As the most powerful creative force currently working in Hollywood, director Christopher Nolan’s ability to make original films that connect both with audiences and critics have made him a beacon of hope in a movie landscape that continues to become more saturated with sequels and franchises every year. Earlier this month marked the tenth anniversary of the release of Batman Begins, the first installment in his critically acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy. And there’s reason to think Nolan isn’t yet at the height of his powers, which makes it all the more exciting to see what he’ll come up with in years to come.
With that in mind, let’s take a step back and look at some of the great films Nolan has made in order to get to where he is today. Here are the 16 greatest scenes of Nolan’s career, including his 1998 debut, Following.
16. The Dark Knight Rises – Escaping the Pit
One of Nolan’s strengths as a director has always been pushing a story arc to its limit before satisfying audiences, and never has it been more evident than watching as Gotham City underwent its most epic conflict, with Batman relegated to the sidelines for nearly the entire second act. At the same time, Nolan layers audience anticipation to see Batman return to Gotham by introducing an arc of Batman/Bruce Wayne’s successful climb out of the pit, which he finally does without the aid of a rope in one of the most thrilling sequences in the film. Altogether, the buildup to Batman’s escape and his final successful attempt makes for one of the most cathartic and exciting scenes in the film, one that sets the tone for the final act and a conclusion to the entire trilogy.