The brilliant director of numerous amazing films Christopher Nolan returns to the big screen with his new project: Oppenheimer, which will follow the life of physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who invented the atomic bomb. However, there’s still some time before the new Nolan film hits theaters. That means we’ve plenty of time to watch all of the Christopher Nolan movies again. So, without much ado, let’s take a look at the best films of one of the most intelligent directors of all time.
1. The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is the second film in The Dark Knight trilogy and also the last film to feature beloved actor Heath Ledger, as it was released shortly after his death in 2008. Along with Ledger, the film stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and others. With a rating of 9/10 on IMDb, it ranks #1 on our list of Christopher Nolan movies. The film follows Batman, Police Lieutenant James Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent as they team up to fight organized crime in Gotham City.
The 2010 science fiction film Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, is about a professional thief who steals information by entering the subconscious of his targets. The film caught the attention of the audience with its amazing story of the dream spiral, which reminds us of a line by E.A. Poe: “All that we see or seem / Is but a dream within a dream.” Considered one of the best films of the 2010s, Inception has been nominated for and won numerous awards.
3. The Prestige
The Prestige is one of the Christopher Nolan movies in which the director collaborated with Christian Bale, in addition to The Dark Knight trilogy. In the 2006 film, the intelligent director once again creates confusion for the audience with the theme of illusion. It follows two rival stage magicians in late 19th century London. As a period film, The Prestige also features a big name from history, famed inventor Nikola Tesla, portrayed by David Bowie.
4. The Dark Knight Rises
The final installment of The Dark Knight trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises is undoubtedly one of the best Christopher Nolan movies. It stars Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Gary Oldman once again, alongside Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard, Anne Hathaway and others. Released in 2012, it became not only Nolan’s highest-grossing film, but also the seventh highest-grossing film of all time. It was also named one of the 10 best films of 2012 by the American Film Institute and is considered one of the best superhero films of all time.
Memento is the second feature film by Christopher Nolan, but definitely an indicator of the director’s idiosyncratic style and one of his best works. The title of the film recalls the famous Latin phrase “Memento Mori,” which means “remember that you die” and it follows a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia, which causes short-term memory loss and the inability to form new memories. His search for the people who attacked him and killed his wife is presented in a nonlinear narrative. The chronological scenes in the film are shot in black and white, while the color sequences are shown in reverse order.
6. Batman Begins
When talking about Christopher Nolan movies, one cannot leave out Batman Begins, the first film of the trilogy, which caused a worldwide sensation when it was released in 2005. As the first installment of the film series, Batman Begins introduces us to Bruce Wayne and tells his origin story from the death of his parents to his journey to become Batman and his fight to stop Ra’s al Ghul and the Scarecrow from wreaking havoc on Gotham City.
Dunkirk is a 2017 war film in which Nolan uses very little dialog to create tension through camera work and music. It stars Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles, Cillian Murphy, Kennett Branagh and others. The film follows the evacuation of Dunkirk during World War II from land, sea and air perspectives. It contains numerous practical effects and has received critical acclaim for its cinematography, sound effects and screenplay. Dunkirk is considered one of the best war films and earned Nolan his first Oscar nomination for Best Director.
Following is Nolan’s first feature film and was released in 1998. An independent neo-noir crime thriller, it follows a young man who follows strangers through the streets of London and is drawn into the criminal underworld when he fails to keep his distance. As Nolan’s debut, Following was a low-budget film, but it was recognized as one of the most notable no-budget films of its time, winning numerous awards.
Tenet is the latest film by Christopher Nolan, which hit theaters in 2020. It stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in the lead roles. The film is about an agent of the US Central Intelligence Agency who learns to manipulate the flow of time to prevent an attack from the future that threatens to wipe out the world of the present. It can be said that Nolan played with time and space again in Tenet as well, nevertheless, it didn’t get as much recognition as other films of the director.
Insomnia forms the last place on our list of Christopher Nolan movies. However, it’s definitely not the worst Nolan film. It’s about two Los Angeles homicide detectives investigating a murder case in Nightmute, Alaska. It stars Robin Williams and Al Pacino, as well as Hilary Swank, Maura Tierney and Martin Donovan. We bet the fascinating story of Insomnia will definitely captivate you, but also the film’s outstanding cast might be a sufficient reason not to miss Nolan’s third feature film.