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Fat Man and Little Boy (1989)

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

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Ron Frazier ...
Peer de Silva
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Jamie Latrobe
Michael Brockman ...
William 'Deke' Parsons
Del Close ...
Dr. Kenneth Whiteside
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Robert Tuckson
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Franz Goethe (as Alan Corduner)
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Seth Neddermeyer (as Joseph D'Angerio)
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

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The story of the extraordinary people who changed our world.


Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

20 October 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Die Schattenmacher  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,476,994, 20 October 1989, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$3,563,162
See more on IMDbPro »

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

In one interview, director Roland Joffé compared J. Robert Oppenheimer, played by Dwight Schultz, to William Shakespeare's Hamlet character from his stage play of the same name, and General Leslie R. Groves (See Leslie Groves), portrayed by Paul Newman, to Iago from Shakeapeare's stage play "Othello". In another interview, Roffe compared the film to "the story of Faust told through the eyes of Mephistopheles". See more »

Goofs

The experiment that Michael Merriman is performing, with the two hemispheres of beryllium surrounding a core of plutonium and held apart with a screwdriver, is what was called "tickling the dragon's tail". The movie mistakenly assigns that nickname to the "drop" experiment that Merriman did a bit earlier in the movie. See more »

Quotes

Richard Schoenfield: Hey Oppenheimer! Oppenheimer! You oughta stop playing God, 'cause you're no good at it, and the position's taken!
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Connections

Spun-off from The Beginning or the End (1947) See more »

Soundtracks

Brown Jug Swing
Written by Joseph Winner (as J.E. Winner)
Arranged by Garnett Brown
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User Reviews

 
Lazy and simplistic
26 March 2012 | by See all my reviews

Fat Man & Little Boy plays like the Cliff's Notes version of an important period in history and science. The first moment we see a carefree, laughing Oppenheimer, it is obvious that the film is going to take quite a few liberties with characterization. When Paul Newman strides onto the scene, accompanied by "Patton"-like music, all credibility is immediately destroyed. My major problem with Fat Man & Little Boy is the character of Oppenheimer. Oppenheimer was a complex character, a misfit, a neurasthenic polymath. This film only scratches the surface of his personality, and the actor who plays him is horribly miscast, although he tries his best. Towards the final days of the Project, Oppenheimer had become extremely thin and cadaverous. The constant hounding by Communist hunters digging into his personal life coupled with his moral qualms about the use of the Bomb threw him into a state of nervous exhaustion bordering on paranoia. There is no hint of the inner man in this portrayal. The community of physicists at Los Alamos was a collection of brilliant and unusual men. There were many conflicts and a lot of competition going on which are pretty much ignored. It was frustrating to see all of this potentially rich material cast aside in order to simplify the film and make it accessible. In addition to ignoring the real characters involved in the Manhattan Project and misinterpreting the ones it treats, the film introduces John Cusak as the "Everyman Physicist," a fictional character created to humanize(?)the subject and engage the "average viewer," along with the obligatory love interest. This slows the movie down to a crawl and it was walking pretty slowly to begin with. This movie takes a situation rich in drama and conflict coupled with scientific and historical interest and turns it into a boring, simplistic soap opera.


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