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The Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project
Actors: John Lithgow, Christopher Collet, Richard Council, Robert Schenkkan, Paul Austin
Director: Marshall Brickman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
PG-13     2002     1hr 57min

Directed and cowritten by Woody Allen collaborator Marshall Brickman, this comedy-thriller doesn't seem to know where it wants to go or what it wants to say (other than, obviously, nuclear weapons are scary things). Christ...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: John Lithgow, Christopher Collet, Richard Council, Robert Schenkkan, Paul Austin
Director: Marshall Brickman
Creators: Billy Williams, Marshall Brickman, Nina Feinberg, Jennifer Ogden, Roger Paradiso, Thomas Baum
Genres: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Mystery & Suspense
Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
Format: DVD - Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic - Closed-captioned,Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/04/2002
Original Release Date: 06/13/1986
Theatrical Release Date: 06/13/1986
Release Year: 2002
Run Time: 1hr 57min
Screens: Color,Full Screen,Widescreen,Anamorphic
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
See Also:

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Movie Reviews

Unlikely scenario, but good movie.
casualsuede | San Diego, CA USA | 08/06/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Why is it unlikely? If you are holding 99.99% pure Plutonium 239 that could make 70 kiloton Nuclear bombs at a time, would you have only one guard protecting it? The movie has a lot of merits. John Lithgow is very three dimensional, as a hot-shot scientist that is looking for love. A derivative movie would have made him an egotistical nihilist with no redeeming features. But here he plays a person who you root for, even over the main protagonist at time.The protagonist is Paul Stephens, played by David Collett. While very bright, he is not shown as a social leper or a total nerd. Cute girls are even attracted to him (portrayed by Cynthia Nixon of "Sex and the City" fame). If you have a high notion of suspension of disbelief, then you can forgive the idea of a person learning to build a working Atom bomb from reading a few books. And that two kids could easily break into a highly classified research lab. And that scientists could mistake joy dishwater soap for Plutonium for so long.However, I liked the prepubscent X-files type of conspiracy theme, especially at the Science Fair. Also, the last 20 minutes, where they have to defuse the bomb has surprising intelligence. Even though this movie is dated (1980's fashion and looks...I can't see this phase making a comeback...And I was a teen through that era!) it is more intelligent and smarter than what Hollywood makes today. While not as good as my favorite smart teen movie (Real Genius), the Manhattan Project does a good job....Rating: B-"
'too many secrets'
Miles Jacob | Laguna Beach, CA United States | 08/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Like "real genius" and "wargames", this is a smart, funny, and endearing 80s movie with an important message about the responsibility that comes with intelligence and privelege. In all three movies, we forgive the bright but naive high school kids for their actions (hacking into military computers, building a military laser, building a nucler weapon) because they are ethical human beings who try to do right. Their morality puts into sharp relief the profound immoralities of authoritarian institutions and the cowardice or fear that causes people to participate in them."
Good Balance of Suspense and Humor
Alice | Canada | 03/17/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)

"A decent plot matters - especially in a film like this where the last twenty minutes slowly drift into a string of humdrum sequences. And a decent plot is what this film is capable of - I salute the filmmaker for that. First off,we get Paul,a teen science whiz who puts on his thinking cap when his mother starts dating a man who works at a science research lab. But it ain't jealousy (though that would've made the film a bit more congenial). He wants to know the secret behind the plutonium experiments,which caught his eye the moment he stepped foot into the lab. While on a date with his girlfriend,played by the sultry Cynthia Nixon of 'Sex and the City',they discuss their plan on stealing the plutonium and immediately put their plan into action by going to the lab,despite the heavy rain outside. With a quick thinking mind that drugdes at the snap of your fingers,Paul carefully damages the monitor alarms,leading the security to believe that the havoc is caused by the lightning outside. Of course,the task is completed successfully. From then,Paul creates a bomb from the plutonium (displayed in a rather cartoonish manner,like something from an 80s TV sitcom),believing that it would turn heads at his school science fair. Soon the scientist (John Lithgow) discovers the missing plutonium,which was replaced by a bottle of glitter and shampoo,courtesy of Paul's creative streak. The scientist,appalled,starts a search party for Paul,who's now in New York attending the science fair. They eventually found him and grilled him and his girlfriend in a police station. Luckily,Paul and his girlfriend were soon rescued by their opponents at the fair (never mind the competition - the opponents are at large to win the affections of Paul's girlfriend Jenny,thereby the rescue). And from there,Paul and Jenny hide out for a few days and eventually returns home to find a legion of officers from the lab with guns pointed at them. This is where the climax of the film begins. 'The Manhattan Project' was packed with more wit than I'd thought,which prevented the film from becoming routine. Most of the scenes are displayed in a very realistic manner,though,this is not a style over substance film. Casting Christopher Collet as Paul is a great deal of fair play - he's very underrated,to say the least. But due to the suspense fading towards the end,this may be somewhat tedious for certain tastes. Having said that,this film is by all means,a fairly entertaining way to kill two hours."
Since you all like scenarios so much, I've got one 4 you...
The Mechanic | 03/28/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I love this movie. I agree with several of the points made by other reviewers. One, there is a certain amount of suspending disbelief that one must do to enjoy it. Two, and absolutely on the mark, this is a character driven movie, not plot driven. Three, this isn't a movie to be deeply analyzed. It's an 80s movie with witty/sarcastic humor and a plot that works best if you like the main characters. 'War Games' is a better all around movie, but after repeated viewings, I like watching Christopher Collet more than Matthew Broderick (Plus, I can't stand looking at Ally Sheedy, IN ANYTHING!!!). To me, this is an afterschool special-type movie (remember those???). It's weird, but I always watch this movie as if I was 16 years old (which is about how old I was when it came out). I don't even have to try, it just happens. Though 'Real Genius' is funnier and 'War Games' plot and script better, 'The Mahattan Project' has its own special charms that make it worth buying the DVD and watching every few months (depending how many times you've already seen it, that is...)"