Fat Man and Little Boy

Fat Man and Little Boy

Infobox Film | name = Fat Man and Little Boy

image_size = 175px
caption = original movie poster
director = Roland Joffe
producer = Tony Garnett
writer = Roland Joffe
Bruce Robinson
starring =Paul Newman
Dwight Schultz
Bonnie Bedelia
John Cusack
Laura Dern
John C. McGinley
music = Ennio Morricone
cinematography = Vilmos Zsigmond
editing =
distributor = Paramount Pictures
released = October 20, 1989
runtime = 127 min
language = English
gross = $3,563,162
budget =
imdb_id =0097336

"Fat Man and Little Boy" (aka "Shadow Makers" in the UK) is a 1989 film that reenacts the Manhattan Project, the secret Allied endeavor to develop the first nuclear weapons during World War II. The film is named after the nuclear weapons known by the code names "Fat Man" and "Little Boy", and also potentially as a reference to the portly Gen. Leslie R. Groves and the seemingly much younger Robert Oppenheimer, the respective military and scientific heads of the project, who dominate the film.

The film was directed by Roland Joffe and written by Joffe and Bruce Robinson.


The film stars Paul Newman as Gen. Leslie R. Groves and Dwight Schultz as Robert Oppenheimer, as they meet and work together, both from strong backgrounds before the project began. General Groves had been a long-time soldier, now working inside the Pentagon and highly qualified to lead a top-secret weapons project. Professor Oppenheimer has been an upcoming star among the physics department at prestigious Berkeley.

Laura Dern stars as nurse Kathleen Robinson, and John Cusack as her charming new friend, the young physicist Michael Merriman. Working with few protections from radiation during an experiment, Michael drops a radioactive component and retrieves it by hand, thinking to avoid disaster, but gets radiation sickness. In the base hospital, he talks with nurse Kathleen, but the radiation was too strong, and he develops the massive swelling and deformation, before dying a miserable death. The character of Merriman is fictional, but is loosely based on the popular young scientist Louis P. Slotin.citeweb|url=http://www.atomicheritage.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=101|author=The Atomic Heritage Foundation|title=The Mystery of Michael Merriman|accessmonthday=June 1|accessyear=2008] (Contrary to Merriman's death in the movie, Slotin's accident and death occurred after the dropping of the two bombs on Japan, and his young death was feared by some as karma after the event; see their respective articles.)

While the technical problems are being solved, military investigations try to thwart foreign espionage, especially from "communist sympathizers" who might have also associated with socialist organizations. The snooping reveals that Oppenheimer has had a young mistress, Jean Tatlock (Natasha Richardson), and he is ordered by the military to stop seeing her. After he meets with her and announces it's over, but unable to reveal the secret reasons why, she is unable to cope with the sudden heartache and is later found dead.

As the project continues, in multiple sites across America, technical problems and delays cause tensions and strife. To avoid a single-point-of-failure plan, two separate bomb designs are implemented: a large, heavy uranium bomb imploded using shaped charges ("Fat Man"), and an alternate design for a thin, less heavy plutonium bomb triggered in a shotgun design ("Little Boy"). The bomb development culminates in a live detonation in Nevada at the Trinity Site, where everyone watches in awe at the spectacle of the first mushroom cloud with roaring winds, miles away.

In the end, the Fat Man and Little Boy were both successful. Finally, mankind has developed, while ruining the lives of many separate individuals, technologies that can threaten all life on Earth.


The following are the cast members and their roles:

:* Paul Newman .... Gen. Leslie R. Groves :* Dwight Schultz .... J. Robert Oppenheimer :* Bonnie Bedelia .... Kitty Oppenheimer :* John Cusack .... Michael Merriman :* Laura Dern .... Kathleen Robinson :* Ron Frazier .... Peter de Silva :* John C. McGinley .... Capt. Richard Schoenfield, MD :* Natasha Richardson .... Jean Tatlock :* Ron Vawter .... Jamie Latrobe :* 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 .... Johnny Mount (as Jon De Vries)


The highly dramatic film includes a closely aligned, romantic musical score created by long-time composer Ennio Morricone.

The film has been criticised for distortion for dramatic effect, and is also cited as an example of miscasting in its choices of Paul Newman, definitely not a portly actor, for the role of General Groves, and Dwight Schultz for the role of Oppenheimer. The film made under $4 million on its original release.

However, the IMDb readers have positively rated the film with an average rating of 6.4/10 stars in 2,343 votes.

ee also

* The miniseries about the Manhattan Project on PBS.



*imdb title|id=0097336|title=Fat Man and Little Boy

External links

*imdb title|id=0097336|title=Fat Man and Little Boy
*mojo title|id=fatmanandlittleboy|title=Fat Man and Little Boy
*rotten-tomatoes|id=fat_man_and_little_boy|title=Fat Man and Little Boy

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