Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer has been one of the joys of the summer, and now, I'm excited to share the screenplay with you all.

Written in the first person, this script is an incredibly unique storytelling document. Reading it, you'll notice the sparse scene direction and rapid-paced dialogue. It's fun seeing Nolan's voice and vision pop off the page.

There is a lot we can learn from this screenplay, so I won't waste time waxing about it.

Read and Downlaod the 'Oppenheimer' Script

Editor's Note: This screenplay is free and legal to download for educational purposes.

3 Lessons From The 'Oppenheimer' Script

Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer on set with Christopher Nolan on 'Oppenheimer'

Behind the scenes on 'Oppenheimer'

Credit: Universal Pictures

After spending some time with the screenplay, I picked out three lessons I thought affected me the most, and I wanted to share them with you:

  1. Nonlinear Storytelling: Christopher Nolan often employs nonlinear storytelling techniques in his screenplays, but in Oppenheimer, he uses them to tell two very different stories. In the present, we're investigating for a presidential appointment. In the past, we're dealing with the very inception of the nuclear bomb. and between those two, we're getting an inquiry into the bomb and Oppenheimer himself. This requires careful structuring to avoid confusion and is focused on serving the story's thematic or emotional purpose.
  2. High-Stakes Characters: Nolan's characters often find themselves in high-stakes situations with complex moral dilemmas. Oppenheimer may have the largest stakes of any script he's ever written: we're talking about the actual inception of a bomb, a race against the Nazis, and an effort to preserve the legacy of a man. This lesson underscores the idea that well-drawn characters can elevate the impact of a screenplay. In this movie, these characters carry us for three hours, weaving in and out of each moral and social choice, forcing us to examine this through our shoes and our interpretations.
  3. Themes of Identity and Reality: Who was Oppenheimer as a person? was he a good father? A bad husband? A brilliant mind? An arrogant man? All these thought-provoking themes play into the storytelling. We also get the blurred line between the reality of war and the idea that you can make discoveries outside of humanity, but everything you discover uncovers something new about us as a species. I want to encourage writers to explore deep philosophical and existential questions in their work. Dare to dream and to challenge readers.

Oppenheimer was an incredibly moving and piercing screenplay that digs not just into science but into the humans who explore and dig into what's possible on this earth.

What are some lessons you learned from this screenplay?

Let me know in the comments.