Oppenheimer: Fan Spots Historical Mistake In Memorable Scene

By Klein Felt Updated:
Oppenheimer United States of America flag mistake

Some eagle-eyed fans have spotted a pretty major historical mistake in the nuclear epic, Oppenheimer.

Christopher Nolan's latest blockbuster opened to rave reviews, as the Dark Knight director tackled the life and times of J. Robert Oppenheimer (aka the grandfather of the nuclear bomb). 

The film movie has been called a "character study on the grandest scale" that transports audiences to different crucial moments in world history. 

This comes amid Nolan's notorious perfectionism with his films, which Oppenheimer seems to be no stranger to. 

Historical Error in Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer 1
Universal Pictures

During Oppenheimer's opening weekend, one fan (known as AndrewRCraig on Twitter) pointed out a historical error in Christopher Nolan's latest blockbuster. 

The mistake can be seen during the World War II victory speech given by Cillian Murphy's J. Robert Oppenheimer.

During the scene, several American flags are being waved by various Los Alamos residents which feature an incorrect number of stars.

Flag 1
Paramount Pictures

The flags in the film sport 50 stars (which would make sense in the modern day), but in the time in which this particular sequence is set (1945), the flag should only have 48 stars. 

Flag 2
US Flag

A 49th and 50th stars were not added until 1959 and 1960 respectively to honor the admission of Alaska and Hawaii into the United States. 

How Did Nolan Let This Slip By?

For a director as meticulous with his process as Christopher Nolan, it is a little surprising to see that he somehow let this tiny error slip through the cracks. 

For the most part, Oppenheimer does a pretty stellar job at immersing audiences into the various time periods of the movie. 

Ultimately, given just how good Nolan's latest film seems to be, a mistake such as this can be forgiven. 

This was likely the case of a props department using what they had without much thought about the complicated history of the American flag. In a movie where the crew practically recreated a facsimile for a nuclear explosion as well as all the period-accurate details the team did get correct, this flag detail is small potatoes. 

While it may provide moviegoers with a good laugh now, this flag callout will eventually fade into obscurity, being nothing more than a piece of trivia on Oppeheimer's IMDb page. 

Oppenheimer is playing in theaters worldwide now.

- 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.