Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More (2024)

Billboards and movie theater pop-ups across Los Angeles have been ticking down for months now: Christopher Nolan’s epic account of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, is nearing an explosive release on July 21, 2023.

Nolan movies are always incredibly secretive, twists locked alongside totems behind safe doors, actors not spilling an ounce of Earl Grey tea. But there are always curtains to pull to glimpse the magic behind the prestige, even with a Nolan film based on real events. So with more than five months left until IMAX theaters are packed to the brim, here’s everything we know about Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer:

Behind the Film

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More (1)

(Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon/©Paramount Pictures)

Christopher Nolan returns after three years and Tenet’s rocky pandemic-delayed release for his 12th feature film, Oppenheimer. The biopic about the infamous theoretical physicist represents a number of transformations for Nolan’s career. First and foremost, the film is his first with Universal Pictures following his dramatic split with his previous studio partner, Warner Bros., which had released all of his films since Insomnia. (Paramount and Warner Bros. shared distribution on Interstellar.)

In 2021, WB opted to debut their entire feature slate in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. In response, Nolan, an avid defender of the theatrical experience, called them “the worst streaming service.” Numerous studios — Sony, Paramount, Apple among them — engaged in a war to land production and distribution for Oppenheimer. Universal acquiesced to Nolan’s conditions, which included total creative control and a traditional theatrical window, and won out at the end of the day.

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More (2)

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Nolan’s production team has solidified, but slightly changed, too. Oscar-winning composer Ludwig Göransson, who is only a Tony away from an EGOT, returns after his first collaboration with Nolan on Tenet, furthering the question of whether Nolan’s famed partnership with Hans Zimmer is over or just on pause. Oppenheimer will mark the fourth Nolan picture shot by Dutch-Swedish cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema, who can literally carry an IMAX camera on his shoulders. And visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson (Mad Max: Fury Road, Dunkirk, Tenet) tag-teamed with long-time Nolan special effects supervisor Scott R. Fisher to simulate the nuclear tests. (More on those later.)

The newcomers, however, are 45-year veteran costume designer Ellen Mirojnick (Behind the Candelabra, The Greatest Showman, Bridgerton) and production designer Ruth De Jong, who worked with Van Hoytema and Universal on Nope.

The Cast

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More (3)

(Photo by Melinda Sue Gordon/©Universal Pictures)

Roughly 20 years after Cillian Murphy’s screen test for Nolan’s Batman Begins, which was so entrancing to the director that it led to Murphy’s casting as the villainous Scarecrow, the Irish actor finally steps into a leading role for one of his greatest cinematic partners. And if the trailer is any indication, with close-up after close-up, Murphy’s hypnotic eyes will be the window into one of the most complex minds in human history.

Matt Damon also steps up from secret role in Interstellar to mustached general Leslie Groves Jr. And the reunions run deep overall, as Oppenheimer features Casey Affleck (Interstellar), Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk, Tenet), James D’Arcy (Dunkirk), Matthew Modine (The Dark Knight Rises), David Dastmalchian (The Dark Knight), and Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Trilogy) as President Harry S. Truman.

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More (4)

(Photo by Emma McIntyre, Karwai Tang, Mondadori Portfolio, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

It seems that there wasn’t a place for a return of Harry Styles, but Nolan is tapping into younger audiences through Oscar nominee Florence Pugh. And there’s an unexpected additional avenue into the social media generation: Josh Peck, whose casting echoes Topher Grace’s appearance in Interstellar, begging the question of whether the Nolan household is a fan of early 2000s sitcoms.

The remainder of the cast is a who’s who of Hollywood stars. Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek, and Emily Blunt are the remaining big names, while Alex Wolff, Dane DeHaan, and Devon Bostick bring a bit of the indie darling vibe. And then there’s a deluge of That Guys, headlined by premiere That Guy Jason Clarke, but also including young Han Solo Alden Ehrenreich and Josh Hartnett, who, like Murphy, was nearly cast as Batman but turned down the role.

Perhaps the most tantalizing piece of the acting puzzle, however, is Tom Conti as Albert Einstein. The casting was not heavily reported on, but then, in the IMAX exclusive trailer ahead of Avatar: The Way of Water, bam, there was Einstein, a bombshell cameo to rival the obsessive superhero cameo culture.

The Story

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More (5)

(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)

At first glance, the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer’s involvement in the creation of the atomic bomb, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning bookAmerican Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, presents itself as a departure from the Nolan norm. He’s never done a biopic. He’s only directed two period films, both more explicitly in his wheelhouse. And he’s not usually one to tell a story based on real events. (The exception, Dunkirk, has close personal ties to Nolan’s British upbringing.) But upon closer inspection, the film is a culmination of Nolan’s most prominent interests.

Nolan is principally a materialist. In The Dark Knight trilogy, he envisions Batman as empowered by military technology and Gotham as simply Chicago. In Interstellar, his sci-fi is simply an expansion of what the world’s top theoretical physicists are discussing. In The Prestige, the fantastical takes a backseat and the big twist is that — spoilers! — there was simply a twin brother. In that lens, it only makes sense that Nolan would make a film about the man who made the most powerful object in human history.

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More (6)

(Photo by ©Universal Pictures)

Nuclear weapons, in particular, have been present in Nolan films for over a decade. The Dark Knight Rises revolves around a neutron bomb. When promoting Interstellar, the director told The Daily Beast that such weapons are one of his greatest fears. And Tenet even namedrops Oppenheimer. When Oppenheimer producer Charles Roven (The Dark Knight trilogy) suggested the book to Nolan, it’s easy to see why the director signed on so quickly.

And while this is Nolan’s first biopic, the director nearly made one about Howard Hughes two decades ago. Jim Carrey was to star and Nolan calls it “the best script I’ve ever written,” but it was scrapped once Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator went into production. Nolan put many of those thematic interests into Bruce Wayne. And if certain lines in the IMAX exclusive trailer are any indication — “You’re a dilettante, you’re a womanizer, unstable, theatrical, neurotic” — some may have also found a place in Oppenheimer.

IMAX and Explosions

Oppenheimer will feature footage in color and in black-and-white, harkening back to the director’s breakout film, Memento. But the IMAX-obsessed Nolan encountered an immediate technical hurdle: no one had ever shot on IMAX film in black-and-white before.

“So we challenged the people at Kodak and Fotokem to make this work for us,” Nolan told Total Film. “And they stepped up. For the first time ever, we were able to shoot IMAX film in black-and-white. And the results were thrilling and extraordinary.”

However, no hurdle would be greater for the practical-forward director than simulating the Trinity Test, the first detonation of a nuclear weapon. Details are sparse, but Nolan confirmed to Total Film that his team accomplished it without CGI. Given how unprecedented even a tiny fraction of an atomic explosion would be for a film production, one must ask if miniatures and/or forced perspective were used. But as with all Nolan movies, only time will tell.

Oppenheimer opens in theaters on July 21, 2023. Get your tickets now.

On an Apple device? Follow Rotten Tomatoes on Apple News.

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More (2024)


Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer: Release Date, Trailer, Cast & More? ›

Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb, is nearing an explosive release on July 21, 2023.

Is Oppenheimer 18+? ›

The R rating for Oppenheimer was earned through heavy themes, sex scenes, nudity, and mature language throughout the movie.

What did Oppenheimer say to Einstein? ›

Oppenheimer asks Einstein if he recalls when they worried a chain reaction from the bomb might destroy the world; Einstein remembers. “I believe we did,” Oppenheimer replies. Though the exchange came from Nolan's imagination, it really ends the movie with a bang. This article has been updated.

What happened to Oppenheimer's children? ›

Soon after his father died, Peter permanently moved to northern New Mexico to live at a residence his father had purchased years earlier, the Perro Caliente ranch, according to the AHF. According to the AHF, Peter still lives in New Mexico working as a carpenter and has three children: Dorothy, Charles and Ella.

What is Nolan's next movie after Oppenheimer? ›

FAQs: What will now Christopher Nolan do now? Christopher Nolan is most likely to focus on the mystery-thriller 'The Prisoner', based on the 1960s TV series created by and starring Patrick McGoohan. Nolan was attached to this project in 2009 and now may direct it.

How many F words are in Oppenheimer? ›

For the most part "Oppenheimer" has about as much language as many of Nolan's other films, like "Inception" or the "Dark Knight" saga. Where it differs is about eight to 10 F-words sprinkled throughout the movie. They do not come all at once, and they are not constant.

Is Oppenheimer ok for a 12 year old? ›

The film shows nearly constant smoking of cigarettes and some scenes which include drinking, yet there is little focus laid on substance use. In general, it would be suitable for teens of 15 and up.

What was Oppenheimer's IQ? ›

Summary. Oppenheimer's IQ of 135 places him in the 99th percentile of intelligence, while Einstein's estimated IQ is 160, in the genius category. The IQ test oversimplifies intelligence, missing out on factors like creativity and emotional intelligence pivotal for Oppenheimer and Einstein.

What was Einstein's IQ? ›

Most theorists peg Einstein's IQ score between 160-190. Because he never took any kind of test to measure his intelligence, the definite score is still a mystery. But without a doubt, he was a brilliant man with an incredible brain.

What did Albert Einstein say before he died? ›

April 18, 1955—Albert Einstein dies soon after a blood vessel bursts near his heart. When asked if he wanted to undergo surgery, Einstein refused, saying, "I want to go when I want to go. It is tasteless to prolong life artificially. I have done my share; it is time to go.

Why did Oppenheimer give up his son? ›

His reluctance was rooted in his own frustrating experiences with psychotherapy, but it established a pattern that Sherr described as a father who “could not have a son who needed help.” For his part, Peter has given mixed accounts.

What was Oppenheimer's last words? ›

Oppenheimer" Last Words, "I believe we did"

What is Oppenheimer's religion? ›

The Oppenheimers were a non-observant Jewish family and sent young Oppenheimer to the Ethical Culture School founded on principles of rationalism and progressive secular humanism. As an adult, Oppenheimer said “my life as a child did not prepare me for the fact that the world is full of cruel and bitter things.”

How rich is Christopher Nolan? ›

Christopher Nolan's net worth in 2024 is estimated at a whopping $250 million, and that's likely on the conservative side. Nolan is one of the few Hollywood power players that commands both an upfront fee as well as a cut of box office grosses, and his cut is huge.

Who is Christopher Nolan's wife? ›

Dame Emma Thomas, Lady Nolan, DBE (born 9 December 1971) is a British film producer. She has produced all of the feature films directed by her husband Sir Christopher Nolan, which have grossed more than $6 billion worldwide and are regarded as some of the greatest films of their respective decades.

Will Hans Zimmer be in Oppenheimer? ›

Did not realize Hans Zimmer passed on Oppenheimer because he was just so excited to work on Dune — what a brilliant composer.

Why is Oppenheimer 16+? ›

This title has: Too much sex. Too much drinking/drugs/smoking.

What R rating is Oppenheimer? ›

In the UK, Oppenheimer has been given a 15 rating by the BBFC for “strong language and sex”. In the US, the movie has earned an R rating for “sexuality, nudity, and language”, meaning that anyone under the age of 17 will require an adult guardian to accompany them if they want to see the film in cinemas.

Why is Oppenheimer UA rated? ›

To get a U/A rating certification in India, the movie was edited to remove or censor all nudity using CGI.

What is the age rating for Oppenheimer NZ? ›

And the M-rating comes with an advisory that the film “contains sex scenes, offensive language, nudity and suicide”.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Twana Towne Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5513

Rating: 4.3 / 5 (64 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Twana Towne Ret

Birthday: 1994-03-19

Address: Apt. 990 97439 Corwin Motorway, Port Eliseoburgh, NM 99144-2618

Phone: +5958753152963

Job: National Specialist

Hobby: Kayaking, Photography, Skydiving, Embroidery, Leather crafting, Orienteering, Cooking

Introduction: My name is Twana Towne Ret, I am a famous, talented, joyous, perfect, powerful, inquisitive, lovely person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.