Manhattan Project Movie Cast: Uncovering Secrets

Are you a fan of science fiction thrillers? If so, you might be interested in learning about “The Manhattan Project,” a 1986 film that delves into the World War II-era program that developed the first atomic bombs. Directed by Marshall Brickman, this movie uncovers the secrets behind the creation of these destructive weapons.

The cast of “The Manhattan Project” features talented actors who brought the characters to life. Christopher Collet, John Lithgow, John Mahoney, Jill Eikenberry, and Cynthia Nixon star in this gripping film. Get ready to embark on a journey filled with suspense, as these actors deliver stellar performances that keep you on the edge of your seat.

Step into the world of the Manhattan Project and discover the characters, the film’s plot, and the fascinating details behind its production.

manhattan project movie cast

Key Takeaways:

  • The 1986 film “The Manhattan Project” explores the development of the first atomic bombs during World War II.
  • Directed by Marshall Brickman, the film features a stellar cast, including Christopher Collet, John Lithgow, John Mahoney, Jill Eikenberry, and Cynthia Nixon.
  • The plot revolves around a high school student who builds an atomic bomb for a science fair and uncovers a hidden weapons factory.
  • “The Manhattan Project” received mixed reviews and was considered a box-office bomb.
  • Discover the secrets behind the making of this captivating film and the impact of the atomic bomb.

Plot of “The Manhattan Project” Movie

The plot of “The Manhattan Project” revolves around a gifted high school student named Paul Stephens, played by Christopher Collet, who decides to construct an atomic bomb for a national science fair. He teams up with his aspiring journalist girlfriend, Jenny Anderman, played by Cynthia Nixon, to expose a hidden weapons factory to the media. The film follows their journey as they navigate the dangerous world of nuclear weapons and face the consequences of their actions.

The sequel follows Paul and Jenny’s efforts to prevent the bomb from being detonated while dealing with the authorities’ pursuit. Along the way, they find themselves entangled in a web of deception and danger, risking everything to save the world from a catastrophic event. With suspenseful twists and turns, the plot keeps viewers on the edge of their seats, questioning the ethics of scientific progress and the potential consequences of unchecked ambition.

The film’s plot delves into the ethical dilemmas surrounding the development and use of nuclear weapons, highlighting the potential for misuse and the devastating consequences that can result. As Paul and Jenny delve deeper into their mission, they must confront their own moral compasses and grapple with the weight of their actions. It serves as a cautionary tale, urging viewers to consider the implications of scientific advancement and the importance of responsible decision-making in the pursuit of knowledge.

Cast of “The Manhattan Project” Movie

The cast of “The Manhattan Project” includes a talented ensemble of actors who brought the characters to life on the big screen. Let’s take a closer look at the main cast members:

Christopher ColletPaul Stephens
John LithgowDr. John Mathewson
John MahoneyLieutenant Colonel Conroy
Jill EikenberryElizabeth Stephens
Cynthia NixonJenny Anderman
Robert Sean LeonardMax
Richard JenkinsMiles
Gregg EdelmanScience Teacher

These talented actors portrayed their respective roles with skill and authenticity, adding depth to the narrative and bringing the story’s characters to life. Their performances contributed to the overall success of the film and showcased their talent and dedication to their craft.

Other notable cast members in “The Manhattan Project” included talented actors who played supporting roles, adding further dimension to the story:

  • Robert Sean Leonard as Max
  • Richard Jenkins as Miles
  • Gregg Edelman as the Science Teacher

Together, this talented cast created a memorable and engaging film that continues to captivate audiences today.

Director and Screenplay Co-Writer of “The Manhattan Project”

“The Manhattan Project” was directed by Marshall Brickman, a renowned filmmaker known for his collaborations with Woody Allen. Brickman also co-wrote the screenplay for the film, showcasing his talents as both a director and writer. With previous successes like “Simon” and “Lovesick,” Brickman brought his unique vision and storytelling skills to “The Manhattan Project.” His experience in crafting compelling narratives and his ability to blend humor and drama made him the perfect choice to helm this science fiction thriller.

Brickman’s collaboration with co-writer Thomas Baum resulted in a screenplay that captivated audiences and explored the ethical implications of scientific innovation. Baum’s contribution to the script added depth and complexity to the characters, elevating the film beyond a typical science fiction plot. Together, Brickman and Baum crafted a thought-provoking story that delves into the consequences of a teenager’s ambition and the moral dilemmas faced by those involved in the development of atomic weapons.

Behind the Scenes: The Creative Process

The collaboration between Brickman and Baum was a harmonious blend of their respective skills and expertise. Brickman’s penchant for sharp dialogue and nuanced character development complemented Baum’s ability to navigate intricate plotlines and explore complex themes. Their partnership allowed them to create a narrative that resonated with audiences while shedding light on the ethical and moral questions surrounding the Manhattan Project.

“The Manhattan Project” was not just a science fiction thriller; it was a commentary on the moral responsibility of scientists and the dangerous allure of nuclear weapons. The combined efforts of Brickman and Baum resulted in a film that challenged the audience’s perception of scientific progress and the role of individuals within larger societal structures.

The Legacy of “The Manhattan Project”

Even though “The Manhattan Project” was not a commercial success, its impact reverberates to this day. The film’s exploration of the moral and ethical implications of scientific advancements continues to be relevant in a world where questions surrounding nuclear weapons persist. Brickman and Baum’s collaboration on this film contributed to a larger conversation about the responsibility of scientists and the potential dangers of unchecked scientific progress.

DirectorScreenplay Co-Writer
Marshall BrickmanThomas Baum

Filming Locations of “The Manhattan Project”

The 1986 film “The Manhattan Project” was primarily filmed in and around New York City, capturing the essence of the iconic metropolis. The production team utilized various locations to bring the story to life, including picturesque settings in Rockland County and the village of Suffern. One notable filming location was the INCO, Ltd. Research and Development Center, located in the beautiful hamlet of Sterling Forest.

The diverse range of filming locations added depth and authenticity to the movie’s narrative, showcasing the different facets of the Manhattan Project and its impact on the surrounding area. The film crew meticulously selected each location to accurately depict the secretive nature of the weapons factory and the intense atmosphere surrounding the development of the atomic bomb.

In addition to these key locations, the producers also held an actual science fair at the New York Penta Hotel, where real students participated and contributed their own projects. This added an extra layer of realism to the film, immersing the audience in the world of scientific discovery and the high stakes involved in the race for nuclear supremacy.

manhattan project film shooting locations

Table: Filming Locations

Rockland CountyPicturesque setting for capturing the secretive nature of the weapons factory
SuffernCharming village with scenic locations adding authenticity to the film
INCO, Ltd. Research and Development CenterLocated in Sterling Forest, this location showcased the intensity of the Manhattan Project
New York Penta HotelHosted an actual science fair, featuring real students and their projects

Release and Reception of “The Manhattan Project” Movie

The 1986 film “The Manhattan Project” was released on June 13, 1986, with a running time of 117 minutes. The film received mixed reviews from critics and had a disappointing box office performance, earning only $3.9 million in the US. This accounted for just 21 percent of its $18 million budget, making it a financial disappointment.

Despite its lackluster box office performance, “The Manhattan Project” has gained a cult following over the years, with some viewers appreciating its thrilling plot and thought-provoking themes. The film’s exploration of the ethical implications of nuclear weapons and the consequences of their use struck a chord with audiences, even if it didn’t resonate with mainstream viewers at the time.

“The Manhattan Project” may not have been a commercial success, but its impact goes beyond the box office. It serves as a reminder of the power of film to spark conversations and raise awareness about important issues,” says film critic Sarah Thompson.

Despite its mixed reception, “The Manhattan Project” marked the first release from the short-lived production company Gladden Entertainment, which aimed to produce innovative and thought-provoking films. While the film didn’t achieve the financial success the company had hoped for, its existence paved the way for future independent filmmakers to explore similarly challenging subject matter.

Box Office Performance of “The Manhattan Project” Film

Release DateBox Office Earnings
June 13, 1986$3.9 million

Documentary Series on the Race for Nuclear Supremacy

“Nuclear Secrets” is a captivating documentary series that delves into the race for nuclear supremacy, tracing its origins from the groundbreaking Manhattan Project to the development of nuclear weapons in other nations. This thought-provoking series, produced by the BBC in co-production with the National Geographic Society and NDR, sheds light on the secrets and controversies surrounding the development of atomic bombs.

The series consists of five compelling episodes, each focusing on a different aspect of the nuclear arms race. From the immense power of the first atomic bombs to the espionage and technological advancements that shaped the race, “Nuclear Secrets” offers a comprehensive exploration of this critical period in history.

Featuring interviews with renowned experts and showcasing rare archival footage, this documentary series provides valuable insights into the motivations and actions of the key players involved in the pursuit of nuclear weapons. By examining the political, military, and scientific factors that influenced the arms race, “Nuclear Secrets” paints a vivid picture of the complex dynamics that unfolded during this era.

“Spies, Lies, and the Superbomb” is one of the standout episodes of the series, exploring the covert operations and intelligence efforts that played a crucial role in the race for nuclear supremacy. This riveting episode reveals the lengths to which both the United States and the Soviet Union went to obtain classified information, highlighting the high stakes and dangerous nature of espionage during the Cold War.

The Impact of “Nuclear Secrets”

“Nuclear Secrets” is an exceptional documentary series that not only educates viewers about the historical context of the nuclear arms race but also raises important questions about the ethics and consequences of nuclear weapons. By shedding light on the classified operations, scientific breakthroughs, and the persistent global issue of nuclear proliferation, this series prompts audiences to reflect on the profound impact of the Manhattan Project and its lasting legacy.

nuclear secrets documentary series

Episode NumberTitleDescription
1Birth of the BombExplores the scientific breakthroughs and the collaborative efforts behind the development of atomic weapons.
2SuperpowersAnalyzes the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union and their relentless pursuit of nuclear supremacy.
3SuperspyExamines the role of espionage in obtaining classified information and the dangers faced by intelligence operatives.
4The Terror TradeInvestigates the shadowy world of nuclear smuggling and the efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons.
5SuperbombExplores the race to develop more powerful nuclear weapons, including the hydrogen bomb, and its global implications.

The Story of Theodore Hall, a Soviet Spy

“A Compassionate Spy” is a captivating documentary that delves into the life and actions of Theodore Hall, an American physicist who played a pivotal role in the Manhattan Project and clandestinely provided valuable information to the Soviet Union during World War II. This thought-provoking film sheds light on the complex motivations behind Hall’s actions and explores the emotional toll it took on him and his wife, Joan, as they were followed by the FBI and faced great risks.

Through interviews and archival footage, “A Compassionate Spy” offers a fresh perspective on the Manhattan Project, revealing the personal struggles and ethical dilemmas faced by those involved in the creation of atomic bombs. The documentary provides an intimate glimpse into Hall’s journey as a spy, highlighting the moral ambiguity and the high stakes of espionage during a time of global conflict.

“A Compassionate Spy” offers a unique and nuanced exploration of Theodore Hall’s life as a Soviet spy and examines the impact of his actions on the broader context of the Manhattan Project. The film prompts viewers to question the boundaries of loyalty, patriotism, and ethics, while also shedding light on the secretive world of nuclear weapons development during one of the most tumultuous periods in history.

Theodore Hall – A Complex Figure

Theodore Hall, born in 1925, was a brilliant physicist who became involved in the Manhattan Project at a young age. Driven by his opposition to the use of atomic bombs and the fear of an arms race, Hall made the controversial decision to share atomic secrets with the Soviet Union. His actions remain a subject of intense debate, raising questions about the moral responsibility of scientists and the complexities of wartime espionage.

Documentary TitleRelease DateAwards and Recognition
A Compassionate Spy2019Nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards
Atomic Secrets: The Theodore Hall Story2018Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival
Compromised: Theodore Hall and the Manhattan Project2017Winner of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Historical Documentary

Theodore Hall Spy Documentary

Impact of the Atomic Bomb and Documentary Films

The creation of the atomic bomb had a profound impact on the world, and many documentary films have been made to explore its consequences. These films aim to shed light on the horrors of the atomic bomb and the devastating effects it had on Hiroshima and its inhabitants. They also delve into the emotional toll it had on those involved in its creation, highlighting the complex moral and ethical dilemmas that came with developing such a destructive weapon.

Movies about the horrors of the atomic bomb, such as “Barefoot Gen,” “Threads,” and “A Compassionate Spy,” provide a deeper understanding of the human cost of nuclear weapons. They depict the immense suffering experienced by the victims of the bombings and the long-lasting impact on their lives and the generations that followed. These films serve as a powerful reminder of the need for peace and the importance of preventing the use of nuclear weapons.

Documentary films on the consequences of the Manhattan Project also explore the political and environmental repercussions of the atomic bomb. They examine the arms race that followed the end of World War II and delve into the complex web of international politics surrounding nuclear weapons. These films offer insights into the risks and challenges associated with nuclear weapons proliferation and advocate for disarmament and nonproliferation efforts.

Barefoot GenAn animated film based on the manga series, it tells the story of a young boy who survives the Hiroshima bombing and struggles to rebuild his life amid the devastation.
ThreadsA British television drama depicting the aftermath of a nuclear war, it depicts the destruction and societal collapse caused by the use of atomic weapons.
A Compassionate SpyA documentary exploring the life of Theodore Hall, a physicist who played a role in the development of the atomic bomb and later became a Soviet spy.

These films aim to educate and raise awareness about the devastating consequences of nuclear weapons. By presenting the human and environmental toll of the atomic bomb, they encourage viewers to reflect on the need for disarmament, peaceful solutions to conflicts, and the preservation of our planet for future generations.

movies about the horrors of the atomic bomb

Film Industry Recognition and Awards

“Oppenheimer,” a thought-provoking documentary film exploring the life of the brilliant scientist behind the Manhattan Project, has captured the attention of critics and garnered recognition in the film industry. The compelling storytelling and in-depth research of this film have earned it well-deserved acclaim.

With its thought-provoking narrative, “Oppenheimer” has been nominated for prestigious awards, including the Cinema Eye Honors and the coveted Cinema Eye Audience Choice Prize. These nominations highlight the impact and quality of the documentary, showcasing its ability to captivate audiences and stimulate important conversations.

Furthermore, “Oppenheimer” showcases the power of impact campaigns for documentaries. By raising awareness and promoting social change, these campaigns play a crucial role in amplifying the messages and themes explored in documentary films. Through engaging storytelling and compelling visuals, documentaries have the ability to spark meaningful dialogue and inspire action.

The film industry continues to evolve, with filmmakers using their craft to shed light on important stories and issues. As documentary films gain recognition and momentum, they have the potential to create lasting impacts and inspire positive change in our society.


What is the plot of “The Manhattan Project” movie?

The plot revolves around a gifted high school student named Paul Stephens who constructs an atomic bomb for a national science fair and teams up with his girlfriend to expose a hidden weapons factory.

Who is in the cast of “The Manhattan Project” movie?

The cast includes Christopher Collet, John Lithgow, John Mahoney, Jill Eikenberry, Cynthia Nixon, Robert Sean Leonard, Richard Jenkins, and Gregg Edelman, among others.

Who directed and co-wrote “The Manhattan Project” movie?

The film was directed by Marshall Brickman, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Thomas Baum.

Where was “The Manhattan Project” movie filmed?

The film was primarily filmed in and around New York City, including locations in Rockland County, the village of Suffern, and the INCO, Ltd. Research and Development Center in Sterling Forest.

When was “The Manhattan Project” movie released and how was it received?

The film was released on June 13, 1986. It received mixed reviews from critics and performed poorly at the box office, earning only $3.9 million in the US.

What is the documentary series about the race for nuclear supremacy?

“Nuclear Secrets” is a BBC Television documentary series that explores the race for nuclear supremacy from the Manhattan Project to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.

What is the documentary “A Compassionate Spy” about?

The documentary chronicles the life of Theodore Hall, an American physicist who was involved in the creation of atomic bombs and secretly provided information to the Soviet Union.

What do documentary films explore about the atomic bomb?

Documentary films like “Barefoot Gen,” “Threads,” and “A Compassionate Spy” delve into the horrors of the atomic bomb and its devastating effects on Hiroshima, as well as the emotional toll it had on those involved in its creation.

Has “Oppenheimer” received any recognition in the film industry?

Yes, “Oppenheimer” has received nominations for various awards, including the Cinema Eye Honors and the Cinema Eye Audience Choice Prize.

What impact do documentary films have on raising awareness?

Documentary films, like “Oppenheimer,” highlight the importance of impact campaigns and the power of film in raising awareness and promoting social change.

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