Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

TV Movie   |  Not Rated   |    |  Biography, Drama, History


Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999) Poster

History of Apple and Microsoft.


7.3/10
22,815

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  • Anthony Michael Hall and Noah Wyle in Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
  • Noah Wyle in Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
  • Anthony Michael Hall in Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
  • Noah Wyle in Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
  • Anthony Michael Hall in Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)
  • Noah Wyle and Joey Slotnick in Pirates of Silicon Valley (1999)

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2 April 2003 | andyetris
Awkward But Fascinating
This is an engaging historical-fiction look at the development of the famous computer companies Apple and Microsoft. The performances are terrific, but the film suffers from trying to handle several main characters and cover a lot of historical events. It is also unfortunate that there are three main characters all named "Steve."

The story is told from the perspective of Steve Wozniak (Joey Slotnik), who is portrayed as a gentle head and caring foil to Noah Wyle's brilliant but cruel portrayal of Steve Jobs, Wozniak's Apple co-founder. Anthony Michael Hall obviously has a wonderful time playing the weaselly Bill Gates.

The title is a pun referencing both the buccaneering style Jobs celebrated at Apple, and the idea of unethically 'pirating' the computer developments of other engineers. The film's main point is that both Apple and Microsoft gained their key functionality, the image-based screen display of a computer system (GUI) and the 'mouse' pointing device, by 'pirating' the ideas. Apple swipes them from Xerox, then Microsoft swipes them from Apple.

This is a personality study and not a technical review, and while that may make it more accessible the film doesn't make it entirely clear why Jobs provides so much access to Gates and his crew (presumably Gates is supposedly modifying his computer language, BASIC, to work on the Apple?)

I'd have to know a lot more about Wozniak, Jobs, and Gates before judging them from this film, which is especially hard on Jobs. Wyle portrays him as a selfish and arrogant adolescent, exploiting and manipulating friends and subordinates. Altogether the film is worth watching, but bittersweet and possibly slanted.

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