A comment on the bullshit of egos and politics that halts scientific progress, it's certainly a message movie but little else. The film never really develops or humanizes its characters thus making it unmoving. And the Band Played On did a similar story much better, and was aided by an emotional dimension that brought a sense of humanity that this film tells but doesn't show.
This is the Paul Muni show, and he does not disappoint. As a scientist, I appreciate the accuracy in the storytelling. No major Hollywood embellishments to be found here really. This one of those movies that would never be made by a major studio today. Sad, really, because its such a gem. Best biopic ever? Maybe, or top 10 at least