Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer: Release date, trailer, cast, plot & more

Cillian Murphy in OppenheimerUniversal Pictures

Blockbuster behemoth Christopher Nolan is back with his most challenging project yet: Oppenheimer. As the movie draws near, here’s everything we know so far, from its star-studded cast to a breakdown of early plot details, trailer, release date, and more.

Approaching three years since Tenet hit the big screen, Nolan’s next ambitious project is now on the horizon as the modern auteur sets his sights on a period piece tackling World War II’s nuclear Manhattan Project, led by J. Robert Oppenheimer.

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The filmmaker has famously avoided using CGI as much as possible, instead pumping his big budgets into creating jaw-dropping set pieces – which is one of the reasons we’re so excited to see how he handles the birth of the atomic bomb on the big screen.

In the lead-up to the release of the film, here’s everything we know so far.



Oppenheimer screenshotUNIVERSAL PICTURES
Oppenheimer follows the story of the atomic bomb’s creator and the devastation it caused.

Oppenheimer release date: When is it out?

Oppenheimer is slated to release on Friday, July 21, 2023.

While this date was locked in well ahead of time, it’s always worth bearing in mind that even the best-laid plans can be disrupted.

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There are no signs of a delay just yet, but as we all know, there’s always a chance things are adjusted closer to launch. With Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie currently set to release on the very same day, it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Oppenheimer trailers

The first official trailer for Oppenheimer dropped on December 18, 2022. You can watch it below:

Another trailer was also shared on May 8, 2023, teasing a nail-biting ride and the appearance of Florence Pugh. You can watch it below:

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At CinemaCon in April 2023, attendants were treated to a preview of the extended clip. IGN said the preview teases “Russian spies” and “the end of the world,” while also giving “a closer look at how the film switches between IMAX and Black & White IMAX, with color scenes set during WW2 while black and white scenes are set during other periods.”

Nolan gave a presentation ahead of the screening, telling the audience: “Like it or not, J. Robert Oppenheimer is the most important person who ever lived. The story is both dream and nightmare. It offers no easy answers.”

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Oppenheimer plot: What is it about?

Oppenheimer’s plot is loosely set to mirror the retelling found in American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a 2005 biography of his contributions that led to him being known as the “father of the atom bomb.”

This book covers much of Oppenheimer’s life story, not exclusively the Manhattan Project period in the 1940s. So there’s a chance Nolan’s film delves beyond the epochal moment itself, providing greater insight into the man that was Oppenheimer and what led to his career as a theoretical physicist.

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Based on early footage, it does appear the story will continue forward and cover the launch of the first atomic bomb itself, given a countdown timer signified the moment of impact for the initial trailer.

Oppenheimer cast: Who’s in it?

Nolan is never one to shy away from an A-list heavy cast in his monumental projects and Oppenheimer is no different. Well over a dozen renowned actors are set to appear in some capacity as Cillian Murphy leads the story in Oppenheimer’s shoes.

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Emily Blunt serves as ‘Kitty’, his wife, while the likes of Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Rami Malek, and Kenneth Branagh are also set to appear. Below is a full rundown on the cast as it stands today.

  • Cillian Murphy – J. Robert Oppenheimer
  • Emily Blunt – Kitty Oppenheimer
  • Florence Pugh – Jean Tatlock
  • Robert Downer Jr. – Lewis Strauss
  • Matt Damon – Leslie Groves Jr.
  • Gary Oldman – Harry S. Truman
  • Rami Malek – TBA
  • Kenneth Branagh – TBA
  • Jack Quaid – TBA
  • Casey Affleck – TBA
  • Olivia Thirlby – TBA
  • James Remar – Henry Stimson
  • Josh Hartnett – Ernest Lawrence
  • Michael Angarano – Robert Seber
  • Gustaf Skarsgård – Hans Bethe
  • Alden Ehrenreich – Richard Feynman
  • Devon Bostick – Seth Neddermeyer
  • Dane DeHaan – TBA
  • Tony Goldwyn – TBA
  • Matthew Modine – Vannevar Bush
  • Scott Grimes – Counsel
  • David Dastmalchian – TBA
  • James D’Arcy – TBA
  • Jason Clarke – TBA
  • Alex Wolff – TBA
  • Josh Peck – Kenneth Bainbridge
  • Benny Safdie – Edward Teller
  • Emma Dumont – Jackie Oppenheimer
  • Dylan Arnold – Frank Oppenheimer
  • Tom Conti – Albert Einstein
  • Jefferson Hall – Haakon Chevalier

Oppenheimer runtime

While an exact runtime hasn’t yet been confirmed, we know for certain it’s close to the three-hour mark. The IMAX print itself is 11 miles long, and playing in only select cinemas.

Nolan himself has revealed Oppenheimer will be his longest film yet, taking the record from Interstellar and its 2-hour and 49-minute duration.

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Matt Damon has also echoed this point, claiming he’s seen the finished product, stating: “It’s three hours. It’s fantastic.”

Oppenheimer behind-the-scenes updates

With a budget of $100 million behind it, filming for Oppenheimer took place between January 2022 and May 2022. Scenes were captured throughout New Mexico and California, with Nolan utilizing IMAX technology once again, this time innovating with the first black-and-white footage captured with the devices.

Nolan has also emphasized the importance of practical effects for this project, rather than recreating historic moments in digital form. For instance, the director revealed to Total Film that perhaps the biggest challenge faced during Oppenheimer’s production was the recreation of “the Trinity test”, the first nuclear weapon detonation in New Mexico, “without the use of computer graphics.

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“It’s a story of immense scope and scale, and one of the most challenging projects I’ve ever taken on in terms of the scale of it, and in terms of encountering the breadth of Oppenheimer’s story. There were big logistical challenges, big practical challenges. But I had an extraordinary crew and they really stepped up. I’m thrilled with what my team has been able to achieve.”

A number of new screenshots also surfaced on December 12 through Total Film’s coverage. Some showcased scenes in black-and-white, even revealing our first look at Downey Jr. in character as Lewis Strauss, while other images shared a behind-the-scenes look at Nolan calling the shots.

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As confirmed on June 1, we now know for certain Oppenheimer has been handed an R rating in the United States. Nolan’s first above the PG-13 rating since Insomnia in 2002.

We’ll be sure to update you here with any further developments as Oppenheimer’s release draws near.

That’s everything we know about Oppenheimer. In the meantime, check out our other upcoming TV and movie hubs below:

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