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Real Genius (1985)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi  |  7 August 1985 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 22,698 users  
Reviews: 124 user | 47 critic

Teenage geniuses deal with their abilities while developing a laser.



(screenplay), (story), 3 more credits »
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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mitch Taylor (as Gabe Jarret)
Lazlo Hollyfeld (as Jonathan Gries)
Sherry Nugil
Shuttle Pilot
Daniel Ades ...
Laser Ray Victim
Andres Aybar ...
Louis Giambalvo ...
Maj. Carnagle
David Decker
Charles Shull ...
Air Force General
Charles Parks ...
Boy at Science Fair


Mitch is one of the youngest students ever accepted to a university known for its programs for geniuses. He's partnered up with his roommate, science club legend Chris Knight, on a project to develop a high-powered laser. Together with their hyper-kinetic friends, they employ their intellects in the pursuit of bigger blasts, practical jokes, and a deeper understanding of what real genius is. When their final, functional laser is stolen by their teacher for a military weapon, they decide to get even. Written by Lordship <lordship@juno.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Who ELSE can turn lasers into light shows, aircraft into armchairs, and high-tech into hijinks? See more »


Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

7 August 1985 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Academia de genios  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$13,000,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The coordinates for Hathaway's house are given in the film as "34D 10M 15.21S NORTH, 119D 7M ..." Assuming the longitude is in the western hemisphere, that's somewhere in an area of farmlands east of Oxnard, California. The script gave a slightly different set of coordinates: "Thirty-four degrees, ten minutes, fifteen seconds North; one hundred eighteen degrees, nine minutes, three seconds West." The building at that location is a mortuary in Pasadena, a few blocks north of Caltech. See more »


Kent picks up popcorn off the floor and eats a piece, exclaiming, "Popcorn!" In addition to it very obviously appearing to be popcorn, people with braces (as Kent has) are not allowed to eat popcorn as it can damage the wiring. Kent, being an obvious stickler for rules, would know this. See more »


Kent: And I suppose you're in on this too. Did you make this stuff?
'Ick' Ikagami: I'm not saying.
Kent: Well who's gonna clean it up?
'Ick' Ikagami: You won't have to. It's gonna go from solid form directly to gas.
Kent: Whoa! Really? What is it?
'Ick' Ikagami: I'm not sayin', but I can tell you it's fairly rare and very unstable.
Chris Knight: Just like you.
See more »


Featured in Psych: A Nightmare on State Street (2014) See more »


Everybody Wants to Rule the World
Written by Roland Orzabal, Ian Stanley and Chris Hughes
Performed by Tears for Fears
Courtesy of Phonogram, Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

Bright examination of youth and intelligence
8 January 1999 | by (Fargo, North Dakota) – See all my reviews

It is unfortunate that Val Kilmer so quickly "graduated" from the realm of youth oriented roles, as his work in Real Genius is by far the most enjoyable to watch. Kilmer proves adept at excellent comic timing, and he is given a motherlode of razor-sharp one-liners to fire off in every scene (I speculate that writer Pat Proft enjoyed watching The Marx Brothers in his formative years). Chief drawback of this film is the hammy, sneering villain played by Atherton -- as the old saying goes, just give him a mustache to twirl. But if you happened to see the film as a young person, the above-mentioned won't get in the way of your fond memories. I sure know that every time I see that slow-motion romp through the popcorn and hear Tears for Fears' "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," ramp up on the soundtrack, my cynicism just melts away.

36 of 46 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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