Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Sam Waterston starred as controversial atomic scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer in this seven-part British miniseries. Among the many American scientists committed to the top-secret "Manhattan Project" of the WWII years, Oppenheimer was like most of his colleagues eager to prove the efficiency of atomic energy as a "weapon for peace" -- and to beat the Nazis in the development of the A-Bomb. But upon witnessing the first test explosion in Los Alamos, Oppenheimer realized "I had become death," and he dedicated the rest of his life to the pursuit of peace without having to resort to nuclear armament. As a result, he became a security risk to the U.S. government, and ultimately one of the most famous and conspicuous victims of the postwar anti-communist hysteria. Originally telecast by the BBC from October 29 to December 10, 1980, Oppenheimer later aired in the United States as a component of the PBS miniseries Masterpiece Theatre.