Oppenheimer: Fans say they have spotted US flag blooper, Twitter reacts

While Oppenheimer has received widespread critical acclaim, one scene in the movie has drawn attention to what some Twitter users suggested was historical inaccuracy

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Universal Pictures via AP (left) and AP Photo.
Universal Pictures via AP (left) and AP Photo.

Published: Tue 25 Jul 2023, 12:06 PM

Last updated: Tue 25 Jul 2023, 1:32 PM

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer has been widely discussed among cinema fans and film experts alike. The film, which has cemented its place as a summer blockbuster, has been the topic of several passionate discussions about J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as the ‘Father of the Atomic Bomb’, and the impact of his invention beyond the context of World War II.

While Oppenheimer has received widespread critical acclaim and managed to rule the box office, one scene in the movie has drawn attention for what some Twitter users suggested was a historical inaccuracy.

Eagle-eyed fans were quick to point out what they claim was a mistake in this three-hour epic starring Cillian Murphy. In the scene, the 47-year-old Irish actor stands amidst a cheering crowd, all waving American flags with white stars representing 50 states. However, in the context of the scene set in the mid-1940s, the United States had only 48 states, making the flag inaccurate as the number of stars on the flag represents the number of states.

The 50-star flag was introduced in 1959, established by then-president Dwight D. Eisenhower with Executive Order 10834. The scene in the movie is set in 1945, when the US flag had 48 stars.

Pointing it out, one user said, “It was good and all, but I will be that guy and complain they used 50-star flags in a scene set in 1945.”

“Imagine being paid a hefty amount of money to be the set dresser for Oppenheimer and using the wrong flags for the time period in a historical piece movie,” another user said.

“God knows how much I love Christopher Nolan and his works all these years but the fact that Oppenheimer used the 50-star flag for the event set in 1945 just makes me question everything,” gushed another.

Offering an alternative explanation, one fan said, “I can argue that this is done intentionally as the coloured 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.”

In addition to Cillian Murphy in the titular role, Oppenheimer also stars Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Kenneth Branagh, Josh Hartnett, and Casey Affleck.

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