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Movies like Oppenheimer that are worth a watch

Enjoyed Christopher Nolan's 2023 epic? Here are 10 movies you'll also enjoy.
By

Published onMarch 19, 2024

Oppenheimer

Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer was the standout critical and commercial hit of 2023, taking home seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. You can already stream it on Peacock (as well as some of its fellow Oscar winners), but if the nearly three-hour runtime isn’t enough for you, here are ten movies like Oppenheimer worth adding to your watch list.

Dunkirk

dunkirk
Warner Bros

Oppenheimer is actually Nolan’s second foray into the WWII era, with the first being his 2017 film Dunkirk. In fact, it was the highest-grossing WWII film of all time at release, surpassed only by Oppenheimer last year.

Although Cillian Murphy still makes an appearance, it’s a very different kind of film. It tells the story of the evacuation of Dunkirk, where hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers needed to be rescued from Northern France. It’s a tense thriller that relies more heavily on its cinematography to set the tone of the piece. If you enjoyed the practical effects of Oppenheimer, expect more great visuals in Dunkirk.

Unfortunately, Dunkirk isn’t currently available on any major streaming services, so you’ll have to rent a physical or digital copy to watch it.

A Beautiful Mind

Russell Vrowe sits in the grass on campus in A Beautiful Mind - best movies leaving HBO Max
Universal Pictures

Switching over to biopics, A Beautiful Mind explores the life of mathematician John Nash, who won a Nobel Prize in Economics and played a big role in the development of game theory. Directed by Ron Howard and helmed by Russell Crowe, it takes a more sympathetic approach to a biographical film, focusing on not just his work but also his personal life and how it’s all affected by his struggles with mental illness.

Like Oppenheimer, A Beautiful Mind was a commercial and critical success in 2001. You can stream it now on Starz.

The Imitation Game

The Imitation game

Another great biopic worth watching for fans of Oppenheimer is The Imitation Game. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, it’s also a period piece that takes place during WWII. However, it focuses on mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing and his role in decrypting intercepted German intelligence using primitive computer technology.

Cumberbatch’s performance solidified his status as a world-class actor, and the film is a thrilling experience from beginning to end. It’s available to stream on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu.

The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything

If you want another biopic with a different angle, check out The Theory of Everything. It’s a biographical romantic drama about the life of Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne), focusing on his relationship with Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). Unlike Oppenheimer, the story focuses on how their relationship changes as his illness progresses, with his groundbreaking scientific work serving as a backdrop.

Unfortunately, the 2014 film isn’t currently available on any streaming services.

The Aviator

aviator
Warner Bros

The Aviator is yet another biographical drama, this time from Martin Scorsese. It chronicles the eccentric life of pioneering aviator and filmmaker Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio). Set against the backdrop of Hollywood’s golden age, it explores Hughes’ passion for aviation, his tumultuous relationships, and his battles with mental health.

It’s a much more glamorous movie than Oppenheimer, which could be good or bad, depending on what you’re looking for. You can stream it now on Paramount Plus.

J. Edgar

J Edgar movie

Next is Clint Eastwood’s take on a biographical drama with J. Edgar. It’s a non-linear narrative that tells the story of the titular J. Edgar Hoover (again played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who established the FBI in 1935 and went on to serve as its first director for more than 35 years. The story isn’t always clean and easy to follow, but DiCaprio puts on a heck of a performance portraying a complicated historical figure.

J. Edgar is not currently available on any major streaming services, so you’ll have to look to rentals or purchase the movie to watch it.

The Social Network

Mark Zuckerberg in a room full of people in The Social Network - movies leaving hulu
Sony Pictures Releasing

The Social Network is another biopic with great acting and dialogue, telling the story of the early days of one of the most significant companies in modern times: Facebook. The movie is mostly centered around Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is played by Jesse Eisenberg. Although the company (and the world) have changed significantly since the film’s release in 2010, it still holds up exceptionally well.

The Social Network is available to stream on Starz. If you’re looking for another techy biopic, check out 2016’s Steve Jobs, which Aaron Sorkin also wrote.

Interstellar

Interstellar

Getting away from biopics for a second, Interstellar is a very different story from the same director. Christopher Nolan’s 2014 sci-fi epic is a mind-bending, time-bending adventure set in a dystopian future where the Earth’s ecosystems are damaged beyond repair, and humanity has to look to the stars for a way to survive. The brainy tale features Matthew McConaughey as an astronaut and pilot, and although there is a lot of theoretical physics, it still manages to have a human touch.

You can stream Interstellar now on Amazon Prime Video and Paramount Plus, but be warned, it’s almost as long as Oppenheimer.

Amadeus

Amadeus (1984) (1)
The Saul Zaentz Company

Jumping from the near future to the near past, Amadeus is a period biographical drama that takes place in the 18th century. It follows the (mostly fictional) rivalry between Mozart and Italian composer Antonio Salieri, taking a lot of historical liberties to craft a truly compelling story. It’s one of the few films where two leading actors both got nominated for Best Actor, with the film ultimately taking home eight wins.

Released way back in 1984, it doesn’t have all of the fancy special effects as Oppenheimer, but it’s regularly cited as one of the best movies of all time. It’s not currently available on any major streaming services in the US, but it’s worth tracking down if you haven’t already seen it.

JFK

JFK Movie

Our final movie for fans of Oppenheimer is Oliver Stone’s epic political thriller JFK. It’s another three-plus hour-long film, so find a comfortable seat and prepare a large bowl of popcorn. Whether or not you believe the conspiracy theories around the assassination of JFK, it’s an engrossing film with an explosive final act. The film has been criticized heavily for playing fast and loose with the truth, but if you’re willing to suspend your disbelief, it’s a great watch.

This is the first of three biopics about American presidents by Stone, followed up by Nixon (1995) and W. (2008). Unfortunately, none of them are currently available on any major streaming services.