Skip To Content

    Looking At Christopher Nolan Movie Posters And He Might Be Ripping Off...Himself

    Christopher Nolan keeps ripping off... himself.

    Movie posters have really evolved over the 100+ years of cinema history.

    In their infancy, they were rarely photo-based, usually featured original artwork, and included lots of tour-de-force taglines to get audiences interested.

    Orson Wells and others are painted on the Citizen Kane movie poster.

    Along the way, they changed and began to evolve into high art.

    An artistic image of figures falling into a spiral on the Vertigo movie poster.

    For a while, posters stayed artistic, trying to evoke a sense of old Hollywood excitement.

    Harrison Ford and Sean Connery are painted on the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie poster.

    But more often than not, studios frequently rely on the uninspired standby of the "big-head" poster.

    Joaquin Phoenix's head fills the majority of the Her movie poster.

    In the case of Christopher Nolan films, the marketing team seems to have taken a more specific approach.

    Batman spreads his wings and falls towards us in the Batman Begins teaser poster.

    The majority of Nolan's posters have adopted a design I have dubbed "God's Lonely Man" imagery — a reference to the dialogue and poster of Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.

    Robert DeNiro as Travis Bickle stands alone in the center of the Taxi Driver poster.

    In this poster, and in most of Nolan's, a single figure is displayed in the center of the frame. Oftentimes, they're standing above the title of the film like a monolith.

    Leonardo DiCaprio stands alone with his back to us on the center of the Inception movie poster.

    While early Nolan films and posters were different, as he and the studios were trying to find his voice...

    The Memento movie poster features Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss on Polaroid photos. didn't take long for a style to evolve, both in his directing and in his poster art.

    A dark Insomnia movie poster featuring silhouettes of Al Pacino and Robin Williams.

    The seed of the solitary man image seemed to be there from the beginning, as you can see in this still from his first indie film, Following.

    A lone figure walks down the street in the center of an image from the movie Following.

    When he transitioned into a summer blockbuster-type filmmaker, the poster image really took root.

    A silhouette of Batman stands in the center of the Batman Begins movie poster.

    Even when a few of Hollywood's infamous big heads fill most of the image, there is still a line of loneliness drawn down the center.

    Scarlett Johansson is in the center frame, flanked by large images of Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale's head, on The Prestige movie poster.

    Sometimes, the initial teaser poster shows it off the most...

    Batman stands staring at the city with his back to us, centered on The Dark Knight teaser movie poster.

    ...but when the official one-sheet is released, the solitary figure remains.

    Batman stands in the center of the city on The Dark Knight movie poster.

    There's literally an artistic line drawn down the center of the frame.

    Leonardo DiCaprio stands stoic in the center of the Inception movie poster.

    Even this heroic franchise was not immune to the lonely imagery.

    Batman stands in the center of a fiery cityscape on The Dark Knight Rises movie poster.

    The stories grew, but the imagery stayed the same.

    Astronaut Matthew McConaughey stands in the center of a white landscape on the Interstellar movie poster.

    Even in a movie depicting a war of thousands, the poster is all about one central figure.

    A lone soldier stands in the center of the beach on the Dunkirk movie poster.

    And when the script goes sideways, the poster always stays centered.

    John David Washington walks in the center of the Tenet movie poster.

    Though Nolan has ventured away from longtime collaborator Warner Bros., his current partner, Universal Pictures, has still employed the singular imagery for his new film, Oppenheimer.

    Cillian Murphy stands in the middle of orange nuclear clouds on the Oppenheimer poster.

    Whether or not you've ever noticed this trend in Christopher Nolan's movie posters, it helps create a subconscious thread throughout his entire filmography.

    The Joker stands with his back to us on The Dark Knight movie poster.

    Do you have a favorite? Sound off in the comments.

    Bane walks away from a broken Batman cowl on The Dark Knight Rises movie poster.

    Christopher Nolan's latest epic Oppenheimer hits theaters July 21. As with all of his movies, it deserves to be seen on the big screen.

    Cillian Murphy stands in profile on the Oppenheimer movie poster.