Horizon: Season 23, Episode 16

The Race for the Double Helix (14 Sep. 1987)
"Life Story" (original title)

TV Episode  |   |  Documentary, History
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 631 users  
Reviews: 27 user

Watson and Crick race to find the structure of DNA before Linus Pauling, Maurice Wilkins, or Rosalind Franklin can find the key to unlocking the secret.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Betsy Brantley ...
Elizabeth Watson
John Moreno ...
Vittorio Luzzati
Daniel André Pageon ...
First Colleague
Yves Aubert ...
Second Colleague
Anthony Benson ...
Clive Panto ...
Max Perutz
Rupert Massey ...
John Kendrew
Geoffrey Chater ...
Nicholas Fry ...
Tom McCabe ...
Bill Seeds
Petronella Ford ...
Odile Crick


Watson and Crick race to find the structure of DNA before Linus Pauling, Maurice Wilkins, or Rosalind Franklin can find the key to unlocking the secret. Written by Kathy Li

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Release Date:

14 September 1987 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Was originally shown as a "Horizon special" on the BBC, Horizon being the name of BBC2's main science programme. See more »


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User Reviews

7 January 2007 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

What a difficult story to tell, but what a beautifully executed result. I loved the performances from all of the actors. Goldblum and Piggot-Smith are splendidly accessible, and Alan Howard is mesmerising and painful as the tormented Wilkins. I'm not a great scientist or fan of "accurate" history pieces, but I thought this was a fabulous piece of drama, and an invaluable one. More dramatic and dynamic than BRAVEHEART and more moving than TITANIC. A triumph! This film is strangely and hypnotically beguiling, interweaving the plots of scientists with all their flawed characteristics while describing the race to define the DNA structure with aplomb. And even more of an achievement considering the potentially dull details of the story.

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