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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
4,769 ( 349)
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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

It's yet another in a long series of diversions in an attempt to avoid responsibility. 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)

Opening Weekend USA:

$2,557,180, 11 August 1985

Gross USA:

$12,952,019

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$12,952,019
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

When Mitch rides the cart into the steam tunnels, the viewer briefly sees the quotation, "Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain" scrawled on the left wall. These are a translation of a quotation from the German poet Friedrich Schiller: "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens." Relevant to the film, Isaac Asimov wrote a science fiction novel, _The Gods Themselves_, originally published in three parts as "Against Stupidity...", "... The Gods Themselves ...", and "... Contend in Vain?" The 1972 novel was about a conspiracy by aliens who inhabit a parallel universe with different physical laws than ours, and who are trying to turn our Sun into a supernova in order to collect the resulting energy for their use. See more »

Goofs

During the laser test, the range controller clears the B-1 to Flight Level Six-Five-Zero, which is 65,000 feet. The service ceiling, or, highest altitude the B-1 can attain, is around 40,000 feet, and has never flown above that altitude. However, 65,000 feet was an erroneous altitude, because the outside shot of the aircraft shows that it is flying at low level, just over the mountains and the desert floor is visible. This would not have been the case at 65,000 feet. See more »

Quotes

Professor Hathaway: You are of no further use to me!
Chris Knight: [pause] Interesting way to begin a conversation...
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

Spoofed in Spaced: Change (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

All She Wants to Do Is Dance
Written by Danny Kortchmar
Performed by Don Henley
Courtesy of Geffen Records
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Fun Val Kilmer
18 September 2014 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

The CIA is developing a secret weapon called the Crossbow. Arrogant popcorn hating Dr. Hathaway (William Atherton) is making the important high energy laser for the program. He recruits high schooler Mitch Taylor (Gabriel Jarret) into his university team. Chris Knight (Val Kilmer) is the irreverent science genius. Kent (Robert Prescott) is the brown-nosing student leader. Jordan (Michelle Meyrink) is the awkward science girl. Lazlo Hollyfeld (Jon Gries) is a mysterious guy who lives in a secret room in the closet. Chris is about to graduate but Hathaway blackmails him unless he fixes his laser.

Val Kilmer is great as the irreverent genius. It's like a really smart John Belushi. I do wish that Gabriel Jarret has more charisma. Michelle Meyrink is one of the great 80s adorable geeky girls. And Robert Prescott is always good as the annoying douche. The cast led by Kilmer is just perfect and fun. This is one of the better director Martha Coolidge movie from the 80s.


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