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Plot, Details & Awards

Breaking the Code

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Plot & Details

Originally produced for the BBC and Masterpiece Theatre, Breaking the Code tells the life story of the famed mathematician and computer science pioneer Alan Turing, the primary designer of the Turing Machine, an early computer used to solve the German Enigma code during World War II, a solution many believe was instrumental in the Allied victory. The title refers to both the solution of the Enigma code and Turing's open admission to his homosexuality, which at the time violated not only the codes of polite society but British law. Hugh Whitemore's screenplay, based upon his play and Andrew Hodges' book Alan Turing: The Enigma, frames Turing's life as a puzzle, beginning in 1952 with the mysterious robbery of some of the mathematician's few possessions. The rest of the film travels backwards and forwards through time, providing associative glimpses of Turing's past and present, including his school days, his wartime efforts, and his post-war experiences. Discussions of his mathematical and logical work alternate with glimpses of his turbulent personal life, including his boyhood love, the unrequited attentions of his female assistant, and his later relationships with younger men, drawing connections between his theoretical work and his personal traumas.

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