Historical Error Spotted in Christopher Nolan’s ‘Oppenheimer’ Movie Involving the American Flag

Christopher Nolan’s latest film, ‘Oppenheimer,’ has captivated audiences with its dive into 20th-century history. However, eagle-eyed historians recently noticed a mistake in one scene that features an anachronism involving the American flag.

The scene in question depicts J. Robert Oppenheimer, portrayed by Cillian Murphy, being greeted by community members in Los Alamos, New Mexico, during a specific time period. What caught the attention of observant viewers was the presence of American flags bearing 50 stars, which is historically inaccurate for the depicted era.

In reality, during the time portrayed in the film (set in 1945), the American flag had only 48 stars, representing the 48 states of the United States. Both Hawaii and Alaska were admitted to the union in 1959, more than a decade after the events of the Manhattan Project and the end of World War II, which are central to the plot of ‘Oppenheimer.’ The 50-star American flag was first flown on July 4, 1960, as recorded by the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

It’s worth noting that the apparent mistake is not consistent throughout the film, as other scenes featuring the American flag show the appropriate number of stars.

‘Oppenheimer’ is a biopic focused on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a theoretical physicist who gained prominence in the early 1900s and later played a significant role in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II through the Manhattan Project. The film explores various aspects of Oppenheimer’s life, both before and after the war, shedding light on his security clearance denial in the 1950s and the complexities surrounding the development of nuclear weapons.

Despite this historical error, ‘Oppenheimer’ has enjoyed critical and box office success since its release, contributing to the fourth-largest domestic box office weekend ever alongside the popularity of the film ‘Barbie.’ Interestingly, some moviegoers who originally intended to watch ‘Barbie’ found that screenings were sold out, leading them to opt for ‘Oppenheimer’ instead, as per a survey conducted by film-data research company, The Quorum.

The film boasts an impressive cast, including Cillian Murphy, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Robert Downey Jr., Kenneth Branagh, and many others. ‘Oppenheimer’ continues to be available in theaters for those interested in experiencing the epic biopic.