A viewer's guide to #Barbenheimer

Black versus pink. Nuclear weapons versus rollerblades. “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie,” two likely summer 2023 blockbuster films, have turned the internet on its head through a bevy of video mashups, fake movie posters and conversation about what, or who, is the “destroyer of worlds.”

If you haven’t had your fill of the #Barbenheimer madness, Princeton University Library owns the following books and videos available to borrow. 

Left, J. Robert Oppenheimer’s photo from his Los Alamos badge. Right, a photo of a Barbie doll taken in 2011.


Barbie: A Rare Beauty, by Sandi Holder 

“Barbie: A Rare Beauty” hosts an amazing visual feast of 50 years of beautiful dolls, showcasing more than 500 striking photographs of some of the finest and rarest dolls ever created. Author and celebrated Barbie doll expert, Sandi Holder, presents a banquet of gorgeous vintage dolls, classic fashion sets, prototypes, one-of-a-kind rarities, Japanese fashions, store displays, licensed products, and many never-before-seen items in this stunning presentation of the grandest doll ever: Barbie.

Barbie – Four Decades of Fashion, Fantasy and Fun by Marco Tosa

The popular phenomenon that is "Barbie" is documented by a doll expert who covers in detail her history, her many incarnations, her connection with famous starlets and designers, and her forthcoming, more anatomically correct shape.

Barbie Nation: An Unauthorized Tour

“Barbie Nation” fearlessly delves into the underbelly of Barbie's Dreamhouse, intimately exploring the peculiar ways in which people have embraced Barbie throughout history - and the doll's own saucy rise from a German sex toy to the savior of Mattel.

Barbie: The Icon by Massimiliano Capella 

In this gorgeous compendium, which includes a ribbon marker and acetate jacket, we see the evolution of Barbie interspersed with historically and culturally significant world events, such as the first woman astronaut entering space in 1963, or the first woman running for president in 1984. Over time, Barbie has taken on nearly 150 professions and represented more than forty different nationalities. Fashion-wise, she has collaborated with more than 75 designers, including Valentino, Versace, Dior, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Prada, and Givenchy. As it unfolds, “Barbie: The Icon” unpacks Barbie's magical ability to appeal to all.


The Trials of J. Robert Oppenheimer, PBS Series American Experience

The two-hour film traces the course of Oppenheimer’s life: his rarefied childhood, his troubled adolescence, his emergence as one of America’s leading nuclear physicists, his leadership of the Los Alamos laboratory, and his tragic humiliation.

The Day after Trinity, Robert Oppenheimer and the Atomic Bomb

When theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer became director of the Manhattan Project, he brought with him a love of poetry, philosophy, and Eastern religion. In the years following Trinity, the classified maiden test of a prototype atomic bomb, Oppenheimer revealed himself as a thoughtful man who felt both a duty to his country and a deep regret for the death and destruction caused by his leadership in the development of the weapon that heralded the arrival of the Atomic Age.

I Am Become Death: They Made the Bomb

“I Am Become Death” is a unique, rare view from within, as several of these scientists speak of experiences on the path to their terrible shared destiny.

Ultimate Weapon: The H-bomb Dilemma

An independent documentary film exploring the secret late-1940s/early-1950s debate over whether to build the H-bomb. It features declassified information from the Los Alamos archives, private archival collections and films, etc.

Wonders are Many: The Making of Doctor Atomic

“Wonders are Many: The Making of Doctor Atomic” traces a dazzling double-helix trajectory: one thread follows composer John Adams and director Peter Sellars as they work to create “Doctor Atomic,” the strange and beautiful opera about J. Robert Oppenheimer and the first atomic bomb; the other recounts the actual historical events that underpin the stage drama. Masterfully interwoven with recently declassified footage of nuclear testing in the deserts of the Southwest and the frenetic backstage action of the San Francisco Opera, the film creates an explosive vortex of performers and physicists, past and present, all of which is anchored by the enigmatic figure of Oppenheimer and channeled into high art by the creative power of Adams and Sellars.

Published on July 24, 2023

Compiled by Video Services and the Office of Library Communications