Oppenheimer (miniseries)

Oppenheimer is a television miniseries about J. Robert Oppenheimer, produced by the BBC. It was broadcast in the United Kingdom on 29 October 1980 and in the United States on 11 May 1982. The series starred Sam Waterston as Oppenheimer.

Written byPeter Prince
Directed byBarry Davis
StarringSam Waterson
Edward Hardwicke
David Suchet
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes7
Executive producer(s)Peter Goodchild
Producer(s)Ruth Caleb
Original networkBBC
Original release29 October (1980-10-29) 
10 December 1980 (1980-12-10)

Plot synopsis

The miniseries had seven episodes and depicted Oppenheimer's wartime role as head of the weapons laboratory of the Manhattan Project, during which he was under constant surveillance by the federal government because of his association with Communists. The teleplay culminates in a U.S. Atomic Energy Commission hearing in 1954, in which Oppenheimer is stripped of his security clearance.

Kenneth Nichols wrote that, contrary to the series which:[1]

portrayed me serving as a personal aide to Groves on frequent visits to Los Alamos, the only time I ever accompanied him to Los Alamos was during my March 1943 visit. Most of my meetings with Oppenheimer took place at Oak Ridge, Berkeley, New York, Chicago, or Washington, when problems arose.



The series was nominated for seven BAFTA Television Awards and won three (Best Drama Series/Serial, Best Film Editor (Tariq Anwar), and Best Original Television Music). It was nominated for two Emmy Awards, for Outstanding Limited Series and for Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or a Special (Peter Prince). It was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV (Sam Waterston).[2]


  1. The Road to Trinity: A Personal Account of How America’s Nuclear Policies Were Made by Kenneth D. Nichols (1987, Morrow, New York) ISBN 068806910X
  2. IMDB awards page
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