I saw Oppenheimer last night (and it was Member Appreciation Night at my theater, so I got a half-price ticket plus a free popcorn and soda, whoop-whoop!). As you’ve probably heard, it’s really good — recommended. As you may also have heard, it contains a serious design goof. In a scene where Oppenheimer gives a speech to the Manhattan Project staff at Los Alamos National Laboratory after the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Japan (shown above), many of the employees wave small American flags. Just one problem: Those flags in the movie have 50 stars, which is historically inaccurate, because the scene is set in 1945, when America still had 48 states. Alaska and Hawaii were not added to the union until 1959.
But there are lots of other American flags — full-size, not hand-held — that appear in Oppenheimer. Do they also have 50 stars? From what I can tell after scouring the internet for still photos from the movie, the full-size flags appear to have the proper 48 stars. Here are some examples:
So they went to the trouble of getting the larger flags right, which makes it all the more surprising that they got the hand-held flags wrong!
A few other things from the film:
- As you can see in that last photo, Oppenheimer wore a “K-6” badge during his time at Los Alamos. That was his official employee ID number. He wore it throughout his time at Los Alamos, both in real life and in the movie — usually on his jacket lapel but sometimes on his belt. Other people working on the project wore similar badges:
- At a few points there’s a glimpse of a yellow stop sign. Why? Because stop signs didn’t become red until 1954:
- There’s a scene in which Oppenheimer meets with President Truman at the White House, shortly after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Although I couldn’t find a photo of this scene (anyone..?), I was stunned to see that Truman, played by Gary Oldman, is depicted wearing a bow tie in the Oval Office. I always thought of Truman as a man who wore a conventional necktie, but it turns out that he did indeed wear a bow tie at the Potsdam Conference in the summer of 1945, a few months before he met with Oppenheimer. I had no idea Harry went that route with his neckwear! But he was, after all, a haberdasher,
- There are lots and lots of military uniforms in the movie. I’m not qualified to say whether they were all accurate, period-appropriate, and so on, but I’m assuming they were. The main military figure in the film is Gen. Leslie Groves, played by Matt Damon. Here are some shots of him in uniform:
I think that’s it for my observations. Did anyone else notice anything Uni Watch-worthy in the movie?