The Dark Knight Was Christopher Nolan's Bond Film

It's no secret that Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" Trilogy left a lasting mark on modern cinema as we know it. "Batman Begins" (and, more notably, "The Dark Knight") was one of the first films to launch the now-infamous trend of a gritty reboot, and signaled a major shift from the campy action of the early aughts to the darker fare of the post-9/11 landscape. Several filmmakers have cited Nolan as an influence since — even fellow Brit Sam Mendes, who took direct inspiration from the tonal shift in Nolan's Batman films. "In terms of what he achieved, specifically 'The Dark Knight' ... It was a game-changer for everybody," Mendes told IndieWire.

The director even insisted that had it not been for "The Dark Knight," some of his more recent contributions to film — like James Bond films "Skyfall" and "Spectre" — may not have taken the same risks:

"[Nolan proved that] you can make a huge movie that is thrilling and entertaining and has a lot to say about the world we live in, even if, in the case with 'The Dark Knight,' it's not even set in our world ... That did help give me the confidence to take [Skyfall] in directions that, without 'The Dark Knight,' might not have been possible."

Unsurprisingly, Nolan has been equally outspoken about the Bond franchise's influence on his own work — even before Mendes took the reins. The filmmaker is a massive fan of James Bond, and is in no way shy about taking inspiration for his films.

How James Bond Inspired The Dark Knight

One of the most refreshing elements of Nolan's "Dark Knight" Trilogy was its expanded sense of scope. Bruce Wayne was not limited merely to Gotham, though the Batman films of the past have really made the sprawling city feel like a world of its own. Nolan takes Bruce, and even Batman, to cities all over the world, and it's a trick he admits to borrowing from James Bond.

"The globe-trotting elements of 'Batman Begins' mostly came from the Bond films," Nolan told IndieWire in 2012. The director has always been fascinated with "that idea of getting you to other places, of getting you along for a ride if you can believe in it." The Bond franchise certainly has a way of suspending disbelief, something Nolan also employed in his grounded Batman films. Just as Sam Mendes found a compelling story woven into the thread of Nolan's imaginary Gotham, so too did Nolan take inspiration from the fictional, often outlandish circumstances within the Bond films.

"If you look at the early Bond films you've got extraordinary things happening," the director told "But there's an overall tone you can buy into as a regular action movie. You're not completely stepping outside the bounds of reality. Particularly with the earlier films."

To Nolan, the bounds of reality are further tested in "The Dark Knight" by setting even more of the film in broad daylight. The director attributed this change to the growing power of the Joker, and his dichotomous relationship with Batman. "If Batman controls the night in Gotham, then the Joker is much more dangerous in the day, and so the daytime scenes actually become more threatening and more interesting in a way."

Finding ways for Batman to operate in the day became a unique challenge for Nolan, one that put the Bat's skills as "The World's Greatest Detective" to good use. "The Dark Knight" pulled more focus to Bruce Wayne's power apart from his alter ego, pairing him up with Harvey Dent and Commissioner Jim Gordon in the day as well as the night. Wayne's playboy persona has always been a key part of his character (and a key parallel to James Bond), but "The Dark Knight" forced him to take his pull in Gotham seriously, and find a way to eradicate crime without the signature cowl.