Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  20 October 1989 (USA)
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Reviews: 46 user | 21 critic

This film reenacts the Manhattan Project, the secret wartime project in New Mexico where the first atomic bombs were designed and built.



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2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Kathleen Robinson
Ron Frazier ...
Peer de Silva
Capt. Richard Schoenfield, MD
Ron Vawter ...
Jamie Latrobe
Michael Brockman ...
William 'Deke' Parsons
Dr. Kenneth Whiteside
Robert Tuckson
Franz Goethe (as Alan Corduner)
Seth Neddermeyer (as Joseph D'Angerio)
Jon DeVries ...
Johnny Mount (as Jon De Vries)


In real life, Robert Oppenheimer was the scientific head of the Manhattan Project, the secret wartime project in New Mexico where the first atomic bombs were designed and built. General Leslie Groves was in overall command of it. This film reenacts the project with an emphasis on their relationship. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The story of the extraordinary people who changed our world.


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

20 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Schattenmacher  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$3,563,162 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


The meaning of the films "Fat Man and Little Boy" title, as outlined by show-business trade-paper 'Variety', is that "'Fat Man' and 'Little Boy' were the [code names or] nicknames given to the [atom] bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki [in Japan in August 1945 during World War II]". See more »


At the party, Dr. Schoenfield (John C. McGinley) is wearing his Captain's bars 90 Degrees off. They should be parallel to the lower edge of the shirt collar not the edge that touches his neck, as is shown. See more »


Gen. Leslie R. Groves: It's all about ass, isn't it? Either you kick it... or you lick it.
See more »


Referenced in Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Fat Boy and Little Man (1991) See more »


Dance of the Reed Flutes
By Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (as P. Tchaikovsky)
Courtesy of TRF Production Music Libraries
By Arrangement with Kaleidosound
See more »

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User Reviews

23 October 2008 | by (California) – See all my reviews

If you know anything about the Manhattan Project, you will find "Fat Man and Little Boy" at least an interesting depiction of the events surrounding that story. The film is in all ways a very realistic portrayal of these events, and in many ways it is almost too real (such as some scenes involving radiation poisoning). Paul Newman, as usual, is brilliant in his role and always manages to come off like a real person on the screen. The supporting cast, such as John Cusack, Laura Dern, Bonnie Bedelia, and Natasha Richardson, is fairly good as well. This film is not, however, one of the best examples of turning a true story into a movie. Great films are able to take a true story and use just enough artistic license to keep its audience engaged for the entire movie. This one, however, tends to drag a bit throughout, and some scenes (such as John Cusack and Natasha Richardson's love story) could have been eliminated entirely without causing the film to lose much. Nevertheless, there are enough interesting facts and tiny humorous bits to at least keep the audience interested enough to see the entire film. It does not always entertain, but as far as great depictions go, this is very accurate, fascinating, and will leave the audience with something to think about.

*** out of ****

8 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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