3 Significant Historical Inaccuracies In The Imitation Game


The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is being critically lauded as one of the best films of the year. The film, based on true events, is about the brilliant mathematician and famous codebreaker Alan Turing who, in the late 1940s, was charged with homosexual activity and eventually medically castrated for his so-called “crimes.” Like any historical film based on true events, The Imitation Game takes liberties with real life for the sake of cinema and story. Just how accurate is the film? Let’s take a look at 3 significant inaccuracies present in the movie’s final edit.


Alan Turing’s personality

The “Cumberbatch” version of Alan Turing is depicted as being on the autism spectrum, or at least on the border of the spectrum. He is very socially awkward and distant, is unable to understand people’s jokes and non-literal sayings, and has various obsessive quirks such as ensuring that his peas and carrots are completely separated on his plates.

In real life, Turing was described by his friends and colleagues as somewhat shy but humorous, with many close friends. In the film, he is distant, detached and almost clinical; this also goes against how the real-life people who knew Turing described his personality.

Detective Nock isn’t real

the-imitation-games-naziDetective Nock, the detective assigned to investigate Alan Turing’s charges of ‘indecency’ in the film’s portrayal of events is a completely fictional character. In reality, the detectives assigned to the case knew about Turing’s homosexuality, and Turing never attempted to hide it from them.

Commander Denniston and Turing did not feud

In the film, Command Denniston (played by Charles Dance) is depicted as a self-important, very strict officer who takes an immediate disliking to Turing because of Turing’s lack of respect towards military protocol and hierarchy. In the film, Denniston tries to have Turing fired from the official Government Code and Cypher School because his machines don’t work fast enough.

This depiction is universally false and the relatives of the real-life Denniston have openly stated that they are highly disappointed with his depiction in the film. The real-life Denniston never tried to have Turing fired and there are no recorded instances where Turing and Denniston faced off. While Turing’s colleagues wrote that he had “little time for Denniston” because of Denniston’s reliance on military protocol that Turing openly disliked, the two never had more than a slight personality clash. Find more entertainment options right over here.