42 user 20 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.


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1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Government Aide
Government Aide
Paul Austin ...
Curt Dempster ...
Bran Ferren ...
Lab Assistant
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  »


Box Office


$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,503,000, 13 June 1986, Wide Release

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


| (video)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Several technicians are seen wearing shirts reading "Cayuga" on the back. Cayuga Productions was the name of Rod Serling's company that produced The Twilight Zone (1959). Ithaca, NY, is the home of Cornell University. "Cayuga" is the name of the lake on campus. See more »


When Paul picks up the toy car with the Plutonium he is kneeling on his knees in the dirt. There was just a very heavy rain storm, yet his pants are dry around the knees when he stands up. 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 »


Features The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

oddly fascinating
8 March 2002 | by See all my reviews

I don't know why, but this movie has a strange fascination that makes me want to watch it. Not a great movie, but passable. But as far as Before They Were Stars, someone needs to realize that the highpoint of John Lithgow's career is NOT a stupid TV show about aliens. He was a big star WELL before this movie came out. He had two Oscar nominations and won an Emmy. Meanwhile, the other two known stars in this movie, John Mahoney and Cynthia Nixon were also quite well known before their TV roles, each with over 10 movies under their belts by 1986.

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