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Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

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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 overview, first billed only:
Ron Frazier ...
Peer de Silva
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)


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

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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

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,476,994, 20 October 1989, Wide Release

Gross USA:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


In one interview, director Roland Joffé compared J. Robert Oppenheimer, played by Dwight Schultz, to William Shakespeare's Hamlet character from his stage play of the same name, and General Leslie R. Groves (See Leslie Groves), portrayed by Paul Newman, to Iago from Shakeapeare's stage play "Othello". In another interview, Roffe compared the film to "the story of Faust told through the eyes of Mephistopheles". See more »


The sequence of the Trinity explosion is reflected on one of the scientists. We see 1] a reflection of an initial explosion, then we see a 2] large wind blast flapping his cheeks, then finally 3] we see the reflection of the mushroom cloud. In actuality the blast wave took about 40 seconds - much longer than the 2-3 seconds in the movie - to travel (and it does not go through leaded glass). See more »


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


Brown Jug Swing
Written by Joseph Winner (as J.E. Winner)
Arranged by Garnett Brown
See more »

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User Reviews

skin deep history lesson
16 November 2010 | by See all my reviews

The director and co-writers of 'The Killing Fields' condense the 19-month Manhattan Project into a confrontation between the freethinking scientific community and the more pragmatic military mind, represented on one hand by physicist Robert Oppenheimer and on the other by General Leslie Groves, who staked his career on not only getting the atomic bomb built but doing so before the war could end and thus make the project redundant. By necessity the film has to skim over too many fascinating moral debates; nineteen months is a lot of ground to cover, especially with so much valuable screen time wasted on romantic subplots. But even dodging some vital issues the film still presents a tense, tidy historical drama, and Paul Newman's performance as General Groves may be the best portrayal of a military man since George C. Scott ran roughshod over the krauts in 'Patton'. The title, by the way, refers to the nicknames of the A-bombs eventually used on Japan and not, presumably, to the film's two protagonists.

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