What Is Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ Film Based On?

Following his time-bending action thriller, Tenet, director Christopher Nolan has notably switched gears for his upcoming film, Oppenheimer. Starring Cillian Murphy and an all-star cast that includes Emily Blunt, Florence Pugh, Matt Damon, and Robert Downey Jr., the film marks Nolan’s second foray into history following the critically-acclaimed Dunkirk.

Based on the award-winning novel, American Prometheus, Nolan’s latest will center on the brilliant physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who’s best known as the “father of the atomic bomb,” for his work on the infamous Manhattan Project. Like the book, the film will grapple with Oppenheimer’s inner turmoil and attempts to control the terrifying power he helped unleash on the world following the Hiroshima bombing. Via The Pulitzer Prizes:

He was the author of a radical proposal to place international controls over atomic materials-an idea that is still relevant today. He opposed the development of the hydrogen bomb and criticized the Air Force’s plans to fight an infinitely dangerous nuclear war. In the now almost-forgotten hysteria of the early 1950s, his ideas were anathema to powerful advocates of a massive nuclear buildup, and, in response, Atomic Energy Commission chairman Lewis Strauss, Superbomb advocate Edward Teller and FBI director J. Edgar Hoover worked behind the scenes to have a hearing board find that Oppenheimer could not be trusted with America’s nuclear secrets.

As seen in the epic official trailer, Murphy’s Oppenheimer is visibly distraught over the creation of the hydrogen bomb, and yet he still continues with its testing and development. Based on the trailer, Oppenheimer appears to labor under the belief that once the weapon’s awesome power is fully demonstrated in the desert, there will be an immediate reluctance to use it. (Spoiler Alert: It doesn’t go that way.)

Oppenheimer hits theaters on July 21, 2023.

(Via The Pulitzer Prizes)