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A Compassionate Spy


Runtime81 Minutes

A brilliant nuclear physicist, a passionate leftist, and the explosive secret they kept over a remarkable 52-year marriage.

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.


Editor / Writer

Steve James

Director of Photography

Tom Bergmann

Music Supervisor

Dawn Sutter Madell

Assistant Music Supervisor

Pedro Urgiles


Sierra Pettengill

Assistant Editor

Pedro Urgiles

Line Producer

Sarada Duvvuri

Production Manager

Erwin Burns

Production Coordinator

Brendan Brown

1st Assistant Director

Joshua Schilling

Location Manager

Gretchen Brown
Valerie Bulinski

Re-Creations Advisor

Maureen A. Ryan

Ted Hall

J. Michael Wright
Lucy Zukaitis

Joan Hall

Nicolas Eastlund

Savy Sax

Mickey O’Sullivan

FBI Agent McQueen

Matt Young

FBI Agent 2

Tom Goodwin

FBI Agent 3

Zach Twardowski

Ed Hall

Olivia Piper

Young Ruthie

Enzo Inalsingh

Sax baby

Kate Marie Smith

Susan Sax

Jackson James

Second Camera

Geoffrey Sentamu

Additional Cinematography

Lucinda Harstrick
Andrea Baker

1st Assistant Camera

Kevin Oliver-Krohn


Zak Piper

Sound Engineer

Andy Cook


Gene Fojtik
Regan Hudeck

Key Grips

Sean O’Leary
Collin Rogers
Alex Holzman


Laura Gordon

Production Designer

Stacy Buckner
Marco Miller
Set Decorator
Ronnie Kwasman

Art Directors

Chelsea Houlf
Chelsea Ross
Marco Miller
Tom Melvin

Set Decorator

Briggen Brikai
PT Clement
Alex Quintanilla
Lonnie Edwards
Dae Narciso
Nate Balano

Set Dressers

Kate Grube
Halley Sharp

Set Painters

Robin Lee
Kareena Gardner
Jarrod Page
Emma McCall
Kirrah Perkins

Art Assistants

Kim Patterson

Costume Designers

Coleen Sullivan
Vivian Guzman
Norman Sands

Wardrobe Assist

Sarah Cayce CSA

Hair and Makeup

Eve Rosenthal

Hair and Makeup Assists

Gabriela Medina

Casting Director

NK Gutierrez

Casting Associate

Raven Byerly
David Creighton
John Flores
Natalie Holly
Sergio Neyland

Casting Assistant

Crafty Chicago

Key PA

Second Camera
Jed Lindorff

Set Production Assistants

Stephen Hodge
Adriano Bravo
Stephen Hopkins
Ludovic Lasserre


Finbarr Pine

Location Production

Alanna Schmelter


Awards and Distinctions

Cambridge Film Festival (UK)

Official Selection


Camden International Film Festival

Official Selection


Chicago International Film Festival

Official Selection

Opening Night Selection


Palm Springs International Film Festival

Official Selection


Philadelphia Film Festival

Official Selection


Telluride Film Festival

Official Selection

U.S. Premiere


Venice International Film Festival

Official Selection