The Manhattan Project (1986)

PG-13  |   |  Sci-Fi, Thriller  |  13 June 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 4,015 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 18 critic

A teen and his girlfriend make an atomic bomb with plutonium stolen from a scientist dating his mother.


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Cast overview, first billed only:
John Mathewson
Robert Schenkkan ...
Government Aide
Paul Austin ...
Curt Dempster ...
Bran Ferren ...
Lab Assistant
Christopher Collet ...
Elizabeth Stephens
Jenny Anderman
Science Teacher
Abraham Unger ...
Roland (as Abe Unger)
Max (as Robert Leonard)
David Quinn ...


A teen and his girlfriend make an atomic bomb with plutonium stolen from a scientist dating his mother.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Paul Stevens' high school science project has gotten a little out of hand. He just built an atomic bomb. Now he's got 11 hours to make sure it doesn't work. See more »


Sci-Fi | Thriller


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

13 June 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deadly Game  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,900,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Lithgow was also in "The Day After", in which he has to deal with the aftermath of a nuclear bomb. See more »


Paul's mother is surprised when he gets up at 4:00 in the morning at the beginning of the movie. Later on, she tells Mathewson that Paul has been getting up this early - and earlier -regularly for years. See more »


[first lines]
Dr. John Matthewson: Now, the beta synchrotron sends the electrons through this magnet which bends the course of them down to the reaction vessel. Stay away from that elbow joint. All right. Bran, you want to get that? Now, this is a tunable excimer laser. It's tuned to the exact resonance of the plutonium-239 that's in the reaction vessel down at that end. Now, I think we're all set. Hit it.
See more »


Referenced in Sneakers (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Pretentious Preachy Unwatchable
22 May 2003 | by (Florida, USA) – See all my reviews

Terrible waste of celluloid and John Lithgow's talent. Whinny arrogant self centered punk builds bomb to prove his own genius without considering monumental stupidity of act, then arms the bomb to get himself out of the jam he's put himself in, holding 10's of thousands of lives hostage, including his "loved" ones. Eventually, the situation is happily resovled, where he shows no remorse, and smuggly grins and quips at his own cleverness till the end credits.

Christopher Collet's character is totally unlikable, see him in First Born... same annoying attitude. Also about a kid who is incestuously fixated on his mother's relationship with her boyfriend.

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