Oppenheimer Stare of Regret meme depicting actor Cillian Murphy in the 2023 film.

Oppenheimer's Stare of Regret

Part of a series on Oppenheimer (2023 film). [View Related Entries]

Updated Jun 05, 2024 at 04:05PM EDT by Zach.

Added Jun 05, 2024 at 01:18PM EDT by Philipp.

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About

Oppenheimer's Stare of Regret, also known as Oppenheimer Staring, refers to a series of memes based on an image of J. Robert Oppenheimer (portrayed by actor Cillian Murphy in the 2023 movie) looking slightly down in regret as he reflects on his role in the creation of atomic weapons. Memes using the screenshot imagine people having the same feeling of remorse over their ideas and creations that had an overall negative impact on humanity.

Origin

On July 21st, 2023, the biographical thriller drama film Oppenheimer premiered.[1] In the ending scene of the movie, protagonist J. Robert Oppenheimer (Cillian Murphy), the American theoretical physicist who played a key role in developing the first nuclear weapons, gives a look of regret and anxiety as he fears that his invention could lead to the destruction of the entire world.



Albert, when I came to you with those calculations, we thought we might start a chain reaction that will destroy the entire world.
- Hm. I remember it well. What of it?
- I believe we did.

On July 26th, 2023, X[2] / Twitter user @MrDrewLandry posted a meme comparing Oppenheimer's state in the film to that of director Greta Gerwig upon realizing that she paved the way for Lena Dunham's movie. The post (shown below) garnered over 2,600 reposts and 37,000 likes in one year.


Drew Landry @MrDrewLandry Greta Gerwig realizing she accidentally paved the way for Lena Dunham's "Polly Pocket” movie

Spread

On July 27th, 2023, X[3] user @eventualforever used the image to quote the 2014 announcement post by Dong Nguyen, the creator of the viral mobile game Flappy Bird, who notoriously took it down after considering it to be too destructive for society. The quote post, captioned "this is how he was tweeting this," received over 8,800 reposts and 90,000 likes in one year.


coffee @eventualforever this is how he was tweeting this E Dong Nguyen @dongatory Feb 8, 2014 I am sorry 'Flappy Bird' users, 22 hours from now, I will take 'Flappy Bird' down. I cannot take this anymore. 10:27 AM Jul 27, 2023 · 3.4M Views • .

While the image found moderate use in memes, the meme format did not receive notable spread until March 2024 when X[4] user @lextorias made a meme about the person who suggested the paid Horse Armor DLC for The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.


normal guy @lextorias The Microsoft employee who convinced Bethesda to make $2.50 horse armor DLC in 2006

In the following months, more memes based on the format went viral on X / Twitter and Reddit and saw further spread through reposts.

Various Examples


J. Cole looking back on his First Person Shooter verse Rocket @RocketRaccoon27 The employee who put Jenny Nicholson behind a pole: ALT 6:46 PM. May 23, 2024 238.1K Views ... ThoulessPrime @ThoulessPrime Dave Filoni realizing that by killing Scorch off in the goofiest way possible, he set off a chain of events leading to the mental breakdown of the century • 6:26 PM ⚫ May 2, 2024 53.6K Views •
The first writer who blew up Captain Atom realizing the cliche they just started The guy who made the original "is he stupid" post must be feeling like this right now: I guess in the end, HE was stupid for not being able to see the ramifications of his actions. Just like Omer. ADAM S Sam Bidwell @sam_bidwell Libertine boomers realising that the comfortable, liberal, Christian ethical framework that they spent decades tearing down is now being replaced by something far worse.

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