Christopher Nolan’s Top 10 Movies Ranked

The best of Christopher Nolan on the big screen.

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Christopher Nolan is not just a director, he is arguably one of the greatest storytellers of our time. He is an exceptional visionary and his contributions to the world of cinema leave a mark on the audiences. Very few directors come close to Christopher Nolan’s legacy.

The British-American filmmaker was born on July 30, 1970, in London. Christopher developed a passion for filmmaking early and began experimenting with his Father’s Super 8 camera. He graduated from University College London with a degree in English Literature. Following (1998) was the first movie directed by Nolan. 

Throughout his illustrious career, Nolan has made some of the best award-winning films to date. With ‘Oppenheimer‘ just around the corner, here’s a look at the Top 10 of Christopher Nolan’s movies.

10. Memento (2000)

Christopher Nolan’s second movie gained the Director International recognition. Memento is a neo-noir mystery psychological thriller that follows the life of Leonard Shelby, a man suffering from amnesia. 

The movie follows a non-linear narrative that consists of 2 sequences. Black and White Scenes along with Color Sequences shown in reverse order. Cinematographer Wally Pfister does a stunning job of visualizing Nolan’s idea on camera. 

Memento received two nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing at the 74th Academy Awards. 

Christopher Nolan In Memento
© Rex Features

9. Insomnia (2002)

Another psychological thriller by Christopher Nolan, but this is the only film directed by Nolan in which he did not write or co-write. The film follows two Los Angeles homicide detectives investigating the murder of a teenage girl in Alaska. 

One of the standout aspects of Insomnia is the thrilling haunting atmosphere that is prevalent throughout the movie. Nolan uses the setting to create an eerie feeling and a disorienting ambiance to give the audience a sense of claustrophobia. 

Al Pacino and Robin Williams received critical acclaim for their performance in Insomnia. 

Christopher Nolan In Insomnia
© Warner Bros. And Summit.

8. Tenet (2020)

Surprised to see Tenet so far down the list? Well, that’s how great some of Christopher Nolan’s movies are. Tenet is a science fiction thriller that follows a former CIA agent who learns how to manipulate the flow of time. This was the last movie Christopher Nolan did with the Warner Bros. 

Christopher Nolan took over 5 years to write the screenplay for Tenet. That’s how much attention to detail Nolan puts in each one of his movies. The movie was delayed multiple times because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tenet won the award for Best Visual Effects at the 93rd Academy Awards. I guess crashing an actual plane in the movie contributed to it.

Christopher Nolan In Tenet
© Warner Bros.

7. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

The Dark Knight Trilogy is considered to be one of the best superhero movies to date. The Dark Knight Rises is the final movie in the trilogy and is based on the DC Comics character, Batman. Christian Bale plays the role of Gotham’s Infamous hero in the trilogy.

The Dark Knight Trilogy was way ahead of its time. The movies did not follow the typical narrative of superhero movies, it was more than Batman saving the day. The visual element of the movie, the stunning cinematography, and the majestic background score by Hans Zimmer make this one of the best superhero movies. 

The Dark Knight Rises went on to gross over $1 Billion and became the seventh-highest-grossing film of all time, at the time of its release.

Christopher Nolan In The Dark Knight Rises
© Warner Bros.

6. The Prestige (2006)

If there’s one genre that Christopher Nolan is exceptional at, it would be psychological thrillers. The movie follows the rivalry between two magicians over who can pull off the ultimate magic trick.

Nolan perfectly captures the feud between the two magicians on camera. The production design of the movie was remarkable as it contributed to bringing 19th-century magic to life. Prestige went on to receive two Academy Award nominations for Best Art Direction and Best Cinematography.

Christopher Nolan In The Prestige
© Warner Bros.

5. Batman Begins (2005)

Batman Begins came at a time when Warner Bros canceled all Batman movies after the previous iterations did not do so well at the Box Office. Later in January 2003, Warner Bros. hired Christopher Nolan for Batman Begins after what we assume was a pitch meeting, which went well. 

The film relied heavily on traditional stunts and miniature effects with very minimal use of Computer-Generated-Imagery. Expectations were low, considering the previous iterations but Batman Begins went on to become the ninth-highest-grossing film of 2005, amassing over $379 million worldwide. 

The movie also received an Academy Award nomination for Best Cinematography. 

Christopher Nolan In Batman Begins
© Warner Bros.

4. Dunkirk (2017)

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk is a movie that depicts the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II. 

It is one of the movies where the dialogues are minimal and more emphasis towards the stunning cinematography combined with the background score. 

It is another one of Nolan’s movies in which he makes very little use of CGI. Nolan hired thousands of extras to depict the soldiers. He even made use of boats and fighter planes from the World War II era. 

Dunkirk is the highest-earning war film which grossed over $527 million worldwide. Dunkirk won Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. 

Christopher Nolan In Dunkirk
© Warner Bros.

3. Inception (2010)

Inception stars Leonardo DiCaprio, who is a professional thief who can steal information by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets. In the film, Nolan manages to construct a multi-layered plot that makes the audience question what is real and what is a dream. 

From the mind-bending cityscapes and zero-gravity fight scenes, the movie is a visual delight. Christopher Nolan’s attention to detail in Inception is a testament to his visionary filmmaking. 

Inception won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Art Direction, and Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards. The movie has made over $828 million worldwide. 

Christopher Nolan In Inception
© Warner Bros.

2. The Dark Knight (2008)

There will be no Batman Movie to top this off, in fact, there will be no Superhero movie that will surpass the standards set by Dark Knight. One of the finest works of cinema and Christopher Nolan is at the helm of this grandeur. 

The Dark Knight was the first movie to be filmed on high-resolution IMAX cameras. The cinematography is out of this world and the stunning background score makes this a must-watch movie. The Late Heath Ledger’s portrayal of Joker in The Dark Knight received critical acclaim worldwide.

The Dark Knight went on to receive 8 Academy Award Nominations of which it won Best Supporting Actor (Heath Ledger) and Best Sound Editing. The movie is considered to be a blueprint for several modern superhero films. 

Christopher Nolan In The Dark Knight
© Warner Bros.

1. Interstellar (2014) – Christopher Nolan’s Best Yet

Hands down the best Christopher Nolan movie, unless Oppenheimer decides to take the crown on July 21, 2023. The film follows a group of astronauts who travel through space to find a new planet to call home. 

The movie was shot on 35mm PAF and IMAX 70mm which make it visually stunning. The attention to detail in the movie is phenomenal, as Christopher Nolan perfectly depicts all concepts related to space travel, theoretical astrophysics, and time. 

Interstellar received 5 Academy Award nominations of which it won Best Visual Effects at the 87th Academy Awards.

Christopher Nolan In Interstellar
© Warner Bros.

With multiple blockbuster hits to his name, the expectations for Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer are high. With his successful track record, it would come as no surprise if Oppenheimer breaks records at the box office.

Source – Mubi

Levin Plassery
Levin Plassery
Hello, My name's Levin, out here navigating through typos and writer's block, one word at a time. Ps, the glass in the picture is not a sign of my crippling alcoholism which has resorted me to writing, am only 21.

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