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The Imitation Game might be a surprising Best Picture nominee for some, but Hollywood loves World War II dramas. The film focuses on Alan Turing, a man who may have singlehandedly stopped Nazi insurgence across Europe and pioneered the invention of computers. He was also later persecuted for being a homosexual, which was illegal at the time.
Here are some facts in light of the liberties The Imitation Game took with its subject…
DETECTIVE ROBERT NOCK
Fiction: Robert Nock is a detective investigating Alan Turing for some unseemly homosexual behavior several years after the war. He serves as a framework for the WWII sequences in the film.
Fact: According to screenwriter Graham Moore, Nock was a fake character. He is used simply as a reference point for the film.
DID TURING DO IT ALONE?
Fiction: In the film, Benedict Cumberbatch’s Turing came up with the idea of the code-breaking machine all by himself.
Fact: Turing had some help redesigning the computer. Gordon Welchman, a mathematician who is not mentioned in the film, collaborated with Turing.
Fiction: The code-breaking computer Turing invents, he names Christopher, which is a reference to a young boy he fell in love with in school.
Fact: Turing’s machine was called the Bombe, named after an earlier Polish version of the code-breaking machine.
JOAN CLARKE’S ARRIVAL
Fiction: Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley) solves a near-impossible crossword puzzle in the newspaper, passes a test in a classroom among other math geniuses, and becomes a member of the team with Turing.
Fact: Joan Clarke was already employed at Bletchley Park performing clerical duties. She had been recruited by the Government Code and Cypher School. A former math whiz at Cambridge, her mathematical talents were again noticed at Bletchley, and she was promoted to work with the group in Hut 8, led by Alan Turing. She had also previously met Turing.
JOHN CAIRNCROSS, SOVIET SPY
Fiction: In the film, John Cairncross is discovered to be a Soviet spy, wiring directly with Turing’s team to decode the Naze Enigma Machine.
Fact: Cairncross’s relationship with Turing and the team is complete invention, made for dramatic effect. While he did work at Bletchley Park, Cairncross never participated in the code-breaking machine.