6.2/10
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The Manhattan Project (1986)

PG-13 | | Sci-Fi, Thriller | 13 June 1986 (USA)
A high school prodigy builds an atomic bomb with stolen plutonium to win the 45th National Science Fair and expose a nuclear weapons lab posing as nuclear medicine in Ithaca NY.

Director:

Marshall Brickman

On Disc

at Amazon

1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Lithgow ... John Mathewson
Richard Council ... Government Aide
Robert Schenkkan ... Government Aide
Paul Austin Paul Austin ... General
Adrian Sparks ... Scientist
Curt Dempster Curt Dempster ... Scientist
Bran Ferren Bran Ferren ... Lab Assistant
Christopher Collet ... Paul Stephens
Jill Eikenberry ... Elizabeth Stephens
Cynthia Nixon ... Jenny Anderman
Gregg Edelman ... Science Teacher
Abraham Unger Abraham Unger ... Roland (as Abe Unger)
Robert Sean Leonard ... Max (as Robert Leonard)
David Quinn David Quinn ... Tennis
Geoffrey Nauffts ... Craig
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Storyline

A high school prodigy builds an atomic bomb with stolen plutonium to win the 45th National Science Fair and expose a nuclear weapons lab posing as nuclear medicine in Ithaca NY.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The switch is set... The clock has started... Time's running out! See more »

Genres:

Sci-Fi | Thriller

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

13 June 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Deadly Game See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$18,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,503,000, 13 June 1986

Gross USA:

$3,900,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Gladden Entertainment See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (video)

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Paul's science class nemesis Roland invented the Internet as his science fair project. This movie was made ten years before the Internet reached widespread public notoriety. See more »

Goofs

The specific details of the construction of the bomb and all its component parts are incorrect (obviously). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Dr. John Matthewson: Now, the beta synchrotron sends the electrons through this magnet which bends the course of them down to the reaction vessel. Stay away from that elbow joint. All right. Bran, you want to get that? Now, this is a tunable excimer laser. It's tuned to the exact resonance of the plutonium-239 that's in the reaction vessel down at that end. Now, I think we're all set. Hit it.
See more »

Connections

Features Two for the Road (1967) See more »

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User Reviews

 
WarGames without the charm
7 August 2014 | by SnoopyStyleSee all my reviews

Scientist John Mathewson (John Lithgow) has improve the purity of plutonium. The military sends him to Ithaca to perfect the process. He likes his real estate agent Elizabeth Stephens (Jill Eikenberry) and tries to befriend her son Paul (Christopher Collet) by showing him around the lab. Paul is a smart inventive teenager who decides to steal some plutonium and make a nuclear bomb for his science fair project. Jenny Anderman (Cynthia Nixon) is the girl and the friend.

This has a bit of WarGames but the lead kid doesn't have the charm of Matthew Broderick. Of course who has the charm of Ferris Bueller. The lead is a teen brat stereotype without the funny sensibility. It spends too much time with montages and slow action. It also makes the mistake of concentrating a bit too much time on the adults. John Lithgow is such a great star that this mistake is understandable. As in many of these 80s caper movies, there is a lot of unreal unbelievability but one must accept such things. The movie struggles mostly with the pompous teen. He is a spoiled teen without any of the comedy. However it is fun to imagine a teen building a nuclear bomb, and defusing the bomb in the end is kinda exciting.


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