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5 Cillian Murphy movies and TV shows to stream if you liked Oppenheimer

Few actors have had the level of success of Cillian Murphy while finding a way to remain relatively anonymous. Now that he’s the sole star of Oppenheimer, though, the entirety of his career has come under a level of scrutiny that may be unfamiliar to the Irish veteran.

Murphy’s Oppenheimer performance is one of the best of his long and varied career, but if you left the movie wanting to see more from the gaunt, stunning Irishman at the movie’s center, you’re in luck. We’ve pulled together five films that every fan of Oppenheimer, and of Murphy in particular, should definitely watch.

Peaky Blinders (2013-2022)

Peaky Blinders: Series launch trailer - BBC Two

The role that Murphy may be most well-known for, at least among Netflix subscribers, Peaky Blinders ran for a total of six seasons. Although each of those seasons is relatively short, the series always showcased Murphy’s skill as a performer.

Set just months after the end of World War I, Peaky Blinders follows the street gang of the same name as they navigate London against a period of incredible tumult. Murphy’s Tommy Shelby remains the show’s central character throughout each season, but he’s surrounded by an all-star lineup of British character actors and thespians who may pop by for an episode or even an entire season.

Inception (2010)

Inception (2010) Official Trailer #1 - Christopher Nolan Movie HD

He may not have a huge role in Inception, but the movie wouldn’t work at all without Murphy’s performance there to center the whole thing. Murphy plays the mark, so to speak. He’s the man whose mind the dream thieves have to investigate, and in the process of doing so, they excavate his complicated, fraught relationship with his own father.

In every minute of screen time that he gets, Murphy plays his role to perfection, and he’s also responsible for delivering one of the movie’s emotional climaxes during a moment when he finally has to reckon with who he wants to be in relation to his dad.

Red Eye (2005)

Red Eye (2005) Theatrical Trailer

A wonderfully tense thriller from the late, great Wes Craven, Red Eye follows a young woman who becomes ensconced in an assassination plot that’s being orchestrated by Murphy’s character.

While Christopher Nolan gave Murphy the chance to play villains in his Batman trilogy, Red Eye is another great example of how chilling Murphy can be when he lets the light behind his eyes dim just a little bit. In Red Eye, he gets to be the perfect combination of menacing and charming, and proved without a doubt that he could be a star in more mid-budget thrillers in addition to arthouse fare.

28 Days Later (2003)

28 Days Later (2002) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

The movie that arguably made him a star, 28 Days Later tells the story of a man who wakes up from a month-long coma to discover that the world has descended into what amounts to the zombie apocalypse. Before he knows it, he’s racing through the streets of London to escape people infected with the rage virus.

The empty streets of London are incredibly eerie in the movie’s opening minutes, but everything about 28 Days Later, even as the story leaves the city and moves into the countryside. It’s a classic of the zombie movie genre, but more than that, it was definitive proof that Murphy was going to be a star.

Sunshine (2007)

Sunshine (2007) - Trailer

Murphy’s second collaboration with Danny Boyle was certainly the more divisive, but Sunshine is one of the best sci-fi movies of the 21st century. The movie follows a group on a spaceship who are attempting to reignite the sun, which is in the process of dying.

On their way to the sun’s surface, they encounter the remains of the ship that made the journey before them, which is when things get genuinely insane, and the movie loses some people. Murphy plays a physicist here, as he does in Oppenheimer, and knows exactly how to lead this ensemble while giving the actors around him plenty of room to shine.

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Joe Allen
Joe Allen is a freelance writer based in upstate New York focused on movies and TV.
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