American Experience: The Trials of J Robert Oppenheimer


Directed by David Grubin.

With Harold Agnew, Jeremy Bernstein, Robert Christy, Michael Cumpsty.

 David Straithairn as J Robert Oppenheimer

Narrated by Campbell Scott.

Having grown up in Los Alamos I am very knowledgeable of it’s history. Oppie, as we locals call him, is not only the father of the Atomic Bomb but he is the Father of Los Alamos. In other words I am extremely critical of all books, movies and especially documentaries on any of these subjects.

I wasn’t that keen on having an actor playing J Robert Oppenheimer but saw some reason for the choice of the film makers to do so. Because transcripts from the original trial were available presenting Oppies ‘points of view, feelings and testimony in play form worked.

It gives Oppies personal as well as professional history. Lots of details and photos.

This as I saw it was presented in a kind of defense of Oppenheimer. His side of the story. I was inspired when this film shed light on the ugly side of President Truman, the petty obvious dislike of Strauss for Oppie, the persuaded The Atomic Energy Commission, the egotistical mission for revenge by Edward Teller and the  witch hunt for commies conducted by our government.

The interviews conducted were with credible people whom I knew as Los Alamos residents, authors of books about Los Alamos and Oppenheimer which won my confidence in the information presented.  I have watched it more than a several time and often refer to it for tidbits of information. It gave me some new research directions. I walked away vindicated, satisfied, proud and made this mandatory for my teenage daughter who felt for J Robert Oppenheimer and had a new kind of respect for the man and the scientist.

 I give it 5 stars. Excellent

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