In Anticipation of OPPENHEIMER: Sloan-supported Films for You

Based on the 2005 Sloan-supported book American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin, Christopher Nolan’s eagerly-anticipated OPPENHEIMER hits theaters soon. While early, effusive reactions to the film have already begun to pour in and fans can catch the first five minutes on Indiewire’s Instagram, audiences are counting down the days until the film’s wide release on July 21, 2023. Looking for something to watch in the meantime? Below, we have curated a selection of Sloan-supported works that also explore the research, emotional toil, and political intrigue behind the development of nuclear weapons.


HABER. Dir. Daniel Ragussis. 2008. Fritz Haber was a brilliant German-Jewish chemist with one of the most amazing dual legacies in history. His revolutionary process for creating synthetic fertilizers averted the greatest overpopulation crisis the world has ever known and won him a Nobel Prize in 1918. However, Haber used his genius to create the first chemical weapon, which was used during World War I.

JORNADA DEL MUERTO. Dir. Matthaeus Szumanski. 1999. JORNADA DEL MUERTO is a tale of the psychological cost paid by those who worked on the atomic bomb. A scientist, wracked by guilt over the destruction and death that the bomb will cause, imagines that he has found a poor family living in a shack near the test site’s ground zero.


ADVENTURES OF A MATHEMATICIAN. Dir. Thor Klein. 2020. A personal drama about Polish immigrant and mathematician Stan Ulam, who moved to the U.S. in the 1930s. He deals with the difficult losses of family and friends all while helping to create both the hydrogen bomb and the first computer.

THE CATCHER WAS A SPY. Dir. Ben Lewin. 2018. Based on the best-selling book by Nicholas Dawidoff, this is the true story of Moe Berg–Major League Baseball player, Ivy League graduate, attorney who spoke nine languages–and a top-secret spy for the OSS who helped the U.S. win the race against Germany to build the atomic bomb.

Still from OPPENHEIMER, Courtesy of Universal

Looking to learn more about the trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer himself? We recommend the aptly titled 2009 PBS documentary:

THE TRIALS OF J. ROBERT OPPENHEIMER. Dir. David Grubin. 2009. J. Robert Oppenheimer's life and legacy are inextricably linked to America's most famous top-secret initiative–the Manhattan Project. But after World War II, this brilliant and intense scientist fell from the innermost circles of American science. This biography presents a complex and revealing portrait of one of America's most influential scientists.

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