'Oppenheimer' movie: Everything to know about the epic blockbuster – SFGATE

Cillian Murphy (center) plays Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer in Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer.”
Cillian Murphy stars as physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer in the 2023 film “Oppenheimer.” The scientist was the leader of America’s Manhattan Project, which created the first nuclear weapons.
The new "Oppenheimer" movie is finally here and there are plenty of reason to be excited by it, especially if you live in the Bay Area or grew up here.
The picture was partly filmed at U.C. Berkeley, among other places, and chronicles the life and work of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer. The controversial scientist taught at Berkeley from 1929 to 1943 before relocating to the desert of Los Alamos, New Mexico, where he helmed the creation of the first atomic bombs as part of the Manhattan Project.
Starring Cillian Murphy as Oppenheimer, Emily Blunt as his wife, biologist and botanist Kitty Oppenheimer, as well as Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr. and Florence Pugh, the IMAX-shot film was written and directed by Christopher Nolan. With "Oppenheimer" opening on July 20, keep reading for everything to know about the hot new movie, whether you're one of Nolan's devoted followers or are just a sucker for a good historical biopic.
Books on J. Robert Oppenheimer and the development of the atomic bomb, including the biography “American Prometheus” are among those on a bookstore shelf in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The 2023 movie “Oppenheimer” was based on “American Prometheus.”
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The biographical thriller centers around theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, who is referred to as the father of the atomic bomb — a distinction he came to almost immediately regret. Oppenheimer played a leading role in the Manhattan Project, America's World War II-era initiative to create the world's first nuclear weapons.
"Oppenheimer" touches on the title figure's early career in academia, including time overseas at the University of Cambridge and in Germany, but the vast majority involves his career at Berkeley, his time leading America's race to develop the atomic bomb in New Mexico and his 1954 U.S. security-clearance hearing that focused largely on his ties to the Communist Party.
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The movie is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer" by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, which was published in 2005. The acclaimed biography of Oppenheimer explores his life in detail, from his early education to his epochal contributions to physics at Berkeley, in Los Alamos and beyond.
The book's jacket describes its story as a "compelling portrait of a brilliant, ambitious, complex and flawed man." Nolan backed up that last part in describing his film's depiction of Oppenheimer during a recent interview with Total Film magazine. "I think of any character I've dealt with, Oppenheimer is by far the most ambiguous and paradoxical," the English filmmaker said.
That's saying something, considering this is the guy who made an entire movie about a mysterious vigilante with no short-term memory.
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Three men in suits walk across U.C. Berkeley’s Edwards Field in the “Oppenheimer” trailer. The new Christopher Nolan movie is set to be released in July 2023.
While the bulk of the movie takes place in New Mexico, as the creation of the atomic bomb unfolds, Bay Area locals will get to see Edwards Stadium on the big screen, home to the Cal's soccer and track and field teams. The stadium first opened in 1932 and has been seen in trailers for the film. As SFGATE previously reported, Cillian Murphy was also seen being filmed while walking into the Berkeley physics building, a hall that recently underwent a name change.
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If you've long been a fan of Christopher Nolan's movies, you'll know they tend to get lengthy. As with past favorites of his like "The Dark Knight," "Inception" and "Interstellar," be prepared to grab a large bucket of popcorn, sit back and settle in for an epic film. "Oppenheimer" is the longest movie he's released yet, clocking in at three hours.
Despite being a movie about the development of the world's most deadly weapons, violence and bloodshed are almost nonexistent in "Oppenheimer." But there is plenty of adult content, including graphic nudity. The Motion Picture Association rated "Oppenheimer" R for "some sexuality, nudity and language." There's also a lot of tobacco use.
Director Christopher Nolan (center) stands behind actor Cillian Murphy (far right) on the set of “Oppenheimer.”
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"Oppenheimer" goes back and forth between color and black-and-white cinematography but the majority of the film is in color. More notably, "Oppenheimer" has the distinction of being the first movie to have been shot in IMAX black-and-white analog photography, per IndieWire.
"Oppenheimer" has been a smash hit with film critics from the jump. The movie holds a score of 94-percent "Fresh" at Rotten Tomatoes, the aggregator of critical opinion. Audiences have seemed to agree so far, with the audience score being identical as of press time. Praise has been especially directed at Murphy's leading role and the visual style of the movie, a trademark for Nolan.
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Actors Cillian Murphy and Emily Blunt shoot a scene in Christopher Nolan’s 2023 movie, “Oppenheimer.”
The movie is slated to have a theatrical run of about 100 days, also according to IndieWire, meaning you'll be able to catch it on the big screen well into autumn. Special engagements during that run will include screenings in 70 mm, 35 mm and IMAX formats.
After that, "Oppenheimer" is expected to be available to stream, but it still may not hit Netflix at that point. The movie is being produced by Universal Pictures, which currently has a deal with Peacock to stream its new releases. However, that deal was set to expire after 18 months, which would be at the end of June 2023, according to USA Today, meaning the "Oppenheimer" streaming rights may be up for grabs.
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This story was edited by Hearst Newspapers Managing Editor Kristina Moy; you can contact her at kristina.moy@hearst.com.
Clint Davis is an associate editor for Hearst Newspapers and a writer who primarily covers sports, travel, entertainment and culture. When he’s not working, he’s watching old movies, playing old video games, playing drums or wrestling with his son and two big dogs.
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