Christopher Nolan had a somewhat different outlook for the Dark Knight when he set out to make his legendary Batman movies. Speaking to the LA Times back in 2005, Nolan admitted he was influenced by David Lean’s historical epic Lawrence of Arabia.
“I was not just making a darker version of the central character but also a larger, more sweeping version of the origin story,” Nolan explained. He continued by saying he was inspired more by “Lawrence of Arabia” than any comic book. That may sound like a strange comparison until you stop and think about it.
After all, Nolan’s version of Batman and Lawrence share a lot in common. They’re both enigmatic, and traditionally romantic characters (not in the rom-com sense) who travel the world and are changed by what they see. Similarly, both men struggle with their identity and come from a place of privilege that initially alienates them from those that they want to help. It’s also worth noting that Lawrence of Arabia is one of Nolan’s favourite films, so it was always going to be an influence on his work.
Of course, Nolan’s vision of the Caped Crusader isn’t just limited to Lawrence of Arabia. There are plenty of comic book influences on the film, most notably Batman: Year One and The Long Halloween, two classic stories set during the earliest days of Bruce’s vigilante career.
A lesser-known influence, however, is The Man Who Falls, a book that focuses on Bruce’s earliest travels to learn the art of crimefighting and begins in the same way as Batman Begins, with a young Wayne falling into what will one day become the Batcave.