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Home > Historical Dramas Similar to ‘Oppenheimer’

Historical Dramas Similar to ‘Oppenheimer’

historical dramas oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan's Masterpiece Left a Lasting Impression

The Comedown from Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer had an incredibly successful summer. It finished with over $900 million dollars worldwide and over $300 million dollars in the United States. If anyone missed Oppenheimer, it was probably for their own lack of effort. The movie earned widespread recognition, Cillian Murphy and Chris Nolan are getting Oscar buzz already, and the film generated almost 10 times its budget. 

For those who saw Oppenheimer, they left the theater with an incredible experience that was one part historical drama and one part epic. The spectacle of the bomb and the surrounding tension made every theater in America feel like they were part of the development of this devastating weapon. After the summer, it was a hard comedown from Oppenheimer, and for some its still very challenging. However, there are countless other films like Oppenheimer that historical drama fans can watch now.

7. Unbroken (2014) 

Angelia Jolie directed this biographical war drama about Olympian-turned-U.S. soldier, Louis Zamperini, who—during a mission in World War II—is captured by Japanese soldiers and becomes a prisoner of war. During his time in the Japanese POW camp, Louis is subjected to extreme physical labor and beatings at the hands of his captors. He is, as the movie title suggests, unbroken. The film was a huge financial success worldwide despite mixed reviews, earning $163 million dollars on a $65 million dollar budget. 

While Unbroken may not live up to the same critical or commercial success as Oppenheimer, it pulls at the heartstrings and Oppenheimer does as well, but it also leaves us feeling happier and more assured with its narrative of overcoming. 

Unbroken can be streamed on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

oppenheimer historical dramas

6. Argo (2012)

Ben Affleck’s late-to-mid-2000s renaissance included Argo in 2012, which he directed and starred in. Argo is a historical drama thriller film about how a man masterminded a plan to rescue six American hostages from Tehran, Iran during the Iranian Hostage Crisis in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing. 

Argo is a great choice to watch for anyone missing Oppie because it hits a lot of the same marks that Nolan did with Oppenheimer. Affleck, like Nolan, was able to tell a story that many already knew the outcome of, but he told it in a way that was fresh, exciting, heartbreaking and thrilling. While its not nearly as epic or expansive as Oppenheimer is, the thrill from Argo is a great substitute with the same historical aspect to it. 

Argo can be streamed for free on Youtube with ads, or rent on Youtube TV, Prime Video or Apple TV.

historical dramas oppenheimer

5. The Theory of Everything (2014) 

The Theory of Everything is a biographical romantic drama film detailing the life of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Directed by James Marsh and starring Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in the lead roles, the film was nominated for five academy awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Original Score and Best Adapted Screenplay. Eddie Redmayne won for Best Actor and the film holds high ratings. 

While The Theory of Everything is much more romantic than Oppenheimer, its themes of life, love and death come together. Furthermore, for those who were big fans of the scientific reasoning and dilemmas that underscored the plot in Oppenheimer, there are a few scenes in Marsh’s film about some of Hawking’s theories.  

The Theory of Everything can be streamed on Prime Video and  Apple TV.

theory of everything

4.The Imitation Game (2014)

This biographical thriller film is set during the second World War with Benedict Cumberbatch playing a young Alan Turing, helping the British war effort by decoding German intelligence messages. This film earned $233 million dollars worldwide on a $14 million dollar budget.

While it’s also set during World War II like Oppenheimer, its similarities do not stop there. The Imitation Game is thrilling and exciting like Nolan’s film, and Benedict Cumberbatch delivers a fantastic performance in the air of Cillian Murphy’s. The two films delve deep into men that we may not be all the way familiar with, and explores the world changing actions that they spearheaded. For a World War II-based thriller, look no further than The Imitation Game.  

The Imitation Game can be streamed on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

oppenheimer historical dramas

3. Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight is a biographical drama loosely based on the events reported by the Boston Globes’ “Spotlight” team in the early 2000s. The team’s investigation centered around the rampant sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests. The film was a hit, generating $98.7 million dollars at the box office on a $20 million dollar budget and was nominated for six academy awards, winning Best Picture. 

Spotlight and Oppenheimer have few similarities. The Tom McCarthy film has no true lead and is based in recent times. But what makes this film a must watch after Oppenheimer is the thrilling nature of its plot and the deadly serious subject matter. For those who want a tremendously acted and well written thrill ride with an amazing story, Spotlight is the perfect choice. 

Spotlight can be streamed on Hulu and  Amazon Prime.

oppenheimer historical dramas

2. Lincoln (2012)

Steven Spielberg simply doesn’t miss. Lincoln is a biographical historical drama about the United States of America’s 16th President, Abraham Lincoln. It focuses on the final four months of Lincoln’s life and some of the most important moments of American history. The film received high ratings and was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including a win for Daniel Day Lewis for his portrayal as Lincoln. 

Lincoln and Oppenheimer, on a surface level, do not hold much in common. But in the end, it is about two men doing what they can for their country. Obviously, the outcomes of the pair’s actions are different but if you’re looking for another biopic of someone whose actions changed the course of American history, look no further than Lincoln.

Lincoln can be streamed on Netflix and Hulu.

oppenheimer historical dramas

1. Schindler’s List (1993)

This Steven Spielberg masterpiece surely hasn’t flown under the radar, but if it has, then this is the perfect film to quench the Oppenheimer thirst. Schindler’s List is about a German man who employs Polish-Jewish refugees from the Holocaust during World War II. The film received almost everyone Oscar nomination that it qualified for, and it won seven. It is considered one of the best films of all time. 

Schlinder’s List’s epic, expansive nature and the amazing storytelling of the film definitely make it perfect to watch after Oppenheimer. In terms of World War II biopics, these two are the best. The historical storytelling, the accuracy, and the visual storytelling are masterful.  

Schindler’s List can be streamed on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and HBO Max.

oppenheimer historical dramas

Official Universal Studios Oppenheimer Trailer

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