38 user 19 critic

The Manhattan Project (1986)

PG-13 | | Sci-Fi, Thriller | 13 June 1986 (USA)
A teen and his girlfriend make an atomic bomb with plutonium stolen from a scientist dating his mother.



On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Government Aide
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


$18,000,000 (estimated)


$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?


The science projects and kids in the background of the science fair scenes were actual NYC middle school students with real science projects which were submitted to the NYC borough-wide science fair. These scenes were filmed over a three-day period at the Penta Hotel in NYC on 33rd St. See more »


During the process of making the sphere of plutonium Paul doesn't use any type of protection (filter) from airborne plutonium particles. There is a high probability of death when plutonium is inhaled. As a minimum it results in radiation sickness. 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 »

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User Reviews

Impractical, but a good story
2 September 2002 | by (Tampa, FL) – See all my reviews

I don't understand why this movie is so lowly rated. The movie has a really good plot, and I really like how there is even a little comedy combined with the movie's serious plot. First with the son's steal and building of the nuclear device. I wonder if the more comical moments had come from John Lithgow's roll in all of this. I especially like his jokes about the government works.

"They're gorillas, they can hurt you. If you try to talk it out with them, they'll lock you in a room somewhere and throw away the room."

"What did you want us to do, put up a neon sign saying 'secret weapons laboratory'?"

The Science Fair moments in the movie were also quite entertaining. Especially where they introduce themselves to the science fair kids, then when they get out with the same kids pulling them out of the room and resoling them out away from the government's agents.

The movie itself is somewhat unbelievable, but it's interesting and entertaining.

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