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Real Genius (1985)

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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
4,315 ( 322)
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:

MEET CHRIS KNIGHT, THE EINSTEIN OF THE '80'S. He can turn the simple into the simply amazing, and now he turns revenge into high comedy. 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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Delphi III Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

All of the laser technology in Real Genius (1985) was the real thing, sponsored by Professor Martin Gundersen of the University of Southern California (USC). Gundersen's credentials included a stint with the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he attempted to develop an infrared laser which would separate uranium without conventional problems of "nuclear waste". A laser, explains Gundersen, is a mechanism in which light waves are focused through gaseous or other matter, then emitted as a narrow, intense beam. Starting with the invention of the "maser" (an early microwave version) at Columbia University in the 1950s, for which Professor Charles Townes would win the Nobel Prize, "laser technology went off in several different directions," Gundersen added. At the time this film was made, lasers were being used in medicine to weld detached retinas; in communications, coupled with fibreoptics to carry information over telephone lines; in video recordings with laser discs (later to evolve into DVDs); in energy conservation, and in other fields. Their military application, anticipated by science fiction, as has often been the case, had recently become the subject of intense study, and controversy. The lab scenes in Real Genius (1985) employ two sophisticated lasers, a blue-green argon laser and a tuneable dye laser which work in tandem. "The dye is mixed with liquid and flowed in front of the Argon laser, which in technical terms, 'excites' it," said Gundersen. The dye laser then emits a beam of light which can be turned to virtually any color by turning a knob, like fine tuning a television set. See more »

Goofs

Given that Laszlo was still mailing contest entries just before Chris' final exam, and that the Crossbow test was likely within days of that exam, it doesn't seem plausible for Laszlo to pull up to the test aftermath with all his contest prizes. There wouldn't even be time for the aforementioned batch of entries to arrive at the company and be processed before the test! In reality, it would probably be several months between the end of the contest and the arrival of any winnings. Additionally, prizes from different manufacturers would likely be shipped separately, and at different times. 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.
See more »

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 Atop the Fourth Wall: Strange Tales #110 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Falling
Performed by The Comsat Angels
Credited as The C.S. Angels
Courtesy of Jive Records
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User Reviews

 
Terrific '80's Film
1 December 2003 | by girardi_is_godSee all my reviews

I've noticed that some people who've commented on REAL GENIUS do not appear impressed. This must be either because they lack a sense of humor or simply don't know a good movie when they see one. Val Kilmer is hysterical, the script is filled with clever one-liners. William Atherton is THE ego-meniacle bad guy. And Chris Knight and Mitch Taylor have a guy named Lazlow living in their closet. Come on, this film is terrific. I could watch this film every day. It's that good.


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