15 Lesser-Known Movies Like Nolan's Oppenheimer

15 Lesser-Known Movies Like Nolan's Oppenheimer
Image credit: Legion-Media, globallookpress, Madman Films, Mushroom Pictures

Yes, Oppenheimer was shot on a blockbuster scale and blockbuster budget, but that doesn't mean that other movies can't come close in terms of that heavy historical drama vibe.

1. Snowtown (2011)

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When Jamie, a young man living in a rough Adelaide suburb, meets the charismatic John Bunting, little does he know the darkness that's about to be unveiled. Based on real events, the movie unravels the string of murders committed by Bunting, infamously known as the Snowtown murders. Jamie is seduced into this world, only to realize too late the brutality of his mentor. If you're looking for raw intensity, this one's a home run.

2. Bronson (2008)

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Ever heard of Michael Peterson? Probably not. But Charles Bronson, Britain's most notorious prisoner, might ring a bell, right? Tom Hardy takes the lead, and boy, does he deliver. Peterson's transformation into his alter ego, Bronson, is not just about name change but a deep dive into madness and violence. He spends decades in solitary confinement, turning his life into a strange form of art. Can you believe it only bagged around $2 million at the box office? As underappreciated as it gets.

3. Control (2007)

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Ah, the life and times of Ian Curtis, the enigmatic lead singer of the post-punk band Joy Division. While you might sway to their beats, Curtis' personal life was no party. Battling epilepsy, depression, and the pressures of rising fame, Sam Riley's portrayal is nothing short of brilliant. But with the sad melodies comes a tale of young love, music, and a life cut short. And yes, you might want to keep some tissues nearby.

4. Christiane F. – We Children from Bahnhof Zoo (1981)

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Let's travel back in time to 1970s West Berlin. Christiane, just 13 years old, plunges into the city's party scene. While the allure of disco clubs and David Bowie concerts is real, the descent into drug addiction is even more palpable. What began as innocent fun spirals into heroin use, leading to a harrowing journey of survival in the gritty Bahnhof Zoo train station. Honestly, if this doesn't scream "dark and gritty", what does?

5. Monster (2003)

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Based on the life of Aileen Wuornos, a prostitute-turned-serial killer, this film is a psychological exploration rather than a plain crime story. Charlize Theron, almost unrecognizable, bags an Oscar for diving deep into a character filled with rage and despair. The paradox? Amidst the killings, Aileen finds a genuine romantic connection with Selby. But when love clashes with reality, guess which one takes the backseat?

6. Hunger (2008)

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Ever wondered what happens when human spirit battles the might of an establishment? Dive into the Maze Prison of Northern Ireland, 1981. Bobby Sands, alongside other prisoners, protests against the brutal treatment of IRA inmates. A hunger strike ensues, turning into a test of human endurance and willpower. Director Steve McQueen captures the raw essence, making the audience almost feel the pangs of hunger and desperation.

7. Chopper (2000)

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Now here's an oddball for you. Mark "Chopper" Read isn't just any criminal. He's got a flair for the dramatic, often self-harming to get what he wants. Throughout the movie, we're left puzzled: is he a realist or just plain insane? With Eric Bana in the driver's seat, Chopper's life, filled with prison brawls and gang rivalries, is laid bare. It's both chaotic and comical. Who would've thought?

8. Capote (2005)

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Philip Seymour Hoffman, in one of his career-best performances, steps into the shoes of Truman Capote. As the writer investigates the gruesome murder of a family in Kansas for his book, "In Cold Blood", he forms an unlikely bond with one of the murderers. This connection strains his personal relationships and takes a toll on his mental health. With a box office collection surpassing $49 million, the film did alright, but many still missed out on this captivating story.

9. Carlos (2010)

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Terrorism, politics, and personal ambitions mesh together in the life of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, aka Carlos the Jackal. Spanning across decades, this movie takes you on a global adventure, from London to Riyadh, as Carlos conducts a series of orchestrated attacks. It's not just about the actions, though. The internal conflicts, ego battles, and the eventual downfall of one of the world's most wanted men make for a riveting watch.

10. American Splendor (2003)

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Ever felt like life is too mundane? Harvey Pekar did. Working as a file clerk in Cleveland, Pekar turns his ordinary life into comic series American Splendor, capturing everyday nuances. The twist? The line between the comic world and real life blurs. Paul Giamatti's performance is quirky and relatable, making us wonder if there's a bit of Harvey in all of us.

11. Filth (2013)

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With a title like that, you know you're not in for a breezy watch. Meet Bruce Robertson, a corrupt Scottish police officer spiraling into drug addiction, hallucinations, and sheer madness. Aiming for a promotion, his tactics are far from honorable. As the plot unfolds, the reasons behind his deteriorating mental state come to light. And James McAvoy? Man, he sure can play unhinged like nobody's business.

12. Foxcatcher (2014)

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When millionaire John du Pont offers wrestler Mark Schultz a chance to train for the 1988 Olympics at his estate, it seems like a dream come true. But du Pont's erratic behavior and obsession with Mark's brother Dave lead to a tragic end. Steve Carell's transformation into the creepy, unpredictable du Pont is nothing short of astounding. And with a wrestling backdrop? Let's just say it packs a punch.

13. Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky (2009)

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Romance? Check. Drama? Double check. Dive into 1920s Paris as fashion icon Coco Chanel and composer Igor Stravinsky engage in a passionate affair. Their relationship, marked by artistic temperaments and personal tragedies, influences both their works. The entangled lives of two geniuses make for an intense, dramatic tale.

14. Antwone Fisher (2002)

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When a young navy man with a temper, Antwone Fisher, is ordered to see a psychiatrist, his traumatic past unfolds. Abandoned as a child, with memories of abuse and neglect, Antwone's journey to confront his past and find his family is both heart-wrenching and inspiring. Directed by Denzel Washington, it's a reminder of the battles many silently fight.

15. J. Edgar (2011)

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Lastly, step into the secretive world of J. Edgar Hoover, the man who ran the FBI for almost 50 years. From his war against communists to his own personal secrets, the life of one of America's most powerful men is intriguingly complex. With Leonardo DiCaprio at the helm, it's a peek into the corridors of power, intrigue, and closeted truths.