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Real Genius (1985)

Teenage geniuses deal with their abilities while developing a high-powered laser for a university project. When their professor intends to turn their work into a military weapon, they decide to ruin his plans.

Director:

Martha Coolidge

Writers:

Neal Israel (screenplay), Neal Israel (story) | 3 more credits »
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Popularity
1,940 ( 2,309)

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Val Kilmer ... Chris Knight
Gabriel Jarret ... Mitch Taylor (as Gabe Jarret)
Michelle Meyrink ... Jordan Cochran
William Atherton ... Prof. Jerry Hathaway
Jon Gries ... Lazlo Hollyfeld (as Jonathan Gries)
Patti D'Arbanville ... Sherry Nugil
Stacy Peralta ... Shuttle Pilot
Daniel Ades Daniel Ades ... Laser Ray Victim
Andres Aybar Andres Aybar ... Bartender
Louis Giambalvo ... Major Carnagle
Ed Lauter ... David Decker
Charles Shull Charles Shull ... Air Force General
Beau Billingslea ... George
Charles Parks Charles Parks ... Larry
Sean Frye ... Boy at Science Fair
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Storyline

Mitch Taylor is one of the youngest students ever accepted to a university known for its programs for geniuses. He partners up with his roommate, science club legend Chris Knight, on a project to develop a high-powered laser. Together with their hyperkinetic friends, they employ their intellects in the pursuit of bigger blasts, practical jokes, and a deeper understanding of what real genius means. When they find out that their professor intends to turn their work over to the military for use as a weapon, they decide to get even. Written by Lordship <lordship@juno.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Who ELSE can turn lasers into light shows, aircraft into armchairs, and high-tech into hijinks? See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Romance | Sci-Fi

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 August 1985 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Real Genius See more »

Filming Locations:

Claremont, California, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$13,000,000
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Delphi III Productions See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

On one of the studio sound-stages, the Pacific Tech dorm was prepared in preparation for the "Smart People on Ice" sequence. To create the bobsled run and skating rink, thousands of feet of tubing, connected to a powerful refrigeration unit, were buried beneath the floor of a forty-foot corridor. The hallway was then covered with crushed ice and "watered" several times daily. Director Martha Coolidge said: "It looked great but with all that ice, we worked for two weeks in the equivalent of a meat locker. It isn't too often you find film crews, in the Fall in Hollywood, reporting to work in parkas and thermal underwear". Among the accessories for the winter carnival were "custom" ice skates made by the special effects department from implements including baking pans, auto parts and surfer sneakers. See more »

Goofs

When Kent tattles to Dr. Hathaway about Chris and Mitch being at a party with girls, Kent stands in front of a teleprompter on a television studio set, while Dr. Hathaway is taping an episode of "Everything". Assuming these are through-the-lens teleprompters for television cameras (so that the on-air performer, in this case Dr. Hathaway, can both read the text and look directly into the camera lens and talk to the TV audience), the shot of the monitor showing Hathaway looking around for his script and yelling, "Kent" would not be possible. Kent would be blocking the camera as well, and so all you'd see on that monitor would be black (i.e., Kent's body blocking the camera). Unless, of course, the monitor was showing the output of another camera, but in all likelihood, the in-studio monitor as depicted would be the program monitor, showing the "hot" camera, and Hathaway was trying to look into that very camera and read his teleprompter script. Further, in reality someone not involved in the production would generally not have been allowed on a (presumably) closed set to block a camera/teleprompter in the first place, though as a member of Hathaway's research group, Kent may have had privileged access. See more »

Quotes

Chris Knight: [while Mitch is packing to leave] If you want to leave, go ahead. But, uh... you're going to miss the fun.
Mitch: What fun?
Chris Knight: Ick invented a new virus and we're going to release it in Kent's room.
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Alternate Versions

In one pan-and-scan version, when Jordan looks through the hole the laser made through a tree, the camera stays on her while another pan-and-scan version cuts aside to Chris for his line and to catch him turning his head when she says, "Look!" See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Greatest Movie Lasers (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

The Tuff Do What?
Written by Tonio K.
Performed by Tonio K.
Courtesy of Tonio K. and Visual Music Productions
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User Reviews

 
More than just a guilty pleasure of a movie . . .
18 July 2001 | by AldanoliSee all my reviews

Siskel and Ebert once ran a special show entitled "Movies I'm Embarrassed to Admit I Liked." I suppose that if I composed such a list of guilty pleasures, this one would be one of them . . . but upon reflection, it's really a lot better than that. Fifteen year-old science prodigy Mitch (Gabe Jarret) is recruited by ambitious college professor Jerry Hathaway (William Atherton, in yet another of his patented roles as a loathsome character) to work on the professor's prize laser project, not knowing that Hathaway is really developing a government weapon. Along the way, Mitch is mentored by Chris (Val Kilmer), another prodigy a few years his senior who teaches Mitch how to loosen up.

This could have degenerated into nothing more than just another teen revenge comedy, but there's so much more: the dialogue is laced with sharp wit; there are some lovely scenes that have nothing to do with the story yet are carefully set up, almost as blackouts (e.g., Mitch goes to a lecture at which a few students have left tape recorders instead of attending; later, at another lecture there are more tape recorders than students; and, in a final scene, one large tape recorder gives the lecture to a room populated by nothing but other small recorders!); and throw-away scenes that make you want to stop and back up the story to watch again (e.g., Chris off-handedly cutting a slice off a bar of dry ice to make a slug for the coffee machine).

It's also one of the few movies to boast the presence of the memorable Michelle Meyrink -- as Jordan, the "girl-nerd" who made being smart and female (and still quite sexy) something to emulate. And there's Tears for Fears' great song, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" providing the perfect coda as the closing credits begin to roll . . . . Yes: really now, what's there to be embarrassed about?


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