A Compassionate Spy by Steve James

If you’re among them spasmodically waiting for Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, the movie about the father of the atomic bomb and Project Manhattan, Steve James’ A Compassionate Spy could be the best way to approach the story. This documentary (out of competition) directed by the two times Academy-nominated director, tells the story of Ted Hall, the younger senior physics at Harvard that in 1944, when he was only 18, was recruited for the classified project.

A Compassionate Spy is the true story of a genius with a passion for classical music and socialism. And it is also a love story that lasted more than 50 years, the time he spent with his wife Joan, who met at Chicago University after the war and was the only one to know his secret. Hall thought that the American exclusivity of the know-how of the atomic bomb was incredibly dangerous.

This concern was why he decided to inform the Soviet Union about how to build the bomb, especially after the unjustified euphoria of his colleagues after the explosions of Little Boy and Fat Man on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, while Japan was almost on its knees. Hall lived all his life surveilled by FBI. He was constantly suspected and intimidated and lived a life full of turns and twists.

“He didn’t do it for money – the director explains. – In his mind, he was trying to save the world”. “Now the situations in becoming more complicated again, especially between China and USA”, James continues, hoping that his movie could make people think about our present.


Usa, UK, 2022, Director Steve James, With Ted Hall, Joan Hall, Ruth London, Sarah Hall, Sarah Sax, Boria Sax, Joseph Albright, Marcia Kunstel, Daniel Axelrod Running Time: 101′

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.