrior, Terminus and The Twin Dilemma. Honeywell machines make appearances in Logopolis (the 6000) and Planet of Fire (the H200). Then there are a couple of debutantes: the LEO II in The Hand of Fear, and the Olivetti M24SP in Mindwarp (along with its sibling Olivetti M24). Silver Nemesis gives us an Acorn Archimedes and, bringing us right up to date, The Halloween Apocalypse has brief glimpses of a Commodore 64 and Sinclair ZX Spectrum+.