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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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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)


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?


In real life, Paul Newman was a liberal and Dwight Schultz is a conservative. These political persuasions are the political opposites of the roles they played in this film as General Leslie R. Groves (See: Leslie Groves) and J. Robert Oppenheimer respectively. 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 »


Richard Schoenfield: Hey Oppenheimer! Oppenheimer! You oughta stop playing God, 'cause you're no good at it, and the position's taken!
See more »


Brown Jug Swing
(J.E. Winner)
Arranged by Garnett Brown
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User Reviews

An interesting chronicle about the historic events referred to creation the first atomic bomb
31 October 2006 | by (Santander Spain) – See all my reviews

This exciting picture is a dramatization of nuclear run and follows the development of the Manhattan project in Los Alamos from first conception of the power within the atom , the 235 uranium , with the neutrons bombing into the piles of graphite which leads to nuclear reaction that produces the atomic bomb , ¨the Trinity¨ . The movie describes the power struggles and tensions between an idealist Robert Oppenheimer (Dwight Schulz) , the project's science leader and General Leslie Groves (Paul Newman) , the project's military commander . It was a race for the bomb because of the Nazis with the scientist Heisenberg were also making a nuclear bomb . Besides, there appears famous scientists who contributed to the atomic success with the first bomb as Leo Szilard , Enrico Fermi and Edward Teller .

The film is overlong , a little bit dull and slow moving , though the semi-fictional accounts narrated are very interesting . Paul Newman as the military brain is excellent and Dwight Schulz (A team) as Oppenheimer , the head behind it , is magnificent . In real life, Newman was a liberal and Schultz is a conservative , opposites of the roles they played in this film . Furthermore , a distinguished rest cast as John Cusack , Laura Dern , Bonnie Bedelia , and Natasha Richardson , all of them are enjoyable . Director Roland Joffé cast numerous real-life scientists, including future Nobel Prize winner David Politzer, in small speaking and background roles . Exceptional and colorful cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond and sensitive musical score by the master Ennio Morricone . The motion picture was professionally directed by Roland Joffe (The mission) .

Other films as ¨Fat man (this way called by bombing in Hiroshima) and Little boy¨ (so named by Nagasaki) are the followings : ¨Day one¨ , ¨Engola Day¨ , ¨Hiroshima¨ and for TV : ¨Oppenheimer¨ with Sam Waterson and one of the best is the Canadian series titled ¨Race for the bomb¨ with Maury Chaykin as General Groves and directed by Allan Eastman . Rating : Good and worthwhile seeing.

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