IMDb > Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)
Fat Man and Little Boy
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Fat Man and Little Boy (1989) More at IMDbPro »

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Fat Man and Little Boy -- 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
Fat Man and Little Boy -- 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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Popularity: ?
Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Writers (WGA):
Bruce Robinson (story)
Bruce Robinson (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for Fat Man and Little Boy on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 October 1989 (USA) See more »
The story of the extraordinary people who changed our world.
This film reenacts the Manhattan Project, the secret wartime project in New Mexico where the first atomic bombs were designed and built. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
2 nominations See more »
(11 articles)
The Beginning or the End
 (From Trailers from Hell. 4 January 2016, 3:43 PM, PST)

Vilmos Zsigmond, Oscar-Winning Cinematographer, Dies at 85
 (From Variety - Film News. 3 January 2016, 10:36 AM, PST)

Why 'Manhattan' should continue past tonight's stunning finale
 (From Hitfix. 15 December 2015, 7:07 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
The Best Engineering flick in decades, great history and melodrama, too See more (46 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Paul Newman ... Gen. Leslie R. Groves

Dwight Schultz ... J. Robert Oppenheimer

Bonnie Bedelia ... Kitty Oppenheimer

John Cusack ... Michael Merriman

Laura Dern ... Kathleen Robinson
Ron Frazier ... Peer de Silva

John C. McGinley ... Capt. Richard Schoenfield, MD

Natasha Richardson ... Jean Tatlock
Ron Vawter ... Jamie Latrobe
Michael Brockman ... William 'Deke' Parsons

Del Close ... Dr. Kenneth Whiteside

John Considine ... Robert Tuckson

Allan Corduner ... Franz Goethe (as Alan Corduner)

Joe D'Angerio ... Seth Neddermeyer (as Joseph D'Angerio)
Jon DeVries ... Johnny Mount (as Jon De Vries)

James Eckhouse ... Robert Harper

Todd Field ... Robert Wilson

Mary Pat Gleason ... Dora Welsh

Clark Gregg ... Douglas Panton
Péter Halász ... George Kistiakowsky
Gerald Hiken ... Leo Szilard
Arthur Holden ... Oak Ridge Doctor

Ed Lauter ... Whitney Ashbridge
Donald MacKechnie ... James Tuck

Madison Mason ... Boris Pash
Krzysztof Pieczynski ... Otto Frisch (as Christopher Pieczynski)

Don Pugsley ... Sgt. Bronston, Groves' Orderly
Logan Ramsey ... Brehon Somervell

Fred Dalton Thompson ... Maj. Gen. Melrose Hayden Barry

Jim True-Frost ... Donald Hornig

Barry Yourgrau ... Edward Teller
Marek Alboszta ... Scientist
Steven Baigelman ... Dr. Avenell

Frank Benettieri Jr. ... Messenger
Roger Cubicciotti ... Frank Oppenheimer
Franco Cutietta ... Enrico Fermi
Robert Peter Gale ... Dr. Louis Hempelman
Wesley Harrison ... Peter Oppenheimer
Brent Harrison ... Peter Oppenheimer
Tom McFarlane ... Scientist
David C. Parnes ... Raincoat Man
Allen Poirson ... Harold McDonald
David Politzer ... Robert Serber
Bill Rubenstein ... N.Y. Times Reporter
Ken Strausbaugh ... Observation Officer
Walter Sullivan ... Secretary of War Henry Stimson
Brian Wandell ... Dennis Talmudge
John Williams ... Mack Stoddard
Walker Edmiston ... (voice)
Matthew Faison ... (voice)
Stan Jones ... (voice) (as Stanley Jones)

Alan Oppenheimer ... (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

David Brainard ... Samuel Allison
William J. Bruno ... Scientist
Marla Feller ... Scientist
David Smith ... Scientist

Directed by
Roland Joffé 
Writing credits
Bruce Robinson (story)

Bruce Robinson (screenplay) and
Roland Joffé (screenplay)

Produced by
John Calley .... executive producer
Kimberly Cooper .... associate producer
Tony Garnett .... producer
Original Music by
Ennio Morricone 
Cinematography by
Vilmos Zsigmond (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Françoise Bonnot 
Casting by
Nancy Foy 
Production Design by
Gregg Fonseca 
Art Direction by
Larry Fulton  (as Larry E. Fulton)
Peter Landsdown Smith  (as Peter Lansdown Smith)
Set Decoration by
Dorree Cooper 
Costume Design by
Nic Ede  (as Nick Ede)
Makeup Department
Frank Griffin .... makeup artist (as Frank H. Griffin Jr.)
Luis Horcacitas .... hairdresser (as Luis Horcasitas)
Monty Westmore .... hair supervisor
Monty Westmore .... makeup supervisor
Production Management
David González .... unit production manager
Johanna Persons .... unit production manager: San Francisco
Tom Shaw .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Roberto Bockman .... second assistant director
Daniel Camhi .... second assistant director
Claudia Gomez .... second second assistant director
Rubén González .... second second assistant director
Chris Soldo .... first assistant director: San Francisco
Gabriela Vázquez .... second assistant director: San Francisco (as Gabriela Vazquez)
Bill Westley .... first assistant director
Art Department
Frank Clark .... construction coordinator
Jennifer Clinard .... lead painter
Charles Collum .... construction coordinator
Carol Lee Davis .... scenic artist (as Carole Lee Davis)
William MacDonald .... construction coordinator
Michael Milgrom .... property master: San Francisco
John Philpotts .... leadman: additional photography
Denise Pizzini .... assistant set decorator
John H. Samson .... construction coordinator
Tom Shaw Jr. .... property master
Peter A. Tullo .... lead person
Claude Viator .... assistant art director (as Claude J. Viator)
Doug E. Williams .... propmaker: San Francisco
Rick Young .... property master
Sound Department
Ron Bartlett .... sound editor
Greg Curda .... foley mixer
Ken Dufva .... foley artist
David Lee Fein .... foley artist
Christopher Flick .... foley editor
Donald Flick .... sound editor (as Donald S. Flick)
Judee Flick .... foley editor
Stephen Hunter Flick .... supervising sound editor (as Stephen H. Flick)
Robert J. Litt .... sound re-recording mixer
Steve Maslow .... sound re-recording mixer
Susan Mazzei .... assistant sound editor
Oscar Mitt .... assistant sound editor
Ernesto Muñoz .... boom operator
Andrew Patterson .... supervising adr editor (as Andrew G. Patterson)
Ken Pawlak .... boom operator
Steve Powell .... sound mixer: San Francisco (as Stephen Powell)
Stephen Purvis .... sound editor
William Randall .... sound mixer
Gregg Rudloff .... sound re-recording mixer (as Greg Rudloff)
Greg P. Russell .... sound mixer
Conrad Slater .... second boom operator: San Francisco
Charles Ewing Smith .... sound effects editor
Elliot Tyson .... sound re-recording mixer
David A. Whittaker .... supervising sound editor
David Williams .... sound editor
Special Effects by
Frank Benettieri Jr. .... special effects assistant (as Monty Benetierri)
Fred Cramer .... special effects supervisor
Visual Effects by
C. Marie Davis .... visual effects editor (as Marie Davis)
John Pierre Dechene .... visual effects assistant supervisor
Justin Klarenbeck .... visual effects supervisor
Jeff Matakovich .... optical supervisor
David McCullough .... visual effects producer
David A. Poole .... visual effects
Robert Scifo .... matte artist (as Bob Scifo)
Michael Arias .... motion control cameraperson (uncredited)
Michael Condro .... motion control operator (uncredited)
Michael Condro .... motion control programmer (uncredited)
Christopher Duddy .... visual effects (uncredited)
Paul Hettler .... visual effects (uncredited)
Dorne Huebler .... visual effects animation supervisor: DQI (uncredited)
James Valentine .... rotoscope supervisor (uncredited)
Hoyt Yeatman .... special effects: DQI (uncredited)
Randy Peters .... stunt driver
Warren A. Stevens .... stunt coordinator
Camera and Electrical Department
Michael Gershman .... camera operator: San Francisco
Robert Jason .... chief lighting technician (as Robert E. Jason)
Colin Manning .... dolly grip
Agustín Meza .... first assistant camera: "b" camera
Fernando Moreno .... gaffer
Eamonn O'Keeffe .... first assistant camera: "a" camera
Roberto Rivera .... camera operator: "b" camera
Mike Roberts .... camera operator: "a" camera (as Michael Roberts)
Peter Sorel .... still photographer
Casting Department
Barbara Harris .... voice casting
Cathy Sandrich .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Angela Dodson .... costumer
Stewart Meachem .... costumer
Editorial Department
Matthew Booth .... assistant film editor
Lizi Gelber .... additional editor (as Lizabeth Gelber)
Bob Noland .... color timer
Anthony Sherin .... first assistant film editor (as Tony Sherin)
Michael Tyler .... post-production assistant
Catherine Best .... assistant editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Ennio Morricone .... conductor
Ennio Morricone .... orchestrator
Dan Goldwasser .... soundtrack producer (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Thomas A. Gordon .... transportation coordinator
Randy Peters .... transportation coordinator: San Francisco
Hector Salomon .... transportation co-captain
Ricardo Gallarzo Jr. .... driver (uncredited)
Anthony Muto Jr. .... picture vehicles (uncredited)
Damon Viola .... military vehicle supplier (uncredited)
Other crew
Ronald L. Carr .... location manager
Robert Cornog .... technical advisor
Marilyn Corwin .... choreographer
Loreto de la Garza .... production assistant
Bran Ferren .... technical advisor
Paula Frankel .... script supervisor: San Francisco
Gayle Fraser-Baigelman .... assistant accountant
Ricardo Frera .... production accountant
Robert Peter Gale .... technical advisor (as Dr. Robert Peter Gale M.D.)
Anne Greenhalgh .... assistant to the director
Judy Guerrero .... production secretary
Humberto Gurza .... animal wrangler
Miguel Gurza .... animal wrangler
Carol Juk .... production office coordinator
Kurt Kaynor .... choreographer
G. Pekas Lozano .... assistant to production coordinator
Lou Phillips .... production auditor
Pat Rambaut .... script supervisor
Larry Ramin .... historical research
Jay Roberts .... assistant accountant
Anne Shaw .... coordinator: Los Angeles
Gail Stempler .... location manager: San Francisco
Warren A. Stevens .... military coordinator
Eden Ashley Umble .... unit publicist (as Eden Ashley)
Brit Babcock .... development (uncredited)
'Chema' Hernandez .... livestock coordinator (uncredited)
'Chico' Hernandez .... head wrangler (uncredited)
Alfredo Hernandez .... wrangler (uncredited)
José Dolores Herrera .... thanks: Mexico unit chief of staff
Roger Meade .... thanks: Los Alamos National Laboratory, Historic Archives
Roberto Maldonado Muñoz .... thanks: Mexico unit representative
Edward Reese .... thanks: Military Reference Branch, National Archives and Records Administration
Bill Jack Rodgers .... thanks: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Theresa Strottman .... thanks: Los Alamos Historical Museum Archives

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
127 min
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The nick-name of the experiment where a radioactive element was dropped in a critical accident was "Tickling the Dragon's Tail". In his novel "Los Alamos" (1997), Joseph Kanon, the book's author and source novelist for the later movie The Good German (2006), recounted the circumstances surrounding the first critical accident, calling it "Tickling the tail of the sleeping dragon".See more »
Audio/visual unsynchronized: 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 »
Gen. Leslie R. Groves:We could give this country the biggest stick in the playground, and I intend to do that.See more »
Movie Connections:
Dance of the Reed FlutesSee more »


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25 out of 28 people found the following review useful.
The Best Engineering flick in decades, great history and melodrama, too, 22 June 2002
Author: Matt Wall from Somewhere in Soho

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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