Biography of the American physicist who led the U.S. effort to develop the atomic bomb during World War II, only to find himself suspected as a security risk in the 1950s because of his ... See full summary »




Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »




Series cast summary:
 Robert Oppenheimer (7 episodes, 1980)
 Narrator (7 episodes, 1980)
Christopher Muncke ...
 Colonel Kenneth Nichols / ... (6 episodes, 1980)
Jana Shelden ...
 Kitty Oppenheimer / ... (6 episodes, 1980)
 Enrico Fermi (6 episodes, 1980)
 Edward Teller (6 episodes, 1980)
Manning Redwood ...
 General Leslie Groves (5 episodes, 1980)
Peter Whitman ...
 Robert Serber (5 episodes, 1980)
Matthew Guinness ...
 Hans Bethe (5 episodes, 1980)
Bob Sherman ...
 Ernest Lawrence (4 episodes, 1980)
John Morton ...
 Robert Wilson (4 episodes, 1980)
 Frank Oppenheimer (4 episodes, 1980)
 Isidor Rabi (4 episodes, 1980)
 John Manley (3 episodes, 1980)
Liza Ross ...
 Jacky Oppenheimer (3 episodes, 1980)
Blain Fairman ...
 Robert Bacher (3 episodes, 1980)
Kate Harper ...
 Jean Tatlock (3 episodes, 1980)
Erica Stevens ...
 Charlotte Serber (3 episodes, 1980)
 Haakon Chevalier (3 episodes, 1980)
Peter Banks ...
 Joseph Volpe (2 episodes, 1980)
 Lewis Strauss (2 episodes, 1980)
David Baxt ...
 Colonel John Lansdale (2 episodes, 1980)
 George Kistiakowsky (2 episodes, 1980)
 Rossi Lomanitz (2 episodes, 1980)
Colin Bennett ...
 Seth Neddermeyer (2 episodes, 1980)
Billy J. Mitchell ...
 Captain 'Deke' Parsons (2 episodes, 1980)
Rosemary Faith ...
 Mitzi Teller (2 episodes, 1980)
Christopher Malcolm ...
 Steve Nelson (2 episodes, 1980)
Sarah Brackett ...
 Priscilla Duffield (2 episodes, 1980)
Douglas Lambert ...
 Kenneth Bainbridge (2 episodes, 1980)
 F.B.I. Agent (2 episodes, 1980)
 F.B.I. Agent (2 episodes, 1980)
Nigel Anthony ...
 Scientist (2 episodes, 1980)


Biography of the American physicist who led the U.S. effort to develop the atomic bomb during World War II, only to find himself suspected as a security risk in the 1950s because of his increasing ambivalence about the effect of his life's work. Written by scgary66

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

11 May 1982 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(7 episodes)

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


J. Robert Oppenheimer: We had a very interesting study group this summer. Perhaps, too interesting. Much of it was Edward Teller taking us down some pretty strange paths. Have you met Edward, yet? Amazing man. At one point he stopped us cold with calculations that seemed to indicate the heat build-up in a fission explosion could cause a reaction between deuterium and nitrogen.
Gen. Leslie Groves: Meaning?
J. Robert Oppenheimer: We could set fire to the world's atmosphere.
Gen. Leslie Groves: My God!
J. Robert Oppenheimer: It's alright. Hans Bethe checked the figures and it seems Edward had been a ...
See more »


Referenced in Did You See..?: Episode #1.5 (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

BBC 1980 Oppenheimer coming on DVD!
8 March 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I posted on IMDb on this series recently, giving a snail mail address at the commercial arm of the BBD where one would write to appeal release. I wrote to that address, mentioning Sam Waterson and his popularity prominently. I just received the following reply:

From: Subject: Oppenheimer Date: May 14, 2006 1:44:00 PM MDT To:

Dear Kate,

I work for the BBFC, the British equivalent to the MPAA, and we classify DVDs and videos as well as films in this country. Anyway, I am currently in the process of giving a certificate to the 1980 miniseries 'Oppenheimer.' While researching the work on the IMDb, I noticed your post and thought you might like to know that the work is about to be released (hence the need for a certificate).

I don't know which company is distributing it, but keep your eyes peeled!

Kind regards,

Emily +++++++++++++++++


I also want to contact Netflix re purchasing this.

Kate Killebrew I emailed the BBC recently regarding whether their terrific series Oppenheimer had ever been released on video or DVD. I have not been able to find it. I received the following reply. If you do write the BBC, be sure to mention that Sam Waterston is very popular in the US. You can also enter "Oppenheimer (1980)" on, and find a box to check to request release by the owner (BBC) and be notified when it's released.

Kate Killebrew

Here's the reply from the BBC:

Dear Kate

Thank you for your e-mail regarding 'Oppenheimer'.

I was interested to read that you would like a copy of this programme which you have enjoyed. I have checked the BBC Shop and on-line retailers and can find no record of it being available. We are unaware of plans at present to release this programme on DVD. However, if you would like to make a suggestion, can I suggest you put it in writing to the commercial arm of the BBC:

Commissioning Editor BBC Worldwide Ltd Woodlands 80 Wood Lane London W12 0TT

May I thank you again for taking the time to contact the BBC.


Elaine Hunter BBC Information ______________________________________

-----Original Message-----

{Comments:} i am trying to find a copy of the terrific BBC production "Oppenheimer', a six part series made in 1980 with Sam Waterston from a book/script by Peter Prince. I watched parts of it then on PBS American Playhouse, but can't find it on video anywhere.

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