Oppenheimer (2023) Movie Script

-(suspenseful music playing)
-(rain pattering)
(violent whooshing)
(disembodied rhythmic stomping)
(music intensifying)
(stomping intensifying)
-(stomping stops)
(pensive music playing)
Dr. Oppenheimer.
Dr. Oppenheimer.
As we begin, I believe you have
a statement to read
into the record.
Yes, Your Honor.
We're not judges, Doctor.
Of course.
Members of the security board,
the so-called
derogatory information
in your indictment of me
cannot be fairly understood,
except in the context
of my life and my work.
How long did he testify?
Honestly, I forget.
The whole hearing took a month.
An ordeal, hmm?
Well, I've only
read the transcripts.
(clears throat)
Who'd want to justify
their whole life?
You weren't there?
As chairman,
I wasn't allowed to be.
Are they really
going to ask about it?
-It was years ago.
-Four years ago...
still divides America.
The committee is gonna want
to know where you stood.
Senator Thurmond asked me to say
not to feel that
you're on trial.
Oh, funny, I didn't
till you just said that.
-Really, Mr. Strauss...
-It's Admiral.
Um, Admiral Strauss.
This is a formality.
President Eisenhower has asked
you to be in his cabinet.
Senate really has no choice
but to confirm you.
And if they bring up
When they bring up Oppenheimer,
you answer honestly.
No senator can deny
you did your duty.
It'll be uncomfortable.
(chuckles awkwardly)
Who'd want to justify
their whole life?
ROGER ROBB: Why did you leave
the United States?
I, uh... I wanted to study
the new physics.
Was there nowhere here?
I thought Berkeley
had the leading
theoretical physics department.
Yes. Once I built it.
But first I had to go to Europe.
I went to Cambridge to study
under Patrick Blackett.
Were you happier there
than in America?
(unsettling music playing)
No. No, I, uh...
I was homesick, um...
...emotionally immature...
...troubled by visions
of a hidden universe.
(soft blast)
Useless in the lab.
(glass shattering)
Christ, Oppenheimer.
Have you had any sleep?
Start again.
I need to go
to the lecture, sir.
It's Niels Bohr.
Damn, completely forgot.
All right. (clears throat)
Let's go.
-Oh, no, not you, Oppenheimer.
-(students laughing)
You finish coating those plates.
You see them?
(students laughing)
Don't forget to clean up!
(cabinet door closes)
BOHR: Quantum physics
is not a step forward,
it is a new way
to understand reality.
Einstein's opened the door,
now we are peering through,
seeing a world inside our world.
A world of energy and paradox
that not everyone can accept.
(unsettling music continues)
-(music fades out)
-(bell tolling)
(indistinct chatter)
Yeah, definitely.
-Are you all right?
Niels, meet
J. Robert Oppenheimer.
What's the "J" stand for?
Nothing, apparently.
You were at my lecture.
You asked
the only good question.
No one's denying his insight.
It's his laboratory work that
leaves a little to be desired.
(swallows) I heard
you give the same lecture...
At Harvard, yes, and you
asked the same question.
Why ask again?
Hadn't liked your answer.
Did you like it better
A lot.
You can lift the stone
without being ready
for the snake that's revealed.
Now it seems you're ready.
-But you don't enjoy the lab?
-(continues panting)
So get out of Cambridge
with its beakers and potions.
Go somewhere they let you think.
Get to Germany,
study under Max Born.
Learn the ways of theory.
I'll send word.
-Wormhole. (exhales)
-(apple clatters in trashcan)
How's your mathematics?
Not good enough for
the physicist he wants to be.
Algebra's like sheet music.
The important thing isn't
"Can you read music?"
It's "Can you hear it?"
Can you hear the music, Robert?
Yes, I can.
(classical music playing)
-(metallic clinking)
(music intensifying)
(intense classical music
(music tempo increasing)
(music ends)
The senator from Wyoming.
Admiral Strauss, I'm interested
in your relationship
with Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer.
You met him in 1947?
You were commissioner
of the Atomic Energy Commission?
I was, but I-I actually
met Robert in my capacity
as board member of the
Institute for Advanced Study
at Princeton because
after the war,
he was world-renowned
as the great man of physics,
and I was determined
to get him to run the Institute.
(birds chirping)
(soft music playing)
Dr. Oppenheimer. An honor.
Mr. Strauss.
It's pronounced "straws."
Oh-ppenheimer, Oppenheimer.
Whatever way you say it,
they know I'm Jewish.
(Strauss chuckles)
I'm president of Temple Emanu-El
in Manhattan.
"Straws" is just
the Southern pronunciation.
welcome to the Institute.
I think you could be
very happy here.
Yes, well,
you'll love the commute.
The position comes
with that house
for you and your wife
and your, is it two children?
Yes, two.
I'm a great admirer
of your work.
And you're a physicist
by training, Mr. Strauss?
I'm sorry, uh,
common room 4:00 tea.
No, I'm not trained in physics
or anything else.
-I'm a self-made man.
-I can relate to that.
Yes, my father was one.
And this would be your office.
I'm told he's there
most afternoons.
You know, I've always wondered
why you didn't involve him
in the Manhattan Project.
Greatest scientific mind
of our time.
Of his time.
Einstein published
his Theory of Relativity
more than 40 years ago now.
But never embraced
the quantum world it revealed.
"God doesn't play dice."
You never thought of studying
physics formally, Mr. Strauss?
Well, I had offers,
but I chose to sell shoes.
Lewis Strauss was once
a lowly shoe salesman.
No, just a shoe salesman.
-I'd love to introduce you.
-No need.
I have known him for years.
(soft music continues)
(pensive music playing)
What was that?
What did you say to him?
Oh, he's fine.
Mr. Strauss,
there are things in my past
you ought to be aware of.
Well, as chairman of the AEC,
I have access
to your security file.
I've read it.
-You're not worried?
Why would I be worried
after everything
you've done for your country?
Well, times change, Mr. Strauss.
Well, the purpose
of this institute
is to provide a haven
for independent minds.
That's you.
You are the man for the job.
Well, then I'll consider it.
I'll see you
at the AEC meeting tomorrow.
This is one
of the most prestigious
appointments in the country.
Yes, with a great commute.
That's why I'm considering it.
So, Dr. Oppenheimer brought
your attention
to his past associations
before you appointed him?
And it didn't concern you?
Just then,
I was entirely consumed
with what he must have said
to Einstein to sour him on me.
But later?
Well, we all know
what happened later.
ROBB: Doctor, your, uh...
your time in Europe,
you seemed to meet
with a wide range
of other countries' physicists.
Yes, that's right.
Any Russians?
None that spring to mind.
If you'll just allow me to
continue with my statement...
Mr. Robb, you'll have ample
opportunity to cross-examine.
ROBERT: After Gttingen,
I moved on to Leiden in Holland
where I first met Isidor Rabi.
(clears throat) Excuse me.
A Yank,
lecturing on the new physics?
This I have to hear.
I'm an American myself.
How surprising.
Let me know if you need
any help with the English.
(scattered laughter)
(speaking Dutch)
Wait, what's he saying?
(door opens)
(Rabi grunts)
No, thank you.
It's a long way to Zurich.
You get any skinnier,
we're gonna lose you
between the seat cushions.
I'm Rabi.
I caught your lecture
on molecules.
Caught some of it.
We're a couple of New York Jews.
How do you know Dutch?
Well, I thought
I'd better learn it
when I got here this semester.
You learned enough Dutch
in six weeks
to give a lecture
on quantum mechanics?
Wanted to challenge myself.
Quantum physics wasn't
challenging enough.
Dutch in six weeks,
but you never learned Yiddish?
They don't speak it so much
my side of the park.
Screw you.
You homesick?
Oh, you know it.
Ever get the feeling our kind
isn't entirely welcome here?
'S funny.
Not in the department.
They're all Jewish too.
There's a German
you have to seek out.
(Heisenberg speaking German)
One might be led
to the presumption
that behind the quantum world,
there still hides a real world
in which causality holds,
but such speculation seem to us,
to say it explicitly, fruitless.
Thank you.
Have a great day.
(indistinct chatter)
-Thank you.
Dr. Oppenheimer.
Oppenheimer, yes.
I liked your paper on molecules.
Probably because
you inspired it.
If I inspire anything else,
let me know.
We could publish together.
I have to get back to America.
Why? There's no one there
taking quantum mechanics
-That's exactly why.
He's pining for the canyons
of Manhattan.
Canyons of New Mexico.
-You're from New Mexico?
New York, but my brother
and I have a ranch
outside Santa Fe. (inhales)
That's the America
I miss right now.
Then it's best you get home,
-(Robert chuckles)
-(chuckles) That's him.
No, me and horses.
I don't think so.
-(Rabi chuckles)
-Nice to meet you.
Did you ever encounter
Heisenberg again?
Not in person, no, but, uh...
...you might say
our paths crossed.
On returning to America,
I accepted positions
at both Caltech
and up at Berkeley.
(indistinct chatter)
I got it, it's all right.
(mellow music playing)
Dr. Lawrence, I presume?
You must be Oppenheimer.
I hear you want to start
a school of quantum theory.
I am starting it. Next door.
-They put you in there?
-I asked for it.
Wanted to be close
to you experimentalists.
Theory will get you
only so far, huh?
We're building a machine
to accelerate electrons.
-Would you like to help?
Build it? Oh, no. (chuckles)
No, no.
But I am working on theories
I'd like to test with it.
When do you start teaching?
I've got my first in an hour.
One student? That's it?
I'm teaching something
no one here has dreamt of.
But once people start hearing
what you can do with it...
There's no going back.
(door opens)
-Oh. I must have missed the...
-Ah. Lo...
-Mr. Lomanitz?
Yes, this is it. Please.
Take a seat.
(clears throat)
What do you know
about quantum mechanics?
I have a grasp on the basics.
Then you're doing it wrong.
(classical music playing)
Is light made up
of particles or waves?
Quantum mechanics
says it's both.
How could it be both?
-It can't.
-It can't.
But it is. It's paradoxical,
and yet, it works.
Thank you.
Mr. Lomanitz.
You're gonna be okay.
Mr. Snyder.
Now let's consider a star.
A star. A vast furnace
burning in outer space,
fire pushing outwards
against its own gravity.
But if that furnace cools...
...and gravity starts winning,
it contracts.
Density increases.
Increasing gravity.
Increasing density.
-It's a vicious cycle until...
what's the limit here?
(chuckles) I don't know.
See where the math takes us.
I guarantee it's somewhere
no one's been before.
Yes, you.
Your math is better than mine.
(students laughing)
Dr. Oppenheimer's file
contained detail
of his activities in Berkeley.
Why would they have
started a file
on Dr. Oppenheimer
before the war?
Well, you'd have
to ask Mr. Hoover.
I'm asking you, Admiral Strauss.
Uh, my assumption is that
it was connected to his, uh,
left-wing political activities.
LAWRENCE: You shouldn't
let them bring up politics
in the classroom, Oppie.
I wrote that.
Lawrence, you embrace
the revolution in physics.
Can't you see it
everywhere else?
Picasso, Stravinsky,
Freud, Marx.
Well, this is America, Oppie.
We had our revolution.
keep it out of the lab.
Well, out of the lab,
my landlady
is having a discussion group
tonight. Interested?
I have sampled
the Berkeley political scene.
It's all just
philosophy post-grads
and Communists
talking integration.
You don't care
about integration.
I want to vote for it,
not talk about it.
'Specially on a Friday.
Come on, let's eat.
I'm meeting my brother there.
And how would these activities
have come to the attention
of the FBI?
Well, if I remember correctly,
the FBI was taking
license plates
outside suspected
Communist gatherings,
and his name popped up.
-(whispers): Jesus Christ.
-Sorry. Hi, brother.
Uh, you remember Jackie.
Let's go. Come.
MAN: Right over there,
right over there.
Robert. I want you
to meet Chevalier.
Dr. Haakon Chevalier,
Dr. Robert Oppenheimer.
This is my little brother,
-And this is...
-Still Jackie.
-Hello, Still Jackie.
Chevalier, you're in languages?
And your reputation
precedes you.
-What have you heard?
-MARY: Excuse me.
That you're teaching a radical
new approach to physics
I have no chance
of understanding,
but I hadn't heard
you're a Party member.
-Uh, I'm not.
-Oh, not yet.
Frank and I are thinking of
joining. Just the other day,
-I was saying...
-I support a range of causes.
The Spanish Civil War?
A democratic republic
being overthrown
by fascist thugs, who wouldn't?
Our government.
They think that socialism is
a bigger threat than fascism.
Not for long.
Look at what the Nazis
are doing to the Jews.
I send funds to colleagues
in Germany to emigrate.
I have to do something.
My own work is so abstract.
What are you working on?
What happens to the stars
when they die.
Do stars die?
Well, if they do,
they'd cool, then collapse.
In fact, the bigger the star,
-the more violent its demise.
The gravity gets so concentrated
it swallows everything.
Everything, even light.
Can that really happen?
The math says it can.
If we can get published,
then perhaps one day,
an astronomer finds one.
But right now,
all I have is theory,
which can't impact
people's lives.
Well, if you're going
to send money to Spain,
do it through
the Communist Party.
They can get it
to the front lines.
Mary sent me with these.
-I'm Jean.
Haakon Chevalier.
The union meeting at Serber's
last month?
Right, right, yes.
Oh, thank you.
CHEVALIER: Robert here says
he's not a Communist.
Well, then he doesn't know
enough about it.
Oh, I've read Das Kapital,
all three volumes.
Does that count?
It would make you better read
than most party members.
Turgid stuff.
There's some thinking, um,
"Ownership is theft."
"Property," not "ownership."
I'm sorry, I read it
in the original German.
(chuckles) Well.
It's not about the book.
It's about the ideas.
And you sound uncommitted.
Well, I'm committed
to thinking freely
about how to improve our world.
Why limit yourself to one dogma?
You're a physicist,
you pick and choose rules?
Or do you use the discipline
to channel your energies
into progress?
I like a little wiggle room.
Do you always
tow the party line?
I like my wiggle room too.
(Jean breathing heavily)
(exhales deeply)
-ROBERT: What?
Wait, wait, wait.
-For a physicist.
You only have a shelf
full of Freud?
Well, actually,
my background's more...
Uh, Jungian?
You know analysis?
When I was in post-grad
at Cambridge,
I had a little trouble.
-I'll bite.
-I tried to poison my tutor.
Did you hate him?
I liked him very much.
You just needed to get laid.
Took my analyst two years,
and I don't think they
ever put it that succinctly.
You have everyone convinced
you're more complicated
than you actually are.
We're all simple souls, I guess.
I'm not.
What's this?
You can read this?
I'm learning.
Read this.
Well, in this part,
Vishnu reveals
his multi-armed self...
Read the words.
"And now I am become Death.
Destroyer of worlds."
(thunder rumbling)
(wind howling)
(disquieting music playing)
(thunder rumbling)
This'll do. (clicks tongue)
It'll break before dawn.
Air cools overnight,
just before dawn, it breaks.
(clicks tongue) Come.
Ah. So, I'm getting married.
-Frank. Congratulations!
-Thank you.
-Thank you.
-To Jackie?
-Yeah, to Jackie.
-(clears throat)
The waitress.
Oppie, you're right.
It's lettin' up.
I'm gonna go see
if there's any stars.
All your talk
about the common man,
but Jackie's not good enough
for you, hmm?
We join the Party and you can't
-hide your disapproval. Why?
-Oh, now, I...
Is that because that's
supposed to be your thing?
I haven't joined
the Party, Frank.
And I don't think she should
have convinced you to either.
Half of the faculty
is Communist.
Not that half.
I'm your brother, Frank,
and I want you to be cautious.
And I want to wring your neck.
(breath shudders)
I won't live my life
afraid to make a mistake.
You're happy, I'm happy.
So then I'm happy you're happy
-that I'm happy.
(mysterious music playing)
I feel like I could see
one of those dark stars
that you're working on.
You can't.
That's the whole point.
Their gravity swallows light.
It's like a kind of
hole in space.
Is Frank okay?
Yes. He just has
a shitty brother.
It is special here.
When I was a kid,
I thought if I could find a way
to combine physics
and New Mexico,
my life would be perfect.
Little remote for that.
Let's get some sleep.
That mesa we saw today,
one of my favorite places
in the world.
And tomorrow we'll climb it.
What's it called?
Los Alamos.
I didn't expect
to see you today.
Do I have to make
an appointment?
Hey! Hey, get back here!
Oppie! Oppie!
What? What is it?
They've done it.
They've done it.
Hahn and Strassmann in Germany.
They split the uranium nucleus.
Bombard it with neutrons.
It's a nuclear fission.
They did it,
they split the atom.
It's not possible.
(stimulating music playing)
I'm gonna try to reproduce it.
See? Can't be done.
Very elegant. Quite clear.
-There's just one problem.
Next door.
Alvarez did it.
-But then look...
...these fission pulses,
they're massive.
I've seen 30 of these
in the past ten minutes.
Theory will take you
only so far.
During the process...
extra neutrons boil off,
which could be used to split
other uranium atoms.
Chain reaction.
You're thinkin'
what I'm thinkin'.
You, me, and every other
physicist around the world
who's seen the news.
I'm... what?
What are we all thinking?
A bomb, Alvarez.
A bomb.
I told you, Robert,
no more fucking flowers.
I don't understand
what you want from me.
I don't want anything from you.
Well, you say that
and then you call.
Well, don't answer.
I'll always answer.
Just no more flowers.
(breathing heavily)
You're not coming?
CHEVALIER: You have to know
when you're beaten, Robert.
It's not that simple, Hoke.
MAN: Chevalier,
good to see you. It's...
Ah, Barbara, good to see you
and the illustrious
Dr. Oppenheimer.
I'm Eltenton.
-ROBERT: Oh, pleasure.
-Please, please.
Now, might you say a word
about organized labor
on campuses, yes?
Coming through! Coming through!
-(chanting): F.A.E.C.T.!
-I work at Shell.
We've signed up chemists,
we've signed up engineers,
so why not scientists
in academia?
Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie!
-Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
-(cheers and applause)
Teachers are unionized.
Why not professors?
Don't you have somewhere to be?
academics have rights too.
Look, it's not that.
I've got a group coming.
-Well, I'll sit in.
-Not this one.
(door opens)
Richard. Dr. Bush.
What brings you two up north?
(somber music playing)
Richard, you tell Ruth
I'll be down
to Pasadena Thursday.
STUDENT 1: Your paper
on black holes is in!
-STUDENT 2: Oppie!
Where's Hartland?
Get Hartland. Get Hartland.
September 1st, 1939,
the world's gonna
remember this day.
(Robert chuckles)
Oh, Hartland.
Our paper, it's in print.
You've been upstaged.
During the Battle of Britain,
I found myself
increasingly out of sympathy
with the (clears throat)
policy of neutrality
that Communists advocated.
Right after Hitler invaded
Russia and we became allies,
these Communist sympathies,
did they return?
I need to make clear that
my changing views on Russia
did not mean a sharp break
from those who held
different views.
For a year or two,
and during a previous marriage,
my wife Kitty had been
a Communist Party member.
(Kitty laughing)
This way. This is where
I keep the good stuff.
Well, I thought
this was the Tolmans' house.
I live with them
while I'm at Caltech.
Do you two need anything?
We're good, Ruthie.
So, you're a biologist.
Well, somehow
I have graduated to housewife.
Can you explain
quantum mechanics to me?
Seems baffling.
Yes, it is.
Well, this glass,
this drink...
-(knocks countertop)
-...this countertop,
uh, our bodies...
all of it.
It's mostly empty space.
Groupings of tiny energy waves
bound together.
By what?
Forces of attraction
strong enough to convince us
that matter is solid.
Stop my body
passing through yours.
(indistinct chatter)
You're married to Dr. Harrison.
Not very.
There is someone that I feel...
Does she feel the same way?
Sometimes. Not enough.
You know,
I'm going to New Mexico.
To my ranch, with friends.
You should come.
I meant with your husband.
Yes, you did.
'Cause you know it won't make
a bit of difference.
(sentimental music playing)
Why did you marry him?
I was lost and he was kind.
Well, my previous husband
had died, and...
at 28, I wasn't really ready
to be a widow.
-Who was your first husband?
But my second husband
was Joe Dallet.
He was, um, from money,
like me, but...
he was a union organizer
in Youngstown, Ohio.
Fell hard.
(chuckles) How hard?
Hard enough to spend
the next four years
living off beans and pancakes,
handing out the Daily Worker
at factory gates.
By 36, I just told Joe
I couldn't take it anymore.
Quit the Party and a year later,
I wanted him back, so...
Him, not the Daily Worker.
And he said, "Swell, I'll meet
you on my way to Spain."
He went to fight
for the Loyalists?
And then he went to
the brigades and I waited.
Joe got himself killed
first time he popped his head
out of the trench.
Ideology got Joe killed.
For nothing.
Spanish Republic isn't nothing.
My husband offered
both our futures
to stop one fascist bullet
from embedding itself
in a mudbank.
That's the definition
of nothing.
Seems a little reductive.
Now here I am.
Wherever the hell this is.
(sentimental music continues)
I didn't want you to hear it
from anyone else.
(crying softly)
Least you didn't
bring me flowers. (sniffles)
(tender music playing)
We both know I'm not
what you want, Jean.
Yeah, but it's a door closing.
Not as far as I'm concerned, no.
You knocked her up, fast work.
-Can't keep a good man down.
I meant her.
She knew what she wanted.
What about the husband?
We talked, um,
they're getting a divorce, so...
we can get married
before she starts showing.
How civilized.
You idiot.
This is your community.
You think the rules
don't apply to the golden boy?
Brilliance makes up for a lot.
Don't alienate the only people
in the world
that understand what you do.
One day you might need them.
F.A.E.C.T. MEMBERS (chanting):
The Federation of Architects,
Engineers, Chemists
and Technicians.
(chanting stops)
what do you get paid a month?
That's not the point, Lawrence.
What do any of you
have in common
with farm laborers
and dock workers?
Everybody out. Now!
Not you.
(door closes)
What are you doing?
It's a trade union.
Filled with Communists.
So? I haven't joined the Party.
They won't let me
bring you onto the project
because of this shit.
They won't even let me
tell you what the project is.
Oh. (scoffs)
I know what the project is.
Oh, really?
We've all heard about Einstein
and Szilard's letter
to Roosevelt
warning him the Germans
could make a bomb,
and I know what it means
for the Nazis to have a bomb.
Oh, and I don't?
It's not your people
they're herding into camps.
It's mine.
You think that I tell them
about your politics.
The next time you're
coming home from a meeting,
why don't you take a look
in the rearview mirror?
Listen to the sounds
on your phone line
and stop being so goddamn naive.
Why would they care what I do?
(scoffs) Because you're
not just self-important,
you're actually important.
Okay. I get it.
If you could
just be a little more...
I'll talk to Lomanitz,
I'll talk to the others,
you don't have to worry.
It's done.
Then welcome to the war.
ROBERT: I filled out my first
security questionnaire
and was informed
that my involvement
with left-wing groups
would not prove a bar to my
working on the atomic program.
his Communist associations
not seen as a security risk
during the war?
Senator, I can't possibly answer
for security clearance granted
years before I ever met the man.
Fine. What about after?
After the war, Dr. Oppenheimer
was the most respected
scientific voice in the world.
That's why I asked him
to run the Institute,
that's why he advised
the Atomic Energy Commission.
Simple as that.
What are they accusing me of?
I think they just want
to know what happened
between 1947 and 1954
to change your mind
on Oppenheimer's
security clearance.
I didn't.
I was chair of the AEC,
but it wasn't me that brought
the charges against Robert.
-Who did?
-Some former staff member
of the Joint
Congressional Committee.
He was a rabid anti-Communist
named Borden.
He wrote to the FBI
demanding they take action.
The FBI? Why not go
to the AEC, direct?
Why get caught
holding the knife yourself?
What did Borden have
against Oppenheimer?
This was the McCarthy Era.
People hounded out of jobs
for any hint of red. And then,
reading Oppenheimer's
security file,
his Communist brother,
fiance, best friend, wife.
That's before we even
get to the Chevalier incident.
But how would Borden have access
to Oppenheimer's security file?
Because somebody gave it to him.
Somebody who wanted
Robert silenced.
-Who knows?
Robert didn't take care
not to upset
the power brokers in Washington.
His opinions on the atom
became definitive
and he wasn't always patient
with us mere mortals.
(chuckles softly)
I came in for plenty
of harsh treatment.
There was an AEC vote
on the export of isotopes
to Norway,
and they drafted in Robert
to make me look like a fool.
But, Dr. Oppenheimer,
we've already heard
from Admiral Strauss that
these isotopes could be
useful to our enemies
in the production
of atomic weapons.
ROBERT: Congressmen,
you could use a shovel
-in making atomic weapons.
In fact, you do.
You could use a bottle of beer
in making atomic weapons.
In fact, you do.
I say isotopes are less useful
than electronic components
but more useful than a sandwich.
(all laughing)
STRAUSS: Genius is
no guarantee of wisdom.
How could this man
who saw so much be so blind?
(baby crying)
Kitty, the project...
I'm in. I'm in.
Let's celebrate. (sighs)
(baby continues crying)
(Kitty moans)
Shouldn't you go to him?
(uneasy music playing)
I have been going to him
all fucking day.
(baby crying)
(knock at door)
Come here, darling.
I don't know how to say this.
I'm... I'm ashamed to ask.
Take Peter.
-No, for-for a while, Hoke.
A while.
Does Kitty know you're here?
Yes, of course she knows.
Of course she knows. (sighs)
We're awful people.
Selfish, awful people.
Forget I asked.
Selfish, awful people,
they don't know
they're selfish and awful.
Sit, sit, sit.
Robert, you see beyond
the world we live in.
There is a price
to be paid for that.
Of course we'll help you.
(wistful music playing)
Everything's changing, Robert.
Having a child was always
going to change...
No, the world, it's pivoting
in some new direction.
It's reforming.
This is your moment.
We're putting together a group
to study feasibility...
"We" shouldn't be
doing anything. You should.
Lawrence won't get this done.
Or Tolman or Rabi. You will.
(indistinct chatter)
Who are the uniforms?
I thought you might know.
-(door opens)
-MAN: Dr. Oppenheimer.
I'm Colonel Groves.
This is Lieutenant
Colonel Nichols.
Have that dry-cleaned.
(door opens, closes)
Well, if that's how you treat
Lieutenant Colonel,
I'd hate to see how you treat
a humble physicist.
Ah, if I ever meet one,
I'll let you know.
(chuckles softly) Ouch.
Theaters of combat
all over the world,
but I have to stay
in Washington.
-I built the Pentagon.
The brass likes it so much
they made me take over
the Manhattan Engineer District.
Which is?
Oh, don't be a smart ass.
You know damn well what it is.
You and half of every
physics department
across the country.
That's problem number one.
I thought problem
number one would be
securing enough uranium ore.
1,200 tons bought
the day I took charge.
Just broke ground
at Oak Ridge, Tennessee.
Now I'm looking
for a project director.
And my name came up?
Even though you brought
quantum physics to America.
Which made me curious.
What have you found out?
You're a dilettante,
a womanizer,
a suspected Communist...
I'm a New Deal Democrat.
I said "suspected."
Unstable, theatrical,
egotistical, neurotic...
Nothing good, no?
Not even
"he's brilliant, but..."
Well, brilliance is taken
for granted
in your circle, so no.
No, the only person who had
anything good to say
was Richard Tolman.
Tolman thinks
you have integrity,
but he also strikes me as a guy
who knows more about
science than people.
Yet here you are.
You don't take much on trust.
I don't take anything on trust.
Why don't you
have a Nobel Prize?
Why aren't you a general?
They're making me one for this.
Perhaps I'll have the same luck.
A Nobel Prize for making a bomb?
Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.
So how would you proceed?
You're talking
about turning theory
into a practical weapons system
faster than the Nazis.
Who have a 12-month head start.
How could you possibly
know that?
Our fast neutron research
took six months.
The man they've
undoubtedly put in charge
will have made
that leap instantly.
Who do you think
they put in charge?
Werner Heisenberg.
He has the most intuitive
of atomic structure
I have ever seen.
-You know his work?
-I know him.
Just like I know Walther Bothe,
von Weizscker, Diebner.
In a straight race,
the Germans win.
-We've got one hope.
-Which is?
Hitler called quantum physics
"Jewish science."
Said it right
to Einstein's face.
Our one hope is that Hitler
is so... so blinded by hate
that he's denied Heisenberg
proper resources,
because it'll take
vast resources.
Our nation's best scientists
working together.
Right now, they're scattered.
Which gives us
All minds have
to see the whole task
to contribute efficiently.
Poor security
may cost us the race.
Inefficiency will.
The Germans know
more than us anyway.
The Russians don't.
Remind me,
who are we at war with?
Somebody with your past
doesn't want to be seen
downplaying the importance
of security from
our Communist allies.
Point taken. But, no.
(scoffs) You don't get
to say "no" to me.
It's my job to say "no" to you
when you're wrong.
So you have the job now?
Uh, I'm considering it.
I'm starting to see
where you got your reputation.
My favorite response,
"Oppenheimer couldn't
run a hamburger stand."
I couldn't.
But I can run
the Manhattan Project.
There's a way
to balance these things.
Keep the Rad Lab here
at Berkeley under Lawrence.
Met Lab in Chicago,
under Szilard.
Large-scale refining,
where did you say? Tennessee.
-And Hanford.
-And Hanford.
All America's industrial might
and scientific innovation,
connected by rail.
Focused on one goal.
One point in space and time.
And it comes together here.
A secret laboratory.
In the middle of nowhere,
secure, self-sufficient,
equipment, housing, the works.
Keep everyone there
until it's done.
It'll need a school,
stores, a church.
If we don't let scientists
bring their families,
we'll never get the best.
You want security,
build a town, build it fast.
Welcome to Los Alamos.
Now, there's a boys school
we'll have to commandeer,
and the local Indians come
up here for burial rites.
But, apart from that, nothing.
Forty miles. Any direction.
Enough to find the perfect spot.
(gripping music playing)
Build him a town. Fast.
Let's go recruit
some scientists.
Why would I leave my family?
I told you,
you can bring your family.
I'm not a soldier, Oppie.
A soldier? He's a general.
I've got all the soldier I need.
What can I tell them?
Heisenberg, Diebner,
Bothe and Bohr.
What do these men
have in common?
The greatest minds
on atomic theory.
-Yes, and?
As much as you like,
until you feel my boot
on your balls.
You know isotopes
and you know explosives
better than anyone in the world.
But you can't tell us
what you're doing?
(Groves sighs)
-I don't know.
-The Nazis have them.
-Niels Bohr's in Copenhagen.
-Under Nazi occupation.
Did they stop printing
newspapers in Princeton?
Why would we go
to the middle of nowhere
for who knows how long?
For a year or two. Or three.
Uh, General, could you
give us a moment?
It's about unleashing
the strong force...
...before the Nazis do.
Oh, my God.
Niels won't work for the Nazis.
No, never.
But while they have him,
we don't.
That's why I need you.
Why would you think I'd do that?
"Why?" "Why?"
How about because this is the
most important fucking thing
to ever happen
in the history of the world.
How about that?
(door shuts)
They are not gonna
let me onto this project.
And failing a security check
is not gonna be good
for a career,
even after the war.
So you're a fellow traveler.
So what?
This is a national emergency.
I've got some skeletons,
they put me in charge.
They need us.
Until they don't.
Is there any chance of getting
Bohr out of Denmark?
Nah, no dice.
I checked with the British.
Until we get Allied boots
back onto the continent,
there's just no way.
Is he that important?
How many people do you know
who proved Einstein wrong?
You know, it really would
be quicker to take a plane.
No, plane's too risky.
Country needs us.
The Harvard guys,
they say the building's
too small for the cyclotron.
ROBERT: Get them together
with the architects.
When's this place
supposed to open?
Two months.
Robert, you're
the great improviser,
but this... (sighs)
you can't do in your head.
Four divisions.
Experimental, Theoretical,
Metallurgical, Ordnance.
Who's running Theoretical?
I am.
That's what I was afraid of.
You're spread too thin.
So you take Theoretical.
I'm not coming here, Robert.
Why not?
You drop a bomb and it falls
on the just and the unjust.
I don't wish the culmination
of three centuries of physics
to be a weapon
of mass destruction.
(pensive music playing)
I don't know if we can
be trusted with such a weapon.
But I know the Nazis can't.
We have no choice.
...the second thing
you'll have to do is appoint
Hans Bethe to run
the Theoretical division.
(rousing music playing)
Wait, what was the first?
Take off
that ridiculous uniform.
You're a scientist.
Groves is insisting we join.
Tell Groves to go
shit in his hat.
They need us for who we are.
So be yourself.
Only better.
(rousing music continues)
This is the only key.
And Teller's already here.
-Shall I just show him in?
No, let's wait for the others.
(door opens)
Let's get started.
Hello, Edward.
Gentlemen, so, we will work here
until the T-section
at Los Alamos is finished.
-Edward, can I please...
-It is more important.
When I calculated
the chain reaction,
I found a rather
troubling possibility.
But this can't be right.
Show me how
you did your calculations.
It's exponential.
No. No, no, no. No.
This is fantasy.
Teller's calculations
can't be right.
Do them yourself
while I go to Princeton.
-What for?
-To talk to Einstein.
Well, there's not much
common ground between you two.
That's why
I should get his view.
(birds chirping)
Ah. Dr. Oppenheimer. (chuckles)
Well, have you met Dr. Gdel?
We walk here most days.
Trees are the most
inspiring structures.
Albert, might I have a word?
Of course. 'Scuse me, Kurt.
You know, some days,
Kurt refuses to eat.
Even in Princeton.
He's convinced that the Nazis
can poison his food.
Hmm? Huh.
(suspenseful music playing)
Whose... Whose work is this?
What do you take it to mean?
Neutrons smash into nucleus,
releasing neutrons
to smash into other nuclei.
a point of no return,
massive explosive force.
But this time,
the chain reaction doesn't stop.
It would ignite the atmosphere.
When we detonate
an atomic device,
we might start
a chain reaction that...
...destroys the world.
So here we are, hmm?
Lost in your quantum world
of probabilities
and needing certainty.
Can you run
the calculations yourself?
(chuckles) About the only thing
you and I have in common
is a disdain for mathematics.
Who's working on this
in-in Berkeley?
Hans Bethe.
Well, he'll get to the truth.
And if the truth
is catastrophic?
Then you stop.
And you share your findings
with the Nazis.
So neither side
destroys the world.
This is yours, not mine.
Teller's wrong.
-He's wrong.
(keys jingling)
BETHE: When you know
Teller's critical assumptions,
the real picture emerges.
Bottom line?
The chances of an uncontrolled
nuclear reaction
are near zero.
Near zero. (breathes heavily)
-Oppie, this is good news.
Can you run them again?
No, you'll get the same answer.
Till they actually detonate
one of these things,
the best assurance
you're going to get is this.
Near zero.
(exhales sharply) Theory
will take you only so far.
-BARBARA: Hello, you.
We missed him.
You want to adopt?
-She's kidding.
-(Kitty chuckles)
We wanted to see you
before we left.
-For parts unknown.
CHEVALIER: You know who
I ran into the other day?
The chemist from Shell?
The union guy?
CHEVALIER: Yeah. He...
The, uh, F.A.E.C.T. guy.
He was moaning about
how we're handling the war.
How so?
Lack of cooperation
with our allies.
our government's not sharing
any research with the Russians.
Well, he said,
"Most scientists think
the policy is stupid."
(suspenseful music playing)
-ROBERT: Oh, yeah?
He mentioned that if anyone
had anything
they wanted to pass on,
uh, going around
official channels,
that he could help.
That would be treason.
Yes, of course.
I just thought you should know.
The brat is down.
Where are the martinis?
Coming right up.
Conversation ended there.
Nothing in our
long-standing friendship
would have led me to believe
that Chevalier was actually
seeking information,
and I am certain
that he had no idea
of the work in which
I was engaged.
It has long been clear to me
that I should have reported
this incident at once.
The Oppenheimer situation
highlights the tension
between scientists
and the security apparatus.
In hopes of learning
how the nominee handled
such issues during
his time at the AEC,
we'll have a scientist
appearing before the committee.
Who are they bringing in?
They hadn't said.
Mr. Chairman, if I may,
I'm nominated
for Commerce Secretary.
Why seek the opinion
of scientists?
This is a Cabinet post, Admiral.
We seek a wide range of opinion.
Well, I'd like to know the name
of the scientist testifying.
I'd like the chance
to cross-examine.
This is not a court.
(grunts) Formality, huh?
No presidential Cabinet nominee
has failed to be confirmed
since 1925.
This is just how
the game is played.
It's in the bag, Lewis.
So play nice.
They bring in a scientist,
so what?
You don't know scientists
like I do, Counselor.
They resent anyone
who questions their judgment,
especially if you're
not one of them.
I was chair of the AEC.
I'm easy to blame
for what happened to Robert.
We can't have
the Senate thinking
the scientific community
doesn't support you, sir.
Or should we pivot?
-SENATE AIDE: To what?
-And embrace it.
"I fought Oppenheimer,
and the US won."
I-I don't think
we need to go there.
Isn't there someone we can call
who knows what really happened?
-He'll make an impression.
Can you get the name of
the scientist they've called?
-Find out if he was
based in Chicago
or Los Alamos during the war.
Why does that matter?
Well, if he was
based in Chicago,
then he worked
under Szilard and Fermi,
not the cult of Oppie
at Los Alamos.
Robert built that damn place.
He was founder, mayor, sheriff,
all rolled into one.
(gripping music playing)
(baby crying)
All it needs is a saloon.
(mutters indistinctly)
There's no kitchen.
Really? We'll fix that.
(gripping music continues)
Barbed wire, guns.
We're at war, Hans.
Halifax. 1917.
A cargo ship carrying munitions
explodes in the harbor.
A vast and sudden
chemical reaction.
(violent whooshing)
The biggest man-made
explosion in history.
Now let's calculate
how much more destructive
it would have been
if it were a nuclear
and not a chemical reaction.
Expressing power in terms
of tons of TNT.
But it will be thousands.
Well, then kilotons.
Using U-235,
-the bomb will need a...
Sorry. Gadget will need
a 33-pound sphere
about this size.
Or using plutonium,
the ten-pound sphere.
Here's the amount of uranium
Oak Ridge refined
all of last month.
And the Hanford plant
made this much plutonium.
Now, if we can enrich
these amounts,
-we need a way to detonate them.
-(paper tearing)
Are we boring you, Edward?
A little bit, yes.
May I ask why?
We all entered this room
knowing a fission bomb
was possible.
How 'bout we leave it
with something new?
Such as?
Instead of uranium or plutonium,
we use hydrogen.
(others murmur and laugh)
-TELLER: Heavy hydrogen.
-FEYNMAN: Hydrogen.
Deuterium. You see?
We compact the atoms together
under great pressure
to induce a fusion reaction.
Then we'll get not kilotons,
but megatons.
A big fission reaction...
Okay, hang on, hang on.
So how do you generate enough
force to fuse hydrogen atoms?
A small fission bomb.
There we are.
-(scattered applause)
Well, since we're going
to need one anyway,
can we get back
to the business at hand?
The isotopes issue
wasn't your most important
policy disagreement
with Dr. Oppenheimer.
It was the hydrogen bomb,
wasn't it?
Uh, as colleagues,
we agreed to disagree
on a great many things, uh,
and, well, one of them
was the need
for an H-bomb program, yes.
-(siren wailing)
-(uneasy music playing)
Thanks for convening
on short notice.
I can't believe it.
Well, here we are.
Catch me up. What do we know?
One of our B-29s
over the North Pacific
has detected radiation.
Do we have the filter papers?
There's no doubt what this is.
White House says
there's a doubt.
Wishful thinking, I'm afraid.
Are those the long-range
detection filter papers?
It's an atomic test.
The Russians have a bomb.
We're supposed to be years
ahead of them, but some...
What were you guys
doing at Los Alamos?
Wasn't security tight?
Of course it was.
You weren't there.
-It was...
-NICHOLS: Forgive me, Doctor...
but I was there.
We can now consider
the actual mechanics
of detonation.
Any ideas?
I call this "shooting."
We fire a chunk of fissionable
material into a larger sphere
with enough force
to achieve criticality.
What do we think? Anyone?
TOLMAN: I've been
thinking about implosion.
Explosives around the sphere
blast inwards,
-crushing the material.
I'd like to investigate
that idea.
I'll talk to Ordnance,
get you blowing things up.
Nice to see you too.
Meet the British contingent.
Dr. Oppenheimer, Klaus Fuchs.
How long have you been British?
Since Hitler told me
I wasn't German.
Come, welcome to Los Alamos.
School's up and running.
Bar. Always running.
And I thought of a way
to reduce support staff.
-Is that...
-ROBERT: Mrs. Serber, yes.
I've offered jobs
to all the wives.
Admin, librarians, computation.
We cut down on staff,
keep families together.
-Are these women qualified?
-ROBERT: Don't be absurd.
These are some of the brightest
minds in our community.
And they're already
security cleared.
I've informed General Groves
you've been holding
open discussions
-on a nightly basis.
-Shut them down.
Compartmentalization is the
key to maintaining security...
It's only the top men.
Who presumably communicate
with subordinates.
These men aren't stupid.
-They can be discreet.
-I don't like it.
You don't like anything enough
for that to be a fair test.
Once a week. Top men only.
I'd like to bring
my brother here.
Uh, Nichols...
I still haven't heard
that my security clearance
-has been approved.
-It hasn't.
We're going to Chicago tomorrow.
No, you should wait.
You are aware that the Nazis
have a two-year head start.
Dr. Oppenheimer, the fact
that your security clearance
is proving difficult to obtain
is not my fault.
It's yours.
May not be your fault,
but it's your problem.
Because I'm going.
STRAUSS: And how many people
were in these, uh,
-open discussions?
-NICHOLS: Too many.
Compartmentalization was
supposed to be the protocol.
We were in a race
against the Nazis.
And now the race
is against the Soviets.
-Not unless we start it.
-STRAUSS: Robert.
They just fired a starting gun.
What's the nature
of the device they detonated?
ROBERT: The data indicates
it may have been
a plutonium implosion device.
Like the one you built
at Los Alamos.
The Russians have a bomb,
Truman needs to know
what's next.
What's next? Arms talks.
-Arms talks.
What about the Super?
Does Truman even know about it?
Did we brief him on that?
Not specifically.
We still don't know
if a hydrogen bomb's
technically feasible.
Right, my understanding
is that Teller proposed it?
-At Los Alamos?
Teller's designs have always
been wildly impractical.
You'd have to deliver
by ox cart.
-Not airplane.
I'm sorry, Dr. Lawrence,
you want to comment?
Because if it can
put us ahead again,
the President
of the United States
needs to know about it.
And if the Russians
know about it already,
from a spy at Los Alamos,
then we've gotta get going.
There's no proof there was
a spy at Los Alamos.
(dramatic music playing)
They put it under
the football stadium?
The field's not in use anymore.
Just as well.
-FERMI: Oppie.
-Dr. Fermi.
(greets in Italian)
I hear you got a little town.
Yes. Come and see.
(Szilard scoffs)
Who could think straight
in a place like that? Huh?
Everybody will go crazy.
Thank you for the vote
of confidence, Szilard.
Do we really... do we really
need that in the notes?
When are you going
to try it out?
We did.
The first self-sustaining
nuclear chain reaction.
Didn't Groves tell you?
(Robert exhales)
GUARD: One at a time, please,
one at a time.
Dr. Oppenheimer?
I tried Personnel.
They asked if I could type.
Can you?
Harvard forgot to teach that
on the graduate
chemistry course.
Condon, put Mrs. Hornig here
on the plutonium team.
(door slams)
What the hell
were you doing in Chicago?
Visiting the Met?
-Why? Why?
-Well, you can't talk to...
Because we have every right...
You have just the rights
that I give you.
No more, no less.
We are adults
trying to run a project here.
This is ridiculous.
Tell him.
is the protocol we agreed to.
Enough of this madhouse.
Nobody can work
under these conditions.
You know what, Generalissimo?
I quit.
Thanks for nothing.
Better off without him.
(door slams shut)
Aren't you more concerned
about his discretion out there?
We'll have him killed.
I was just kidding. (chuckles)
-No, he hates me, not America.
-You know, General,
not everyone has levers
to pull like mine.
I don't think I understand.
You didn't hire me
despite my left-wing past.
You hired me because of it.
So you could control me.
Well, I'm not that subtle.
I'm just a humble soldier.
You're neither humble
nor just a soldier.
You studied engineering at MIT.
Guilty as charged.
Well, now we understand
each other,
perhaps you can get me
my security clearance
so I can perform
this miracle for you.
General Groves, were you aware
of Dr. Oppenheimer's
left-wing associations
when you appointed him?
GROVES: I was aware that there
were suspicions about him.
I was aware he had
a very extreme
liberal background.
In your opinion,
would he ever consciously
commit a disloyal act?
I would be amazed if he did.
GARRISON: So you had complete
confidence in his integrity.
At Los Alamos, yes,
which is where
I really knew him.
did your security officers
on the project advise you
against the clearance
of Dr. Oppenheimer?
They could not and would not
clear him until I insisted.
And it's safe to say that you
had a pretty good knowledge
of Dr. Oppenheimer's
security file.
I did.
Well, then there's only
really one question
I need answered here today.
In light of
the current AEC guidelines,
would you clear
Dr. Oppenheimer today?
Do you have the guidelines?
Under current AEC guidelines,
would you clear
Dr. Oppenheimer today?
-(birds chirping)
-(rooster crowing)
Physics and New Mexico, huh?
My God. What a trek.
That's why you need a liaison.
I'm appointing Lomanitz.
You're gonna be okay.
This way, gentlemen.
(stirring music playing)
(speaking indistinctly)
-Dr. Lawrence.
I'd like to remind you what
we talked about in Berkeley.
I understand completely.
(indistinct chatter)
Thank you.
(cheering and applauding)
Greetings from Berkeley.
I am here to update you
on our progress
and solicit your input.
To do so,
I am going to have to share
a few things that
General Groves told me not to.
Sorry, General,
I said I understood,
not that I agreed.
Gentlemen, to business.
There were rumors of espionage
at Los Alamos.
ROBERT: Unsubstantiated.
I'm told
that there were Communists
on the project.
We didn't knowingly
employ any Communists.
I just want to know,
were any of them involved
in discussions of the Super?
I seem to remember you demanding
your brother come to Los Alamos.
My brother had left
the Party by then.
What about Lomanitz?
Lomanitz was never
employed at Los Alamos.
He was a liaison.
Our security was tight,
as former Colonel Nichols
well knows.
Our security was as tight
as it could be
given the personalities
but attempts were made.
What is that supposed to mean?
We've all read his file here.
Do we need to talk
about Jean Tatlock?
Or the Chevalier incident?
'Scuse me.
(telephone ringing)
That's Lomanitz, line one.
Hello, Rossi.
What? O-Okay, just calm down.
There's been another screw-up.
Lomanitz just got drafted.
-We are at war, Doctor.
-Don't be an asshole, Nichols.
We need this kid.
Fix it, will you?
It wasn't a mistake.
Your friend Lomanitz
has been trying
to unionize the Radiation Lab.
He promised to quit all that.
Well, he hasn't.
Security officer at Berkeley's
concerned about
Communist infiltration
through that union,
-the F.A...
While I'm there next week,
I'll drop in to see him.
Your Q clearance came through.
It's important
you not maintain or renew
any questionable associations.
ROBB: Doctor, did you think
social contacts
between a person engaged
on secret war work
and Communists was dangerous?
My awareness of the danger
would be greater today.
I mean, it's fair to say
that during the war years,
you felt that such contacts
were potentially dangerous.
(elevator dings)
Were conceivably dangerous, yes.
I mean, really,
known Communists.
Look... (sighs)
I've had a lot of secrets
-in my head for a long time.
-(knock on door)
Doesn't matter
who I associate with.
I don't talk about
those secrets.
You said in your statement
that you had to see
Jean Tatlock in 1943.
You left.
Not a word.
What did you think
that would do to me?
I wrote.
Pages of nothing.
Where did you go?
-I can't tell you.
-Why not?
Because you're a Communist.
Why did you have to see her?
Because she had indicated
a great desire
to see me before we left.
At that time, I couldn't,
but I felt that
she had to see me.
She was undergoing
psychiatric treatment.
She was extremely unhappy.
Did you find out
why she had to see you?
(grim music playing)
Because she was
still in love with me.
(heavy breathing)
Spent the night together,
didn't you?
You drop in and out of my life,
and you don't
have to tell me why.
Now that's power.
Not that I enjoy.
I'd rather be here
for you as you need.
But you have
other priorities now.
I have a wife and child.
That's not what either of us
is talking about.
You asked me to come.
And I'm glad I did.
But I can't see you again.
But what if I need you?
You said you would
always answer.
Not a word?
ROBB: Did you think that
consistent with good security?
-As a matter of fact, it was.
-(rhythmic stomping)
Not a word.
ROBB: When did you
see her after that?
(stomping intensifying)
(stomping stops)
I never saw her again.
I can make the last train
back to Princeton.
Kitty, I didn't say anything
that I hadn't already told you.
Today you said it to history,
didn't you?
This is a closed hearing.
KITTY: If they don't release
the transcript,
-I'm sure you will.
-ROBERT: I was under oath.
KITTY: Well, you were
under an oath for me
when you went to see Jean.
You know, you...
...you sit there, day after day,
letting them pick our lives
to pieces.
Why won't you fight?
GARRISON: Robert, I'm not
putting her up there.
Dr. Oppenheimer, it's an honor.
Please, take a seat.
No need, um, I just wanted
to check whether I should
talk to Lomanitz while I'm here,
given your concerns.
Well, I'd say that's really
up to you, Professor,
-but I'd be cautious.
-Uh-huh. Understood.
Oh, and, um, (clears throat)
as regards to the union,
I wanted to give you
a heads-up on a...
on a man named Eltenton.
A heads-up?
Yes, just that he might
merit watching is all.
Well, I'd love
to get more details.
Well, I...
I have an appointment now
and I leave early tomorrow.
Well, come back
as early as you like.
Since you haven't time now.
You went back the next morning.
I did, I had to, really.
This time, there was
another man.
He said his name's Pash.
Pash. You met Colonel Pash?
ROBB: Colonel Pash,
could you please read
from your memo
dated June 29, 1943?
PASH: "Results of surveillance
conducted on subject
"indicate further possible
Communist Party connections.
"Subject met with
and spent considerable time
"with one Jean Tatlock,
the record of whom is attached."
The subject being
Dr. Oppenheimer?
-PASH: Yes.
-ROBB: Whom you had not met?
Not then, but soon after.
He's the head of security
for the project.
Shouldn't I know him?
No, he should know you.
I would never put you
in a room with Pash.
-Why not?
When Pash first heard
about Lomanitz,
he told the FBI
he was gonna kidnap him,
take him out on a boat
and interrogate him
in the Russian manner.
General Groves has placed in me
a certain responsibility,
and it's like having a child
who I can't see.
-By remote control.
-(chuckles quietly)
-So to actually meet you is...
I won't take up
too much of your time.
No, no, not at all.
Whatever time you choose.
Mm. Mr. Johnson told me
of a conversation
you had yesterday
in which I'm very interested.
It's had me worried all day.
Yes, well, I didn't want
to talk to Lomanitz
without authorization.
That's not the particular
interest that I have.
It's something
a little bit more...
...well, in my opinion,
more serious.
Now, when the FBI pointed out
that such information
wouldn't be admissible in court,
Pash made it clear
he had no intention of leaving
any witness left to prosecute.
Now, the FBI talked him down,
but that's the man
you're dancing with.
I gather you've heard
there are other parties
interested in the work
of the Radiation Lab.
A man attached
to the Soviet Consul
through intermediate people,
to people on this project,
that he was in a position
to transmit information.
Oh, why would anyone
on the project want to do that?
Frankly, I can see that
there might be an argument
for the Commander-in-Chief
informing the Russians--
they're our allies after all--
but I don't like the idea of it
going out the back door.
It might not hurt
to be on the lookout for it.
And you said that to Pash?
I was trying to put it
in a context
of Russia's not Germany.
Boris Pash is the son
of a Russian Orthodox bishop.
Born here, but in 1918,
he went back to Russia
to fight the Bolsheviks.
This is a man who has killed
Communists with his own hands.
I'm not the judge of who should
or should not have information.
It's my business to stop it
from going through illegally.
Would you be
a little more specific?
(smacks lips)
There's a man whose name
was mentioned to me
a couple of times. Eltenton.
Uh, I believe he's a chemist
who works at Shell.
He talked to a friend of his
who's an acquaintance
of someone on the project.
And you thought Pash
would be satisfied with that?
I was attempting
to give them Eltenton
without opening a can of worms.
I told them
a cock-and-bull story.
Did you lie
to General Groves too?
No. I admitted to him
that I'd lied to Pash.
Do you recall this conversation
-about the Chevalier incident?
I've seen so many
versions of it. Um...
Wasn't confused before,
but I'm certainly
getting there now.
And what was your conclusion?
That he was under
the influence of
the typical American
schoolboy attitude
that there's something wicked
about telling on a friend.
Well, now.
Might we know through whom
the contact was made?
That would in... involve people
who are not to be
involved in this.
Is that someone
a member of the project?
A member of the faculty, yes,
but not in the project, no.
So Eltenton made his approach
through a member of
the faculty here at Berkeley?
As far as I know.
As far as I know, yes.
But there-there may have been
more than one person involved.
Gentlemen, if I...
if I seem uncooperative,
I think you can understand
that's because of my insistence
in not getting
innocent people into trouble.
GROVES: You're trying
to protect your friend.
Who's protecting you?
Well, you could.
If you gave me the name.
If you order me to, I'll do it.
That's a mistake, Robert.
You need to volunteer this name.
And did he give you the name?
He did.
-ROBB: But not then, did he?
No. In fact, it was some
months later, wasn't it?
It was.
You see me as persistent.
Well, you are...
you are persistent,
but that is your job.
And-and my job is to protect
the people that work for me.
PASH: Instead of us going
on certain steps,
which may come
to your attention...
...and be disturbing to you,
I would like to discuss
those with you first.
I'm not formulating a plan.
I'll just have to digest
the whole thing.
ROBB: In the months
in between your interview
with Dr. Oppenheimer and his
eventual naming of Chevalier,
did you expend resources
trying to find the name
of the intermediary?
Considerable resources, yes.
Without the name, our job
was extremely difficult.
And when did you
receive the name?
I was gone by the time
-Oppenheimer finally
offered it up. -Gone?
They felt my time would be
better spent in Europe
determining the status
of the Nazi bomb project.
Who did?
General Groves.
He transferred me to London.
SERBER: It's a little early
for a Christmas party.
Something's up.
Tolman's been away.
Ruth won't tell.
(lively chatter and laughter)
(playing upbeat music)
Come on, Ruthie.
Can't tell me, who can you tell?
Compartmentalization, Oppie.
What makes you think
I know where he is anyway?
'Cause you do a pretty good job
of knowing where Mr. Tolman is
when it counts.
Like now?
(chatter and music subside)
Early Christmas present
for you all.
(crowd cheering)
BOHR: The British pilots
put me in the bomb bay.
Showed me the-the oxygen,
you know,
-but I messed it up.
-(crowd laughs)
Uh, when they opened me up
in Scotland, I was unconscious.
But I pretended
I'd been napping.
(crowd laughing)
Please enjoy your party.
(light applause)
Is it big enough?
To end the war?
To end all war.
(intriguing music playing)
Uh, Heisenberg sought me out
in Copenhagen.
It was chilling,
my old student
working for the Nazis.
He told me some things
to draw me out.
Sustained fission reactions
in uranium.
That sounds more like
a reactor than a bomb.
Did he mention
gaseous diffusion?
He seemed more focused
on heavy water.
As a moderator?
Yes, instead of graphite.
-(Teller snorts)
He took a wrong turn.
We're ahead. And with you here
to help us, Niels.
Sorry, could you...
could you give us a moment,
I am not here to help, Robert.
I knew you could
do this without me.
Then why did you come?
To talk about after.
The power you're about to reveal
will forever outlive the Nazis.
And the world is not prepared.
"You could lift the stone
without being ready
for the snake that's revealed."
We have to make
the politicians understand,
this isn't a new weapon.
It's a new world.
I'll be out there
doing what I can, but you...
you're an American Prometheus.
The man who gave them the power
to destroy themselves,
and they'll respect that.
And your work really begins.
I'm sorry, Oppie,
but there's a call.
From San Francisco.
(somber music playing)
Robert. Robert.
-God, what's the matter?
-(grunts softly)
-What happened?
Her father called.
They found her yesterday
in the bath.
She'd taken pills.
Left a note, not signed.
She took barbiturates,
but there was chloral hydrate
in her blood.
(muffled screaming)
(screaming stops)
There was a note.
Jean Tatlock?
We were together.
She said she needed me. I...
I told her I... I wouldn't...
I told her I couldn't...
No, it was... it was me.
(Kitty breathing heavily)
You don't get to commit the sin
and then have us all
feel sorry for you
that it had consequences.
(breath shuddering)
-You pull yourself together.
You know,
people here depend on you.
Donald, would you like
to contribute here?
Please, help me out.
You're on your own, pal.
Bob, I'm not quitting my job
because plutonium
is radioactive.
We just don't know
what it might do
to the female
reproductive system...
Your reproductive system is more
exposed than mine, presumably.
Can we please? The implosion
device is nowhere.
Hey, you can't rush everything.
-Oppie, please.
-Well, there's rushing
and there's getting on
with it, so pick one.
Wait. Neddermeyer's
doing his job.
Teller's not helping.
You're not helping.
I've been asking
for calculations
on the implosion lenses
for weeks.
The British can do it. Fuchs.
It's your job, Teller.
I'm engaged in research.
On a hydrogen bomb
we're not even building.
(others laughing)
I won't work for that man.
(others exclaim)
Let him go. He's a prima donna.
SERBER: I agree.
He should leave Los Alamos.
Kisty, you replace Neddermeyer.
Seth, I'm putting you
on plutonium.
Lilli, you go work for Kisty.
Because he needs you.
Fuchs, you take Teller's role.
I'm putting you exclusively
on the implosion device.
And no one is leaving
Los Alamos.
(rousing music playing)
-They won't let me leave.
I won't let you leave.
Forget Hans. Forget fission.
Stay here,
research what you want.
Fusion, the hydrogen bomb,
We'll meet to discuss.
You don't have time to meet.
You're a politician now, Robert.
You've left physics behind
many, many years ago.
Once a week.
One hour. You and me.
Now raise this fucking barrier.
ROBB: So the Super
was under development
on your watch at Los Alamos?
And yet, after the war,
you tried to deny it was viable.
No, no, no. I...
I pointed out
technical difficulties with it.
You... Didn't you try
to kill it at the AEC meeting
-after the Russian bomb test?
ROBB: But that was
the recommendation of the AEC,
-was it not?
-After hours of discussion
about the best response.
An H-bomb is 1,000 times
the power of an A-bomb.
Its only intended target
would be the largest cities.
It's a weapon of mass genocide.
Izzy, draw some circles
on this side of the map
where they would target us.
-Starting with New York. D.C.
-RABI: That's fair.
It's a weapon of attack
with no defensive value.
-BUSH: "Deterrence"?
Do we really need
more deterrence
than our current arsenal
of atomic bombs?
Y-You drown in ten feet
of water or-or 10,000,
-what's the difference?
-(rhythmic stomping)
We can already drown Russia.
They know it.
-And now they can drown us.
-So we're just escalating...
(stomping intensifying)
(discussion continues
(stomping stops)
As I said,
Teller's designs are still as
impractical as they were
during the war.
A hydrogen bomb can be made
to work, Oppie, you know that.
I don't believe we should commit
all our resources
to that chance.
Then how would you have Truman
reassure the American people?
Simply by limiting the spread
of atomic weapons
through international control
on nuclear energy.
By which you mean
world government?
The United Nations
as Roosevelt intended.
Well, I... I asked what Truman
should do, right?
The world's changed,
it's not fascism but Communism
that now threatens our survival.
Lewis, do you understand,
if we build a hydrogen bomb,
the Russians will have no choice
but to build their own?
Could they be working
on one already?
Based on information gathered
from a spy at Los Alamos.
No spy at Los Alamos.
-There wasn't?
Let's not get sidetracked.
I say we use this moment
to gain concessions
from the Russians
by committing that we will not
build a hydrogen bomb.
Thereby revealing its existence.
Which you seem convinced
they already know.
(clears throat) All right.
At this point, I'd like
the committee members
to meet in privacy to finalize
our recommendations.
I'm just not sure you want
to go down this road.
Lewis, with respect,
we are the advisory committee,
we will give them our advice.
Good night.
Dr. Oppenheimer?
Hi. William Borden.
Joint Committee
on Atomic Energy?
Oh, yes, yes.
During the war, I was a pilot.
One night,
flying back from a raid,
I saw an amazing sight
like a meteor.
(engine rumbling)
A V-2 rocket headed to England.
I can't help but imagine
what it will be
for such an enemy rocket
to carry an atomic warhead.
(rhythmic stomping)
(rocket engine rumbling)
(stomping intensifying)
(stomping stops)
Well, let's make sure
we're not the ones
to make that possible.
Oppie, I don't think you want
to go up against Strauss.
If we both speak,
they listen to me.
When you speak,
they hear a prophet.
When Strauss speaks,
they hear themselves.
They'll listen to a prophet.
A prophet can't be wrong.
Not once.
Didn't you accuse Oppenheimer
of sabotaging the development
of the Super?
I was never one of those
to bandy around terms
like "sabotage."
But Mr. Borden was?
As I understand it, possibly.
How was Mr. Borden able
to put together
such a detailed indictment?
He was no longer
a government employee,
yet he appears to have
had unlimited access
to Dr. Oppenheimer's file.
Might Mr. Nichols have
given him access to the file?
Or someone else, at the AEC?
That's a very serious
accusation, Senator.
Is it your intention to
suggest that Dr. Oppenheimer
is disloyal
to the United States?
I've always assumed,
and still assume,
that he's loyal
to the United States.
I believe this.
And I shall believe it
until I see very conclusive
proof to the opposite.
Do you or do you not believe
that Dr. Oppenheimer
is a security risk?
(suspenseful music plays)
And if I may,
when Hitler blew
his brains out in that bunker,
it's my humble opinion
that there is no need
for that bomb
to be seen anywhere
-except for that test site.
HORNIG: But we at least
have to take a moment
to think about whether the means
justify the ends
any longer, because...
Germany is about to surrender.
It's no longer the enemy
who are the greatest threat
to mankind, it's our work.
(people murmur)
Hitler's dead, it's true.
But the Japanese fight on.
Their defeat seems assured.
Not if you're a G.I.
preparing to invade.
We can end this war.
But how do we justify
using this weapon
on human beings?
-(murmurs of assent)
-(scattered applause)
We're theorists, yes?
Yes. Yep.
We imagine a future
and our imaginings horrify us.
But they won't fear it
until they understand it,
and they won't understand it
until they've used it.
When the world learns
the terrible secret
of Los Alamos,
our work here will ensure
a peace mankind has never seen.
A peace based on the kind
of international cooperation
that Roosevelt always envisaged.
(scattered applause)
Two years and
a billion dollars' worth?
Well, hard to put a price on it.
Not really,
just add up the bills.
"Rural free deliveries."
Eighty babies delivered
the first year.
This year,
we've had ten a month.
Birth control is a little out
of my jurisdiction, General.
-GROVES: Clearly.
-KITTY: General.
(thrilling music playing)
Head down, everyone.
Fuchs, head down.
Hmm? (sniffs)
(spool winds)
That's the one. (grunts)
Two viable bombs. I need a date.
That's the sweet spot,
Test in July.
But I need my brother.
(thrilling music continues)
Frank knows the desert,
he's left politics behind,
he's been working with
Lawrence for two years now.
What do we call the test?
"Batter my heart,
three-person'd god."
You insisted
on bringing on
your brother Frank,
-a known Communist.
-A former Communist.
You brought a known
former Communist
onto America's most secret
and important defense project.
I knew my brother
could be trusted. Absolutely.
And you felt
your judgment was sound
on who on the team
could be trusted?
Fuchs, head down.
Okay, everybody ready?
Hmm? (sniffs)
-(spool winds)
Well, I hope
you learned something.
Yeah, we learned we're gonna
need to be a lot further away.
Well, figure it out. Fast.
We leave for Washington
in the morning.
We're gonna give them a date.
(telephones ringing)
You're a long way
from Chicago, Leo.
If we don't act now,
they're going to use
this thing against Japan.
We booked a meeting with Truman,
but somebody killed it.
You're meeting
the Secretary of War.
Just because we're building it,
doesn't mean we get to decide
how it's used.
History will judge us, Robert.
In Chicago,
we put together a petition.
I'm not...
I'm not getting into that.
Just tell me your concerns,
and I'll relay them.
My concerns?
Germany's defeated.
Japan's not going
to hold out alone.
How could you know that?
You got us into this.
You and Einstein
with your letter to Roosevelt
-saying we could build a bomb.
-(scoffs) Against Germany.
That's not how weapons
manufacture works, Szilard.
Oppie, you have to help.
Fermi's in the meeting.
-Lawrence is in the meeting.
-They're not you.
You're the great salesman
of science.
You can convince
anyone of anything.
Even yourself.
'Scuse me.
The firestorm in Tokyo killed
100,000 people.
Mostly civilians.
I worry about an America
where we do these things
and no one protests.
Pearl Harbor and three years of
brutal conflict in the Pacific
bought us a lot of latitude
with the American public.
STIMSON: Enough to unleash
the atomic bomb?
Uh, the A-bomb might not cause
as much damage
as the Tokyo bombings.
What are we estimating?
In a medium-size city, uh,
20 or 30,000 dead.
Yes, but, uh,
don't underestimate
the psychological impact of a...
of an atomic explosion.
A pillar of fire
10,000 feet tall.
Deadly neutron effects
for a mile, in all directions,
from one single device.
Dropped from
a barely noticed B-29,
the atomic bomb will be
a terrible revelation
of divine power.
If that's true,
it would be definitive.
World War II would be over.
Our boys would come home.
Military targets?
Uh, there aren't any big enough.
Perhaps a vital war plant
with workers housed nearby.
And we could issue a warning
to reduce civilian casualties.
They'd send everything
they have up against us,
and I'd be up in that plane.
But if we announce it
and it fails to go off,
we'd scupper any chance
of a Japanese surrender.
Is there no way to demonstrate
a bomb to Japan
to provoke surrender?
We intend to demonstrate it
in the most unambiguous terms.
Once to show the weapon's power
and a second to show
that we can keep doing this
until they surrender.
We have a list of 12 cities
to choose from...
Sorry, 11.
I've taken Kyoto off the list
due to its cultural significance
to the Japanese people.
Also, my wife and I
honeymooned there.
It's a magnificent city.
Let me make this
simple for you, gentlemen.
According to my intelligence,
which I cannot share with you,
the Japanese people
will not surrender
under any circumstances
short of a successful and total
invasion of the home islands.
Many lives will be lost,
American and Japanese.
The use of the atomic bomb
on Japanese cities
will save lives.
If we retain moral advantage.
-How so?
-Well, if we use this weapon
without informing our allies,
they'll see it as a threat.
And we'll be in an arms race.
How open can we be
with the Soviets?
Secrecy won't stop the Soviets
from becoming part
of the atomic world.
We've been told
they have no uranium.
You've been misinformed.
A Russian bomb
is a matter of time.
The program needs to continue
at full pace after the war.
Uh, Secretary Stimson,
if I may...
Not all scientists
on the project are in agreement.
In fact, this might be a moment
to consider other opinions.
-If you talk a scientist in...
-GROVES: The Manhattan Project
has been plagued from the start
by certain scientists
of doubtful discretion
and uncertain loyalty.
One of them just tried to meet
with the president.
Now, we need these men,
but as soon as it's practical,
we should sever any such
scientists from the program.
Wouldn't you agree, Doctor?
MARSHALL: If a Russian bomb
is inevitable,
perhaps we should invite
their top scientists to Trinity.
President Truman
has no intention
of raising expectations
that Stalin be included
in the atomic project.
Informing him
of our breakthrough
and presenting it as a means
to win the war
need not make
unkeepable promises.
But the Potsdam
peace conference in July
will be President Truman's
last chance
to have that conversation.
Can you give us
a working bomb by then?
Absolutely. We will test fire
before the conference.
(suspenseful music playing)
Ground zero observation posts
at 10,000 yards
north, south and west.
-Where do we trigger from?
-Uh, south 10,000.
And base camp
is ten miles south, here.
And there's a further
observation post
on-on that hill 20 miles away.
What's that, Frank?
Trigger lines already went in.
The Air Force requested
a line of lights for their B-29.
What B-29?
Our bomb's on the tower.
They want to use the test
to confirm a safe
operating distance.
That's risky.
Not as risky as dropping one
over Japan
and hoping that we were right
about the blast radius.
Don't let them slow us down,
we're firing on the 15th.
-The 15th? That's not...
-GROVES: The 15th.
The 15th.
ROBERT: So I'll be here
at South Observation point
with Frank and Kistiakowsky.
You'll all be assigned
to Base Camp,
West Observation
or Far Observation.
(suspenseful music continues)
Whoa, whoa.
Careful with the knife.
There, carefully.
Are those safe distances?
They're based
on your calculations.
Time to stand behind
your science, Hans. Literally.
(suspenseful music continues)
What 'bout the radiation cloud?
Without high winds,
it should settle
within two to three miles.
Evacuation measures
are in place.
But we need good weather
for visibility,
so it has to be fine.
Everybody out.
(suspenseful music continues)
We go on the night of the 15th.
It's a hard deadline,
so if anyone has anything,
speak now.
Okay, stop, stop.
Everybody, mattresses.
Put the mattress underneath.
Could use
a final implosion test.
It couldn't hurt.
Do it.
Is there anything else
that might stop us?
(thunder rumbling)
(suspenseful music continues)
It's happening, isn't it?
I'll send a message.
If it's gone our way,
take in the sheets.
Break a leg.
(suspenseful music continues)
(wind gusting)
(wind whistling)
(thunder rumbling)
Oppie's taken a very modest
three kilotons.
-Teller's in with 45.
-RABI: 20.
Twenty thousand tons of TNT,
and does anyone want
the side action
-on atmospheric ignition?
-(all laughing)
Are you saying
we'll have to delay?
I'm saying it would be prudent.
This weather,
has it reached the site?
(tense music playing)
(thunder rumbling)
(telephone ringing)
Bethe is calling to tell you
the implosion test failed.
Hello, Hans.
Yes, he's here.
(thunder rumbling)
-Is he wrong?
So we're about to fire a dud?
Well, I can't. I just...
I-I just know.
I know the implosion lenses
will work.
If we fire these detonators
and they don't
trigger a reaction,
two years' worth of plutonium
will be scattered
across White Sands.
A month of my salary against
ten bucks says it lights.
-(thunder rumbling)
(tense music continues)
WEATHERMAN: The wind's picking
up at zero, not the rain.
Lightning's circling.
You think it might be time
to tell your men
to get away from the steel tower
with the atomic bomb?
Let's get to South Observation.
Pull 'em out.
ROBERT: We can make
our determination there.
(tense music continues)
The team hasn't slept
in two nights.
If we stand down,
make the bomb safe,
we won't be back here for weeks.
Then we'll miss Potsdam.
I gotta get word
to Truman by 7:00.
Our window's closing.
What is this doing?
Raining, blowing, lightning.
-For how long, damn it?
-It's holdin' strong.
It'll break before dawn.
-How could you know that?
-I know this desert.
Storm cools overnight.
Just before dawn,
the storm breaks.
He could be right, but schedule
as late as possible.
Sign your forecast.
If you're wrong, I'll hang you.
Frank, tell them all, 5:30.
-5:30, 5:30.
-MAN: 5:30.
Three years,
4,000 people, $2 billion.
Well, if it doesn't go off...
we're both finished.
(thunder rumbling)
I'm betting on three kilotons.
Anything less,
they won't get what it is.
What did Fermi mean
by "atmospheric ignition"?
Well, we had a moment
where it looked like
the chain reaction from an
atomic device might never stop.
Setting fire to the atmosphere.
Why is Fermi
still taking side bets on it?
Call it gallows humor.
Wait, are we saying
there's a chance
that when we push that button,
we destroy the world?
Nothing in our research
over three years
supports that conclusion.
Except as the most
remote possibility.
How remote?
Chances are near zero.
Near zero?
What do you want
from theory alone?
Zero would be nice.
In exactly
one hour, 58 minutes,
we'll know.
It's letting up.
(tense music continues)
The arming party's left Zero,
they're heading this way.
Throwing the switches.
Turn the cars.
Ready for emergency evacuation.
(tense music continues)
...welder's glass.
Everybody take your places.
Everybody take a welder's glass.
Everybody take a welder's glass.
(tense music continues)
(timer ticking)
Twenty minutes.
Twenty minutes.
That's 20.
On the leg, please.
The glass. Stops the U.V.
And what stops the glass?
I'm gonna head to base camp.
Best of luck.
Try not to blow up the world.
(tense music building)
Watch that needle.
If the detonators don't charge
or the voltage drops
below one volt,
you hit that button, you abort.
(rocket hissing)
MAN (on speaker):
Two minutes to detonation.
Everybody down.
Do not turn around
until you see light
reflected on the hills.
Then look at the explosion
only through
your welder's glass.
MAN (on speaker):
Ninety seconds to detonation.
Ninety seconds to detonation.
Is it rubbed in?
MAN (on speaker):
Sixty seconds to detonation.
(intense music playing)
These things are hard
on your heart.
MAN (on speaker):
Thirty seconds.
(charging up)
Detonators charged.
(intense music continues)
MAN (on speaker):
Seventeen, sixteen,
-(intense music building)
-(music stops)
(breathing heavily)
(both gasp)
(breathing heavily)
(faint pensive music playing)
(continues breathing heavily)
(breathing heavily)
(faint pensive music continues)
"And now I am become Death.
The destroyer of worlds."
(distant explosion)
(distant rumbling)
It worked.
(rumbling subsides)
(muffled laughter)
(all cheering and applauding)
(mellow music playing)
-(playing triumphant beat)
-(all cheering)
(whooping excitedly)
-You owe me ten dollars!
-Come on!
-Hang on.
I'm good for it, Kisty.
-(both laughing)
-You are.
Yes, you are! (laughs)
(cheering and applauding)
(mellow music continues)
Well done.
We did it! We did it!
Well done.
-Get me Potsdam right away.
-Yes, sir.
(cheering continues)
Get a message to Kitty.
We can't say anything.
Tell her to take in the sheets.
We did it, everyone!
-(telephone ringing)
-(baby crying)
(shushes) Hello?
-CHARLOTTE: Hi, Kitty?
-What, what? Charlotte...
Charlotte, go ahead, go ahead.
Oh, um, well, I don't know,
he just said to tell you
to "bring in the sheets."
(baby continues crying)
Kitty, are you still there?
ROBERT: If they detonate it
too high in the air,
the blast won't be as powerful.
With respect, Dr. Oppenheimer,
we'll take it from here.
(disquieting music playing)
Did Truman brief Stalin
at Potsdam?
A brief would be
an overstatement.
He referred
to a powerful new weapon.
Stalin hoped we'd use it
against Japan.
That's it?
Robert, we've given them an ace,
it's for them to play the hand.
You're aiming for the 6th?
It's up to the CO
in the Pacific.
Shall I come with you
to Washington?
What for?
Well, you'll keep me informed.
Of course.
As best I can.
(engine revs)
Would the Japanese surrender
if they knew what was coming?
I don't know.
TELLER: Have you seen
Szilard's petition?
What the hell does Szilard
know about the Japanese?
You're not signing it, are you?
Many people have.
A lot of people have.
The fact that we built this bomb
does not give us any more...
any more right or responsibility
to decide how it's used
than anyone else.
But we're the only people
who know about it.
I've told Stimson the various
opinions of the community.
But what's your opinion?
Once it's used...
...nuclear war,
perhaps all war...
...becomes unthinkable.
Until somebody
builds a bigger bomb.
I thought they would call.
It's only the 5th.
In Japan, it's the 6th.
Try Groves.
Truman's on the radio.
TRUMAN (on radio):
Sixteen hours ago,
an American airplane dropped
one bomb on Hiroshima...
...and destroyed its usefulness
to the enemy.
(elated laughter outside)
The bomb had more power
than 20,000 tons of TNT.
It is an atomic bomb.
-(excited chatter)
-(car horns honking)
It is a harnessing
of the basic powers
of the universe.
Groves on one.
TRUMAN: We are now prepared
to destroy more rapidly
and completely the Japanese...
(clears throat) General?
GROVES: I'm very proud of you
and all of your people.
It went all right?
Apparently, it went
with a tremendous bang.
everyone here is feeling
reasonably good about it.
It's been a long road.
GROVES: I think one of
the wisest things I ever did
was when I selected
the director of Los Alamos.
-(car horns honking)
We have spent
more than $2 billion
on the greatest
scientific gamble in history,
and we have won.
CROWD (chanting):
Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
-Oppie! Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie!
Oppie! Oppie! Oppie! Oppie!
(rhythmic stomping)
(stomping intensifying)
-(stomping subsides)
-(cheering continues)
(breathing heavily)
The world...
...will remember this day.
(cheering and applauding)
(muffled distant rumbling)
It's too soon to...
It's too soon to determine
what the results
of the bombing are.
But I'll bet the Japanese
didn't like it.
(cheering and applauding)
-(woman screams)
-(cheering sound muted)
(distant rumbling continues)
(Robert breathing heavily)
I'm so proud.
So proud of what
you have accomplished.
(continues breathing heavily)
I just wish we had it in time
to use against the Germans.
(continues breathing heavily)
(wind howling)
(jarring musical sting)
-(cheering sound returns)
-(hearty laughter)
(somber music playing)
(man weeping)
(somber music continues)
(somber music fading out)
Dr. Oppenheimer?
Dr. Oppenheimer? (chuckles)
-Nice picture.
President Truman
will see you now.
(clears throat)
Dr. Oppenheimer. It's an honor.
-Mr. President.
-TRUMAN: Please.
Thank you.
Secretary Byrnes.
How's it feel to be
the most famous man
in the world?
You helped save a lot
of American lives.
What we did
at Hiroshima was a...
And Nagasaki.
Well, obviously.
Your invention let us
bring our boys home.
Well, it was hardly
my invention.
It was you on the cover of Time.
(both chuckling)
Jim tells me you're concerned
about an arms race
with the Soviets.
Uh, yes, uh...
Well, um,
it's that, uh, now is
our chance to secure
international cooperation on
(clears throat) atomic energy,
and... and I'm concerned...
Do you know when the Soviets
are gonna have the bomb?
I don't think I could give a...
Mr. President, the-the Russians
have good physicists
and abundant resources.
-Abundant? (laughs)
-I don't think so.
Well, they'll-they'll put
everything they have and...
I hear you're leaving
Los Alamos.
What should we do with it?
Give it back to the Indians.
Um... Dr. Oppenheimer, (sighs)
if what you say about
the Soviets is true,
we have to build up Los Alamos,
not shut it down.
Uh, Mr. President...
I feel that I have blood
on my hands.
(disquieting music playing)
You think anyone
in Hiroshima or Nagasaki
gives a shit who built the bomb?
They care who dropped it.
I did.
Hiroshima isn't about you.
Dr. Oppenheimer.
(Truman clears throat)
TRUMAN: Don't let that crybaby
back in here.
STRAUSS: Robert saw that
hand-wringing got him nowhere.
By the time I'd met him,
he'd fully embraced
his "father of the bomb"
Used his profile
to influence policy.
ROBB: Doctor, in the years
following the war,
would you say that
you exerted a great influence
on the atomic policies
of the USA?
ROBERT: I think great
would be an overstatement.
ROBB: Really? If we look
at the issue of isotopes,
were you not
personally responsible
for destroying all opposition
to their export?
-Could use a-a bottle of beer...
...when making atomic weapons.
In fact, you do.
I was the spokesman,
but the-the opinion
among scientists was unanimous.
All along with McCarthy
on the rise,
he knew he was vulnerable.
His brother was blacklisted
by every university
in the country.
Lomanitz wound up working
the railroad, laying track.
And Chevalier went into exile.
But none of that
stopped Robert
from pushing the GAC
to recommend arms control
instead of the H-bomb.
He was devastated
when Truman rejected
their recommendation.
I miss Richard
more than I can bear.
I know, Ruth, I know.
Part of me's glad he didn't live
to see where this is all going.
Here comes the birthday boy.
-To gloat.
-RUTH: Have fun.
Robert, uh, my son and his
fiance are desperate to meet
the father of the atomic bomb,
and so...
Well. Good day.
Is this a bad time?
What do you think, Lewis?
Well, I think it must have
been a blow for you.
For the world.
The world?
What does Fuchs mean
to the rest of the world?
Klaus Fuchs?
Oh, dear. You haven't heard.
Klaus Fuchs, the British
scientist that you put
onto the implosion team
at Los Alamos,
turns out he was...
he was spying for the Soviets
the whole time.
I'm sorry.
(brooding music playing)
After the truth
about Fuchs came out,
the FBI stepped up
surveillance on him.
He knew his phone was tapped,
he was followed everywhere...
...his trash picked through.
But never stopped
speaking his mind.
A man of conviction.
And maybe he thought fame
could actually protect him.
When Eisenhower took office,
he saw one more chance.
He took it.
America and Russia
may be likened
to two scorpions in a bottle,
each capable
of killing the other
but only at the risk
of his own life.
Now, there are various aspects
of this policy...
Lot of scientists blame me,
but how was I supposed
to protect him?
...too secret for discussion,
candor is the only remedy.
Officials in Washington
need to start leveling
with the American people.
(people murmuring)
That was the last straw
for Robert's enemies.
So he had to lose
his security clearance.
-And with it, his credibility.
But how could they do it?
He was a war hero.
He'd already told everyone
about his past.
Borden dredged it all up.
How could Borden get access
to Oppenheimer's FBI file?
Could it have been Nichols?
No, I can't imagine
he'd do that.
But whoever did
unleashed a firestorm
that burned a path
from the White House
back to my desk at the AEC.
You see them in there, right?
I've been working
my whole life to get here.
Cabinet of
the United States of America.
Now, in front
of the entire country,
they're gonna put me
back in my place.
A lowly shoe salesman.
Lewis, we can win this thing.
I-I think we can
get the Senate to grasp
that you did your duty,
painful though it was.
Now, will Hill's testimony
back us up?
-COUNSEL: Hill will be fine.
-I don't really know him,
but, uh, he was one
of Szilard's boys in Chicago,
and they never forgave Robert
for not supporting
their petition
against bombing Japan.
This was taken 31 days
after the bombing.
Virtually everyone
in the street,
for nearly a mile around,
was instantly
and seriously burned.
(people gasping)
The, uh, Japanese spoke of
people who wore striped clothing
upon whom the skin
was burned in stripes.
There were many
who thought themselves lucky,
who climbed out of the ruins
of their homes
only slightly injured.
But they died anyway.
They died days or weeks later
from the radium-like rays
emitted in great numbers
at the moment of the explosion.
Did you read this crap
in the papers?
A British physicist is saying
the atomic bombings
were not the last act
of World War II
but the first act
of this cold war with Russia.
Which physicist?
I think you knew him.
Patrick Blackett.
He may not be wrong.
Stimson is now telling me
we bombed an enemy
that was essentially defeated.
TELLER: Robert,
you've all the influence now.
Urge them to continue
my research on the Super.
I neither can nor will, Edward.
Why not?
It's not the right use
of our resources.
Is that what you really believe?
J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Sphinx-like guru of the atom.
Nobody knows what you believe.
Do you? Hmm?
GROVES: One final time,
our program director,
Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer.
I hope that in years to come
you will look back
on your work here with pride.
But today, that pride
must be tempered
with a profound concern.
If atomic weapons
are to be added
to the arsenals
of a warring world,
then the day will come
when people will curse
the name of Los Alamos.
Uh, sorry, Admiral.
Stopped off to get this.
It seems pretty favorable.
There's Oppenheimer.
What's the caption?
Uh, "J. Robert Oppenheimer,
Strauss fought..."
(soft music plays)
"...and the US won."
That'll work.
Those were your words
from the other day.
We needed to pivot.
But how would you know
what Time magazine's
gonna write?
Henry Luce is a friend.
You sat here and let me
tell you how it's done,
but you've been
far ahead all along.
Survival in Washington
is about knowing
how to get things done.
What was it you said
about Borden?
"Why get caught
holding the knife yourself?"
I'm beginning to think Borden
was holding the knife for you.
It's gonna come down
to how much influence
Borden's been able
to exert on Teller.
-(Kitty laughing)
-Did I say something funny?
Just "Borden, Borden, Borden"
when we all know
that it's Strauss.
Lewis brought me
to Princeton, Kitty.
And then you humiliated him
in front of Congress.
But more useful than a sandwich.
-How'd I do?
-MAN: I'll call recess,
ten minutes.
Maybe a little too well, Robert.
That was six years ago.
You know, the truly vindictive,
patient as saints.
Strauss has been perfectly
clear that he is neutral.
-(glass shatters)
-Wake up. It is Strauss.
It's always been Strauss,
and you know it.
Why won't you fight him?
Christ's sake.
(door slams)
It wasn't Nichols or Hoover
or one of Truman's guys.
It was you.
You gave the file to Borden.
You set him on Oppenheimer.
-You convinced him to...
-(loudly): Borden...
(in normal tone):
didn't take any convincing.
NICHOLS: Take your time,
use the entire file.
Write up your conclusion,
send them to the FBI.
The material
is obviously extensive,
but there's nothing new here.
Your conclusions will be.
And they'll have to be answered.
Hoover passes them to McCarthy?
Oppenheimer's too slippery
for that self-promoting clown.
I've talked it over with Hoover,
he'll hold McCarthy at bay
while you do this with the AEC.
-A trial.
No trial. You can't
give Oppenheimer a platform.
You can't martyr him.
We need a systematic destruction
of Oppenheimer's credibility
so he can never again speak
on matters of national security.
Then what?
A shabby little room,
far from the limelight.
(speaking indistinctly)
A simple bureaucratic procedure.
His Q clearance
is up for renewal.
You send your accusations
to the FBI.
Hoover sends them to the AEC,
you're forced to act.
You write up an indictment
and tell Oppenheimer
his security clearance
is not being renewed.
But offer him
the chance to appeal.
As you can see, Robert,
it's not yet signed.
May I keep this?
If you do decide to appeal,
they'll have to send you a copy.
When he appeals--
and trust me, he will--
-I appoint a board.
-(indistinct conversation)
They will, of course,
have counsel.
-NICHOLS: Prosecutor?
-In all but name.
-Roger Robb.
Robb will have
security clearance
to examine Oppenheimer's file.
As will the Gray board.
Defense counsel will not.
A closed hearing.
ROBERT: The so-called
derogatory information
in your indictment of me.
No audience. No reporters.
-No burden of proof.
-No burden of proof?
We're not convicting.
We're just denying.
What is it you said?
"This is just how
the game is played."
Well, forgive my naivete.
Amateurs seek the sun.
Get eaten.
Power stays in the shadows.
But, sir, you're...
you're out of the shadows now.
Yeah, that's why
this has to work.
Teller's testifying
this morning.
That'll help. And then...
Hill is in the afternoon.
Hill is gonna help us too.
STRAUSS: As you can see,
Robert, it's not yet signed.
May I keep this?
If you do decide to appeal,
then they'll have
to send you a copy.
(unsettling music playing)
Take my car and driver.
I insist.
I'll have to consult
my lawyers, Lewis.
Of course.
But don't take too long.
I can't keep Nichols at bay.
I'm sorry
it's come to this, Robert.
I think it's wrong.
(unsettling music building)
Nichols wants me to fight
so he can get it
all on the record.
Strauss wants me to walk away.
Strauss knows
that you can't do that,
you'd be accepting the charges.
You'll lose your job.
You will lose your reputation.
We'll lose our house.
Robert, we have to fight.
(smacks lips)
VOLPE: As AEC Counsel,
I can't represent you.
I'll call Lloyd Garrison.
Oh, he's good.
The best,
but I have to warn you...
...this won't be a fair fight.
-(suspenseful music plays)
-ROBB: During your interview
with Boris Pash in 1943,
did you refer to microfilm?
-Tab 11,
page one, paragraph three.
You never said,
"Man at the consulate expert
in the use of microfilm"?
-I'm sorry, I'm sorry.
I would like to know
what document
Mr. Robb is quoting from
and if we might be
furnished with a copy.
The document is classified,
Mr. Garrison.
I think we should get back
to first-hand information.
This is first-hand.
How so, Roger?
There was a recording
of the interview.
You let my client sit here
and potentially perjure himself,
and all this time,
you had a recording?
Nobody told your client
to misrepresent
his former answers.
It-it was 12 years ago.
Can we hear this recording?
You don't have the clearance,
Mr. Garrison.
But you're reading it
into the record.
Please, please.
Is this proceeding interested
in entrapment or in truth?
If it's truth,
where's the disclosure?
Where's the witness list?
Mr. Garrison, this isn't
a trial, as you are well aware.
Evidentiary rules do not apply.
We are dealing
with national security.
Yes, sir, with all due respect,
I fail to see how
national security
prevents the prosecution
from providing us
-with a list of witnesses.
-Perhaps we are in need
-of a brief recess.
-ROBERT: Gentlemen,
you have my words.
If you say they're from a
transcript, then I'll accept it.
I've already explained
I made up a cock-and-bull story.
But why would anyone
make up such an elaborate story?
Because I was an idiot.
Why lie?
Well, clearly with
the intention of not revealing
who the intermediary was.
Your friend, Haakon Chevalier,
the Communist.
Is he still your friend?
Dr. Rabi, thank you for coming.
Do you know who else
the prosecution has called?
Teller, obviously.
They've asked Lawrence.
What did he say?
He wasn't going
to help them, but...
Strauss told him that
you and Ruth Tolman
have been having
an affair for years.
The whole time you lived
-with them in Pasadena.
He convinced Lawrence
that Richard died
of a broken heart.
That's absurd.
-What part?
-The broken heart.
Richard never found out.
Is Lawrence gonna testify?
I don't know.
Dr. Rabi,
what governmental positions
do you currently hold?
I am the chairman of the
General Advisory Committee
to the AEC,
succeeding Dr. Oppenheimer.
GARRISON: And how long have
you known Dr. Oppenheimer?
Since 1928.
I... I know him quite well.
Well enough
to speak to the bearing
of his loyalty and character?
Dr. Oppenheimer is a man
of upstanding character.
And he is loyal
to the United States,
to his friends,
to the institutions
of which he is part.
(suspenseful music continues)
-ROBERT: What was that?
-(door closes)
Nothing to worry about.
After the Russian A-bomb test,
did Dr. Lawrence come to see you
about the hydrogen bomb?
You'd be better off asking him.
Well, I fully intend to.
Would you say
that Dr. Oppenheimer was
unalterably opposed
to the H-bomb?
No, he-he thought that
a fusion program
would come at the expense of our
awfully good fission program.
But that proved
not to be the case.
In the event both could be done.
Suppose that this board
did not feel satisfied
that in his testimony here,
Dr. Oppenheimer had been
wholly truthful.
What would you say whether
or not he should be cleared?
Why go through
all this against a man
who has accomplished
what Dr. Oppenheimer has?
Look at his record.
We have an A-bomb
and a whole series of it.
We have a whole series
of Super bombs.
What more do you want?
But I've known Secretary Strauss
for many years,
and I feel it a necessity
to express the warm support
for science and scientists
Lewis has shown.
We'll break now,
unless there's
any immediate business.
STRAUSS: Senator, I'd like
to once again request
that we're furnished
with a list of witnesses.
And I will remind the nominee
that we don't always
have that information
in advance.
We do know that Dr. Hill
will be here after lunch.
Mr. Chairman,
our next scheduled witness,
Dr. Lawrence, has apparently
come down with colitis.
So we'll proceed with
William Borden instead.
Mr. Borden, welcome.
Please take a seat.
Mr. Borden,
during your investigation
into Dr. Oppenheimer,
did you reach
certain conclusions?
-I did.
-And did there come a time
when you expressed
those conclusions
in a letter
to Mr. J. Edgar Hoover
of the Federal Bureau
of Investigation?
-BORDEN: That is correct.
-Prior to the writing
of the letter, did you discuss
the writing of the letter
with anybody attached to
the Atomic Energy Commission?
I did not.
ROBB: Thanks, and do you have
a copy of the letter?
I have one in front of me.
Would you please be so kind
as to read it, sir?
"Dear Mr. Hoover,
the purpose of this letter
is to state..."
GARRISON: Uh, I'm sorry,
I'm sorry, if I could have a...
What is the purpose
of the delay?
He's simply gonna
read the letter.
(scoffs) Mr. Chairman,
this is the first
I've seen of this letter,
and I see statements here, uh,
at least one,
of a kind that I don't think
anyone would like to see
go into the record.
These are accusations that have
not previously been made.
That are not part of
the indictment from Nichols.
Accusations of a kind that
I don't think belong here.
The witness wrote this letter
on his own initiative,
laying out evidence that has
already been before the board.
His conclusions
are valid testimony,
just like the...
the positive conclusions
of friends of Dr. Oppenheimer.
It cuts both ways.
How long has Counsel been
in possession of this letter?
I don't think
I should be subject
to cross-examination by you,
Mr. Garrison.
GRAY: Mr. Garrison,
given that we on the board
have all read the letter,
wouldn't it be better
to have it in the record?
Let's proceed.
(tense music playing)
"Dear Mr. Hoover,
"the purpose of this letter
is to state my opinion
"based upon years of study
"of the available
classified evidence,
"that more probably than not,
"J. Robert Oppenheimer is
an agent of the Soviet Union.
"The following conclusions
are justified.
"One, between 1929 and 1942,
more probably than not,
"J. Robert Oppenheimer
"was a sufficiently
hardened Communist,
"that he volunteered
information to the Soviets.
"Two, more probably than not,
"he has since been functioning
as an espionage agent.
"Three, more probably than not,
"he has since acted
under a Soviet directive
in influencing United States
military policy..."
I'm sorry, Robert.
"...atomic energy, intelligence
-and diplomatic policy."
-Is anyone
ever going to tell the truth
about what's happening here?
hear from Dr. David Hill.
(soft suspenseful music plays)
Dr. Hill,
would you care
to make a statement?
Thank you.
I've been asked to testify
about Lewis Strauss.
A man who has
given years of service
in high positions of government
and who is known to be earnest,
hardworking and intelligent.
The views I have to express
are my own,
but I believe that much I have
to say will help to indicate
why most of the scientists
in this country
would prefer to see Mr. Strauss
completely out of government.
(murmurs of surprise)
You're... You're referring
to the hostility
of certain scientists
directed toward Mr. Strauss
because of his commitment
to security
as demonstrated
in the Oppenheimer affair?
Because of the personal
he demonstrated against
Dr. Oppenheimer.
(people exclaiming)
-(gavel banging)
It appears to most
scientists around this country
that Robert Oppenheimer
is now being
pilloried and put through
an ordeal
because he expressed
his honest opinions.
Dr. Bush, I thought
I was performing a service
to my country
when hearing this case.
No board in this country
should sit in judgment of a man
because he expressed
strong opinions.
If you want to try that case,
you should try me.
Excuse me, gentlemen,
if I become stirred,
but I am.
Dr. Hill, we've already heard
that Mr. Strauss
did not bring the charges
or participate in the hearings
against Dr. Oppenheimer.
The Oppenheimer matter was
initiated and carried through
largely through the animus
of Lewis Strauss.
(people exclaim)
Oppenheimer made mincemeat
out of Strauss's position
on the shipment
of isotopes to Norway,
and Strauss never forgave him
this public humiliation.
Another controversy between them
centered around
their differences in judgment
on how the H-bomb
would contribute
to national security.
Strauss turned to
the personnel security system
in order to destroy
Oppenheimer's effectiveness,
and Strauss was able to find
a few ambitious men
who also disagreed
with Oppenheimer's positions
and envied him his prestige
in government circles.
TELLER: I've always assumed,
and still assume,
that he's loyal
to the United States.
I believe this.
And I shall believe it
until I see very conclusive
proof to the opposite.
Do you or do you not believe
that Dr. Oppenheimer
is a security risk?
(smacks lips)
In a great number of cases,
I have seen Dr. Oppenheimer
act in a way
which was to me
exceedingly hard to understand.
I thoroughly disagreed
with him in numerous issues,
and his actions frankly
appeared to me
confused and complicated.
To this extent, I feel,
I want to see the vital
interest of this country
in hands which
I understand better
and therefore trust more.
-MORGAN: Thank you, Doctor.
-ROBB: Thank you.
I'm sorry.
You shook his fucking hand?
Oh, I would have
spit in his face.
Not sure the board
would have appreciated that.
KITTY: Is it not
gentlemanly enough for you?
Well, I-I think you're all being
too goddamn gentlemanly.
Gray must see
what Robb is doing.
Why doesn't he just
shut him down?
And you shaking Teller's hand.
You need to stop
playing the martyr.
Under the current
AEC guidelines,
would you clear
Dr. Oppenheimer today?
(unnerving music playing)
Under my interpretation (sighs)
of the Atomic Energy Act,
which did not exist
when I hired
Dr. Oppenheimer in 1942...
I would not clear him today,
uh, if I were on the commission.
ROBB: Good. Thank you, General.
That is all.
But I don't think I'd clear
any of those guys.
That's all.
GARRISON: Dr. Oppenheimer
had no responsibility
in the selection
or the clearance
of Klaus Fuchs, did he?
No. None at all.
And you wouldn't want
to leave this board
with any suggestion today
that you're here questioning
his basic loyalty
to the United States
in the operation of Los Alamos?
By no means.
I hope I didn't lead anyone
to believe otherwise
for an instant.
Thank you, General.
(wistful music playing)
Okay. We shouldn't
keep them waiting.
She'll be here.
Do you even want her here?
Only a fool or an adolescent
presumes to know
someone else's relationship,
and you're neither, Lloyd.
(door shuts)
Kitty and I,
we're grown-ups.
We've walked
through fire together.
She'll do fine.
GARRISON: Would you describe
your views on Communism
as pro, anti, neutral?
Very strongly against.
I-I've had nothing to do
with Communism in... since...
since 1936, since...
since before I met Robert.
That's all.
The record demonstrates
that Oppenheimer
was not interrogated
by impartial and disinterested
counsel for the Gray board.
He was interrogated
by a prosecutor
who used all the tricks
of a rather ingenious
legal background.
You are charging now
that the Gray board
permitted a prosecution.
If I were on the Gray board,
I would have protested
against the tactics
of the man who served, in fact,
as the prosecuting counsel.
A man appointed not by the board
but by Lewis Strauss.
(people exclaim)
Who was this?
I'm sorry?
Who was this?
Uh, Roger Robb.
-(chair scrapes)
-Mrs. Oppenheimer.
(pensive music playing)
Did you have a Communist Party
membership card?
I'm... I'm not sure.
Not sure?
-ROBB: Well?
I mean, presumably,
the act of joining the Party
required sending some money
and receiving a card, no?
Yes. Mm.
It's just it was all
so very long ago,
-Mr. Robb, wasn't it?
-Not really.
Long enough to have forgotten.
Did you return the card
or rip it up?
The card whose existence
I've forgotten?
Your Communist Party
membership card.
Haven't the slightest idea.
Can a distinction
be made between
Soviet Communism and Communism?
Well, in the days
when I was a member,
I thought they were
definitely two things.
-I thought that
the Communist Party
of the United States
was concerned with
our domestic problems.
I now no longer believe this.
Believe the whole thing's
linked together
and spread all over the world,
and I have believed this
since I left the Party
16 years ago.
-Seventeen years ago.
My mistake.
-But you said...
-Sorry, 18.
Eighteen years ago.
Are you familiar with the fact
your husband was
making contributions
to the Spanish Civil War
as late as 1942?
I knew that Robert gave money
from time to time.
Did you know
this money was going
into Communist Party channels?
Don't you mean "through"?
-I think you mean
"through Communist Party
channels," don't you?
-KITTY: Yes.
Then would it be fair to say
that this meant that by 1942,
your husband had not stopped
having anything to do
with the Communist Party?
You don't have
to answer that yes or no.
You can answer that
any way you wish.
I know that, thank you.
It's your question.
-It's not properly phrased.
-Do you understand
-what I'm getting at?
-I do.
Then why don't you
answer it that way?
'Cause I don't like your phrase.
"Having anything to do
with the Communist Party."
Because Robert never
had anything to do
with the Communist Party
as such.
I know he gave money
to Spanish refugees.
I know he took
an intellectual interest
in Communist ideas...
Are there two types
of Communists?
Intellectual Communists
and your plain old
regular Commie?
Well, I couldn't
answer that one.
(laughs) I couldn't either.
VOLPE: Robert,
you can't win this thing.
It's a kangaroo court
with a predetermined outcome.
Why put yourself
through more of it?
I have my reasons.
All right.
Good night.
He has a point.
I'm not sure
you understand, Albert.
I left my country
never to return.
You served your country well.
If this is the reward
she offers you, then...
perhaps you should
turn your back on her.
Damn it, I happen
to love this country.
Then tell them to go to hell.
Interestingly enough,
this is no longer
a confirmation hearing,
it's now a trial...
about a trial!
It's not good
he's telling everyone
you initiated the hearings.
He can't prove a goddamn thing.
He certainly can't prove
that I gave the file to Borden.
We're not in court, sir.
There's no burden of proof.
Right. They're not convicting...
(sighs) just denying.
Why would Hill come here
to tear me down?
What's his angle?
Do people need a reason
to do the right thing?
-As he sees it.
-I told you,
Oppenheimer poisoned
the scientists against me,
right from that first meeting.
I don't know what Oppenheimer
said to him that day,
but Einstein wouldn't
even meet my eye.
Oppenheimer knows
how to manipulate his own.
And at Los Alamos,
he preyed
on the naivete of scientists
who thought they'd get a say
in how we used their work,
but don't ever think
he was that naive himself.
During your work
on the hydrogen bomb,
were you deterred
by any moral qualms?
Yes, of course.
ROBB: But you still got on
with your work, didn't you?
Yes, because this was
work of exploration,
it was not the preparation
of a weapon.
You mean it was more of a...
an academic excursion.
No, it is not an academic thing
whether you can build
a hydrogen bomb.
It's a matter of life and death.
By 1942, you were
actively pushing
the development of
the hydrogen bomb, weren't you?
Pushing's not the right word.
Supporting it
and working on it, yes.
So when did these moral qualms
become so strong
that you actively opposed
the development
of the hydrogen bomb?
When it was suggested
that it be the policy
of the United States to make
these things at all cost
without regard to the balance
between these weapons
and atomic weapons
as part of our arsenal.
What do moral qualms
have to do with that?
Wha... What do moral qualms
-have to do with it?
-ROBB: Yes.
Oppenheimer wanted
to own the atomic bomb.
He wanted to be the man
who moved the Earth.
He talks about
putting the nuclear genie
back in the bottle.
Well, I'm here to tell you
that I know
J. Robert Oppenheimer,
and if he could do it all over,
he'd do it all the same.
You know he's never once said
that he regrets Hiroshima?
He'd do it all over. Why?
Because it made him
the most important man
who ever lived.
(voice quivering):
Well, we've...
we've freely used
the atomic bomb...
ROBB: In fact, Doctor,
you assisted in selecting
the target to drop
the atomic bomb on Japan,
-didn't you?
ROBB: Well, then you knew,
did you not, that by dropping
that atomic bomb
on the target you selected,
that thousands of civilians
would be killed
or injured, is that correct?
Yes, not as many
as turned out...
Oh. Well, how many
were killed or injured?
-ROBB: 70,000
at both Hiroshima and...
110,000 at both.
On the day of each bombing?
(tense music playing)
And in the weeks
and years that followed?
It has been put at somewhere
between 50 and 100,000.
-220,000 dead at least?
Any moral scruples about that?
Terrible ones.
But yet you testified in here
that the bombing of Hiroshima
was very successful.
-Technically successful.
-ROBB: Oh!
Technically, it was
very successful.
And it is also alleged
to have helped end the war.
Would you have been
in support of the dropping
of a hydrogen bomb on Hiroshima?
That would make no sense at all.
-The-the target is too small.
Well, supposing there had been
a target in Japan
big enough for
a thermonuclear weapon,
would you have been opposed
to the dropping of it?
This was not a problem
with which I was confronted...
Well, I'm confronting you
with it now, sir.
It was all part of his plan.
He wanted the glorious,
insincere guilt
of the self-important
to wear like a fuckin' crown.
Say, "No, we cannot
go down this road,"
even as he knew we'd have to.
Would you have been opposed
to the dropping
of a thermonuclear weapon
on Japan
-because of moral scruples?
-Yes, I believe I would, sir.
Well, did you oppose
the dropping
of an atomic bomb on Hiroshima
because of moral scruples?
-We set forth our arguments...
-(tense music building)
No, you, you, you.
I'm asking you.
-I set... I set forth...
-ROBB: Not we. You, you, you!
...our arguments
against dropping it,
but I did not endorse them.
You mean after
working night and day
for three years
building the bomb,
you then argued against
the use of it? (laughs)
I was asked
by the Secretary of War
what the views
of scientists were.
I gave him the views against
and the views for.
You supported the dropping
of the atom bomb on Japan.
-What do you mean "support"?
-ROBB: Didn't you?
-You supported it!
-What do you mean "support"?
Well, you helped
pick the target, didn't you?
-(muffled rumbling)
-I did my job.
I was not in a policy-making
position at Los Alamos.
I would have done anything
I was asked to do.
Well, then you would have
built the H-bomb too,
-wouldn't you?
-I couldn't.
I didn't ask you that, Doctor!
And the GAC report
which you co-authored
after the Soviet
atomic test said
a Super bomb
should never be built!
What we meant,
what I meant was...
-ROBB: What you, who? Who?
-What I meant...
(tense music continues)
And wouldn't the Russians
do anything
-to increase their strength?
-(music stops)
(raises voice): If we did it,
they would have to do it.
Our efforts would only
fuel their efforts,
just as it had
with the atomic bomb.
"Just as it had with
the atomic bomb," exactly!
No moral scruples in 1945,
plenty in 1949.
Dr. Oppenheimer...
...when did your strong
moral convictions develop
with respect
to the hydrogen bomb?
When it became clear to me
that we would tend to use
any weapon we had.
STRAUSS: J. Robert Oppenheimer,
the martyr.
I gave him exactly
what he wanted.
To be remembered for Trinity,
not Hiroshima,
not Nagasaki.
He should be thanking me.
Well, he's not.
Do we still have enough votes,
or is the crowning moment
of my career
about to become the most public
humiliation of my life?
Full Senate's about to vote.
You'll scrape through.
Great, then gather
the fucking press.
Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer.
This board, having heard
testimony from you
and many of your current
and former colleagues,
has come to
the unanimous conclusion
that you are a loyal citizen.
in the light of
your continuing associations
and disregard
for the security apparatus
of this country,
together with your
somewhat disturbing conduct
on the hydrogen bomb program
and the regrettable
lack of candor
in certain of your responses
to this board,
we have voted two to one
to deny the renewal
of your security clearance.
A full written opinion,
with a dissent from Mr. Evans,
will be issued to the AEC
in the coming days.
That is all.
-ROBB: Gordon...
-GORDON: Roger.
(indistinct exchange)
(on phone):
Don't take in the sheets.
(breathes heavily)
Get a picture with him.
Sir, sir.
Two minutes. Two minutes.
-You'll get your shot.
-REPORTER 1: Please, sir.
We've been waiting for so long.
-REPORTER 2: Evening, sir.
-REPORTER 3: Come out.
Sir, sir!
Is it official?
Well, there were,
uh, a couple
of unexpected holdouts.
(solemn music playing)
I'm denied. Yeah?
-I'm afraid so, sir.
-All right.
Who were the holdouts?
Um, there were three,
led by the junior senator
from Massachusetts.
Young guy trying
to make a name for himself,
didn't like what you did
to Oppenheimer.
What's his name?
Uh, Kennedy.
John F. Kennedy.
Did you think that if you
let them tar and feather you,
that the world
would forgive you?
It won't.
We'll see.
Goddamn it.
(chuckles wryly)
You told me I'd be okay.
Yeah, well, I didn't have
all the facts, did I?
Here's a fact.
President Eisenhower pinned
the Medal of Freedom
on my chest last year
'cause I've always done
what's right for this country.
They don't want me
in the Cabinet room?
Well, that's... that's fine.
Maybe they should just
invite Oppenheimer instead.
Maybe they will.
I told you,
he turned the scientists
against me one by one,
starting with Einstein.
I told you about, uh, Einstein.
I saw him by the pond.
You did, but you know, sir,
since nobody really knows
what they said
to each other that day,
is it possible they didn't
talk about you at all?
Is it possible they spoke
about something, uh,
more important?
Mr. Strauss!
Over here! Mr. Strauss!
Oh. (chuckling)
(gentle music playing)
Thank you.
-(clears throat)
The man of the moment.
You once held
a-a reception for me.
In Berkeley.
You gave me an award.
You all thought that
I had lost the ability
to understand what I'd started.
So the award
really wasn't for me,
it was for all of you, hmm?
Now it's your turn
to deal with the consequences
of your achievement.
And one day,
when they've
punished you enough...
...they'll serve you
salmon and potato salad.
Make speeches...
...give you a medal.
Hello, Frank.
You're happy, I'm happy.
(gentle music continues)
EINSTEIN: Pat you on the back,
tell you all is forgiven.
Just remember...
...it won't be for you.
It'll be for them.
(suspenseful music playing)
When I came to you
with those calculations,
we thought we might
start a chain reaction
that would destroy
the entire world.
Mm, I remember it well.
What of it?
I believe we did.
(suspenseful music continues)
(rhythmic stomping)
(music tempo quickening)
(engine rumbling)
(up-tempo music continues)
(music fades out)
(sentimental music playing)

(music fades)