Christopher Nolan Is Making An Adults-Only Movie For The First Time In Twenty Years

Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer will be the director's first R-rated film since 2002.

By Britta DeVore | Updated

oppenheimer christopher nolan

Hold onto your butts – June officially means that it’s time for summer blockbuster season. The next few months will give us highly-anticipated titles including the Ezra Miller-led The Flash, Harrison Ford’s final tussle with Nazis in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie’s live-action Barbie film, and Christopher Nolan’s return to directing in Oppenheimer. After playing it safe in the “PG-13” arena for the last two decades, the historical biographical drama will see the Dark Knight trilogy director back to his old stomping grounds of adult-only “R” rated movies

As revealed by The Hollywood Reporter, Christopher Nolan’s dramatized take on how the Manhattan Project gave way to the creation of the atomic bomb, has received an “R” rating for “some sexuality, nudity, and language.” Along with the MPA’s stamp, the film will also serve as the director’s longest movie, clocking in at almost three hours. 

It hasn’t been since Christopher Nolan’s 2002 thriller Insomnia that he’s gone into “R” territory with his debut feature, 2000’s Memento, first breaking the ground for the director’s “R” rated creative vision. Since then, he’s dialed it back in hopes of ensuring that more audiences would be able to catch his films with The Dark Knight trilogy, the mind-bending Inception, and the explosion-filled Dunkirk all falling under the radar at “PG-13”.

But, to tell one of America’s most intense, prolific, and world-changing stories Christopher Nolan had to go over the top with Oppenheimer. Set during the brutal days of World War II, the film follows Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man who would change the world with a major explosion known as the atomic bomb. In an all-out race with the Axis powers for control of the world, America was moving at a high-speed pace to ensure that the battle would be won and they would be the first to create this country-destroying technology.

Cillian Murphy in Oppenheimer

As per usual, Christopher Nolan cast an all-star lineup for his latest piece with Cillian Murphy joining the likes of Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Emily Blunt, Rami Malek, Josh Hartnett, Benny Safdie, Michael Angarano, and Kenneth Branagh. Shot with IMAX cameras, audiences not only have the option to check out this major summer feature in your run-of-the-mill theater but to also completely immerse themselves in the political chaos and technological feats in an all-encompassing IMAX experience.

Having delivered audiences the most talked about movies over the last decade, the “R” rating on Oppenheimer means that Christopher Nolan is bringing more action than ever to his dedicated fan base. It also marks another big play for the filmmaker as it will be not only his first feature since the COVID-19 pandemic struck, which was 2020’s Tenet, but it will also mark his partnership with Universal following a fallout with Warner Bros. over their straight-to-release on HBO Max. Knowing that this movie just has to be seen on the big screen or in IMAX to fully experience it, Nolan took a leap of faith by switching studios, something we’re sure will pay off when the “R” rated Oppenheimer arrives in theaters on July 21.