Real Genius (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

Real Genius1985

Real Genius (1985)



Critic Consensus: It follows college tropes, but Real Genius has an optimistic streak that puts you on Val Kilmer's side all the way.

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Movie Info

This teen comedy from director Martha Coolidge stars Gabe Jarret as Mitch, a 15-year-old science whiz who is recruited to join a university think tank that is unwittingly developing a weapon for the military.

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Val Kilmer
as Chris Knight
Gabriel Jarret
as Mitch Taylor
William Atherton
as Prof. Jerry Hathaway
Patti D'Arbanville
as Sherry Nugil
Louis Giambalvo
as Maj. Carnagle
Ed Lauter
as CIA Man Decker
Jon Gries
as Lazlo Hollyfeld
Mark Kamiyama
as `Ick' Ikagami
Dan Ades
as Laser Ray Victim
Joanne Baron
as Mrs. Taylor
Paul Tulley
as Mr. Taylor
Charles Shull
as Air Force General
Chip Johnson
as Darlington Recruiter
Sandy Martin
as Mrs. Meredith
Joe Dorsey
as Congressman
Lynda Wiesmeier
as Chris' Girl at Party
Marii Mak
as Girls at Party
Monte Landis
as Dr. Dodd
Catherine McNamara
as Girls at Party
Cheri Wells
as Girls at Party
Isabelle Walker
as Girls at Party
Penny Baker
as Ick's Girl at Party
Corki Grazer
as Air Force Sergeant
Marcia Karr
as Cornell's Girl at Party
Severn Darden
as Dr. Meredith
Stacy Peralta
as Shuttle Pilot
Daniel Addes
as Laser Ray Victim
Andrew M. Aybar
as Bartender
Sean Frye
as Boy at Science Fair
Joann Willette
as Girl at Science Fair
Ina Gould
as Old Lady
Martin Gundersen
as Math Professor
Brett Miller
as Carpet Man
Ed Garrabrandt
as TV Makeup Man
Isabel Cooley
as TV Stage Manager
Isabelle Cooley
as TV Stage Manager
Robin Stober
as Waitress
David Marvit
as Student in Hall
Michael Crabtree
as Air Force Gate Guard
Charles Sweigart
as Air Force Gate Guard
Peter Parros
as Air Force Gate Guard
Ron Taylor
as Computer Technician
Ronald Taylor
as Computer Technician
James Carrington
as Air Force Major
Michael Backes
as Air Force Controller
Jeanne Mori
as Laser Technician
David Ursin
as Engineer
Will Knox
as Laser Specialist
Kevin Hurley
as Air Force Technician
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Critic Reviews for Real Genius

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (6)

Coolidge has gotten onto something here, and the pity is that the story she's stuck with never gets her any deeper into it.

January 2, 2018 | Full Review…

The humor is relentlessly cruel, smug, and disconnected from any sense of how human beings might behave in similar situations.

May 30, 2007 | Full Review…

What lifts the production above the run-of-the-mill is swift direction by Martha Coolidge, who has a firm grasp over the manic material.

May 30, 2007 | Full Review…

It does make you wonder if the drive of the US education system is ultimately to develop better weapons of mass-destruction, though Coolidge's movie is too hazily good-natured to capitalise on the tougher aspects of the material.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

What the film needs, instead of these familiar teen-movie trappings, is a cleverness and eccentricity to match that of its characters. For the most part, these are qualities that it lacks.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 2.5/5

Real Genius contains many pleasures, but one of the best is its conviction that the American campus contains life as we know it.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Real Genius


This is one of those movies that I wake up one morning and just want to watch, an old faithful if you will. Val Kilmer gives one of his best performances, whether he wants to admit it or not, as Chris Knight, a once was child prodigy who has all the social graces of a man who really does know too much. Hilarious and heartfelt, if this film is not on your shelf at home I suggest it gets there soon!

Unknown Hobo
Unknown Hobo

Super Reviewer

A funny movies about nerds, I like it better than Revenge of the Nerds, except that it has Kilmer, who's not that good an actor, but overall, it's a funny movie and I enjoyed it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer


Pretty crazy. Hard to keep focused on it, but it was pretty good still.

Leigh Ryan
Leigh Ryan

Super Reviewer

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