Review – The Pirates of Silicon Valley movie

WARNING – this review and movie are only for the true computer geeks or history buffs out there – especially those who were around in this era or are nostalgic for it. Also, there is no real Biblical aspect of this review or this movie whatsoever.

Apple was started 44 years ago today on April 1, 1976 by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ron Wayne. If this sentence does not make you a little excited, then you might as well not continue to read this short review. Suffice to say, this fact was one of the most important things that happened in my working life as a long suffering computer geek and eventual computer geek technical sales person.

To the Movie…

The Pirates of Silicon Valley is my favorite movie covering this amazing era (1971–1997) of innovation and the birth of a completely new industry spawned from the energy of the 60’s hippies and the refusal of the blue-suited technology elite to change. It covers the start of two of the most important companies who both continue to shape our lives in countless ways – Apple and Microsoft. As an example of what the movie covers – the starting scene chronicles the famous Apple 1984 Super Bowl ad directed by Ridley Scott that launched the Macintosh computer and then the movie segue’s into the day that Bill Gates and Microsoft agreed to bail out Apple on stage at MacWorld on April 6, 1997.

Steve Jobs (Noah Wiley), Steve Wozniak (Joey Slotnik) and Bill Gates (Anthony Michael Hall) along with many of their friends saw the vision of the personal computer revolution where industry veterans from Hewlett Packard, Digital Equipment, IBM and others did not. The movie does a great job of laying out many of the important historical happenings in an interesting and engaging way.

The movie was produced and aired by TNT, in 1999, as a made for TV only movie. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 90% and it was very well received by critics at the time. My favorite reaction concerning the movie was from Steve Jobs himself – Reportedly Steve told Noah that he “hated” it, but did think Noah looked like him. Jobs then invited Noah to pretend to be him at on stage at the next MacWorld event, which is a pretty classic Steve Jobs move. Bill Gates was reported to have said that the movie was “reasonably accurate”, which is a pretty typical reaction from him as well.

Maybe the best part of this review is that to watch this movie on anything other than your own computer, you have to have something of the techie about you. The only place I can find the movie to exist anymore is in the Internet Archive. They offer a FREE streaming option along with an MP4 download and torrent option. You’re welcome!

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