Back to Films

Film Detail

Add to research

Breaking the Code

  • slideshow_large


'Breaking the Code' tells the story of the mathematical genius, Alan Turing who, seconded to top secret Bletchley Park during World War II, designed the first computer, which enabled the Allies to crack the German Enigma code and, some would argue, win the war. On Churchill's instructions, Turing was given all the resources he required - and his personal behaviour was tolerated. Turing was a practising homosexual at a time when it was illegal.

At Bletchley, Turing's genius was recognised immediately - as perhaps were his sexual predilections. While discussing the practical applications of his scientific research, Turing speaks what is perhaps the central line of the film: 'I have always been willing - indeed eager - to accept moral responsibility for what I do'. It was that uncompromising stance, plus his unworldly genius which was Turing's strength in scientific research, but his personal undoing.

After the war, Turing continued research, but became progressively entangled in the law after voluntarily reporting a burglary to the police. When asked whom he suspects, Turing suggests a casual male lover. Surprisingly, he confesses to his homosexuality - it was illegal - and is charged. Later, Turing goes on holiday to Corfu and picks up a young Greek boy. Shortly afterwards, Turing commits suicide.

Summarised as baldly as this, 'Breaking The Code' sounds rather bleak: it is not. It is frequently funny, always compassionate and provides real insight into the dilemmas and problems homosexuality in a genius presents; not just to Turing, but to his family and professional colleagues.


Type of film
Running Time
90 mins
35mm Fuji
Herbert Wise
John Drury
Executive Producer
John Drury
Director of Photography
Robin Widgeon BSC
Principal Cast
Derek Jacobi, Prunella Scales, Richard Johnson, Amanda Root and Harold Pinter
Screen Writer
Hugh Whitemore


Production status


Please let us know if we need to make any amendments to this Film entry mailing us directly at

Last updated 26th November 2005

Production Company

The Drama House
1 Hertford Place
London W1P 5RS
Tel: 020 7388 9140
Fax: 020 7388 3511


Richard Price
Seymour Mews House
Seymour Mews
London W1H 9PE
Tel: 020 7935 9000
Fax: 020 7935 1992