What did Oppenheimer say to Einstein?

As Oppenheimer arrives in theaters, we're here to unpack every major detail about the new Christopher Nolan movie. Here's what Oppenheimer said to Einstein.

Tom Conti as Einstein in Oppenheimer

What did Oppenheimer say to Einstein in the new movie? Christopher Nolan is back, this time swapping science fiction for science non-fiction with a movie about the creation of the atomic bomb in World War 2.

Following J Robert Oppenheimer at the center of the Manhattan Project, the new movie sees great scientific minds from across the 20th century come together a create a weapon which can end the war, and potentially humanity. The magnitude of the situation is at the heart of the film which, as we say in our Oppenheimer review, is brilliant in moments.

But also propelling the narrative is interpersonal relationships and conflicts. Lewis Strauss hates Oppenheimer for a number of reasons, and one of these is because he thinks Oppenheimer said something malicious about him to Einstein. We see this scene in the movie twice, but what does Oppenheimer say to Einstein, exactly?

What Oppenheimer says to Einstein explained

The conversation we see between Oppenheimer and Einstein focusses on coming to terms with the creation of the atomic bomb, its potential for the destruction of humanity, and the moral weight of this which rests on their shoulders. Oppenheimer didn’t say anything to Einstein about Lewis Strauss, despite Strauss’s suspicions.

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In their conversation, Einstein and Oppenheimer recall their worries that an unintentional chain reaction from the Trinity Test might destroy the world, and Oppenheimer says, “I believe we did”. Einstein also tells Oppenheimer to remember that when he is eventually celebrated for his achievements to, “just remember, it won’t be for you.”

The conversation is the pair, two of the greatest scientific minds to ever live, reckoning with the moral and philosophical consequences of their actions. It’s a brilliant book-end to the movie, especially as it reveals that Strauss’s belief that Oppenheimer and ruined his reputation in the eyes of Einstein were unfounded.

For more on Oppenheimer, you can check out our guide to the Oppenheimer ending explained and see where you can watch Oppenheimer in 70mm IMAX. You can also find out how Nolan filmed the atomic bomb scenes in Oppenheimer, and learn what the next Christopher Nolan movie will be.

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