The Secret of Nikola Tesla

Tajna Nikole Tesle

Yugoslavia, 1980, 115’

directed by: Krsto Papić

written by: Ivo Brešan, Ivan Kušan, Krsto Papić

cast: Petar Božović, Strother Martin, Orson Welles, Dennis Patrick, Oja Kodar, Boris Buzančić, Ana Karić, Charles Millot, Edo Peročević

cinematography: Ivica Rajković

edited by: Boris Erdelji

produkcija / production: Zagreb film

festivals and awards: 

Yugoslav Feature Film Festival in Pula 1980 – Grand Silver 

The Secret Of Nikola Tesla is one of very few biopics made in Yugoslav cinema. It is best known by the fact that Orson Welles himself appears in it in a short but memorable role. He plays American magnate J. P. Morgan, one of Tesla's financiers. Nikola Tesla, a young and gifted inventor, goes to America and starts working for famous Edison. There he attracts the attention of major financiers but also becomes a thorn in Edison's side, because the latter sees him as an unwelcome rival.


Born in 1933, died in 2013. A scriptwriter and director, Krsto Papić was one of the representatives of Croatian auteur cinema. He made numerous award-winning documentaries and features. Many consider his Handcuffs one of the best Croatian films. It won him the Grand Golden Arena at Pula Film Festival. Papić's acclaimed films include the fantastic horror The Rat Savior, My Uncle's Legacy (Grand Golden Arena and Critics' Award in Montreal) and Acting Hamlet In The Village Of Mrduša Donja