Christopher Nolan Movies Ranked Worst To Best


From ambitious, mind-bending sci-fi movies
to murder mysteries and war epics, Christopher Nolan has put a unique stamp on Hollywood
during his two-decade career as a director — and proved that ambitious, original ideas
can make just as much box office bank as comic book superheroes. “If you’re good at something never do it for
free.” With a level of critical and commercial success
that most filmmakers never come close to, Nolan’s only real competition in the industry
is himself. But how do his movies stack up against each
other? Here’s our ranking, starting with number ten. Following Even Christopher Nolan’s worst movie is pretty
darn good. But more than anything, it stands as a testament
to his early promise as a filmmaker. Clocking in at just over an hour, this super-short
movie revolves around a man whose hobby is following strangers — which it turns out
is pretty weird when you’re doing it in real life and not on Twitter. “When it stopped being random, that’s when
it started to go wrong.” With a narrative that jumps around between
the future and present, it’s no surprise that critics see Following as a harbinger of the
great work Nolan would produce in years to come. Insomnia Nolan’s breakout as a filmmaker came with
Memento in 2000 — but it’s the movie he made after that one that’s next in our reverse
ranking. This suspenseful crime thriller is a remake
of the 1997 Norwegian film of the same name, and Nolan used his Alaskan setting to spectacular
effect. And in addition to the kind of intricate plot
that would become a trademark of his work, the director also proved that he could wrangle
a talented cast of A-listers; Insomnia is led by Al Pacino and Robin Williams, who delivered
one of his most chilling performances. The Prestige Smart, mysterious, and featuring a totally
underrated cameo by David Bowie, this period piece pulls off one of the best twists in
modern cinema. The story follows a pair of dueling illusionists,
played by Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale, as they battle to rule the magic scene in
late 1800s London. Hey! Where’d he go? We won’t spoil the big reveal, but let’s just
say that this movie has a lot up its sleeve, making it a memorable and ambitious entry
into Nolan’s catalogue. The Dark Knight Rises The final entry in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy
is a fantastic film. It’s just not as good as the first two, which
is why it’s here on the bottom half of the list. Nolan brought his series to a rousing end
by turning the entire city of Gotham into a war zone, with imposing bad guy Bane, played
by Tom Hardy, as the villain-in-chief. Along with Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, The
Dark Knight Rises brought a brand of spark and wit the franchise had been missing. And even if the formula was arguably stretched
a bit thin by now, the director still managed to send his Batman out with a bang. Interstellar Nolan walked a tightrope with this sci-fi
flick, combining a space adventure with a metaphysical message about the transcendent
power of love. Ambitious! But Nolan worked hard to get the science right
and create a stunning blockbuster spectacle, while also never losing touch with his story’s
heart. At the middle of it all is a mission to save
humanity — and a poignant performance by Matthew McConaughey as a hero on the verge
of a life-changing sacrifice. Memento We’re into the top five, with the movie that
first put Nolan on the map — and a textbook example of what makes him such a great filmmaker. Starring Guy Pearce as the world’s most unreliable
narrator, it forces the audience to piece together its story one tiny detail at a time,
backwards, using only a bunch of polaroids and tattooed clues on the skin of its protagonist…
who hasn’t the foggiest idea how his own story began. “Look, I’m sorry I don’t remember you. It’s nothing personal.” Fortunately, nobody has amnesia when it comes
to recognizing Memento as Nolan’s first cinematic masterpiece. As both writer and director, he showed Hollywood
he had the chops to take big, original, high-concept ideas and turn them into something critics
and audiences alike would rave about. Batman Begins “He’s here.” “Who?’ “The bat man!” This superhero franchise was in shambles when
Christopher Nolan’s pitch for a back-to-basics approach put it back on track, and reinvented
the genre in the bargain. Batman Begins nailed the classic character’s
origin story and introduced a whole new generation of fans to the Dark Knight — and it put
Batman back on top of the box office for the first time in ages, proving that its director
had the chops to helm blockbusters that were so much more than simple popcorn flicks. Inception Let’s be honest: for most directors, setting
an action-packed heist film inside multiple sub-layers of an increasingly complex dreamworld
would have resulted in a mess of epic proportions. But for Christopher Nolan, that premise made
for a mind-bending masterpiece. With an all-star cast led by Leonardo DiCaprio,
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, and Ellen Page, Inception may still be the director’s
most remarkable project: a dizzyingly complex story and jaw-dropping visual effects extravaganza
in one. What might be most impressive, though, is
that Nolan is one of few directors who Hollywood would dream of trusting with a non-franchise
picture this ambitious. Dunkirk Despite the uncountable number of World War
II movies that have come out of Hollywood, Christopher Nolan still managed to give the
military conflict a fresh spin with this story about the daring real-life evacuation of Allied
troops from the French city of Dunkirk. Instead of a big, sweeping battlefield epic,
Nolan got right up close to the action with multiple perspectives across three different
timelines — featuring a talented ensemble cast that included a few familiar faces from
Gotham City. Critics were seriously impressed, and this
inspirational film is the director’s best yet… with one exception. The Dark Knight If Nolan’s Batman trilogy is the best superhero
franchise ever made, this movie is its crown jewel. “Hiiiii.” The late Heath Ledger stole every scene with
a mesmerizing, Oscar-winning performance as the Joker, and Christian Bale was in full
command of the caped crusader’s cowl — not to mention his memorable bat-voice. “WHERE ARE THEY?!” Critics and audiences alike loved The Dark
Knight, and many people were furious when it was snubbed in the Best Picture category,
and for good reason: it’s not just one of the best superhero movies of the past decade,
it’s one of the best movies, ever, period — and that’s why it’s number one on our
list of Nolan’s greatest hits. No clowning. Thanks for watching! Click the Looper icon to subscribe to our
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