- Awesome Music: The techno soundtrack by Simon Boswell. And of course, 90s electronic staples such as Underworld's "Cowgirl," Orbital's "Halcyon + On + On" and even a couple songs from The Prodigy!
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The two dreams by Dade and Kate.
- Ham and Cheese: Matthew Lillard has way too much fun in this movie.
- Memetic Mutation:
- "Hack the planet!"
- "Hack the Gibson," though it tends to be used more sarcastically, rather than in earnest like the movie.
- Narm Charm:
- Ooooh yeah. Hackers is one of those movies you show someone if you're trying to get them to understand the entire concept of Narm Charm. The key to enjoying it is to remember that people don't watch Top Gun to see military and aerospace details be depicted accurately.
- One might be surprised at how popular this film is among actual hackers and network security types, many stating that its what inspired them to get into their line of work to begin with.
- Retroactive Recognition:
- So Bad, It's Good: A completely clueless look at hacker subculture that still manages to be amusing. Practically defines the Everything Is Online trope and the Hollywood version of the Playful Hacker. Little known fact: cracking systems always involves flying through a 3D environment filled with floating incomprehensible algebraic equations and psychedelic backdrops. Also has merit for being the first film to portray hackers in a positive light, when everyone was convinced that hacker = evil cybercriminal.
- Strawman Has a Point: The Secret Service are supposed to be the oppressive authorities going after the teenage rebel hackers. It'd be a much better message if said hackers weren't casually breaking into other people's computers for personal amusement, causing serious problems for an agent who publicly denounces hackers and if the movie didn't start with the main character causing serious economic damage through hacking. Though the movie mostly calls out the Secret Service on their ridiculous overreaction to this by showing armed SWAT teams smashing down doors and aiming military rifles at unarmed (and in one case naked) individuals rather than just serving warrants.
- True Art Is Incomprehensible: More straightforward than most; the abstracted visual depictions of hacking are meant to be from the perspective of the hackers, as a way to illustrate the way the characters in the movie interpret what would otherwise be boring, uninterrupted lines of programming that most audiences would find dull. The blocky grid that houses the Garbage file was chosen to evoke the image of New York's city streets and buildings to suggest connections and locations as the characters relate them to hacking. Compare to TRON's visualization of the interior of a computer via The Grid.
YMMV / Hackers