Biography of Christopher Nolan

Christopher Edward Nolan, born in London on July 30th, 1970, is among the most critically acclaimed filmmakers of the 21st century, and one of the highest-grossing film directors of all time. His films are readily recognizable at the drop of a name, from the iconic Dark Knight trilogy to Oscar-winning culture smashes like Interstellar and Inception. Since his directorial debut with the British neo-crime drama Following in 1998, Nolan's ten films have collectively grossed over $4.7 billion worldwide and garnered a total of 26 Oscar nominations, including seven wins.

Nolan's passion for filmmaking began at age seven when he borrowed his father's Super 8 camera to shoot rudimentary films with his toy action figures. He's stated in interviews that he knew he wanted to make films professionally from the time he was 11 years old. He was heavily influenced by the Star Wars films, on which he based a stop-motion homage called Space Wars in 1978, even using real NASA footage of rocket launches provided by his uncle, who helped build guidance systems for the Apollo rockets. (He would later take inspiration from these early interactions with his uncle when tackling the immense complexity of making Interstellar.)

Nolan was educated first at Haileybury and Imperial Service College in Hertfordshire, and later at University College London, which he chose primarily for its filmmaking resources and at which he was president of the Union's Film Society. He made three independent films during his time at UCL, one of which, called Larceny (1995), was screened at the Cambridge Film Festival in 1996 and is still considered one of the best shorts ever made at the university. During this time, Nolan also met and began dating fellow student Emma Thomas, herself now a successful film producer. The couple married in 1997, and in 2001 founded the production company Syncopy Inc., which they now co-run and under which they've released many of Nolan's most successful films.

Nolan's most recent movie, Dunkirk (2017), was considered by many to be his most daring and ambitious yet. It garnered nearly universal praise from critics and audiences for its suspenseful narrative, strong screenplay and direction, dramatic musical score, and cinematography. With a worldwide intake of $525 million, it's now the highest-grossing World War II film of all time, and is considered by many to be Nolan's best work.

Nolan currently resides in Los Angeles with his wife and four children. While he keeps his personal life very private, journalists who have interviewed him describe him as straight-forward and pleasant, "the picture of Zen-like calm, speaking softly and deliberately about his work."


Study Guides on Works by Christopher Nolan

Already being critically acclaimed as one of the greatest war films of all time, Dunkirk is a 2017 movie directed, co-produced, and written by Christopher Nolan (famous for The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, and more). It is Nolan's tenth film to...

If given only two words to describe Christopher Nolan's transcendent 2010 film Inception, many would say "mind-bending." It tells the story of Dom Cobb (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) as he and his group enter and manipulate the dreams of many...

In 2014, Christopher Nolan's epic science-fiction odyssey Interstellar exploded into theaters with the kind of gravitas associated with only a handful of its genre predecessors. It was Nolan's first movie after finishing direction on the Dark...

Memento is a psychological thriller movie directed by Christopher Nolan, written by his brother, Jonathon Nolan, and produced by Suzanne and Jennifer Todd. It was released on September 5, 2000.

Leonard Shelby is the main character and the story of...