Nude scenes of British actress Florence Pugh in Christopher Nolan’s hotly anticipated historical drama ‘Oppenheimer’ have been censored to secure the film’s release in several countries worldwide.
During a pivotal moment, J. Robert Oppenheimer, the renowned physicist behind the atomic bomb portrayed by Cillian Murphy, engages in an intimate encounter with Communist party member Jean Tatlock, portrayed by Pugh.
While the uncensored version showcases Pugh lounging topless in a hotel room chair, audiences in the Middle East and India were presented with a discreetly placed computer-generated black dress covering her body down to the thigh.
Other cinemagoers in Bangladesh and Indonesia also reported that the scene had been altered, according to Newsweek.
The film contains several sex scenes involving Pugh and Murphy, and viewers in various countries took to social media to confirm those scenes were heavily edited.
The uncensored version showcases Pugh lounging topless in a hotel room chair, but audiences in the Middle East and India were presented with a discreetly placed computer-generated black dress
This image released by Universal Pictures shows Florence Pugh as Jean Tatlock, left, and Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in a scene from ‘Oppenheimer.’
Florence Pugh attends UK Premiere of ‘Oppenheimer’ at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on July 13, 2023 in London, England
Scenes featuring explicit content regularly undergo editing to ensure a smooth release in countries with strict censorship rules on nudity and adult themes.
For example, movies aiming for a ‘U/A certification’ in India must adhere to certain standards, allowing moderate adult themes with parental guidance for children below 12 years of age, according to India’s Central Board of Film Certification.
But Pugh’s nudity wasn’t the only aspect of the film to raise eyebrows in India.
‘Oppenheimer’ also faced controversy for quoting lines from the Hindu scripture ‘Bhagavad Gita’ in one of the aforementioned sex scenes between Murphy and Pugh.
Oppenheimer took a keen interest in the teachings of Hinduism over the course of his life and learned Sanskrit so he could read original Hindu texts.
Shortly after the detonation of the atomic bomb, he recalled in an interview that at the time of the detonation he remembered a line from the Bhagavad Gita: ‘Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.’
But in Nolan’s film, Murphy quotes the Bhagavad Gita while in the throes of passion with Pugh.
India’s Information Commissioner, Uday Mahurkar, said the scene was ‘a direct assault on religious beliefs of a billion tolerant Hindus’ in a cautionary statement released Saturday.
But the film has nonetheless been well received by Indian audiences, grossing more than $3 million in its opening weekend there.
Elsewhere the critically-acclaimed film has proven to be a box office success, amassing an impressive $82.4 million in North America and a staggering $180 million worldwide in its opening weekend.
Oppenheimer’s global debut is also the highest for any biopic, usurping Bohemian Rhapsody’s $124 million.
With a star-studded cast, including Robert Downey Jr., Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, ‘Oppenheimer’ takes audiences on a captivating three-hour journey through history.
Cillian Murphy plays the title character – J. Robert Oppenheimer – director of the Los Alamos Laboratory where he developed the first atomic bombs that were later dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan, bringing an end to World War II.
However, the film – which charts the development and subsequent deployment of the first nuclear weapons – is a noticeable absentee from cinemas in Japan and has not yet been confirmed for release in the country due to its contents.
Pugh and Murphy are seen in character as Tatlock and Oppenheimer
The film – which follows the development of the first nuclear weapons by J. Robert Oppenheimer – is a noticeable absentee from cinemas in Japan
Oppenheimer, which stars Cillian Murphy, has not yet been confirmed for release in the country due to its contents
Although Japan has not publicly declared that it will ban screenings of Oppenheimer outright, it has yet to share a date when the film will be shown in cinemas across the country.
A Universal spokesperson says ‘plans have not been finalised in all markets’, according to Variety.
But audiences hoping to catch the blockbuster release in Japan could be able to watch Oppenheimer later this year, as it is common for American films to debut months after their release.
The film received a perfect five stars from Daily Mail’s Brian Viner, who wrote that Nolan ‘magnificently’ balances thriller elements with ‘profound questions about the morality of laying Hiroshima and Nagasaki to nuclear waste.’
Viner wrote: ‘Oppenheimer is a stunningly well-made film… Much of Oppenheimer unfolds like a thriller, while not swerving profound questions about the morality of laying Hiroshima and Nagasaki to nuclear waste.
‘I despair at the inordinate length of many films these days, yet even at three hours this one never seems unreasonably long. There is an awful lot of story to tell, and Nolan tells it magnificently.’