Harry Styles looking shocked in Dunkirk

Craving More Christopher Nolan Films? Here’s Where to Start

Oppenheimer is on its way, and with rave reviews already pouring in, writer and director Christopher Nolan is further cementing his reputation as a visionary filmmaker. Chances are you’ve heard Christopher Nolan’s name before, since he’s enjoyed a steady stream of hit movies since the ’90s.

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If you’re looking to watch all of Christopher Nolan’s films in order—or just get a sense of what his deal is—we’ve got you covered! Here are all of Christopher Nolan’s feature films in order, including a note on which films are the very best.

Following (1998)

Detail of the poster from Christopher Nolan's Following, showing the Young Writer in a crowd.
(Momentum Pictures)

In Following, Nolan’s first feature film, a young writer (Jeremy Theobald) takes to wandering the streets of London in order to get ideas for his novel. However, when he fails to keep his distance from the people he’s observing, he gets sucked into a criminal underworld.

Memento (2000)

Guy Pierce holds up a polaroid picture in Memento
(Newmarket Films)

In Memento, Leonard (Guy Pearce) is trying to solve the mystery of who killed his wife. However, the attack that left his wife dead also destroyed Leonard’s ability to form new memories, which means he has to rely on clues he’s left himself in the form of tattoos and photos. Memento is told backwards, an innovative storytelling technique that earned it critical acclaim.

Insomnia (2002)

Robin Williams and Al Pacino sit on a ferry in Insomnia
(Warner Bros.)

In Insomnia, after a teenager is murdered in Nightmute, Alaska, detective Will Dormer (Al Pacino) travels from Los Angeles to investigate. However, Dormer is soon overwhelmed by his complicity in current and past crimes.

Batman Begins (2005)

Christian Bale, flocked by bats, in Batman Begins.
(Warner Bros.)

Batman Begins is the first film in Nolan’s highly acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy. This film, starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, tells Batman’s origin story, from wounded millionaire to vigilante superhero.

The Prestige (2006)

christian bale and hugh jackman stare each other down in the prestige
(Warner Bros.)

In The Prestige, two stage magicians (Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale) become bitter rivals after a tragic accident onstage. Their rivalry heightens when one of them seems to pull off the perfect trick: teleportation.

The Dark Knight (2008)

Heath Ledger as the Joker in 'The Dark Knight'
(Warner Bros.)

As the second installment in Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, The Dark Knight sees Batman at the height of his power, working with familiar allies as he tries to defeat formidable villains. The Dark Knight features Heath Ledger’s unforgettable performance as the Joker.

Inception (2010)

The full cast of the movie Inception in a promotional photo
(Warner Bros.)

In Inception, one of Nolan’s most well-known films, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Dom Cobb, a thief who steals information by breaking into his targets’ subconscious through their dreams. One day, though, a client comes to him with a novel assignment: to plant an idea into someone’s subconscious. Although the movie feels video gamey at times, and the premise doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, it’s a thrilling, reality-bending romp.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Tom Hardy as Bane in 'The Dark Knight Rises'
(Warner Bros.)

The final installment in The Dark Knight Trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises sees Christan Bale’s Batman facing his most dangerous foe yet: Bane, who wants to destroy Gotham City with a nuclear weapon.

Interstellar (2014)

Matthew McConaughey in 'Interstellar'
(Paramount Pictures)

I won’t lie: Interstellar is my personal favorite of all of Nolan’s films. In Interstellar, the Earth is slowly dying of a blight that’s killing off all edible plant life. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a retired pilot, is asked to fly a ship that will travel through a mysterious wormhole to a new galaxy, where the crew must investigate planets that may be suitable for life.

Dunkirk (2017)

Fionn Whitehead as Tommy in Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk
(Warner Bros.)

Widely hailed as Nolan’s crowning achievement, Dunkirk tells the true story of the WWII evacuation of Dunkirk, in northern France, when 300,000 allied soldiers were rescued from the Germans. The plot of Dunkirk may sound simple, but its scale is nothing short of epic.

Tenet (2020)

John David Washington as Protagonist in Tenet
(Warner Bros.)

Tenet tells the story of the Protagonist (John Washington David), a CIA operative who figures out how to control the flow of time by inverting entropy. He must then use that knowledge to prevent an attack from the future, which threatens to destroy the present.

Oppenheimer (2023)

Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer
(Universal Pictures)

Oppenheimer is Nolan’s latest work, and it’s already being hailed as a masterpiece. This biopic follows Cillian Murphy as J. Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist behind the creation of the nuclear bomb.

Which Christopher Nolan films are the best?

If you’re not a completist, and you just want to sample the very best (or at least, well-known) of Nolan’s work before you head out to see Oppenheimer, start with Memento, Inception, and Dunkirk. If you love superheroes, definitely check out his Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises). And if you love science fiction, don’t miss Interstellar.

Happy viewing, Nolan fans!

(featured image: Warner Bros.)


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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>