Excitement is building for Christopher Nolan’s next star-studded film, Oppenheimerwho will face Greta Gerwig Barbie for the hearts of moviegoers around the world. As one of the world’s most acclaimed filmmakers, Nolan has garnered a massive following, with many believing he hasn’t made a bad movie yet. Ranking its best has long been debated, and Ranker users have joined in that conversation as well.
The ranking of Nolan’s work by fan votes and the top and bottom of the list is hardly surprising, but die-hard fans of certain works from Nolan’s filmography will certainly be surprised, if not annoyed, by the placements of certain movies.
NOTE: Ranker’s list of polls is live and subject to change; this list is accurate at the time of publication.
ten Sequel (1998)
Next is Christopher Nolan’s first feature film, and is both the most inaccessible of his films and the one that is so often put at the bottom of the rankings of his films. Still, the movie isn’t necessarily bad; it’s a testament to Nolan’s consistency.
A thriller following a young writer in London, Next is a small film with a budget of $6,000 and a running time of just over an hour. It’s this scale and perhaps Nolan’s lack of experience as a filmmaker that holds this film back, which is usually the case for directorial debuts. While not the greatest movie of all time, it’s a tight, well-told story that’s worth looking back on, given how far Nolan has come.
9 Insomnia (2002)
Usually, Nolan’s films are original works, and that’s where Insomnia stands out in his filmography. It is a remake of a 1997 Norwegian film of the same name. Even though Ranker has it low in the Nolan ratings, many see this as Nolan’s most underrated work.
Other than Next, it’s Nolan’s most previously unseen work and perhaps the most “typical”, in that it’s not full of the grandiosity and vastness of films that would come. The fact that it’s a remake also holds it back, with the original being considered superior to many. Nonetheless, Pacino and Williams’ performances in this psychological crime thriller and Nolan’s already assured direction make it a memorable remake for those who have seen it.
8 The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Over the past decade there has been so much talk around The dark knight rises, it’s considered an amazing comic book/action movie by some and considered a waste by others. This split is likely why Ranker has it in the bottom half of Nolan’s filmography.
While the film provides, in many ways, a satisfying conclusion to what many believe to be the greatest superhero trilogy to date, with impressive performances and action, there are a lot of messy aspects that throw it off for people. The passage of time, the runtime, some of the way it presents the class system, the twist of Talia Al-Ghul, and that ending are all parts that divide the film and why Ranker le considers the weakest of the trilogy.
seven Batman Begins (2005)
While few are out there announcing The black Knight stands as the best of the Dark Knight Trilogy, batman begins has fans who regard it as the best work Nolan has done in the world of Batman and see it as possibly the best origin story ever told by a comic book movie. There have been and always will be criticisms of both Bale’s Batman voice and the lack of chemistry between Bale and Katie Holmes as love interests. But there’s so much brilliance throughout this hugely important film, too.
With Nolan and the talented on-screen performers, this dark and brooding tale – which is now the norm – stood out as one of the most unique superhero films to date and is a brilliant tale of the classic Batman origin story. Maybe it’s just the quality of other Nolan movies and some minor criticisms, as mentioned earlier.
6 Dunkirk (2017)
Dunkirk is an event film, a show that focuses on a singular thing, looking at it from three angles. It is considered one of the greatest war films ever made and a breathtaking film.
It’s Nolan’s shortest film, but it still packs a lot. This is considered by many to be one of the best war movies of all time, with its direction, visuals, score and cast all shining to make it a gruesome and emotional depiction of a real event that still affects tremendously even though it’s not a character study of any kind. All of this increases his stock, and perhaps it’s how iconic and influential Nolan’s other works are that keep Dunkirk of Ranker’s top 5.
5 Interstellar (2014)
Some see Interstellar as the greatest movie of all time. Some see it as Nolan’s worst film. Either way, there’s no denying how experiential and awe-inspiring the film is to watch, especially on the big screen.
The exposition, the ending, the mess, the length, and the vast ideas that the runtime of the film may not encounter hold it in the minds of some. For many others, however, it all works in tandem with the stunning visuals and effects, performances, Nolan’s direction, and Hans Zimmer’s untouchable score to make this one of Nolan’s finest works. Ergo, it makes sense that this film falls right in the middle of the pack.
4 The Prestige (2006)
Prestige is the kind of dark horse in Nolan’s filmography. It’s not as well-regarded as its five or six biggest blockbusters and can sometimes fall under the radar, but it’s a truly excellent film loved by so many people who watch it.
Oddly enough, it’s one of the lowest Nolan films in terms of Rotten Tomatoes ratings, at 76%. But with an audience score of 92%, an 8.5 on IMDb and a fourth place on Ranker’s Nolan Best List, it’s clear that the challenging period piece with its excellent exploration of artistic obsession, with its many twists, terrific performances, and great script works well for so many people.
3 Remembrance (2000)
After his debut with Next, Christopher Nolan established himself as a rising filmmaker with his second film Memento, a mind-blowing thriller that keeps audiences guessing, and what may be the best piece examining its obsession with time so far.
People love this movie, and that’s understandable. Not only does it have some great lead performances and one of Nolan’s best female characters – an oft-criticized aspect of his films – but the writing and directing are pretty exceptional. Most who have seen this have placed it in the top 5, top 3, or top 1 of Nolan’s films, largely due to its impressive twists and unique form of storytelling. It’s the first of many truly great films by Nolan.
2 Creation (2010)
Creation turned out to be perhaps the sci-fi movie of the 2010s and indeed the 21st century so far, with an impressive set that helped bring Nolan’s intricate and visually brilliant vision to life.
From its insane practical effects to its look at existentialism, memory and time, Creation has all the hallmarks of a Nolan film and arguably pulls off those ideas better than any of his other films. The grand experience of this film is one of the best many viewers will have, with the train through the streets and the hallway scene being among the most memorable images of 21st century sci-fi cinema. There are a bunch of moviegoers who see this as Nolan’s finest work, so it’s no surprise to see Ranker rate it so highly.
1 The Dark Knight (2008)
There is not much to say about The black Knight it hasn’t already been said ad-nauseum. For the most part, it’s one of, if not the greatest superhero movie of all time and Nolan’s finest work to date.
Although it has a few holes in logic and a few minor criticisms, like all sonar, few people care because it’s as good as a movie. Practical effects, scoring, grounded tactical aspects, and plenty of character dynamics all work beautifully. Of course, what makes this film is Heath Ledger, whose portrayal of the Joker will forever be known as one of the greatest acting performances of all time, with the iconic villain at the heart of so many scenes. exceptional.
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