DIRECTORGrubin, David
TITLEThe Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer
DISTRIBUTORPBS Home Video
ISBN0-7936-7037-3
DATE PUBLISHED2009
RUNNING TIME120 minutes
Web Access
Available online from American Experience Online


This educational film reenacts the dramatic Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) hearing in which the eminent physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who led the team of scientists that created the atomic bomb, was deemed a security threat. His alleged ties with communists and his opposition to the development of the hydrogen bomb caused him to lose his security clearance. Between scenes of the trial, the film flashes to depictions of Oppenheimer’s emotionally isolated childhood, his college education, his professional career, his Washington insider enemies, his communist former girlfriend Jean Tatlock, and his wife, Kitty. It also features interviews with his colleagues from Los Alamos National Laboratory and prominent Oppenheimer biographers. The film offers a multifacted study with its combination of a dramatic script based upon transcripts of the trial, personality analyses by respected scholars, and historic still photos. It is part of the television history series called the American Experience, hosted by Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).


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