Christopher Nolan Biography

Christopher Nolan is an English film director best known for directing ‘The Dark Knight’ film trilogy. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about him.

Christopher Nolan
Quick Facts

Birthday: July 30, 1970

Nationality: British

Famous: Directors British Men

Age: 49 Years, 49 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Leo

Also Known As: Christopher Edward Nolan

Born in: Westminster, United Kingdom

Famous as: Film Director

Height: 5'11" (180 cm), 5'11" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Emma Thomas (m. 1997)

father: Brendan Nolan

mother: Christina Nolan

siblings: Jonathan Nolan, Matthew Francis Nolan

City: London, England

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Christopher Edward Nolan is an English film director, considered one of the most acclaimed and successful filmmakers of the 21st century. His films have earned a total of 26 nominations for the Oscars, with seven wins. His films have also grossed a total of 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 to be one of the best psychological thrillers in Hollywood. He is also popular for directing ‘The Dark Knight’ film trilogy. The films, which revolved around the fictional superhero Batman, were critically and commercially successful. Nolan received tremendous popularity for the film 'Inception' which is known 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 most recent work is 'Dunkirk' which is known to be one of the greatest war films ever made. In 2015, Time magazine named Nolan as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

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Christopher Nolan
Childhood & Early Life
  • Christopher Nolan was born in London, UK, on 30th July 1970. 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 ‘Star Wars’ film 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 the Haileybury and Imperial Service College and later went to the University College, London, where he studied English literature. During his college years, he made the short films ‘Tarantella’ and ‘Larceny’. He made another short film ‘Doodlebug’ in 1997. The psychological thriller film, although only three minutes long, portrayed a deep spiritual meaning.
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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 received 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 next 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 after 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 of becoming Batman and fighting the villains. 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 a novel of the same name by Christopher Priest. 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 returned to the Batman series and directed 'The Dark Knight' which was 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. Known to be one of the best science fiction films ever made, the film was also a huge success commercially. It won four Oscars.
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  • Nolan's next film was 'The Dark Knight Rises' which was 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 was released in 2014. The story revolved around a few astronauts trying to find a new home outside Earth for the survival of humanity. The film was a commercial success, like all his previous films. It also won an Oscar.
  • In 2015, he directed a short documentary film 'Quay'. His most recent work is the 2017 war film 'Dunkirk', which he directed and co-produced. It was a hit and grossed more than five times its budget.
Major Works
  • Christopher Nolan first came to popularity with the 2000 American psychological thriller film ‘Memento’. The film was about a man who suffers from the inability to form new memories, and is hunting for the person who killed his wife and is also responsible for his condition. The film starred actors Guy Pearce, Carrie Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano and Mark Boone Junior. The film 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 after he directed the 2005 superhero film ‘Batman Begins’. The film starred actors Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes and Gary Oldman. The film was based on the popular superhero Batman and tells the story of how he lost his parents, and later trained hard to become a superhero and fight crime. The film did well commercially, grossing $374 million on a budget of $150 million. It was the first film of ‘The Dark Knight’ trilogy.
  • Another one of Nolan’s significant works 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 included Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard and Tom Hardy. The movie won a total of 94 awards, which included four Oscars. The movie was also appreciated by 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 throughout his career, including three ‘Independent Spirit Awards’ for his film ‘Memento’ in 2001 and the ‘Writers Guild of America Award’ for Best Original Screenplay for his film ‘Inception’ in 2010.
Personal Life
  • Christopher Nolan has been married to his college friend Emma Thomas since 1997. 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, all the films directed by Nolan have been commercially successful.
  • Some of the notable people Nolan has been influenced by include Stanley Kubrick, Michael Mann, Orson Welles, Ridley Scott and Terry Gilliam.

1. The Dark Knight (2008)

  (Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller)

2. Inception (2010)

  (Action, Adventure, Thriller, Sci-Fi)

3. Interstellar (2014)

  (Sci-Fi, Drama, Adventure)

4. Memento (2000)

  (Thriller, Mystery)

5. The Prestige (2006)

  (Mystery, Sci-Fi, Drama, Thriller)

6. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

  (Action, Thriller)

7. Batman Begins (2005)

  (Action, Adventure)

8. Dunkirk (2017)

  (History, Drama, War, Action, Thriller)


MTV Movie & TV Awards
2002 Best New Filmmaker Memento (2000)

See the events in life of Christopher Nolan in Chronological Order

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- Christopher Nolan Biography
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Last Updated
- November 09, 2017

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