Real Genius (1985)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Martha Coolidge directed this comedy taking place at fictional Pacific Tech, concerning incoming freshman Mitch (Gabe Jarret), a high school student whose Science Fair project made important inroads into laser beam technology. Mitch has been recruited by famed physics professor Hathaway (William Atherton), who asks Mitch to work in his laboratory. On campus, Mitch becomes roommates with the brilliant Chris Knight (Val Kilmer), legendary as the smartest freshman in the history of the college; but … More

Rating: PG (adult situations/language)
Genre: Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Neal Israel, Pat Proft, Peter Torokvei, Lawrence Konner, Mark Rosenthal
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 11, 2002
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment


as Chris Knight

as Mitch Taylor

as Prof. Jerry Hathaway

as Lazlo Hollyfeld

as Sherry Nugil

as Maj. Carnagle

as CIA Man Decker

as `Ick' Ikagami

as Laser Ray Victim

as Mrs. Taylor

as Mr. Taylor

as Air Force General

as Darlington Recruiter

as Mrs. Meredith

as Congressman

as Girl at Science Fair

as Milton

as Chris' Girl at Party

as Fenton

as Girls at Party

as Dr. Dodd

as Girls at Party

as Girls at Party

as Girls at Party

as Ick's Girl at Party

as Air Force Sergeant

as Cornell's Girl at Pa...

as Dr. Meredith

as Shuttle Pilot

as Laser Ray Victim

as Bartender

as Boy at Science Fair

as Girl at Science Fair

as Old Lady

as Math Professor

as Carpet Man

as TV Makeup Man

as TV Stage Manager

as TV Stage Manager

as Waitress

as Student in Hall

as Air Force Gate Guard

as Air Force Gate Guard

as Air Force Gate Guard

as Computer Technician

as Air Force Major

as Computer Technician

as Air Force Controller

as Laser Technician

as Engineer

as Laser Specialist

as Air Force Technician
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Real Genius

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Critic Reviews for Real Genius

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (5)

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

Full Review… | May 30, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | May 30, 2007
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

This disappointing teen comedy from director Martha Coolidge is another entry in the rash of teens-goofing-with-science films.

Full Review… | May 30, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Real Genius

Classic 80's movie!!

John Manard

Super Reviewer


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

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

Super Reviewer

Real Genius Quotes

– Submitted by Jeremy T (20 months ago)
– Submitted by Ryan A (3 years ago)
– Submitted by Ryan A (3 years ago)

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