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Batman (1989)

PG-13  |   |  Action, Adventure  |  23 June 1989 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 251,873 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 795 user | 177 critic | 17 from Metacritic.com

The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker.



(Batman characters), (story), 2 more credits »
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 9 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joker / Jack Napier
Lee Wallace ...
Carl Chase ...
Mac McDonald ...
Goon (as Mac Macdonald)


Gotham City: dark, dangerous, 'protected' only by a mostly corrupt police department. Despite the best efforts of D.A. Harvey Dent and police commissioner Jim Gordon, the city becomes increasingly unsafe...until a Dark Knight arises. We all know criminals are a superstitious, cowardly lot...so his disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. He becomes a bat. Enter Vicky Vale, a prize-winning photo journalist who wants to uncover the secret of the mysterious "bat-man". And enter Jack Napier, one-time enforcer for Boss Grissom, horribly disfigured after a firefight in a chemical factory...who, devoid of the last vestiges of sanity, seizes control of Gotham's underworld as the psychotic, unpredictable Clown Prince of Crime...the Joker. Gotham's only hope, it seems, lies in this dark, brooding vigilante. And just how does billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne fit into all of this? Written by Gregory A. Sheets <m-sheets2@onu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Only one will claim the night.


Action | Adventure


PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:







Release Date:

23 June 1989 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Betmen  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)


$251,188,924 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(70 mm prints)| (35 mm prints)| (DVD version)| (Dolby 5.1)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


A later draft written by Sam Hamm has a large part of the film concentrating on Bruce traveling abroad and training with Henri Ducard, whom Bruce would later discover to be a criminal. This would later become Batman Begins (2005). See more »


When Bruce is examining the plate in Vicki's apartment, an indentation is visible before the Joker shoots it. See more »


[first lines]
Passenger: Excuse me.
Tourist Dad: I'm sorry, this is my cab.
Passenger: Sorry.
Tourist Dad: Listen, I was here first!
[as the cab drives away]
Tourist Dad: Oh, God! Oh, taxi? Taxi!
See more »

Crazy Credits

The opening credits run with a 3-D Batman symbol being explored by a flying camera in extreme close-up. See more »


Referenced in The Cinema Snob: They Saved Hitler's Brain (2012) See more »


Electric Chair
Written, Produced and Performed by Prince
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The "serious" comic book movie
23 May 2006 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

No radioactive spider bites or guys turning green or supermodels painted blue here. Campy television series aside, Batman has always seemed the most serious, the most grounded, the most real of all the comic book sagas. Our hero has no magical, mystical superpowers...he's just a guy in a suit. But where does he get those wonderful toys? In this film Tim Burton does a very good job of bringing the Dark Knight to life while also seemingly giving the dark, foreboding city of Gotham a life of its own. Gotham is dark, gloomy, and dreary...almost oppressively so. The city is almost a character unto itself in the film...dark, mysterious and somehow quite real. The brilliantly conceived, stunning visuals are the perfect backdrop for the story which will unfold.

The story follows our Caped Crusader in his quest to clean up Gotham which is in the midst of a frightening crime wave. There was much unnecessary angst when comic actor Michael Keaton landed the title role with fans feeling that was a sure sign the film would lean towards the campy style evident in the famous television series. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Batman would be a serious film (well, as serious as a comic book movie can be) and Keaton was perfect in the Bruce Wayne/Batman role. Keaton's Wayne comes across as an ordinary guy doing extraordinary things. Keaton brings all the required seriousness to the role but also can add a little comic touch when necessary. Inspired casting pays off big time.

Good as he is Keaton is actually overshadowed in the film. Who else but Jack Nicholson could cause the actor playing Batman to get second billing in a movie titled Batman? Nicholson's performance as the Joker is simply terrific. Maybe a little over the top at times but, hey, it's the Joker...he's supposed to be over the top. Nicholson livens up every scene he's in, he simply owns the screen. With two terrific actors doing outstanding work bringing our hero and villain to life the film can hardly go wrong. It's certainly entertaining enough but the film as a whole doesn't quite match the brilliance of the two lead performances. The supporting cast, led by Kim Basinger as the requisite love interest, doesn't add much. Instead of leaving well enough alone with a fantastic Danny Elfman score the whole movie comes to a screeching halt a couple of times while we're forced to listen to some inane Prince songs. And the story just seems to lack a certain zest. We want to see the conflict between Batman and the Joker, these two great characters played by two great actors. And for too much of the film that conflict simply isn't there. But all in all, Batman is certainly a worthy effort. Some top-notch acting, stunning visuals and a story that does just enough to draw you in and hold your attention throughout. To call this film great might be a stretch but one could say it is very, very good. Certainly good enough to be worth your while.

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