From Oppemheimer to The Dark Knight: The Top 5 Christopher Nolan Movies

Known for his thrilling films and complex storytelling, Christopher Edward Nolan is a British and American filmmaker. Nolan was raised by an American mother and a British father, as a result, his family spent time in both Chicago and London. The filmmaker studied English literature at University College London. Afterward, he began making short films, and he made his film debut in 1998 with the crime thriller film Following. Today Nolan is considered a leading filmmaker of the 21st century with his films grossing over $5 billion worldwide.

During his time at University College London, Nolan met his future wife Emma Thomas. The couple have four children together. Shortly after getting married, they collaborated on their first short film, Doodlebug. Nolan and Emma also founded a production company together, Syncopy Inc. Throughout his career Nolan has received numerous accolades including nomination for five Academy Awards, five British Academy Film Awards, and six Golden Globe Awards. In 2019, he was also appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to film. In no particular order let’s take a look at five of his best movies. 


From Oppemheimer to The Dark Knight: The Top 5 Christopher Nolan Movies

In 2017, Christopher Nolan released his first-ever historically-based drama, Dunkirk,  with many critics regarding the movie as the greatest war movie ever made. Dunkirk is a historical war thriller film. The movie follows the 1940 Dunkirk evacuation of World War II from the perspectives of the land, sea, and air. Nolan is wrote, directed, and produced the film. The movie featured an ensemble cast that includes actors such as Fionn Whitehead, Tom Hardy,  Tom Glynn-Carney, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance, and Harry Styles in his film debut. The film was shot in Dunkirk, France, in the same location as the World War II evacuation.  

Christopher Nolan didn’t hold back in the production of the movie. In an attempt to minimize the need for CGI Nolan used real navy destroyers for the battle sequences. At one point during filming, there were 62 ships in the water. Nolan also employed over 6,000 extras during the making of the film. Nolan who is famous for his length movies made an exception in  Dunkirk as the movie is Nolan’s shortest film since his directorial debut. Following its release in 2017 Dunkirk gained huge success. It earned a 94% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The film earned eight nominations at the 90th Academy Awards, it went on to win for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Film Editing. The movie is also a huge commercial success grossing over $500 million worldwide.

The Dark Knight

From Oppemheimer to The Dark Knight: The Top 5 Christopher Nolan Movies

The Dark Knight is a superhero film based on the DC Comics superhero Batman. The film was released in 2008. The movie is the sequel to Batman Begins released in 2005 and the second installment in The Dark Knight Trilogy. The movie follows the tales of Batman and Joker, with an alliance between Batman, police lieutenant James Gordon, and District Attorney Harvey Dent, in order to eradicate organized crime in Gotham City. However, Batman’s arch nemesis, the Joker seeks to test how far Batman will go to save Gotham from chaos.

Initially, Nolan didn’t make the first movie in the Batman trilogy, Batman Begins with a sequel in mind he just wanted to tell the story of the origin of Batman. As he so often does, Nolan avoided using computer-generated imagery unless necessary, insisting on practical stunts. Certain scenes in the movie were actually real, such as flipping an 18-wheel truck and blowing up a factory. The Dark Knight made history breaking several box-office records. In 2008 following its release the movie became the highest-grossing of that year with over $900 million worldwide gross. It didn’t stop there the movie went on to become the highest-grossing superhero film.



Christopher Nolan’s film breakthrough came in 2000 with his movie, Memento. Memento is an American psychological thriller film. The movie is based on the short story by Nolan’s brother Jonathan Nolan titled Memento Mori. The movie marks the origin of Nolan’s complex storytelling nature. Memento follows a non-linear narrative. The movie features two different sequences of scenes throughout the film, the first a series in black-and-white that is shown chronologically, and a series of colour sequences shown in reverse order. 

The film follows a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia, resulting in short-term memory loss and the inability to form new memories. Despite the movie’s critical success, Memento was made on a modest budget of around $9 million. Memento also received many accolades, including Academy Award nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing. 


Oppenheimer's historical accuracy 2

Oppenheimer is a biographical thriller film released in 2023. Written and directed by Nolan the movie is based on the 2005 biography American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin. The film follows the career of  J. Robert Oppenheimer, the American theoretical physicist credited with being the father of the atomic bomb. The movie featured an A-list cast including actors such as Emily Blunt Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, and Cillian Murphy who played Robert Oppenheimer. 

The story of the film follows Oppenheimer’s studies, and his direction of the Manhattan Project during World War II, as well as his 1954 security hearing which led to his fall from grace. As we all know Nolan is no stranger to recreating dramatic events in his movies. However, the recreations in Oppenheimer proved to be his most ambitious move yet, the director decided to film the Trinity atomic bomb test without using any CGI or visual effects.  Following its release Oppenheimer became the third-highest-grossing film of 2023, the highest-grossing World War II-related film, and the highest-grossing biographical film.



In 2010, Christopher Nolan released one of his most mind-bending science fiction films to date. Inception was produced by Nolan alongside his wife Emma Thomas. The movie follows the story of a professional thief who steals information by infiltrating the subconscious of his targets. 

The film was shot in a total of six countries including the U.S., Morocco, Canada, France, the U.K., and Japan. A fun fact about the movie is that Nolan thought of the idea behind the movie when he was just 16 and it took him 10 Years To write the movie. Nolan did such good work with Inception that in 2010 was considered one of the best films of that year. The movie won four Oscars and was nominated for four more at the 83rd Academy Awards.


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