The five episodes of Storia della bomba atomica are an outstanding specimen of a TV historical report, a genre successfully developed in Italy by Leandro Castellani, who has authored and directed several educational programs from the Sixties to the present. With Storia della bomba atomica (1964) Castellani started a long television project on the relationship between science and society, which continued with L’Enigma Oppenheimer (1964) and was ideally concluded by Ipotesi sulla scomparsa di un fisico atomico (1972), both included in the 2005 edition of Vedere la Scienza. As was the case for the movie on Majorana, Storia della bomba atomica was followed in 1965 by the publication of a book with the same title, bearing witness to the long and accurate research work carried out by Castellani while developing the script and the direction guidelines for this five-hour long special. Narration follows three different and intertwining paths: the historical events that led to the building of the bomb (featuring broad archive footage); the scientific discoveries that made it possibile (shown with the help of graphics and animation); and finally, interviews with key characters. Even after forty years, such an approach makes this report still appealing to a contemporary audience – first because the protagonists were still alive back then, and willing to talk about the life-shattering experience of the atom bomb; secondly because the questions asked, far from being trivial, are actually quite profound and to the point.
Awarded for Documentary session at the Prix Italia 1963.