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Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

6.5
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 4,923 users  
Reviews: 43 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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Cast

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
Del Close ...
Dr. Kenneth Whiteside
...
Robert Tuckson
...
Franz Goethe (as Alan Corduner)
...
Seth Neddermeyer (as Joseph D'Angerio)
Jon DeVries ...
Johnny Mount (as Jon De Vries)
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

The story of the extraordinary people who changed our world.


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Schattenmacher  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$3,563,162 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Director Roland Joffé cast numerous real-life scientists, including future Nobel Prize winner David Politzer, in small speaking and background roles. See more »

Goofs

As J. Robert Oppenheimer walks with General Leslie Groves in the rain at the Trinity atomic bomb test site, he tries to convince the general to call a halt to testing the atomic bomb as "...with the wind and the rain we could send radioactive junk all the way to Amarillo!" As Oppenheimer says these words, the general begins to speak to the New York reporter to get him to write three reports based on what are believed to be the potential results of the bomb test. Immediately after the general tells the reporter "I want three reports," we see Oppenheimer continuing to shout words, apparently in protest, to the general. We never hear Oppenheimer's words, however, as they have been completely edited out. See more »

Quotes

Gen. Leslie R. Groves: Gotta come down out of the clouds gentlemen, and get into the business... of winning the war.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

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

 
The Best Engineering flick in decades, great history and melodrama, too
22 June 2002 | by (Somewhere in Soho) – See all my reviews

It's rare for a movie to both encompass the process of problem solving and a fantastically far-reaching moral quandary AND be a fairly accurate historical movie, but Fat Man and Little Boy pulls off this trick.

It's the story of the Manhattan Project -- the World War II effort to build the atom bomb, told as the conflict between the two men who made it happen, Gen. Leslie Groves and Robert Oppenheimer.

The historical figures are a great study in opposites: military vs. civilian, practical vs. idealistic, emotional vs. scientific, brute force vs. consensus-based problem solving, immediacy vs. long-term vision. A fictional character, played by John Cusack, is added as a sort of synthesis of the two historical figures, to show the humanity that oddly escapes the real people (and of course the obligatory love interest, played by Laura Dern). One looking for a straight documentary might criticize the lapses into melodrama (and occasional looseness with the facts, but that's Hollywood for ya), but the purpose of fiction is to synthesize and galvanize events into more universal truths, so I think this can be forgiven.

One of the great visuals in the movie is when Oppenheimer witnesses the first atomic explosion: it's done entirely through his reaction, and considering the awesome visuals inherent in an atomic explosion, it's a brave and entirely effective way of describing in a single moment the ambivalent effect on humans of unleashing such power (the sort of thing lost in the typical Hollywood shoot 'em up version of history.) The use of music is particularly excellent in the last third of the movie.

Fairly accessible and highly recommended as both a historical movie and drama of the highest order.


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