Oppenheimer's Christopher Nolan mocked as fan exposes historical blunder in Cillian Murphy thriller

Oppenheimer star Cillian Murphy

Oppenheimer viewers have spotted an error with a Cillian Murphy scene

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 25/07/2023

- 15:05

An eagle-eyed cinemagoer has spotted a distracting error during a key scene involving Cillian Murphy's J Robert Oppenheimer

Cillian Murphy has been gripping cinema audiences across the globe in the role of physicist and atomic bomb mastermind J Robert Oppenheimer.

Not only is Oppenheimer now one of the frontrunners for awards glory, but it's already grossed globally well over nine-figures from its opening weekend.

However, as more and more eyes get to watch Christopher Nolan's three-hour long box office smash, some are picking up on some rather distracting features.

This includes one fan who has taken to social media to highlight a historical inaccuracy in a key scene featuring Murphy's lead character.

The scene in question is set in 1945 and Oppenheimer is soaking in the applause at a rally after his creation is "successfully" deployed on two Japanese targets.

The Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and while Oppenheimer delivered a defiant and patriotic speech, it was clear he was wrestling with his own moral compass.

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer

Cillian Murphy takes on the lead role in Oppenheimer


Oppenheimer struggled to block out the dark thoughts and images he'd manifested after learning of the deadly consequences his work had garnered.

And during the rally, patriotic fans waved their American flags aloft and cheered in their droves for the "father of the atomic bomb".

However, it's these flags which pose a problem for history buffs who watched the film.

Oppenheimer viewer Andy Craig pointed out on Twitter: "It was good and all, but I’ll be that guy and complain they used 50-star flags in a scene set in 1945."

The US flag only had 48 stars on in 1945, with the two representing Hawaii and Alaska being implemented by 1960.

As the fan's observation went viral online, the responses and ridicule of Nolan soon followed suit.

"Christopher Nolan punching 50 holes in his wall rn [right now]," one fan joked.

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer as the physicist watches a bomb test

Oppenheimer tells the story of J Robert Oppenheimer played by Cillian Murphy


A second added: "I didn’t believe it til I saw it last night. I didn’t want to believe something so obvious was overlooked."

While a third was unimpressed: "It seems sloppy: they put substantial effort into everything else, but the 48-star flag was official from 1912 to 1959, it was the only US flag of the period.

However, a fourth offered a possible explanation: "I can argue that this is done intentionally as the colored scenes were from Oppenheimer's perspective, while the black and white scenes were from another.

"This would be a memory of Oppenheimer from his present day memory which does have 50 states on the flag." (sic)

Oppenheimer is available to watch in cinemas everywhere now.

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