Horizon (1964– )
28 user

The Race for the Double Helix 

Life Story (original title)
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.


Mick Jackson


William Nicholson, James Watson (book)
4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jeff Goldblum ... Jim Watson
Tim Pigott-Smith ... Francis Crick
Alan Howard ... Maurice Wilkins
Juliet Stevenson ... Rosalind Franklin
Betsy Brantley Betsy Brantley ... Elizabeth Watson
John Moreno John Moreno ... Vittorio Luzzati
Daniel André Pageon Daniel André Pageon ... First Colleague
Yves Aubert Yves Aubert ... Second Colleague
Anthony Benson Anthony Benson ... J.T. Randall
Clive Panto Clive Panto ... Max Perutz
Rupert Massey Rupert Massey ... John Kendrew
Geoffrey Chater ... Sir Lawrence Bragg
Nicholas Fry Nicholas Fry ... Raymond Gosling
Tom McCabe Tom McCabe ... Bill Seeds
Petronella Ford 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) See more »

Also Known As:

The Race for the Double Helix See more »

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Did You Know?


Jeff Goldblum, who portrays James D. Watson, later narrated the 5-episode documentary series "D.N.A.,"(2003), the first episode of which, "The Secret of Life," retold the same events portrayed in this film, following James D. Watson to original locations at Cambridge and King's College, and also featuring some of the original figures, such as Maurice Wilkins, Erwin Chargaff, Raymond Gosling, and Peter Pauling. See more »


Jim Watson: not my type.
Maurice Wilkins: what is your type?
Jim Watson: Large breasts!
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Come On-a My House
Written by Ross Bagdasarian and William Saroyan
Performed by Rosemary Clooney
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User Reviews

Good scientific history
9 May 2002 | by hitchsSee all my reviews

Not the world's best piece of film making, perhaps, but this is one of the most historically accurate movies ever made about science. As a biology teacher, I found it a great way to cover a rather difficult part of the syllabus. I'm sorry all those other biology students found it so boring; I can only hope that if their teachers had explained what was going on a bit better they would have found more to enjoy. This is a particularly good portrayal of the often bizarre and non-linear way in which science works, in contrast to the typical unrealistic expositions about the scientific method. The discovery of the structure of DNA was one of the most ground-breaking advances in 20th Century science, and one which is still having and will continue to have an enormous impact on our lives, so the value of the film as a depiction of history is very significant.

The only things that annoyed me were Jeff Goldblum's usual failure to speak clearly (made even worse in some scenes by talking with his mouth full of food) and all the rather puerile digressions (accurate though they may have been) about James Watson's tastes in girls.

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