Oppenheimer features many representations of historical figures, including some former Presidents. Christopher Nolan’s epic biopic chronicles the rise and fall of what the acclaimed director considers the most important person who ever lived, J. Robert Oppenheimer. The 3-hour movie follows his incredible successes as the head of the Manhattan Project in the creation of the atomic bomb and his unfortunate demise, which was largely at the hands of Lewis Strauss, played by Robert Downey Jr.
President Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States, is depicted in Oppenheimer as a congratulatory hand and ultimately a critic of J. Robert Oppenheimer. President Truman and the real-life Oppenheimer did in fact meet in real life, on more than one occasion. The scene in Christopher Nolan’s film is based on historical truth and recollection, in which Truman called Oppenheimer a “crybaby” after the acclaimed physicist expressed extreme guilt about the “blood on his hands” from the infamous bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Gary Oldman portrays President Harry S. Truman in a brief but impactful scene in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer. Oldman is a highly accomplished actor who has appeared in numerous other major motion pictures, such as David Fincher’s Mank (2020), Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour (2017), and Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014). Oldman also notably portrayed Lee Harvey Oswald in Oliver Stone’s biopic JFK (1991).
Oldman plays President Harry S. Truman in Oppenheimer as true to the source as he possibly can. The skilled actor essentially transformed himself to accurately play the part, altering everything from his overall appearance to his vocal accent. Oldman is known for playing formidable characters, such as Sirius Black in the Harry Potter movies. He is an incredibly wise and appropriate choice to play the historical American figure.
Gary Oldman has played a significant role in three other Christopher Nolan films, including Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. Oldman played the pivotal role of Commissioner Jim Gordon in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, which has widely been heralded as one of the greatest superhero/action trilogies of all time. Oldman has not appeared in any other Christopher Nolan film outside of Oppenheimer and the three films in The Dark Knight trilogy. Considering the impact that Oldman has had on several of Nolan’s best movies, it would not be surprising to see his name appear in the credits of another Christopher Nolan film in the near future.