6.5/10
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51 user 24 critic

Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

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3:08 | Trailer
This film reenacts the Manhattan Project, the secret wartime project in New Mexico where the first atomic bombs were designed and built.

Director:

Roland Joffé

Writers:

Bruce Robinson (story), Bruce Robinson (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Newman ... General Leslie R. Groves
Dwight Schultz ... J. Robert Oppenheimer
Bonnie Bedelia ... Kitty Oppenheimer
John Cusack ... Michael Merriman
Laura Dern ... Kathleen Robinson
Ron Frazier Ron Frazier ... Peer de Silva
John C. McGinley ... Richard Schoenfield
Natasha Richardson ... Jean Tatlock
Ron Vawter ... Jamie Latrobe
Michael Brockman 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 Jon DeVries ... Johnny Mount (as Jon De Vries)
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Storyline

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. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The story of the extraordinary people who changed our world.


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Mexico

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 October 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Fat Man and Little Boy See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,476,994, 22 October 1989

Gross USA:

$3,563,162

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,563,162
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Co-screenwriter Bruce Robinson claimed that the screenplay for the film was radically altered to exclude the story element that had interested him most about the film's subject matter. This was his controversial belief (which remains unproven) that the Jean Tatlock character, played by Natasha Richardson, had not committed suicide, as has always been reported (and as was depicted in the final film), but had, in fact, been murdered. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

Gen. Leslie R. Groves: We could give this country the biggest stick in the playground, and I intend to do that.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Parker Lewis Can't Lose: Fat Boy and Little Man (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

Dance of the Reed Flutes
By Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (as P. Tchaikovsky)
Courtesy of TRF Production Music Libraries
By Arrangement with Kaleidosound
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The Challenge Of The Problem
17 February 2008 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Fat Man And Little Boy were the code names of the two atomic bombs that were dropped in reverse order on Nagasaki and Hiroshina. How these came to be and came to be in American hands is the story of this film.

The terms by the way are the code names of two bombs fueled with plutonium and uranium. Fat Man was the plutonium bomb and that one was dropped on Nagasaki and Little Boy was the one used on Hiroshima

The film is primarily a conflict between General Leslie R. Groves of the United States Army and physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer who led the team of scientists who developed the bomb under Groves's direction. With two men from as widely divergent backgrounds as these were, conflict was inevitable.

Paul Newman who all his life has been a disarmament activist plays General Groves. To his credit Newman does not play a man whose views he would very little in common with as any kind of caricature. Groves is a military man first and foremost with an engineering background. He wanted a combat command as trained military professionals would naturally want in this greatest of wars. But because of his background in engineering Groves got to head the Manhattan Project which was what the effort was code named. So be it, Newman is determined to make his contribution to the war effort count.

Most of us first became acquainted with Dwight Schultz from the A-Team as H.M. Murdoch the pilot whose grip on reality is tenuous at best. If one was only acquainted with the A-Team, one might think that Schultz had a great future in comic roles.

Instead Dwight Schultz is one of the best actors in the English speaking world with an astonishing range of dramatic parts since leaving that television series. J. Robert Oppenheimer in life was a complex man who recognized the dangers and benefits of atomic energy. The challenge of the problem also intrigues him. Later on Oppenheimer got into a real bind because of his left-wing political views and associates which everyone knew walking into the Manhattan Project.

Some of the lesser roles that stand out are Bonnie Bedelia as Mrs. Oppenheimer, Natasha Richardson as Oppenheimer's Communist mistress whose affair with Oppenheimer got him in such a jackpot later on, and Laura Dern as a nurse at the Los Alamos site.

But the best is John Cusack who as Michael Merriman is a composite of some real life scientists who might accurately be labeled as the first casualties of the atomic age. His scenes with Laura Dern, especially with what happens to him, take on a real poignancy.

The debate over the bombs as the use put to them is still a matter of raging debate. Fat Man And Little Boy presents the facts and lets you decide what might have happened if an alternative use of them had been taken.


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