Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer Gets Surprising Rating

By Klein Felt Updated:
Christopher Nolan Oppenheimer Cillian Murphy

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer was confirmed to have an unexpected rating weeks before the film is set to debut. 

The upcoming film from the English director will take a deep dive into the life and times of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the inventor of the atomic bomb, with the likes of Cillian Murphy, Florence Pugh, and Robert Downey Jr. headlining a stellar cast of top-tier Hollywood talent. 

Despite being more than a month from release, the wartime thriller has already etched its name into the records books, being named Nolan's longest film to date

Christopher Nolan Goes R-Rated

Oppenheimer poster

Thanks to a new TV spot, Christopher Nolan's latest film, Oppenheimer, was confirmed to be rated R for "some sexuality, nudity, and language."

This is the first R-rated film from the Dark Knight director since 2002's Insomnia featuring Robin Williams and Al Pacino. 

The R-rating will come as a shock to some because of the seemingly tame subject matter of the period drama, focusing on the behind-the-scenes work that went into the creation of the atomic bomb.  

In recent years, Nolan's movies have typically been PG-13 affairs, with only three previous films earning an R-rating, the aforementioned Insomnia, Memento, and his directorial debut Following

Even his other wartime drama Dunkirk was not rated R, instead earning a PG-13 rating. 

A full list of Nolan's films and their MPAA ratings can be seen below:

  • Following (1998) - R
  • Memento (2000) - R
  • Insomnia (2002) - R
  • Batman Begins (2005) - PG-13
  • The Prestige (2006) - PG-13
  • The Dark Knight (2008) - PG-13
  • Inception (2010) - PG-13
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - PG-13
  • Interstellar (2014) - PG-13
  • Dunkirk (2017) - PG-13
  • Tenet (2020) - PG-13

Why Is Oppenheimer Rated-R? 

Of course, Christopher Nolan has never shied away from mature content, but this Oppenheimer move is something different for the beloved director. 

What will likely be the big differentiator here from his past films is how far he pushes the things that typically appear in his movies. Most of his films feature frightening and/or intense sequences and language, but for Oppenheimer, it seems likely he will up that factor by just a bit. 

Plus, add in the fact that the movie is said to feature sexuality and nudity, and it starts to become a little clearer as to why the movie got an R-rating. 

Early in Nolan's career, it looked like he would have a trajectory similar to someone like Martin Scorsese, mostly focusing on R-rated prestige dramas and thrillers. However, he quickly was pulled into the world of superheroes and high-concept sci-fi. 

One could argue that, with this R-rating, Oppenheimer is the film getting him back onto that Scorsesian track. 

Now, it will be fascinating to see just what an R-rated period drama with Nolan's sensibilities looks like.

Oppenheimer comes to theaters on July, 21. 

- In This Article: Oppenheimer
Release Date
July 21, 2023
Cillian Murphy
Matt Damon
- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.