Christopher Nolan is one of the best directors of our era. His way of storytelling is complex and resonates with audiences worldwide, leading his films to gross billions at the box office. The English filmmaker developed an interest in the industry from a young age. Growing up, Nolan was influenced by Ridley Scott’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Star Wars (1977). At just seven years old, he’d borrow his father’s Super 8 camera and shoot short films with his action figures. He’d create makeshift sets with his brother Jonathan built from clay, flour, egg boxes, and toilet rolls. At age 11, he aspired to be a professional filmmaker and worked as a script reader, camera operator, and director of corporate and industrial films.
However, with no support from the British film industry, Nolan was struggling to get his projects off the ground. Despite that, Nolan created his first feature film, 1998’s Following, which he wrote, directed, photographed, and edited with a £3,000 budget. Following won several awards during its festival run and was well-received by critics. The success allowed Nolan to make Memento two years later, which became his breakthrough film. After that, Nolan approached Warner Bros. with the idea of making a new Batman film based on the character’s origin story. He wanted to approach it with a more realistic world than a comic-book fantasy. Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy set the bar for future superhero films in the way he achieved a gritty, realistic tone. With 12 films under his belt, each seemingly his best work to date at the time of their release, it’s hard to pick a favorite.
Take a look below at our top five picks of Nolan’s best films.