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Oppenheimer true story - Who was J. Robert Oppenheimer?

Cillian Murphy plays World War Two scientist J Robert Oppenheimer in the new Christopher Nolan movie. So let's delve a little into the Oppenheimer true story.

Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer

Who was J. Robert Oppenheimer? Cillian Murphy is playing a real-life historical figure in the new Christopher Nolan movie, Oppenheimer. So it’s worth taking a look at the man behind the moniker and delving into why he’s the subject of a movie.

Oppenheimer will be one of the biggest new movies of the summer. After all, the best Christopher Nolan movies always make for an event. This time around, Nolan is working with a glittering ensemble of top Hollywood names. In fact, the Oppenheimer cast might be his starriest array of actors ever.

But who was J. Robert Oppenheimer, and what can we expect from Murphy’s central performance as we look ahead to the Oppenheimer release date? Let’s open up our history books and learn more about the man behind the atomic bomb, and what he got up to after the war.

Who was J. Robert Oppenheimer?

J. Robert Oppenheimer, played by Cillian Murphy in the new movie, was a physicist referred to as “the father of the atomic bomb” due to being the director of the Los Alamos Laboratory, which produced the bombs during World War Two.

Before the war, Oppenheimer worked in the field of theoretical physics and made advances in quantum mechanics and nuclear physics. In 1943, he was recruited to fly to New Mexico and head up the Los Alamos Laboratory as part of the Manhattan Project, working on the possibility of developing nuclear weapons.

Cillian Murphy plays J Robert Oppenheimer in the new movie Oppenheimer

He was present at the Trinity Test of the first nuclear explosion and famously quoted the Hindu scripture Bhagavad Gita in relation to that day, particularly the words: “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

Within two weeks of the detonation of nuclear bombs over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Oppenheimer visited the White House and pushed for nuclear weapons to be banned.

In later years, his security clearance was revoked amid hearings around his left-wing politics and connections to the Communist Party. This minimized his ability to influence policy around science and weapons, though he continued to lecture and write about these issues for the rest of his life.

Oppenheimer died aged 62 in 1967, having previously been diagnosed with throat cancer. In 2022, the US government vacated the decision to revoke his security clearance, saying the process had been “flawed”. This restored Oppenheimer’s legacy as someone loyal to their country.

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Hopefully, you’re now ready to experience Oppenheimer on the big screen, so check out our guides on how to watch Oppenheimer, the Oppenheimer age rating, and the Oppenheimer cinema formats you can see the film in. You can also find out how the Oppenheimer movie was all Robert Pattinson’s fault and learn why we love Christopher Nolan competing with himself.

We’ve also got plenty more information on the best movies still to come this year, including The Equalizer 3 release date, the Dune 2 release date, and The Marvels release date. And then, of course, there’s the Barbie movie release date. That Barbenheimer double bill is still available, so book it now.