The rise of Christopher Nolan as a filmmaker has been a fascinating one. The guy is, undoubtedly, one of a very few number of directors who have the clout to make pretty much whatever they want. At a time when Steven Spielberg has trouble gathering financing for his projects, the combination of Christopher Nolan’s unfailing box office success and high critical praise makes him a low-risk prospect for any major studio, even if you’re greenlighting a budget of say $165 million for an original sci-fi epic.
But while Nolan is now pretty much the consummate “prestige blockbuster” filmmaker, he didn’t start off making massive films. Nor did he take the now somewhat common route of churning out a well-received indie then immediately jumping into the big leagues. Nolan began by making incredibly small-scale films, slowly working his way up to his first blockbuster, but throughout he kept his filmmaking sensibilities intact: ambitious narrative structure, incredibly serious and high-stakes stories, and intense character focus. These hallmarks are just as prevalent in Nolan’s first feature, the $6,000 noir Following, as they are in something like The Dark Knight.
As a result of Nolan’s razor sharp focus and, starting with Batman Begins, consistent success with general audiences, he’s become one of the most beloved filmmakers working today. Nolan has so much clout that he pretty much saved film photography from being rendered obsolete by digital. So given the importance, talent, and impact of Nolan, it feels prudent to look back on his filmography as a whole. In what format, you ask? Well by ranking each and every film from worst to best, of course. Behold, Christopher Nolan movies ranked.