Oppenheimer: Grandson of scientist disputes one scene from film

There is conflicting evidence of whether the physicist actually tried to poison a teacher

Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in OPPENHEIMER, written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. (Universal)
Cillian Murphy is J. Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer. (Universal)

Oppenheimer has been criticised by the grandson of the so-called father of the atom bomb regarding the accuracy of one scene at the beginning of the film.

While largely praising Christopher Nolan's acclaimed movie and calling it "compelling", Charles Oppenheimer took issue with one sequence that he disputes is accurate.

Talking to Time Magazine about his grandfather and the film, the younger Oppenheimer said: "There are parts that I disagree with, but not really because of Nolan.

Read more: Did Oppenheimer’s apple-poisoning incident really happen? It’s complicated (Independent, 2 min read)

"The part I like the least is this poison apple reference, which was a problem in American Prometheus [the book on which the film is based]."

The film and book detail an incident where Oppenheimer appears to be prepared to poison his tutor Patrick Blackett (James D'Arcy) at Cambridge University, though the truthfulness of the account is disputed.

James D'Arcy and Kenneth Branagh in Oppenheimer. (Universal)
James D'Arcy as Robert Blackett and Kenneth Branagh as Niels Bohr in Oppenheimer. (Universal)

On the scene, Oppenheimer said: "I definitely would have removed the apple thing," before adding context to where the sequence comes from: "If you read American Prometheus carefully enough, the authors say, 'We don't really know if it happened.'

"There's no record of him trying to kill somebody. That's a really serious accusation and it's historical revision. There's not a single enemy or friend of Robert Oppenheimer who heard that during his life and considered it to be true."

Oppenheimer. (Photo by Eric BRISSAUD/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
J Robert Oppenheimer is considered the father of the atomic bomb. (Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

He added: "American Prometheus got it from some references talking about a spring break trip, and all the original reporters of that story— there was only two maybe three —reported that they didn't know what Robert Oppenheimer was talking about.

Read more: The true story behind Oppenheimer

"Unfortunately, American Prometheus summarises that as Robert Oppenheimer tried to kill his teacher."

Oppenheimer has received wide praise and become a box-office smash since it was released last week. It has so far grossed over $200 million with many watching it as part of the Barbenheimer phenomenon that has swept social media.

Oppenheimer is in IMAX and cinemas now. Watch a trailer below.