Oppenheimer, directed by Christopher Nolan, is continuing to break box office records in its second month of release.


The movie, which tells the true story of American scientist J Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy) and his involvement in the creation of the atomic bomb during the Second World War, is already the fourth-biggest film of the year so far.

Oppenheimer covers a huge amount of ground, jumping between time periods, which can make the characters and events difficult to track.

Luckily for you, RadioTimes.com has assembled a guide to the real people behind the first atomic bomb.

Here's everything you need to know about the Oppenheimer cast, including which actor is playing which character and where you might recognise them from.

More like this

Who's in the cast of Oppenheimer?

The full Oppenheimer cast list is as follows:

  • Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer
  • Emily Bunt as Katherine "Kitty" Oppenheimer
  • Matt Damon as Leslie Groves
  • Robert Downey Jr as Lewis Strauss
  • Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock
  • Josh Hartnett as Ernest Lawrence
  • Casey Affleck as Boris Pash
  • Rami Malek as David Hill
  • Kenneth Branagh as Niels Bohr
  • Dylan Arnold as Frank Oppenheimer
  • Gustaf Skarsgård as Hans Bethe
  • Tom Conti as Albert Einstein
  • Dane DeHaan as Kenneth Nichols
  • Alden Ehrenreich as a senate aide
  • David Krumholtz as Isidor Isaac Rabi
  • Jack Quaid as Richard Feynman
  • Josh Peck as Kenneth Bainbridge
  • Danny Defferari as Enrico Fermi
  • Jefferson Hall as Haakon Chevalier
  • Jason Clarke as Roger Robb
  • James D'Arcy as Patrick Blackett
  • Tony Goldwyn as Gordon Gray
  • Devon Bostick as Seth Neddermeyer
  • Matthew Modine as Vannevar Bush
  • Emma Dumont as Jackie Oppenheimer
  • Benny Safdie as Edward Teller
  • Gary Oldman as Harry S Truman
  • Olivia Thirlby as Lilli Hornig
  • Alex Wolff as Luis Walter Alvarez
  • Scott Grimes as Counsel
  • Josh Zuckerman as Giovanni Rossi Lomanitz
  • Matthias Schweighöfer as Werner Heisenberg
  • Christopher Denham as Klaus Fuchs
  • David Rysdahl as Donald Hornig
  • Guy Burnet as George Eltenton
  • Louise Lombard as Ruth Tolman
  • Harrison Gilbertson as Philip Morrison
  • Trond Fausa Aurvåg as George Kistiakowsky
  • Olli Haaskivi as Edward Condon
  • John Gowans as Ward Evans
  • Kurt Koehler as Thomas A Morgan
  • Macon Blair as Lloyd Garrison
  • Harry Groener as Gale W McGee
  • Jack Cutmore-Scott as Lyall Johnson
  • James Remar as Henry Stimson
  • Gregory Jbara as Warren Magnuson
  • Tim DeKay as John Pastore
  • James Urbaniak as Kurt Gödel

Read on for everything you need to know about the major players, see below.

Cillian Murphy plays J Robert Oppenheimer

Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer, holding a pipe
Cillian Murphy as J Robert Oppenheimer. Universal Pictures

Who is J. Robert Oppenheimer? A theoretical physicist who was the "father of the atomic bomb" during the Second World War.

Talking about what Oppenheimer has in common with his Peaky Blinders character Shelby, Murphy recently told Radio Times Magazine: "I love the naughty, strange, weird, unpredictable areas of psychology that you get into where it doesn’t seem straightforward. They’re the best characters."

What else has Cillian Murphy been in? Murphy is best known for his role as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders. The Irish actor has also starred in movies including 28 Days Later, Cold Mountain, Red Eye, and Breakfast on Pluto, as well as The Edge of Love, and the Christopher Nolan films Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, and Dunkirk.

Matt Damon plays Leslie Groves

Matt Damon and Cillian Murphy talking to each other in Oppenheimer
Matt Damon and Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer. Universal Pictures

Who is Leslie Groves? A lieutenant general in the United States Army who played a crucial part in the Manhattan Project alongside Oppenheimer.

Damon previously revealed a fascinating anecdote, sharing that he had planned to take a break from acting, but the opportunity to work with Nolan instantly changed his course.

“This is going to sound made up, but it’s actually true," Damon confessed to Entertainment Weekly. "I had — not to get too personal — negotiated extensively with my wife that I was taking time off.

"I had been in Interstellar, and then Chris put me on ice for a couple of movies, so I wasn’t in the rotation, but I actually negotiated in couples therapy ­- this is a true story - the one caveat to my taking time off was if Chris Nolan called. This is without knowing whether or not he was working on anything because he never tells you. He just calls you out of the blue. And so, it was a moment in my household."

What else has Matt Damon been in? You might recognise Damon from the Bourne franchise. He has also tried his hand at other real-life roles including as Carroll Shelby in Ford v Ferrari and as James Granger in The Monuments Men in 2014. Damon previously worked with director Christopher Nolan on the film Interstellar.

Florence Pugh plays Jean Tatlock

Florence Pugh is Jean Tatlock, wearing a brown jacket
Florence Pugh is Jean Tatlock. Universal Pictures

Who is Jean Tatlock? A member of the United States Communist Party, and a psychiatrist, who was engaged in a romantic relationship with Robert Oppenheimer both before and during his marriage to Kitty.

What else has Florence Pugh been in? Pugh has also starred in Little Women, Hawkeye, Fighting with my Family, Midsommar, Don't Worry Darling and The Wonder. More recently, she voiced the character of Goldilocks in the latest Puss in Boots sequel.

Emily Bunt plays Katherine 'Kitty' Oppenheimer

Emily Blunt looking concerned
Emily Blunt is Kitty Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer. Universal Pictures

Who is Kitty Oppenheimer? J Robert Oppenheimer’s wife and the mother of his children, Kitty has her own troubles and her own past that could hinder her husband's career.

What else has Emily Blunt been in? The Golden Globe-winning actress is best known for appearing in The Devil Wears Prada, Looper, The Young Victoria, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Into the Woods, Edge of Tomorrow and Mary Poppins Returns. More recently, she appeared in A Quiet Place and its sequel, Jungle Cruise, BBC drama The English and The Girl on the Train, for which she received a BAFTA nomination.

Robert Downey Jr plays Lewis Strauss

Robert Downey Jr is Lewis Strauss in OPPENHEIMER, wearing a suit with slicked back hair
Robert Downey Jr is Lewis Strauss in Oppenheimer. Universal Pictures

Who is Lewis Strauss? Lewis Strauss, a naval officer who served two terms on the United States Atomic Energy Commission, and who works with Oppenheimer - but whose side is he really on?

What else has Robert Downey Jr been in? Downey is best known for starring as Tony Stark in 10 films within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, beginning with Iron Man in 2008. In addition, Downey Jr has starred as Sherlock Holmes in Guy Ritchie’s film of the same name and its sequel. He has also appeared in Chaplin, Ally McBeal, and Tropic Thunder.

Josh Hartnett plays Ernest Lawrence

Josh Hartnett is Ernest Lawrence in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.
Josh Hartnett is Ernest Lawrence. Universal Pictures

Who is Ernest Lawrence? An American nuclear physicist. In 1939, he bagged the Nobel Prize for his invention of the cyclotron. He was also instrumental in Oppenheimer's development of the atomic bomb during the Second World War.

What else has Josh Hartnett been in? Hartnett rose to fame in 1998 with a starring role in the Halloween franchise entry Halloween H20: 20 Years Later opposite Jamie Lee Curtis. His other film credits include The Faculty, Pearl Harbor and Black Hawk Down.

Casey Affleck plays Boris Pash

US actor Casey Affleck attends the Vanity Fair 95th Oscars Party at the The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, California on March 12, 2023.
Casey Affleck. MICHAEL TRAN/AFP via Getty Images

Who is Boris Pash? A United States Army military intelligence officer of Russian descent, Pash fought against the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War and remained staunchly dedicated to rooting out Russian espionage - including within the Manhattan Project.

What else has Casey Affleck been in? Affleck is best known for his Oscar-winning turn in Manchester by the Sea, along with the films To Die For, Good Will Hunting, Gerry, Steven Soderbergh's Ocean's film series, and A Ghost Story. Affleck previously worked with director Christopher Nolan on the film Interstellar.

Rami Malek plays David Hill

Rami Malek as David Hill, wearing a suit and glasses
Rami Malek as David Hill. Universal Pictures

Who is David Hill? A member of the scientific community who is not pleased with the use of atomic weaponry.

What else has Rami Malek been in? Malek is best known for his Oscar-winning turn as Freddie Mercury in the film Bohemian Rhapsody, but has also appeared in the series Mister Robot and films including No Time To Die.

Sir Kenneth Branagh plays Niels Bohr

James D'Arcy as Patrick Blackett and Sir Kenneth Branagh as Niels Bohr in Oppenheimer.
Sir Kenneth Branagh as Niels Bohr in Oppenheimer. Universal Pictures

Who is Niels Bohr? A Danish physicist who was pivotal to modern understandings of atomic structure and quantum theory, developing the Bohr model of the atom. Bohr was a mentor of Werner Heisenberg, the German theoretical physicist who worked on the German atomic weapons programme in the Second World War.

What else has Sir Kenneth Branagh been in? Branagh is an iconic actor and director of stage and screen, known for his prolific work in Shakespeare productions and adaptations, his role in the Harry Potter franchise as Gilderoy Lockheart, and as Hercule Poirot in recent film adaptations of Agatha Christie novels. Branagh previously worked with director Christopher Nolan on the films Dunkirk and Tenet.

Benny Safdie plays Edward Teller

Benny Safdie is Edward Teller in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.
Benny Safdie is Edward Teller. Universal Pictures

Who is Edward Teller? An Hungarian-American scientist who worked with Oppenheimer on the Manhattan Project and is known colloquially as the "father of the hydrogen bomb".

What else has Benny Safdie been in? Fans might recognise Safdie from his appearance in the 2017 film Good Time, Licorice Pizza and, most recently, Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Dylan Arnold plays Frank Oppenheimer

Dylan Arnold as Frank Oppenheimer, pointing
Dylan Arnold as Frank Oppenheimer. Universal Pictures

Who is Frank Oppenheimer? Oppenheimer’s younger brother. Frank was a professor of physics at the University of Colorado and was noted for his ties to the Communist Party.

What else has Dylan Arnold been in? You might recognise the actor from his role as Cameron in the 2018 Halloween reboot and its sequel Halloween Kills. He also had a recurring role in the final series of Nashville. More recently, he appeared in You season 3 as college student Dylan Arnold.

Gustaf Skarsgård plays Hans Bethe

Gustaf Skarsgård is Hans Bethe in Oppenheimer.
Gustaf Skarsgård is Hans Bethe in Oppenheimer.

Who is Hans Bethe? A German-American theoretical physicist and Nobel Prize winner who helped develop the first nuclear weapons for the US. Bethe later opposed the use of such weapons.

What else has Gustaf Skarsgård been in? The son of Stellan Skarsgård and brother of Alexander and Bill Skarsgård, Gustaf is known for his roles in the films Evil, The Way Back, and Kon-Tiki, along with series such as Westworld, Merlin, Cursed, and Vikings.

Matthew Modine plays Vannevar Bush

Tom Jenkins is Richard Tolman and Matthew Modine is Vannevar Bush in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.
Tom Jenkins is Richard Tolman and Matthew Modine is Vannevar Bush. Universal Pictures

Who is Vannevar Bush? An electrical engineer who headed up the Office of Scientific Research and Development.

What else has Matthew Modine been in? Modine rose to fame thanks to his role as Marine Private/Sergeant JT Davis in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket. He went on to star in films including Birdy, Married to the Mob, and Short Cuts. Modine also played the role of sinister scientist Dr Martin Brenner in Stranger Things.

Dane DeHaan plays Kenneth Nichols

Dane Dehaan is Kenneth Nichols in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan.
Dane Dehaan is Kenneth Nichols in Oppenheimer. Universal Pictures

Who is Kenneth Nichols? An American army officer and a civil engineer of the Manhattan Project who became an enemy of Oppenheimer.

What else has Dane DeHaan been in? DeHaan is best known for his leading role in Chronicle, the films Kill Your Darling and Life, and as the Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Jason Clarke plays Roger Robb

Jason Clarke as Roger Robb sitting in a meeting room
Jason Clarke as Roger Robb. Universal Pictures

Who is Roger Robb? Robb served as special counsel to an Atomic Energy Commission hearing looking into the security clearance of J Robert Oppenheimer in 1954.

What else has Jason Clarke been in? Clarke has been a prolific Hollywood regular in recent years, featuring in films including Zero Dark Thirty, White House Down, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Terminator Genisys, Everest, All I See is You, Mudbound, Chappaquiddick, First Man, and Pet Sematary.

Emma Dumont plays Jackie Oppenheimer

Who is Jackie Oppenheimer? Oppenheimer’s sister-in-law and wife to his younger brother Frank. Jackie once had ties to the Communist Party.

What else has Emma Dumont been in? Dumont is best known for her role as Melanie Segal in the ABC Family series Bunheads. She also appeared as Emma Karn in the NBC series Aquarius and as Lorna Dane/Polaris in the FOX series The Gifted.

Tom Conti plays Albert Einstein

Tom Conti as Albert Einstein, standing by a lake
Tom Conti as Albert Einstein. Universal Pictures

Who is Albert Einstein? A German-born theoretical physicist, widely considered one of the most influential scientists of all time. Einstein is best known for his work on the theory of relativity.

What else has Tom Conti been in? An acclaimed performer of stage and screen, Conti is best known for his Oscar-nominated turn in Reuben, Reuben.

Alden Ehrenreich as a Senate aide to Lewis Strauss

Alden Ehrenreich in a grey suit jacket and white shirt
Alden Ehrenreich. Michael Buckner/Variety via Getty Images

Who is the Senate aide? Someone who works alongside Lewis Strauss during his confirmation hearing and who questions his choices.

What else has Alden Ehrenreich been in? Ehrenreich is best known for his roles in Beautiful Creatures, Blue Jasmine, Stoker, Hail, Caesar!, and as Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story.

David Dastmalchian plays William L Borden

David Dastmalchian at the premiere of "Ant Man and The Wasp: Quantumania" held at Regency Village Theatre on February 6, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.
David Dastmalchian. Mark Von Holden/Variety via Getty Images

Who is William L Borden? Borden was the executive director of the United States Congress Joint Committee on Atomic Energy from 1949 to 1953 and accused J Robert Oppenheimer of being an agent for the Soviet Union.

What else has David Dastmalchian been in? Dastmalchian has starred in the Ant-Man trilogy, the television series The Flash, and The Suicide Squad, and worked with director Denis Villeneuve on the films Prisoners, Blade Runner 2049, and Dune: Part One.

Jefferson Hall plays Haakon Chevalier

Jefferson Hall attends the UK premiere of 'Oppenheimer' at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square in London, United Kingdom on July 13, 2023.
Jefferson Hall. Wiktor Szymanowicz/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Who is Haakkon Chevalier? A writer best known for his ties to the Communist Party and whose connection to J Robert Oppenheimer would impact the latter's career.

Who is Jefferson Hall? Hall is best known for his dual role as the twins Jason Lannister and Tyland Lannister in House of the Dragon.

Gary Oldman plays President Harry S Truman

Gary Oldman attends the 2023 BAFTA Television Awards with P&O Cruises at The Royal Festival Hall on May 14, 2023 in London, England.
Gary Oldman. Joe Maher/Getty Images

Who is President Truman? The 33rd President of the United States of America and a member of the Democrat Party, Truman made the decision to use the atomic bomb against Japan towards the end of the Second World War.

What else has Gary Oldman been in? An Oscar-winning actor for his role in Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman has been a Hollywood mainstay for decades, having roles in films such as The Firm, Bram Stoker's Dracula, JFK, True Romance, Air Force One, The Contender, Leon: The Professional, the Harry Potter franchise, and Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy.

Read more:


Oppenheimer is now showing in UK cinemas. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.
Try Radio Times magazine today and get 10 issues for only £10, PLUS a £10 John Lewis and Partners voucher delivered to your home – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to The Radio Times Podcast.