Christopher Nolan`s Oppenheimer has opened a can of worms ever since it was released on Friday, July 21. The film has been the site of controversy from everything from historical accuracy to ethical dilemmas surrounding the depiction of a war that continues to have ramifications up until the present day.
Recently, a Twitter user highlighted a potential historical error in a scene involving lead actor Cillian Murphy, who embodies the role of J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as the father of the atomic bomb – and also the theoretical physicist on whose life the film is based.
So, what is this alleged inconsistency? A Twitter user, @AndrewRCraig, shared a snapshot of a scene where Murphy, playing Oppenheimer, is surrounded by a crowd waving American flags. However, @AndrewRCraig noted that the scene, which takes place in 1945, depicts flags with 50 stars, whereas the American flag of that era should only have 48 stars. In his tweet, Andrew stated, “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 National Archives Foundation, the nonprofit partner of the National Archives, acknowledged Andrew`s observation by retweeting his post and adding, “It’s us, we’re the guy.”
It took no time for Twitter netizens to jump into the frenzy. One of the responses to Andrew`s tweet read, “This will be nails on a chalkboard to Nolan when he realizes.” Another user related the error to a continuity flaw from Christopher Nolan`s 2012 film, The Dark Knight Rises, remarking, “This is Batman going into the tunnel in daylight and coming out the other end at night in Rises kind of mistake.” Further criticisms were raised about the flag`s quality: “Also the flags seem poorly printed… there’s no padding between the bottom row of stars and the boundary of the canton.”
It was good and all, but I’ll be that guy and complain they used 50-star flags in a scene set in 1945. pic.twitter.com/nvcwpGFkzh
— Andy Craig (@AndrewRCraig) July 21, 2023
One Twitter user offered a defense, explaining that this `historical inaccuracy` could be a deliberate creative decision to reflect the viewpoint of the protagonist. They justified this, saying, “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.” When someone countered, “I Robert Oppenheimer is dead bro,” the original user retorted, “Not before 50 states.”
The film was also recently mired in controversy over the Bhagavad Gita, a holy scripture for Hindus, being referenced during a sex scene in the movie.