16 Must See Movies Before ‘The Dark Knight Rises’

The Dark Knight Rises Movie List

It goes without saying, you must see Batman Begins and The Dark Knight before you step one foot inside the theater for The Dark Knight Rises. This film has had fanyboys/girls’ loins wet from over excitement since the last shot of The Dark Knight with Batman escaping into the night. There are many great actors that hold together this epic, epic trilogy, but where else have you seen them before? I’m going to take you deep into the bowels of some of Gotham elite’s filmography, and present to you some films that highly reflect all of the actor’s talented abilities. 

NOTE: I’ll admit, I haven’t seen every movie out there for each of these actors – I’m trying as best as I can – but I have seen a good amount. I won’t try and lie and say you should see something when, I, myself have not seen them at all. That’d be wrong. Enough chatter. Let’s get started shall we?

Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan – The man behind the trilogy, the real millennium trilogy. Nolan’s Batman films have conquered nerd hearts everywhere, but this man has created some brilliant works of art outside the superhero realm.

Regardless of how realistic Nolan’s Batman can be, his work on Memento is what paved the way for him to be put into the directorial spotlight. Irreversible could probably thank Memento for the inspiration of backwards movies. The sheer madness to comprehend the editing process for this film is ludicrous. Besides the next film I am about to mention, Memento is a must see film for any cinephile; not just for it’s ability to bend the laws of storytelling, but because it is so carefully crafted that it would only take a man of genius to create it.

Speaking of genius, do I dare even speak it’s name. Inceptionone of the greatest movies to ever fall into our laps in 2010. (It made my top 3.)  To put something so incredibly mindbending into the spectrum of a mainstream audience is just so unheard of. It was a risky choice to put faith in such a bizarre film, but now Warner Bros. has bent over backwards and are at Nolan’s ever whim. This is a movie that still has people talking to this day. Besides The Dark Knight, Inception is the pinnacle of Christopher Nolan’s films.

Christian Bale American Pyscho

Christian Bale – The craziest method actor to date. I would like to interview his internal organs and see what they have to say. From his on again off again weightloss challenge, you could say Bale is one of the most dedicated to his craft.

Right after a little movie called, American Psycho, Christian Bale’s filmography exploded. It may be because his spectacular, psychotic performance was so raw and so inherently fluid at the time that Hollywood had to get a piece of him. American Psycho is a top choice for new age horror and it will always be one of Bale’s best films.

Bale has a great many movies in his catalog, but his most recent Oscar winning performance for The Fighter has got to be his best performance to date. Bale has so much conviction in this role that there was no way any other actor could take that gold from him. When you see Bale on the screen, you only see Dicky Ward. His performance in The Fighter will always be one I will remember. Much like Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

Gary Oldman Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Gary Oldman – Mr. Oldman, the master of accents. How could I pick two films for you? You are a chameleon, a man of great range.  How have you never won an Oscar yet sir? (Note: I have never seen his Dracula or Leon: The Professional, but I have heard great things.)

You always bet on Black. Oldman embodied what J.K. Rowling had written on the pages of Harry Potter. Seeing him come to life through Oldman’s finesse was beautiful. With that said, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a good watch. Sadly his part in Order of the Phoenix was cut so short, which is one of my irks against David Yates. But anytime Sirius made an appearance, he was on the main stage above any other in that scene.

As much as I was bored with Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy I couldn’t look away when Oldman was on the screen. His performance in this film was impeccable and captured my attention to the fullest.

Dark horses: The Fifth Element

Tom Hardy Bronson

Tom Hardy – A new player to the game. Mr. Bane himself. Tom Hardy is a very charismatic actor who is just so charming on screen to watch. His ability to overshadow everything and anyone else on screen is amazing. Tell me you weren’t anxiously awaiting what he was going to do next when you saw Inception.

But have you seen Bronson? This movie is an absolute must watch before you see TDKR. Hardy is just so maniacally, ingenious in this role that you cannot look away. Bronson is so crazy, you could assume that this is a prequel to how Bane became a test subject for Venom. No other actor could be this entertaining to watch as Charles Bronson. Nobody. WATCH THIS FILM MEOW!

Now Warrior wasn’t my favorite movie of all time, but I didn’t hate it. It was the acting that kept me going. I felt like I was watching two different movies. Tom Hardy and Nick Nolte had a great story together and it was their chemistry that held this film up right. Without Hardy, this film wouldn’t have had the energy to go on living.

Anne Hathaway Love and Other Drugs

Anne Hathaway – Don’t let her cutesy little smile fool you. This young actress has the ability to be so ernest in her roles. She has a great range of acting prowess that seeing her as Catwoman isn’t surprising. She has some big stilettos to fill when she suits up in her tight leather spandex, and I can’t wait to see it!

Rachel Getting Married may be one of her under the radar films compared to all of the mainstream stuff she has done. This film definitely shows Hathaway’s ability to get down to the core and emote better than most actresses could ever dream of. It is a bit of a downer, but Rachel Getting Married has you at the edge of your seat because you never know what Hathaway will do next.

Now this was a difficult decision between the dark horse and my next pick, but Love and Other Drugs is a great moment in her career. I think a lot of people didn’t give this movie a chance because the first half of the film was a bit silly and then all the sudden it slams on the brakes with a U-Turn into Seriousville. Anne’s remarkable display of talent can be seen with her character who is battling Parkinson’s Disease. She is just so honest in her portrayal, it is totally raw and heavily emotional.

Dark Horse: The Devil Wears Prada

Morgan Freeman Se7en

Morgan Freeman – Picking your favorite roles for Morgan Freeman is like a 16-year old boy picking out his favorite porno. There are just too many to decide from and they are all just so amazing. Every time Morgan Freeman is involved, you are guaranteed a good time. Even if it’s just a voice over, you know good things are bound to happen. This 75-year old actor is not a force to be reckoned with. (Note: I’ve never seen Driving Miss Daisy, but I probably should.)

Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way, Shawshank Redemption. Now he may have not been the person of interest of this story, but he sure was interesting enough to where we could have had Freeman star in his own movie as Red. Freeman has a screen presence greater than anyone in this TDKR and within Shawshank it proves it. (OK Michael Caine is or is just about at the same level.)  

Surprisingly, Million Dollar Baby is Freeman’s only Oscar win out of five nominations. But it was one hell of a win. The nominees never had a chance. The story and Hilary Swank’s performance are enough, but add in Morgan Freeman’s such spectacular performance, well you’ve got yourself a blockbuster piece right there.

Dark Horse: Se7en

Jospeh Gordon-Levitt 500 Days of Summer

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – To think, if Heath Ledger were alive today we could have had a 10 Things I Hate About You reunion. Some even thought JGL would take over as Heath’s replacement, but who could fill those shoes after that performance? Could JGL be lined up to put on the black spandex after Nolan and Bale exit the building after TDKR, he sure has the youth and the talent too.

Third Rock from the Sun will always be my first memory of Gordon-Levitt, but aside from TTIHAY, I am a strong advocate for (500) Days of Summer. Maybe because I can relate to Tom so well, but that’s thanks to JGL’s top performance. I loved every second of this film and could feel everything he felt.

But nothing in Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s filmography could compare to his performance in 50/50. (This was my favorite film of 2011.) Talk about one of the most powerful young performances you could ever watch. If you didn’t shed a tear near the end of the film, than you’re lying to yourself.  JGL brought every thing to the table in this film and you’d be a fool not to like this picture because of him.

Liam Neeson Taken

Liam Neeson – Asland himself will apparently be making his rounds full circle as Ra’s Al Ghul in The Dark Knight Rises. (For the dedicated bat fans, this is most likely due to his Lazarus pits.) But Mr. Neeson sure has a hefty catalog of titles under his belt as well. Not only has Qui-Gon Jinn flown halfway across the galaxy only to find the one who will “bring balance” to the force, but he has also liberated Jews and punched a wolf in the face with shooter bottles tied around his fists.

Among his bizarre library of films, Schindler’s List is the top choice to see if you want to seek out a Liam Neeson film. Not much needs to be said other than the fact that his power on screen in this black and white film dominates all. The only reason he lost the Oscar for Best Actor was because Tom Hanks is a boss.

Now this may be the most askew of all nominees here, but it seriously goes without saying that you must see the movie TakenLiam Neeson could claim a spot on the thrown as King Badass for his take no prisoner attitude that wrecked vigilante justice among the streets of Paris. Taken is one of the silliest, but at the same time most ass-kicking movies that will entertain you. Ever.

Michael Caine Inception

Michael Caine – In all honesty, I can’t say I’ve seen any Michael Caine films where he is a main actor or at least as a shining star in a supporting role – which makes me a horrible person, I know. It says on IMDb that The Cider House Rules and Hanna and her Sisters are a must when it comes to Caine, so I’ll have to take their word on it. He was rather great in The Prestige, The Weather Man, and Miss Congeniality. 

Marion Cotillard – The same goes for Ms. Cotillard. I haven’t really seen her in anything big, but I rather enjoyed her presence in Big Fish and Midnight In Paris. I think she will do a wonderful job in TDKR and her reuniting with team Nolan with JGL, Michael Caine, and Tom Hardy will be great to see.

Juno Temple – I don’t know much about Temple, but I could assume, based on comics, she may be playing the part of Catwoman’s little sidekick. I’ve only seen her in that stinker, Year One, but we can’t blame her for that. It’s not her fault. I look forward to seeing what she has in store for us. 

Well there you have it. I didn’t bother putting up a list for Mr. Harvey Dent himself, Aaron Eckhart because I have no idea whether or not he’s going to be in The Dark Knight Rises or not, and I’d rather keep it that way.

Tell me, of all the actors and their films, which have been your favorite?

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