Christopher Edward Nolan is a British-American film director. He is considered one of the most acclaimed and successful filmmakers of the 21st century. His films have so far earned 34 nominations at the ‘Oscars,’ with seven wins. His films have also grossed nearly $5 billion worldwide. Nolan began making short films while he was in college. He gained international recognition after he directed the film 'Memento,' which is still known as one of the best psychological thrillers in Hollywood. He is also popular for directing ‘The Dark Knight’ film trilogy. The trilogy, which revolved around the fictional superhero Batman, was critically and commercially successful. Nolan received tremendous popularity for the film 'Inception' which is considered to be one of the best sci-fi psychological thrillers in Hollywood. Nolan's films are popular because of his unconventional style and nonlinear storytelling. They are also known for their intellectualism and psychological depth. His film 'Dunkirk' is considered to be one of the greatest war films ever made. In 2015, ‘Time’ magazine named Nolan in the list of ‘100 most influential people in the world.’
Childhood & Early Life
Christopher Nolan was born on 30 July 1970, in London, England, UK. His father Brendan James Nolan was an advertising executive, while his mother Christina was a flight attendant as well as an English teacher. He has two brothers.
Influenced by the film ‘Star Wars,’ which released in 1977, a seven-year-old Nolan began shooting short films with his action figures using a camera he borrowed from his father.
He studied at ‘Haileybury and Imperial Service College.’ He later went to the ‘University College,’ London, where he studied English literature. During his college years, he made short films, such as ‘Tarantella’ and ‘Larceny.’ He made another short film titled ‘Doodlebug’ in 1997. ‘Doodlebug’ is a psychological thriller film that conveyed a deep spiritual meaning despite being only three minutes long.
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Christopher Nolan directed his first feature film 'Following' in 1998. The story was about a young writer who follows strangers around the streets of London, only to be drawn into the world of crime. The film was inspired by Nolan's experience of living in London. Though the film was made on a small budget, it achieved huge popularity due to its uniqueness. It won several awards as well.
After the success of ‘Following,' Nolan directed the psychological thriller 'Memento.' The film was about a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia, the inability to form new memories. The film was a commercial success. It earned Nolan two ‘Oscar’ nominations.
He then directed the film 'Insomnia,' which released in 2002. It was about two homicide detectives investigating a murder. The film did well commercially.
Nolan's popularity reached new heights when he directed the 2005 superhero film 'Batman Begins.' It was based on the famous ‘DC Comics’ superhero Batman, and was the first film of ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy. It told the story of Bruce Wayne's journey. The film was a huge success and received an ‘Oscar’ nomination.
He then directed the film 'The Prestige' which was released in 2006. It was based on Christopher Priest’s novel of the same name. The story was about two magicians in London who share a strong rivalry. The film was a commercial success, and was also nominated for an ‘Oscar.’
Christopher Nolan directed 'The Dark Knight' which released in 2008. The story revolved around Batman's attempts to stop the criminal mastermind known as the Joker. The film was a monumental success, and grossed more than $1 billion. It also won two ‘Oscars’ out of seven nominations.
He next directed the science fiction film 'Inception.' It revolved around a professional thief who could steal information by infiltrating one's subconscious. Considered to be one of the best science fiction films ever made, ‘Inception’ was a huge commercial success. It also won four ‘Oscars.’
Nolan's next film was 'The Dark Knight Rises' which released in 2012. It was the third and final installment of his ‘Dark Knight’ trilogy. The film grossed more than $1 billion. It also earned several awards and nominations.
He then wrote, directed, and produced the science-fiction film 'Interstellar,' which released in 2014. The story revolved around a few astronauts trying to find a new home outside Earth for the survival of humanity. Like all his previous films, this too was a commercial success. It also won an ‘Oscar.’
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In 2015, he directed a short documentary film titled 'Quay.' In 2017, he directed and co-produced a war film titled 'Dunkirk.' It was a hit and grossed more than five times its budget.
Christopher Nolan started hogging the limelight with the 2000 American psychological thriller film ‘Memento.’ The film was about a man who suffers from anterograde amnesia. The film starred Guy Pearce, Carrie Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and Mark Boone Junior. It won numerous awards along with two ‘Oscar’ nominations. It was a commercial hit as well, grossing more than four times its budget.
Nolan’s popularity grew when he directed the 2005 superhero film ‘Batman Begins.’ The film starred actors like Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, and Gary Oldman. The film, which was based on the popular superhero Batman, narrated the story of a famous businessman named Bruce Wayne. The film did well commercially, grossing $374 million against a budget of $150 million. It was the first film of ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy.
Nolan’s other significant work is the 2010 sci-fi thriller ‘Inception.’ The film was about a professional thief with the ability to infiltrate someone’s subconscious. With Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead role, the film also starred Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, and Tom Hardy. The movie won a total of 94 awards, including four ‘Oscars.’ The movie was also appreciated by the critics and is considered to be one of the best science fiction films ever made.
Awards & Achievements
Christopher Nolan has been nominated for three ‘Oscars’ so far; two for his work in the film ‘Memento’ and one for his film ‘Inception.’
He has won numerous awards, including three ‘Independent Spirit Awards’ for his film ‘Memento’ in 2001. In 2010, he won ‘Writers Guild of America Award’ for ‘Best Original Screenplay’ for his film ‘Inception.’
In 1997, Christopher Nolan got married to his college friend Emma Thomas. They have four children. Fiercely protective of his privacy, Nolan hardly discusses his personal and family life with the media.
Since the beginning of his career, Nolan has directed several commercially successful films.
Some of the notable people Nolan has been influenced by include Stanley Kubrick, Michael Mann, Orson Welles, Ridley Scott, and Terry Gilliam.