The film chronicles the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, including his involvement in leading Project Manhattan and his subsequent fall from grace orchestrated by Lewis Strauss.

The plot also pays considerable attention to Oppenheimer’s communist ties and his mental state, especially as he reconciles his work’s legacy and the role he played in launching the nuclear age.

Cillian Murphy, as Oppenheimer, leading an astoundingly large supporting cast, including Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Florence Pugh, and Robert Downey Jr.

Oppenheimer also contains many impressive cameos, from familiar Nolan collaborators to new faces.  They complement and enrich Oppenheimer’s world. Some are just one or two-scene cameos, but they ae crucial to the plot.

Oppenheimer Poster

The story of American scientist, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and his role in the development of the atomic bomb.

Richard Feynman (Jack Quaid)

Richard Feynman looking at another scientist in Oppenheimer
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Although Jack Quaid appears in several scenes in Oppenheimer, his role remains small compared to others. The actor plays Richard Feynman, a theoretical physicist known for his significant contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, which earned him the 1965 Nobel Prize in Physics alongside two others.

In the film, as in real life, Feynman is part of the Manhattan Project, recruited by Oppenheimer and Leslie Groves at Princeton.

Kenneth Bainbridge (Josh Peck)

Kenneth Bainbridge turning around with a grim expressions in Oppenheimer
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Josh from Drake & Josh plays pivotal role, Kenneth Bainbridge, a physicist at Harvard and the director of the Manhattan Project’s Trinity test. Peck’s most memorable scene in Oppenheimer is the test, where he is in charge of aborting should anything go wrong. Peck captures the scene’s tension most effectively.

Vannevar Bush (Matthew Modine)

Lewis Strauss and Vannevar Bush shaking hands in Oppenheimer
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Matthew Modine played supporting role in Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises before reuniting for Oppenheimer. Modine plays Vannevar Bush, head of the US Office of Scientific Research and Development.

Vannevar Bush was important figure before and after the Manhattan Project, regarding discussions about where to drop the bomb and developing the hydrogen bomb.

Patrick Blackett (James D’Arcy)

Patrick Blackett watching as Niels Bohr looks at someone off-camera in Oppenheimer
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James D’Arcy appears as Patrick Blackett, the titular character’s tutor at the Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge. A Nobel Prize winner, Blackett contributed to cloud chambers, cosmic rays, and paleomagnetism research.

Henry Stimson (James Remar)

Patrick Blackett standing up in Oppenheimer
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Remar’s big scene comes near the end of the second act, as every player in the Manhattan Project gathers to discuss possible targets for the bomb. Stimson claims he removed Kyoto because of its historical meaning for the Japanese before adding it’s also where he and his wife honeymooned.
The scene is chilling reminder of how world leaders play with human lives, and confirmation that Oppenheimer is as much a brilliant war movie as it’s a thought-provoking biopic. Remar brings carefree tone to what is a life-or-death discussion.

Boris Pash (Casey Affleck)

Boris Pash looking intently at something off-camera in Oppenheimer
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Affleck shares tense scene with Cillian Murphy, where his character questions Oppenheimer about possible spies. He later returns for brief scene where he testifies against Oppenheimer during his security hearing.

His now-famous quiet voice works perfectly with Pash’s cold and clinical approach, complementing Murphy’s understated approach to Oppenheimer. Affleck plays intimidating and unnerving character that embodies the military’s damaging influence.

President Truman looking intently at someone off-camera in Oppenheimer
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Gary Oldman is one of Nolan’s usual collaborators.  He appeared as Commissioner Gordon in all three Dark Knight films. The Oscar winner reunites with the prolific director, doing cameo as President Harry S. Truman. The scene involves an exchange between Oppenheimer and Truman, where the former expresses his regrets over the bomb’s creation. Truman coldly dismisses him, going so far as to call him a “crybaby.”

The actor goes for quiet and controlling approach that makes his performance disturbing. Oppenheimer is a pretty clear indictment of nuclear weapons and research, and the Truman scene might be its most effective portrayal of these pressing themes.

David L. Hill (Rami Malek)

Lewis Strauss watching as David L. Hill testifies at the Senate in Oppenheimer
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Another Oscar winner has brief but pivotal role: Rami Malek plays David L. Hill, a nuclear physicist and the head of the Federation of American Scientists.

Hill is best remembered for his 1959 testimony against Lewis Strauss’ nomination to become Secretary of Commerce. His declarations about Strauss’ involvement in Oppenheimer’s fall from grace all but bury the former’s chances at the position, leading to the infamous reputation Strauss holds today.

Hill appears in 2 scenes before his big testimony, staying silent but standing out. When his big speech finally comes, it’s cathartic moment for the audience.