The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being Jack Napier, a criminal who becomes the clownishly homicidal Joker.

Director:

Tim Burton

Writers:

Bob Kane (Batman characters), Sam Hamm (story) | 2 more credits »
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Popularity
621 ( 19)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Keaton ... Batman / Bruce Wayne
Jack Nicholson ... Joker / Jack Napier
Kim Basinger ... Vicki Vale
Robert Wuhl ... Alexander Knox
Pat Hingle ... Commissioner Gordon
Billy Dee Williams ... Harvey Dent
Michael Gough ... Alfred
Jack Palance ... Grissom
Jerry Hall ... Alicia
Tracey Walter ... Bob the Goon
Lee Wallace ... Mayor
William Hootkins ... Eckhardt
Richard Strange ... Goon
Carl Chase Carl Chase ... Goon
Mac McDonald ... Goon (as Mac Macdonald)
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Storyline

Gotham City. Crime boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance) effectively runs the town but there's a new crime fighter in town - Batman (Michael Keaton). Grissom's right-hand man is Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson), a brutal man who is not entirely sane... After falling out between the two Grissom has Napier set up with the Police and Napier falls to his apparent death in a vat of chemicals. However, he soon reappears as The Joker and starts a reign of terror in Gotham City. Meanwhile, reporter Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) is in the city to do an article on Batman. She soon starts a relationship with Batman's everyday persona, billionaire Bruce Wayne. Written by grantss

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Justice is always Darkest before the Dawn. See more »

Genres:

Action | Adventure

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Neither Tim Burton nor Michael Keaton had any previous exposure to the Batman comic books. Executive producer Michael E. Uslan provided them with reference material for the film. Burton was given every issue of Batman's first year in comics before Robin was introduced, Detective Comics #27 (May 1939) through #37 (March 1940), while Keaton was given the graphic novel "The Dark Knight Returns". See more »

Goofs

The movie is set in the United States but really was filmed in the United Kingdom. In particular shows the Monarch Theatre. The word "Theatre" is by far the preferred spelling in British English, but the most correct word "Theater" is spelling in American English. This is not a goof because the spelling "Theatre" is commonly used in American English as well. In fact, the spelling ending in "re" is used in the name of nearly every American movie theater chain (Century Theatres, Brendan Theatres, etc.) See more »

Quotes

[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!
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Crazy Credits

On the 4K remastered disc, a Government of India Film Certification certificate is seen on screen following the closing credits roll. See more »

Alternate Versions

An unofficial version of the film has aired on Latin American TV at least once. Besides being dubbed into Spanish, the film's ending is heavily edited as follows: When The Joker puts on glasses and says: "You wouldn't hit a guy with glasses on, would you?" Batman punches him and knocks him over the edge. In the original version the climax continues beyond this point. But in this changed version, The Joker simply plummets to his death after the punch. This was achieved by cutting from the punch to the birds-eye-view shot of The Joker falling. The next shot is simply The Joker lying dead and the crowd of people looming over him. The entire struggle on the ledge and attempted helicopter escape are completely omitted. See more »

Connections

Featured in Nostalgia Critic: Monkeybone (2017) See more »

Soundtracks

Beautiful Dreamer
Written by Stephen Foster
Performed by Hill Bowen & Orchestra
Courtesy of CBS Special Products, a Service of CBS Records, a division of CBS Records Inc.
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User Reviews

Good attempt to translate the comics to the big screen
28 January 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

In a Gotham City overrun by crime a new menace exists. In the shadows and rooftops a giant bat is terrorising the criminals who live in the night. Elsewhere crime boss Grissom's right hand man Jack Napier is trapped in a chemical factory by police. With Batman's intervention Napier is accidentally dropped into a vat of chemical. Considered dead he later turns up, scarred and twisted with a new sense of humour. Calling himself the Joker he takes over the city's gangs and begins to terrorise the city. Millionaire Bruce Wayne begins relationship with reporter Vicky Vale and finds himself personally drawn into conflict with the Joker as both himself and his alter-ego.

This was very much a huge blockbuster and had a great deal riding on it in terms of merchandising and a possible franchise. As such Burton always seemed like a risk - although his dark toned work and complex characters probably made him a great choice. The film starts promisingly, many questions are asked - is Wayne totally balanced? What drives him to become the bat? etc - and the tone of the movie is darker than a friendly blockbuster. This is continued by the investigation by reporters Vale and Knox, but starts to wane (pardon the pun) with the development of Vale as a love interest and the hamming of The Joker. At some point the film loses the character complexities and decides to become a straight up good v's evil with plenty of effects and gadgets. That said it's still very dark and the set pieces are well handled. In fact it's the best of the Batman franchise so far.

The problem is that it lacks a bite for Batman fans. I've always felt that Batman was always a few steps away from the criminals he's chasing, surely he can't be totally balanced and right in the head? Here these questions are half touched but never developed.

Keaton is an unlikely Batman, but is the best so far. He deals well with Wayne's past when it is brought up, but is an unlikely action hero. Nicholson is pure ham, but is good for it. He hogs all the best lines and is clearly enjoying himself - the only downside being that he regularly eclipses Keaton's Batman. Basinger's Vale is built up far too much and should have been cut out of the story rather than become a key part of it. The rest of the cast are good and I always like to see Tracey Walters in a big screen film!

Overall this is a good stab at the Batman legend. It's dark tone gives it the feel of the comics without the characterisation, but at the end of the day it comes down to good guy v's bad guy.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA | UK

Language:

English | French | Spanish

Release Date:

23 June 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Batman See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$40,489,746, 25 June 1989

Gross USA:

$251,348,343

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$411,508,343
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)| DTS (DVD version)| Dolby Digital (DVD)| Dolby Atmos (Blu-ray release)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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