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4.2 out of 5 stars
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4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 28 October 2013
I liked this film about Alan Turing because his story still seems not well known. As a brilliant British scientist he broke German codes in WW2 before laying the foundations of computer science. Then, as a gay man charged with indecent behaviour, he chose hormonal treatment and as a result committed suicide. The story is well told, well acted and requires no knowledge of mathematics, computers or gay actvity.
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on 27 December 2013
A documentary of Alan Turing's life told by people who were close with him. I've always been fascinated by his story and saddened by what they did to him. I really liked the movie, there are interviews with the actual people that new him and dramatization of parts of his life. I recommend it to everyone that is interested to learn more about Alan Turing's life and what kind of person he was.
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on 4 July 2014
Certainly well worth watching, but at times I found the juxtaposition of drama and documentary unsettling. The film assumes he suicided, but is this really known for sure ? Several writers, for example Copeland, seem to think a reasonable probability of accidental death exists. Also, Turing did not break codes without the critical help of a group of other people, for example Flowers, all of whom possessed extreme talent in one field or another. The achievements that were his and his alone were those in mathematics, but of course they are hardly the stuff of emotional drama, whereas homosexuality and injustice are. Provided the viewer knows enough to make these distinctions the film is well acted and compelling.
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"Codebreaker: The Alan Turing Story" (2013 release from the UK; 81 min.) is a documentary about Alan Turing, a British math genius who can be called the father of the computer. As the documentary opens, we are reminded that "the drama in this film is based on Alan Turing's writings, historical records, and accounts of those who knew him". After a short introduction where we see Turing talk to his shrink in Manchester, 1952, the documentary cuts back to the beginnings with archival pictures from his days at Sherborne School in 1926 where he develops a strong friendship (if not more) with a class mate. The class mate's death in 1930, just as they were about to start university at Cambridge was devastating to Turing, Turing eventually releases a paper in 1936 "On Computable Numbers", which signals the true dawn of the digital age, confirmed by such interviewees as Steve Wozniak (who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs) and others. Turing eventually broke the code of the German Enigma machine in WWII, a pivotal moment and making him a true hero in every respect. Yet, because of the secrecy of that program, Turing never got the recognition for it, and his homosexual orientation resulted in many troubles. At one point, Turing writes a letter to a friend when things are rough, and he signs off with "Yours in distress, Alan". To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out,

Couple of comments: first, watching this gripping documentary gives you a great perspective on the historical importance Turing had on many levels. Second, apart from the many interviews giving insight to Turing's life, there are quite a few historical re-enactments, primarily of Turing talking to his shrink, which I felt were the least effective part of the documentary. Instead, it was fascinating to watch how exactly Turing broke the code of the German Enigma machine, and later how he expanded into other fields such as mathematical biology in the early 50s (showing a mathematical basis as to why, say, stripes formed on the tiger or the zebra). In essence, Turing broke the code of nature similar to his breaking the code of the Enigma Machine. Third, it is truly shameful how this man, a true war hero, was treated by British authorities in the post-WWII era for being gay (which the British government later, after his death, apologized for).

Bottom line, I found this documentary to be very informative, and compelling on so many levels. It proves again that facts always trump fiction if you have a good story to tell. "Codebreaker: The Alan Turing Story" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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on 21 September 2013
Many years after the second world war the existence of the Bletchley Park codebreaking centre was disclosed and gradually more and more details of its operations and its importance were made known to the general public. Its role was absolutely crucial to the war effort as the breaking of the German Enigma codes, particularly with regard to the movement of U-boats in the Atlantic and intelligence about the disposition and movements of the German army enabled the allies to take effective counter measures. If anyone could be called the "star" of Bletchley Park it was Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician whose ideas were far ahead of his time and he has been credited with coming up with ideas that lead to modern day computers but he did not live long enough to see the fruits of his labour.

Like many very talented people Turing was an eccentric who was known to wear a gasmask when coming to work because he suffered from hay fever and he was known to wear pyjamas under his clothes. After the war he worked at Manchester University and produced some very advanced ideas about mathematics but his brilliant career was brought to a sudden halt when after reporting a robbery from his home by his friend Turing told the police that he was gay. As homosexuality was against the law in the mid 1950s the police were far more interested in this "crime" than discovering who had robbed Turing. He was found guilty of gross indecency and was told by the court that he could either go to jail or receive "treatment" by drugs to curb his homosexuality. He agreed to the latter course of action but this lead to tragic and probably fatal consequences.

Turing's contribution to his country by his work at Bletchley Park whose work was estimated to have shortened the war by a year with the consequent saving of millions of lives and his mathematical achievements afterwards were completely ignored and because of his sexual orientation his life was made unbearable by the intolerant attitude towards homosexuality and homosexuals. The government issued a belated apology in the 1990s for the way he had been treated but as he had been dead for about forty years it was a bit late for Turing.

A crime had certainly been committed but it was a crime perpetrated by the British establishment against a man who should have been made a national hero for what he did during the war and who should have been honoured for his work after the war. The British state that he did so much to preserve during the war rewarded his efforts by effectively killing him by its intolerance and bigotry.

"Codebreaker" is presented as a dramatised documentary with people who had known Turing providing fascinating information about him and he is shown in dramatised form with Ed Stoppard very effectively portraying Turing when he is talking to his psychiatrist. Through the testimony of people who knew Turing he comes across as a brilliant, decent, kind, likeable oddball who was too honest for his own good. He was tortured by grief after the premature death from TB of a schoolfriend and then after his brush with the law his life was made intolerable by the reactionary attitude prevailing at the time which thankfully have improved since then.

The country that he did so much for during the war didn't deserve him. If he had been allowed to live a full life who knows what further contributions he could have made to British society and culture.
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on 9 March 2014
i was a bit disappointed with the film, which focused on last year of Turin's life and made depressing subject matter, more emphasis should have been placed on this great man's pivotal role and massive contribution to the clandestine war effort
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on 18 November 2014
such a sad sad story, portrayed brilliantly by Stoppard and Goodman. What a disgrace that the British government has not posthumously declared him a hero. It is great that The imitation game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as Thuring, is out now. This Codebreaker DVD should be seen as an ESSENTIAL adjunct to understanding something of Alan Thuring's sheer genius.
This DVD is just the right length and is a dramatic biographical portrayal of the key part of Turing's life, featuring his one big love, a boy who tragically died at a terribly young age and who, in many ways, inspired Alan's amazing work output.
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on 11 January 2014
I found this documentary as compelling and also very sad for this uncelebrated genius and father of the conception of the modern computer as it is today. He will be forever in the fore front. It is with much sadness that the Police on finding he was a Homosexual were more interested in his sexuality than his genius regardless of the part he played during the 2nd world war. He was the man who cracked the German Enigma for the English. These mathematic geniuses were not even thanked for their contribution and without this man "Alan Turing" without a genius like Turing the War may have continued for several years. He effectively saved millions of lives and what did they do. Well get the DVD you will not be sorry to watch it. I had no idea. I was aware of ENIGMA a movie had been made about it starring Kate Winslet a while ago but there are other documentaries also. In the past week or so the Queen has come out and pardoned Alan and claimed they the English made a incredible mistake in the method of which they treated him. IMAGINE how much further the British would have done. Imagine their dominance with such a cerebral mind leading the conception of the Computer world far ahead of his time. Computers would have evolved far quicker than it did and Britain would have been its architect. They only have themselves to blame for the treatment of a national hero. As for me I felt devastated and saddened beyond belief that this is the manner great humans are treated. It is a great documentary and one worth watching. It is riveting and at the same timei felt very angry at the system.
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on 7 October 2015
This is an understated yet powerful account of the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of a brilliant mind. I have one criticism, however, hence its four stars. There are two versions of the film on this DVD, one of about 80 minutes, and the other of about 50 minutes. It is not made clear as to why there are two, and which is which. I ended up watching both, but the shorter one was not different enough to warrant the time spent watching. The main characters said very little- they did not have to - because their facial expressions, tone of voice and body language spoke volumes. It would be unfair to compare this with "The Imitation Game" as it had a slightly different emphasis. Well worth watching, though.
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on 20 February 2014
Film Enigma, A good film in it,s own right but full of half truths and misconceptions, but good entertainment. This is a sad story about the mistreatment by society of a brilliant man persecuted for his behaviour that should have been left as a private thing by a collection of wrong thinking narrow minded individuals who had no idea who he really was and the debt owed to him by every one in this country and the world trying to put a stop to the Nazi tyranny.
The so-called pardon came way to late to be of any use to this man who was effectively tortured to death by the British justice system that drove him to suicide, a loss of a creative brain of immense ability and incredible potential.
The British Government did many stupid,s after world war 2, this man,s contribution to the war effort was truly invaluable and as a thinker he was one of the greats, and talking of stupid,s Anthony Eden's decision at about the same time to send all the Russians back to their own country in Stalin,s era resulted in their deaths in the Goolags. We do seem to have had a fairly good sprinkling of idiots at this time in public office noted for their intolerance and stupidity.
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