Christopher Nolan may be the most popular director working in Hollywood today. He is the kind of director who creates a stir every time he announced a new project. His latest film Tenet is one of the most anticipated films of next year and we don’t even know what it’s about yet.
Nolan’s popularity stems from his impressive filmography to date which features some of the biggest and most ambitious modern films. He currently has seven films on IMDb’s list of the best 250 movies of all time. Many fans would argue that he has yet to make a bad film, but which ranks the highest. Here are Christopher Nolan’s best movies according to IMDb.
10 Insomnia (1996): 7.2
Insomnia is usually overlooked in the list of Nolan’s great movies, but despite the lowest rating, it is still worth checking out. The film is a remake of a Norwegian film and stars Al Pacino as a detective investigating a murder in a small Alaskan town. As he deals with insomnia, he finds himself being blackmailed by the killer.
The crime film may be a bit too bleak for most audiences and it doesn’t have the same epic feel as some of Nolan’s later masterpieces. However, the mystery is engrossing, Pacino is excellent and there is a great supporting turn by Robin Williams in one of his most surprising roles.
9 Following (1998): 7.5
Nolan’s first film is a much smaller film than his fans are used to but his immense skills as a director were still on full display. The black-and-white mystery film focuses on a writer who follows people hoping to get material for his latest work. He soon finds what he was looking for when a thief brings him under his wing.
As with most first features, the film feels small and independent. Nolan would grow considerably as a filmmaker following this, but you can still feel his distinct ability to create mood and atmosphere in an incredibly effective way.
8 Dunkirk (2017): 7.9
Nolan’s love of practical, “old school” filmmaking was put to the ultimate test with this highly ambitious war epic. The film tells the story of the desperate evacuation of British forces in World War II from Dunkirk, France as German forces were closing in. The film is told from the perspectives of those on the beach, those in the boats and those in the planes.
Some fans may not have been as interested in the almost dialogue-free story, or perhaps the confusing timeline was too hard to follow. But many people found it to be an enthralling and harrowing depiction of a rare kind of heroism in war.
7 Batman Begins (2005): 8.2
The Batman franchise was virtually dead following Batman and Robin until Nolan came along with his grounded and realistic take on the Caped Crusader. Batman Begins stars Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in this origin tale of how he became Batman and the protector of Gotham City.
The movie instantly brought the franchise back to life and gave fans a gritty look at Batman they had been waiting to see on the big screen. Bale was praised for his darker take on the character and it helped to launch one of the most popular trilogies of all time.
6 The Dark Knight Rises (2012): 8.4
Nolan was the rare filmmaker who was able to bring his superhero series to an end on his own terms. The Dark Knight Rises found Bruce Wayne forced to return to his role as Batman and join forces with Catwoman when a mercenary named Bane turns Gotham into a war zone.
The third and final film wasn’t as big of a hit with critics, but fans seemed to have found it a satisfying conclusion. Tom Hardy made for an interesting villain, Anne Hathaway made Catwoman her own, and the story came to a bittersweet and thrilling end.
5 Memento (2000): 8.4
Nolan came to the attention of many with his second feature film, a mind-bending mystery noir. Memento starred Guy Pearce as a many with short-term memory loss who is trying to piece together the mystery of who killed his wife.
The movie was praised as one of the most inventive modern films with Nolan telling the entire story in reverse. Though it may sound like a gimmick, it resulted in a captivating, original and unforgettable movie experience. Nolan cemented himself as one of the most interesting and bold directors around.
4 The Prestige (2006): 8.5
The Prestige didn’t make much of a splash when it was released compared to Nolan’s other films, but its popularity has only increased over time. The film stars Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman as rival magicians whose feud turns deadly as they continue trying to outdo the other in search of the perfect trick.
Once again, Nolan created a story that had audiences on the edge of their seats until the credit rolled. The dark tone of the film kept you engaged as the strange story slowly revealed itself in clever and mind-blowing ways.
3 Interstellar (2014): 8.6
Nolan has talked about the influence 2001: A Space Odyssey had on him as a filmmaker and so it’s not surprising he eventually made his own space epic. Interstellar stars Matthew McConaughey as an engineer who agrees to take part in a space mission to find a habitable planet while living his young family behind.
Many considered this to be the most intimate of Nolan’s work and many fans found its story of family and time to be incredibly touching. Of course, the film is also a visual wonder with many interesting ideas and twists throughout the story.
2 Inception (2010): 8.8
Inception was the movie that proved Nolan was a modern cinema master capable of much more than the Batman films. The movie is a bold and inventive heist film about a thief who can enter people’s dreams to steal their thoughts. He is lured into a dangerous job in the hopes of reuniting with his family.
Audiences were blown away by the epic thriller Nolan constructed. From the incredibly unique idea to the amazing visuals to the extended heist sequence itself, he made an unforgettable action film, unlike anything that has ever existed before.
1 The Dark Knight (2008): 9.0
Batman Begins changed the Batman franchise forever, but The Dark Knight changed the superhero genre forever. The sequel explored Batman’s fight to keep Gotham on the right path when the madman known as Joker unleashes a reign of terror on the city and its people.
Nolan doubled-down on his realistic take on the superhero and created a crime epic starring Batman. The thrilling action scenes and gritty feel amazed fans and showed comic book films could be taken seriously. And Heath Ledger created an iconic movie villain with his anarchist take on Joker.