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A Compassionate Spy

  Steve James

  United States, United Kingdom     101 minutes


A tale of espionage, romance, and profound moral questions, A Compassionate Spy follows the remarkable story of Theodore Hall, a University of Chicago graduate who was plucked at the young age of 19 to work on the Manhattan Project to build the first atomic bomb. But soon after he joined the group, he passed crucial military secrets to Soviet intelligence. Oscar- nominated Chicago filmmaker Steve James (Hoop Dreams and Abacus: Small Enough to Jail) has crafted a deeply humanist documentary, combining polished reenactments of Theodore Hall’s life in the 1940s and ‘50s and intimate interviews with his longtime partner Joan Hall, who fled with him to England to evade the FBI. The film tells their fascinating lifelong story of love, intrigue, and the lengths to which some people will go to try to save the world.

Screenings & Events


Film Credits

  •   Mark Mitten, Dave Lindorff, Steve James
  •   Steve James
  •   Steve James
  •   Tom Bergmann
  •   Jeff Skoll, Diane Weyermann, Tim Horsburgh, Gordon Quinn
  •   Participant, Kartemquin Films, Mitten Media


Opening Night Patron

Michelle Hayward and Jeremy Anderson

Documentary Sponsor

Logo: WTTW (2019)

Documentary Patron

Cynthia Stone Raskin