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Batman (1989) Poster

(1989)

Trivia

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Robin Williams was offered the role of The Joker when Jack Nicholson hesitated. He had even accepted the role, when producers approached Nicholson again and told him Williams would take the part if he didn't. Nicholson took the role, and Williams was released. Williams resented being used as bait, and not only refused to play The Riddler in Batman Forever (1995) but also refused to be involved in any Warner Brothers productions until the studio apologized.
Don Johnson, Dale Midkiff and William Petersen were considered for Harvey Dent. Billy Dee Williams took the role with the expectation that he would be brought back to play Two-Face, and reportedly had a contract clause added reserving the role for him. During casting for Batman Forever (1995), Warner Brothers decided they preferred Tommy Lee Jones, and bought out Williams' contract. Williams voiced the character in The Lego Batman Movie (2017).
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Jack Nicholson said of his role, "The thing I like about The Joker is that his sense of humor is completely tasteless." He later said The Joker was one of his favorite roles he played.
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Jack Nicholson received a percentage of the gross on the film, and due to its massive box-office take, he took home around $60 million. As of 2003, it is still the single-movie record for an actor's salary.
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Michael Keaton was unable to hear while wearing the Batsuit. He said that his claustrophobia helped get him in the proper mood to play Batman. "It made me go inward and that's how I wanted the character to be anyway, to be withdrawn," he said.
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(at around 6 mins) Michael Keaton came up with the famous "I'm Batman" line, in the script, it was "I am the night".
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Jack Nicholson had a strict schedule stipulated into his contract that his casting call was to be later than most actors and actresses on the set. Jack was known for having late evenings up to 3:00 a.m. before he would get home, as he dined out every night, or attended small parties. Michael Keaton would arrive early in the mornings, and Jack would come in around 10:00 a.m. at the earliest and greet Michael, then sit on his chair. He would then tilt his head back and fall asleep immediately as the make-up artists worked on his prosthetics.
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Domestically, it was the highest grossing movie of 1989. Worldwide, it came second to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989).
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In order to combat negative rumors about the production, a theatrical trailer was hastily assembled to be distributed to theaters. To test its effectiveness, Warner Brothers executives showed it at a theater in Westwood, California to an unsuspecting audience. The ninety-second trailer received a standing ovation. Later, it would become a popular bootleg at comic book conventions, and theater owners would report patrons paying full price for movie tickets just to have an opportunity to see the trailer, and leaving before the feature began.
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Michael Keaton, who calls himself a "logic freak", was concerned that Batman's secret identity would, in reality, be fairly easy to uncover, and discussed ideas with Tim Burton to better disguise the character, including the use of contact lenses. Ultimately, Keaton decided to perform Batman's voice at a lower register than when he was portraying Bruce Wayne. This technique became a staple of future portrayals of Batman in film, television, and video games, especially those of Kevin Conroy and Christian Bale.
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According to Michael Keaton, his background in comedy proved useful in playing Batman, because it gave him instincts in how to shape scenes and build dimension into his character. For example, in the scene when Vicki and Bruce are having dinner, Keaton suggested that they be seated far apart at a very long table and his line of dialogue, "I don't think I've been in this room before." In another example, he contributed the idea of Bruce hanging like a bat after sleeping with Vicki. "It makes all the other stuff even weirder and darker because you're thinking, 'This guy's off,'" Keaton said.
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(at around 1h 45 mins) Before The Joker enters the Gotham City Cathedral with Vicki, he requests over the walkie-talkie for "transportation for two" to arrive in ten minutes. Between entering the cathedral and the arrival of the Joker's helicopter, the action inside the cathedral unfolds in real-time.
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(at around 1h 25 mins) Jack Nicholson revealed in an interview that the strange dance The Joker does when he exits Vicki Vale's apartment (when he raises his arms, pretends to fart, and runs off) was something called the "bird dance" which he improvised during the take. He took it from a friend of his, Clegg Hoyt.
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This movie was released the year of the character's 50th anniversary.
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Shortly after completing the film, Tim Burton said "I liked parts of it, but the whole movie is mainly boring to me. It's okay, but it was more of a cultural phenomenon than a great movie." He also wasn't enthusiastic about how Prince's songs were used in the film. As time has distanced him from the stressful production of the film, he has become more favorable of it.
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A scene was written, but never filmed, in which The Joker took over a public ceremony, held Mayor Borg hostage (causing Borg to experience a breakdown), unveiled a statue of himself, and laced the Gotham City Police Department's coffee with a non-lethal poison, which would have explained why there are no police in the parade scene.
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When discussing the central theme of Batman, director Tim Burton explained, "the whole film and mythology of the character is a complete duel of the freaks. It's a fight between two disturbed people", adding that "The Joker is such a great character, because there's a complete freedom to him. Any character who operates on the outside of society and is deemed a freak and an outcast, then has the freedom to do what they want. They are the darker sides of freedom. Insanity is in some scary way the most freedom you can have, because you're not bound by the laws of society."
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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".
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Michael Keaton casting as Bruce Wayne (Batman) caused a controversy amongst comic book fans, with 50,000 protest letters sent to Warner Brothers offices. Bob Kane, Sam Hamm, and Michael E. Uslan also heavily questioned the casting.
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Kim Basinger was the original choice to play Vicki Vale, but her agents wouldn't let producer Jon Peters meet with her unless he made her an offer, and then she ended up being busy, so Sean Young was cast instead. But then Young broke her collarbone while practicing horseback riding for a scene set on the grounds of Wayne Manor and had to drop out of the movie. Basinger received an emergency call one week before the commencement of filming, and accepted the part.
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The Batmobile was built on the chassis of a Chevy Impala, and incorporated the engine of an Impala, the tail lights of a Ferrari, the fuel caps of a London bus, and jet engine parts from a Harrier Jump Jet. The sliding cockpit was also inspired by that of a Harrier, with the slim windows of a gun emplacement. Art director Terry Ackland-Snow added the headlights of a Honda Civic to the vehicle after noticing them on his wife's car.
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While Kim Basinger has blonde hair, Vicki Vale was a redhead in the comics. According to Batman creator Bob Kane, Vale was supposed to be blonde in the comics, and her hair came out red due to a coloring error in her first appearance. Ironically, Kim Basinger would later sport red hair in Even Money (2006).
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(at around 13 mins) At the beginning of the film, Knox enters the press room and is handed a cartoon sketch of a "batman", which is a bat in pin stripe suit. It is signed by Bob Kane, who is the original creator of the Batman comic book.
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For its first video release, the film was graded slightly lighter, as cinema audiences had complained that it was filmed so dark that they could hardly see what was going on.
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First Batman adaptation to depict The Joker's origin story. It remained the only film to do this until Batman: The Killing Joke (2016).
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Jack Nicholson admitted in an interview that he was an enormous comic book fan in the era where Batman first appeared, and that The Joker was his favorite character from the comics.
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In the film, The Joker has to mask his chalk-white face by painting himself flesh-colored. In the script, it was specified that The Joker would have to take the flesh-colored make-up off to reveal the white skin underneath, meaning that the make-up effects team had to find a way to take one layer of make-up off and leave another intact. Make-up designer Nick Dudman came up with the solution: they painted Jack Nicholson with the white PAX paint that they always used, and then put a thin layer of food-grade silicon oil, which nothing sticks to, on top of it. They then took flesh-colored greasepaint and painstakingly painted it to where it was literally sitting on top of the oils. They then airbrushed and faded it in to make it look natural. After soaking The Joker's handkerchief in isopropyl alcohol, Jack Nicholson was able to wipe at his face and it would strip off the greasepaint, but leave the white PAX paint intact.
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Batman creator Bob Kane was to make a cameo in the film, but became ill, and shooting of his scene was not re-scheduled. Kane had drawn and signed the "Batman" sketch used by reporters to tease Knox, and Kane was to be the cartoonist who presented it. Kane cameoed in Batman Forever (1995).
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Jack Nicholson loved his performance in this film so much that at one point, he was watching the film once a week at his house.
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Jack Nicholson has said that what made The Joker one of his favorite roles of his own was that it allowed him so much creative freedom. In Nicholson's view, while most character roles have specific traits to which an actor has to stay true, The Joker's specific trait is that he's unpredictable, meaning that he was able to do whatever he wanted and still stay true to the character.
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Tim Burton recalls being nervous on an early days of shooting in part because this was his first big film, but it was compounded by working with Jack Palance. During filming, he was having trouble shooting a scene with Palance. When filming a scene with Palance, Burton called out "Action!", and a few minutes later, Palance didn't show up in his shot. Burton later cut the take and walked on the set, only to find out that Jack had a hearing problem. The deaf, but irritated Palance asked Burton, "I've made more than a hundred films, how many have you made?" Burton said, years later, that it was a "whiteout" experience he would never forget. Despite this incident, Burton adds that "he was good for the part. Can't think of anybody else who could be Jack Nicholson's boss."
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A scene was cut from the parade sequence (but made it in the comic book version of the script) where the crowd discovered that all the money that The Joker was handing out was counterfeit. In a follow-up to The Joker's earlier line that he wanted "My face on the one-dollar bill", all the dollar bills that were thrown to the crowd had The Joker's picture in place of George Washington's.
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In the Italian version, Jack Nicholson was dubbed by Giancarlo Giannini. His son, Adriano Giannini, was chosen to dub for Heath Ledger, playing The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008).
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The first Batman movie to win an Academy Award (for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration). It was followed by The Dark Knight (2008) with two wins.
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It took two hours for the make-up artists to change Jack Nicholson into The Joker. 355 silicone adhesive had to be used, due to Nicholson's allergy to spirit gum. Prosthetic make-up designer Nick Dudman used acrylic-based make-up paint, called "PAX", for Nicholson's chalk-white face. It was tricky finding the right shade of white, in contrast to the dark sets and Batman's black suit, since a pure white would blur out Nicholson's face.
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(at around 52 mins) On The Joker's desk in his lair is a rare Rubik's Diamond puzzle in an unsolved state being used as a paperweight.
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In creating the Batsuit, Tim Burton opted not to use tights, spandex, or underpants as seen in the comic book, feeling it was not intimidating.
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Michael Keaton stated that the crew would tape basketball games for Jack Nicholson, as he would come in and watch them the next day while his make-up was added. One day, when by his own admission, Jack was so frustrated that no game was on, he turned on the only thing available, a dart game. The next day as he passed Michael on the set, he looked at him and said "How about that dart game?", to which both he and Michael burst out laughing.
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Jack Nicholson convinced the filmmakers to cast his close friend Tracey Walter as Bob the Goon.
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The only live action Batman film to feature only one supervillain from the comics.
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The name of The Joker's alter ego, Jack Napier, was created by the filmmakers. In the comics, The Joker was never given a real name (and his anonymous status is often crucial to the plot), and whatever real name he has is yet to be definitively revealed. The name Jack Napier is intended to be a play on the word "jackanapes" (a medieval English term for a foolish fellow who resembles an ape) as well as a reference to Alan Napier, who played Alfred in the television show Batman (1966).
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In the original script, Bruce Wayne was described as a man with "muscles on top of muscles and scarred from nightly combat".
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The continued re-writes of the script, late into production, meant that Tim Burton wasn't sure how the film was going to climax, when shooting the cathedral scenes, "Here were Jack Nicholson and Kim Basinger walking up this cathedral, and halfway up Jack turns around and says, 'Why am I walking up all these stairs? Where am I going?' 'We'll talk about it when you get to the top!' I had to tell him that I didn't know."
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The only actors who appear in all four Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher films, are Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon) and Michael Gough (Alfred).
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Upon release, it became both the highest grossing Batman movie, and highest grossing film adaptation of any DC Comics character. Both records were eventually surpassed by The Dark Knight (2008).
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Tim Burton wanted to cast Brad Dourif as The Joker, but he was overruled by Warner Brothers.
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A later draft written by Sam Hamm had a large part of the film concentrating on Bruce travelling abroad and training with Henri Ducard, whom Bruce would later discover to be a criminal. This became Batman Begins (2005).
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To prepare for his role, Michael Keaton did some research about bats, studied Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" for inspiration, and lived alone in London before production started.
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In an interview with About.com, Christopher Nolan (director of The Dark Knight trilogy) described this film as "a brilliant film, visionary, and extraordinarily idiosyncratic."
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Mel Gibson was the first choice for the role of Bruce Wayne (Batman), but had to turn it down, because he was already committed to Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). He was eventually considered to play Harvey Dent (Two-Face) in Batman Forever but was forced to turn it down due to his commitment to Braveheart.
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Tim Burton disliked the Prince songs. They were Jon Peters' idea.
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(at around 1h 3 mins) The painting that The Joker spares during his vandalism spree is Francis Bacon's 1954 "Figure with Meat". The real painting is in the permanent collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.
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George Michael and Michael Jackson were originally both considered for contributions to the film's soundtrack, in addition to Prince, with the latter being considered for the film's love theme, while Prince wrote songs for The Joker. Jackson turned the opportunity down, due to his concert commitments.
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(at around 1h) The handwriting on the note that accompanies the gas mask in the museum is that of Tim Burton.
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Willem Dafoe was the front runner for the role of The Joker. Sam Hamm recalls "We thought, 'Well, Willem Dafoe looks just like The Joker.'"
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As a fan of his work in various horror films, Tim Burton cast Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth.
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Batman was released during a time when action films were all but ignored at the Oscars, Warner Brothers made a valiant effort in getting Batman recognized during awards time, and had launched a "For Your Consideration" pushing this movie for Best Picture, Best Actor (Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Kim Basinger), Best Director (Tim Burton), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound, and Best Make-up. The film did get one nomination: Best Art Direction, which it won.
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(at around 43 mins) When The Joker tells Bob to tail Knox, Jack Nicholson ad-libbed his Grissom impression, complete with Jack Palance's breathy voice.
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Several years after the film's release, tension arose between Tim Burton and Kevin Smith regarding the film's accuracy to the comic books. After the release of Planet of the Apes (2001), Burton denied plagiarizing a plot point of the film from one of Smith's comics, admitted he never tended to read many comic books, and said he "certainly would never read anything by Kevin Smith." This prompted Smith to half-jokingly retort, "Which, to me, explains f*cking Batman" in a comedy routine. Smith later apologized to Burton for the remark, as Burton meant to also mention the reason behind this was due to his dyslexia, which made it very difficult for him to read comic books. Though he did occasionally look at the images and became enamored with the iconography of the Batman and The Joker mythology, it was Alan Moore's "The Killing Joke" which helped him understand the mythology the most, Burton often said of the story, that it was the only comic book he never felt was hindered reading due to his dyslexia.
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Adam West, who played Batman in Batman (1966), admitted that he was disappointed that he was not asked to reprise the role in the movie (he was 61 years old in 1989). Also, in his 1994 autobiography, he stated that, despite belief to the contrary, he was never asked to make a cameo appearance as Thomas Wayne, adding that he would have declined the role if it were offered to him. West later provided the voice of the Gray Ghost in the Burton-inspired Animated Series from the 1990s.
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Ray Liotta was offered the roles of Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne (Batman), and Jack Napier (The Joker), but turned them down to film Goodfellas (1990). Liotta later regretted those decisions upon realizing what chances he had missed.
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After seeing an early screening of Clean and Sober (1988), Jon Peters was inspired to cast Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne (Batman) because of his brooding, against-type performance. Burton's recent success with Keaton on Beetlejuice (1988) made him eager to cast Michael in the role, since he could envision Keaton as someone who would dress up like a bat for effect, and believed his eyes lent him an intensity that would shine through the Batman cowl. Beetlejuice (1988)'s box-office and critical success and Clean and Sober (1988)'s good word of mouth made Keaton's standing with Warner Brothers a preferred choice for the role. Michael E. Uslan had to be convinced by Burton that casting Keaton wasn't going to be a step back towards the camp comedy of the 1966 television show, but Burton and Peters won the casting struggle when Keaton was cast in June 1988.
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(at around 13 mins) The lines "What a dick" (muttered after the newspaper artist shows Knox his rendering of Batman) and "He must've been King of the Wicker People" were ad-libbed by Robert Wuhl.
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Costume designer Bob Ringwood found it difficult designing the Batsuit, because "the image of Batman in the comics is this huge, big six-foot-four hunk with a dimpled chin. Michael Keaton is a guy with average build", he stated.
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Originally, Vicki Vale wasn't supposed to be in the third act, basically. She didn't go into the tower. Kim Basinger convinced the filmmakers otherwise and initiated script rewrites.
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In the original script with Robin included, the Flying Graysons (John, Mary, and Dick) are introduced at the parade scene. The Joker shoots the trapeze artists, sending John and Mary to their deaths, and leaving Dick to survive. Dick later becomes Robin in full costume at the end. The special edition version of the DVD release of this movie features an animated storyboard sequence of The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence (2005), where Dick Grayson was voiced by Jason Hillhouse, and Batman and The Joker were voiced by Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, respectively.
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Upon seeing the initial life-size polystyrene model of the Batmobile, Tim Burton turned to Terry Ackland-Snow and said "Great. Where's the door?". The design team suddenly realized that the design lacked any doors, and, inspired by the cockpit of a Harrier Jump Jet, Terry came up with the idea of the sliding cockpit.
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Before signing his contract, Jack Nicholson demanded approval over the make-up designer and his designs. The designer of The Joker's make-up turned out to be Nick Dudman. He sculpted six Joker designs, two of which were chosen by him and Tim Burton, and sent to Nicholson. After approving one design, Nicholson signed the contract.
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Lieutenant Eckhardt's surname was not new to the Batman universe. In the original Detective Comics, the name of Harvey Dent's (Two-Face's) (failed) plastic surgeon was Dr. Eckhart. Coincidentally, the actor who played Harvey Dent (Two-Face) in The Dark Knight (2008), was Aaron Eckhart.
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The original script featured a bitter rivalry between Bruce Wayne and Knox over Vicki.
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The police were called in when two reels of footage (about twenty minutes' worth) were stolen.
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The hooker in the opening scene was originally meant to be fourteen-years-old. She was also going to be shown chatting casually with a couple of cops, showing us how corrupt the Gotham police are, even before we meet Lieutenant Eckhart.
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Michelle Pfeiffer, who was dating Michael Keaton at that time, was asked to audition for Vicki Vale, but Keaton was against it, saying it would be awkward. Pfeiffer would later be cast as Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Batman Returns (1992) alongside with Keaton.
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(at around 30 mins) In a newsroom scene, Vicki Vale and Alexander Knox examine a map of Gotham City which has been marked with Batman sightings. The map is actually a map of Vancouver, British Columbia.
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(at around 35 mins) The surgical tools used to "reconstruct" the Joker's face are the same props as the dental tools used by Steve Martin on Bill Murray in Little Shop of Horrors (1986). Coincidentally, Jack Nicholson appeared in Murray's role in the original The Little Shop of Horrors (1960).
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When the production design team arrived at Pinewood Studios in England to build the sets, they discovered the atmosphere processor set from Aliens (1986) in one of the soundstages, with most of the Aliens' nest and eggs still intact.
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The Batmobile was twenty feet (six meters) long, had an eight foot (2.4 meters) wheelbase, and weighed one and a half tons (1.36 metric tons). Two prototypes were built for filming. The flames that shoot from the rear were created using paraffin. As a special promotion around the film's release date, MTV held a "Steal the Batmobile" contest, where the winner would be awarded one of the prototypes that had the engine removed.
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The Joker's real name in the film is Jack Napier. In the original comic books, The Joker's real name is always a carefully guarded secret, accomplished by narrative tricks such as having characters in "past" scenes (before he had his transformation) address him only as "hey you!", or some other noncommittal appellation, or having him about to say his name, but being suddenly interrupted, or having him sign a form which remains tantalizingly out of the reader's vision or "off panel". In the "present", other characters often try to learn The Joker's real name, but always just barely miss finding out. "Jack Napier" was used for The Joker in at least one comic book after this, but it was determined within the story that this name was just another alias, as was Johnny Japes in another story. Sometimes he facetiously says his name is Joe Kerr, a homonym for Joker. His origin stories, while presented with some degree of consistency, have many deliberate Rashomon (1950)-like contradictions to reinforce the idea that the character is an enigma.
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Sylvester Stallone has cited this film as what led to the decline of muscle-bound action stars from the 1980s, and a change in how action films were made. In an interview he said, "It was the beginning of a new era. The visuals took over. The special effects became more important than the single person. I wish I had thought of Velcro muscles myself. I didn't have to go to the gym all those years, all those hours wedded to the iron game, as we call it."
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Tim Burton hired Danny Elfman to compose the music score. Initially, Jon Peters was skeptical of hiring Elfman, but was later convinced when he heard the opening number.
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The museum which The Joker attacks, is called "The Flugelheim Museum". The name spoofs that of New York City's iconic Guggenheim Museum.
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(at around 1h 22 mins) The Joker's line "Take thy beak from out my heart" (said at Vale's apartment) is from Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven". The full line is 'Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!' (the "beak" being of the raven).
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Had the Batwing been built to size, it would have had a thirty-five foot (10.7 meter) wing span.
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The face of The Joker was initially inspired to Bob Kane and Bill Finger by Conrad Veidt as The Man Who Laughs (1928), based on Victor Hugo's L'homme que rit (1869).
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The designers of the Batmobile hadn't taken into account the additional four inches that Batman's cowl added to Michael Keaton's height, and as such, the cowl got stuck in the sliding cockpit the first time that it was tested. Since the cockpit seat was already positioned as low as possible, an alternate cowl with shorter ears had to be made for scenes with the Batmobile.
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Among the props there is a royal throne chair, used by The Joker. This throne was originally made for the MGM production Queen Christina (1933) with Greta Garbo. It is a true replica of the Swedish Queen Kristina's Silver throne, a gift from the Councillor Magnus Gabriel de la Gardie for her coronation in 1650, and used until 1975 at the annual commencement of Swedish Parliament sessions.
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Kiefer Sutherland was offered the role of Dick Grayson and turned it down, before the character was subsequently written out of the script.
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As an art lover, Jack Nicholson admitted that the scene in which The Joker destroys priceless works of art was the only scene that made him uneasy.
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According to a 2009 interview with MTV, Willem Dafoe said he had been in "very early" talks for the role of The Joker. Whether he or the studio passed is unknown. Dafoe later got a chance at starring in a live-action DC Comics film, playing Nuidis Vulko in Justice League (2017) and Aquaman (2018). He also played Norman Osborn (The Green Goblin) in Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy.
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The first draft of this movie was written in 1980 by Superman (1978) co-writer Tom Mankiewicz, and told the story of Batman's and Robin's origins. The villains were The Joker and The Penguin, and Rupert Thorne and Barbara Gordon were also to appear. Some elements were taken from a 1978 comic book serial, "Strange Apparitions", written by Steve Englehart. At the end, Robin was to appear in costume (much like Batman Forever (1995)). It was going to be released in 1985, with a budget of twenty million dollars, but with Producers Michael E. Uslan and Benjamin Melniker booted off the production, the project was shelved until Jon Peters and Peter Guber picked it up. In 1985, after the surprise success of Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), the studio offered the job to Tim Burton. Unsatisfied with the Mankiewicz script, Burton and his girlfriend Julie Hickson wrote a thirty-page treatment of the project. This treatment was approved by the producers and studio. In 1986, Burton met Sam Hamm, who had just received a two-year contract with Warner Brothers, and gave him the job of writing a screenplay based on Burton's and Hickson's treatment. However, the writing process stretched too long, and Hamm couldn't write further drafts of the script, because of the writers' strike. In his place, Burton got Beetlejuice (1988) co-writer Warren Skaaren to continue writing. Nearly three years after working on the project, Burton didn't get the film green-lit until the box-office result of Beetlejuice (1988). This movie began filming in October, and it only took twelve weeks to shoot.
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Joe Dante was offered the chance to direct, and his version would have had John Lithgow as The Joker. He eventually declined, because he was more interested in The Joker than Batman, and felt it shouldn't be that way.
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Jack Nicholson received top billing on the opening credits, a fact that wouldn't be repeated until the release of Batman & Robin (1997), when Arnold Schwarzenegger (Mr. Freeze) would be billed over the actor playing Batman (however, during the ending credits of Batman (1989), Michael Keaton, who plays Batman, is top-billed followed by Nicholson). Both Nicholson and Schwarzenegger played the primary villains in each film.
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Michael Keaton hated the Batsuit, because he suffered from claustrophobia. Tim Burton and Keaton decided that it would enhance his performance, so they stuck with it.
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It was producer Jon Popick who came up with the idea of casting Michael Keaton in the titular role after the release of Beetlejuice (1988). Tim Burton was unsure, but offered Keaton the role and gave him a copy of the script. Keaton was intending to say "no" as he never read the comics as a child and never really was a fan. He read it only out of "politeness". But after becoming engaged with the character, he finally accepted.
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Lieutenant Max Eckhart was loosely based on the comics character Lieutenant Harvey Bullock. Nowadays, Bullock is recognized as a good guy in the comics. But originally, the Pre-Crisis Bullock was a corrupt cop on the payroll of Hamilton Hill. He deliberately sabotaged many of Commissioner Gordon's operations and ultimately drove Gordon to suffer a heart attack in 'The Man of a Thousand Menaces (Batman #364, October 1983). In the movie, Eckhardt looks more or less identical to the Bullock in the comics. He also shares his obnoxious personality and fondness for cigars.
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Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) screams approximately twenty-three times when in danger (or just when she thinks she's in danger) and gasps six times.
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Two separate soundtracks of the movie were released, one featuring the songs by Prince, and the other of Danny Elfman's score. The Prince CD included songs not used in the movie, and other unused songs were released as B-sides on the singles released from the album.
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Pierce Brosnan turned down the role of Bruce Wayne (Batman). He went and met with Tim Burton for the role, but he couldn't take the character seriously.
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Martin Landau turned down the role of Carl Grissom. Future Tim Burton cast members Sir Christopher Lee and Albert Finney were also considered for the role.
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Michael Gough was a friend of Alan Napier, who played Alfred on the Batman (1966) television series and Batman: The Movie (1966).
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The climactic showdown at the clock tower, which was not in the original script, was conceived after Jon Peters and Jack Nicholson saw Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera on London's West End.
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Robin Williams was considered for the role of The Joker. He would later be considered for The Riddler as well. Jack Nicholson got the role of The Joker, but demanded top-billing and a lucrative deal that gave him royalties on all merchandise.
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Early drafts of the script featured Batman's sidekick, Robin. The role was offered to Kiefer Sutherland, who was nineteen at the time. Sutherland turned down the role, saying he imagined himself wearing yellow tights on the big screen, and didn't realize that Tim Burton planned to make the film much darker than Batman (1966). Eventually, the role was reduced to a small cameo by Robin's alter ego, Dick Grayson, and was eventually cut from the film completely.
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Patsy Kensit auditioned for the role of Alicia Hunt, but she was considered too young for Jack Nicholson. Instead, Kensit opted to star in Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). Jerry Hall was eventually cast after having been spotted by a crew member at Pinewood Studios during one of her breaks from filming a chocolate commercial.
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When the Tom Mankiewicz script was in development, the directors associated with the project included Joe Dante and Ivan Reitman. Producers wanted an unknown to play Batman and the cast wish-list included William Holden as Commissioner Gordon and David Niven as Alfred, Bruce Wayne's faithful butler.
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Jack Nicholson was initially hesitant to take the role of The Joker after clashing with Jon Peters during the making of The Witches of Eastwick (1987). During pre-production, Peters flew Nicholson to London to show him the set work and have a few nights on the town. The olive branch impressed Nicholson, and he promptly accepted the role.
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Based on his success with Superman (1978), Richard Donner was considered to direct. He wanted Mel Gibson to star as Batman.
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In interviews given at the time of "Batman"'s release, Jack Nicholson said he had particularly enjoyed playing The Joker because it was a throwback to the psycho roles he'd played in his first film, The Cry Baby Killer (1958), and some of his other early films for American International.
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The first scene involved the mugging of a couple and their young son upon their leaving a movie theatre. This was a nod to Batman's origin story as Bruce witnessed his parents murder while returning home from a movie, which was depicted later in the film in a flashback. Some viewers when first seeing the movie first believed the family seen in the opening scene to be Bruce and his parents, thus establishing the beginning of Batman's origin story.
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After the success of Die Hard (1988), Wilhelm von Homburg was considered to play Jack Napier/the Joker in Batman but was committed to making Ghostbusters II (1989) in which he played the villain Vigo the Carpathian.
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The Bat Cave was created on Pinewood's stage D and completely filled its 18,150 square feet.
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Bill Murray was rumored to have been attached to a comedic iteration of the film directed by Ivan Reitman. However, while promoting Quick Change (1990) on an episode of The Arsenio Hall Show (1989), he denied ever being considered for the role, rendering this alleged idea of a Batman film nonexistent.
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Michael J. Fox and Eddie Murphy were considered for the role of Robin, when Ivan Reitman was going to direct a comedy Batman.
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Anton Furst's designs for Gotham City were incorporated into the comics during the early 1990s. The design was removed during the "No Man's Land" story theme where most of the buildings in Gotham City were destroyed by natural disasters and terrorist acts.
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The first comic book film to win a competitive Oscar, it won for Best Art Direction. Superman (1978) had won a non-competitive Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects at the Oscars.
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The film had been in development for at least ten years before its release. Initial proposals and announcements of a Batman movie project was largely rooted in the success of Superman (1978) and its sequel Superman II (1980).
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Tim Burton stated in an interview that he had initially wanted Adam West and Julie Newmar, from the 1960s series, to play Thomas and Martha Wayne in the flashback. Audiences would recognize West and Newmar from the series and see them get shot, symbolizing the "death" of the old Batman. Script rewrites caused this to be scrapped, and West later said he wasn't even offered the role (and even if he was, he wouldn't have taken it). West and Newmar would respectively voice Thomas and Martha in one episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008).
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Tim Burton met with numerous actors for the title role who fit the traditional "square-jawed" and heroic look, but he eventually realized "there's a reason why a guy dresses up as a bat, he's trying to create a menacing persona." Michael Keaton has the crazy eyes, but physically he's someone who would need costuming to make him seem scarier.
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Tim Burton had never heard the term 'franchise' before doing this film, but "now that's all you ever hear", he stated.
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Costume designer Bob Ringwood studied over two hundred comic book issues for inspiration. Twenty-eight sculpted latex designs were created. Twenty-five different cape looks, and six different heads were made, accumulating a total cost of $250,000.
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Mayor Borg bears a striking resemblance to (and was likely inspired by) then-New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
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The highest grossing Warner Brothers movie of the 1980s. The previous decade, the highest grossing movie for Warner Brothers, was another DC Comics hero, Superman (1978).
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Tim Burton hired Anton Furst as production designer after seeing his work on The Company of Wolves (1984) and failing to get him for Beetlejuice (1988).
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In a 2017 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Jon Peters recalled that Michael Keaton was romantically interested in Kim Basinger during filming, while he was in the midst of a divorce from wife Caroline McWilliams. Keaton resented Peters when he successfully courted Basinger, who left her first husband, Ron Snyder, for the relationship.
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Ben Affleck auditioned to play Dick Grayson/Robin in the film before the character was written out. He would later on to play Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016) and Justice League (2017).
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Tim Burton always felt the title sequence of a film is important for setting a mood, so he used it here to make it clear from the start that "this wasn't the TV series."
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Tim Burton credits the film with being the first to make a darker comic adaptation and acknowledges it's now incredibly common.
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Joel Coen and Ethan Coen reportedly turned down the chance to make the film, because they didn't want to do a film that wasn't theirs.
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Part of Jack Nicholson's contract was approval over the make-up designer.
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At one point, Steven Spielberg was interested in doing a Batman film. He wanted Harrison Ford as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Michael J. Fox as Robin/Dick Grayson, Tim Curry as The Joker, Dustin Hoffman as The Penguin, Geena Davis as Silver St. Cloud (the love interest that'd be replaced with Vicky Vale), Jon Pertwee as Alfred Pennyworth, Burt Reynolds as Commissioner James Gordon, Martin Sheen as Harvey Dent and Richard Dreyfuss as Rupert Thorne. Pertwee's son, Sean Pertwee would played Alfred on Gotham (2014).
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Tim Burton doesn't think Keaton could have found his Batman voice until he put the costume on. The actor was able to internalize better as he couldn't hear people inside the cowl. "It was like talking to a deaf person."
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Tim Burton praised composer Danny Elfman as someone who "gets the right mixture of light and dark."
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People expected Tim Burton to take a goofy tone with the film, "but that was the furthest thing from my mind." He wasn't a big comic book fan, but he loved Batman and the psychology of the character meaning he knew he wanted to stay true to that idea.
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When Richard Donner was approached to direct, he considered Mel Gibson for the title role, Michael J. Fox for Robin, Willem Dafoe for The Joker, and Joe Pesci for The Penguin.
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(at around 58 mins) The flag of Gotham City closely resembles the state flag of Indiana. It can be seen briefly in Harvey Dent's office.
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(at around 1h 2 mins) The painting one of The Joker's henchmen vandalizes by making red hand prints, and then splashing green paint on it, is a self-portrait made in 1669 (same year of his death) by The Netherlands artist Rembrandt van Rijn.
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The theatrical trailer for Batman includes not only sequences presented without music, but there are also some alternate takes used in the trailer that were not used in the movie. Specifically: (1) The Joker shoots his television after saying "I have given a name to my pain." Nicholson loads his gun while speaking this line, in the film, he reveals the gun after speaking the line, and the explosion is also a different take. A wide shot was used in the finished film, but in the trailer, a close-up is used for Nicholson's line. (2) Michael Keaton's line "My life is really...complex" is shown here as a close-up which is a different take than the one used in the film. Additionally, in the movie, the take used is from a different camera position. (3) Robert Wuhl is seen asking the question, "Lieutenant, is there a six foot bat in Gotham City?" In the movie, a different take was used, with different things occurring in the background. Regarding this trailer, on the Special Edition DVD, Warner Brothers has removed the final screen card which originally indicated the film's release date in North America: June 23 (1989).
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David Baxt, who plays Thomas Wayne, earlier appeared in another movie based on a DC Comics character. He played the burglar who scales the building in Superman (1978).
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David Cronenberg was offered a chance to direct, but declined.
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Contrary to popular belief, the film was never considered to be comedic in tone, as an intention of producers was trying to distance Batman from the camp portrayal of the 1960s TV Series. Nevertheless, many media outlets, particularly tabloids, made random speculations on traditionally comedic or non-dramatic actors for the film's cast. Even near the time of release, fans who only knew Batman from the camp era were surprised by the movie's dark and dramatic tone, which was more in line with the Batman comics.
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(at around 1h 55 mins) When Batman is beating up the Joker the Dark Knight seemingly hits the Joker right in the groin (closely resembling a panel from Alan Moore's The Killing Joke wherein Batman punched Joker in the groin during the climactic fist fight).
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Part of Tim Burton's attraction to making a Batman film was his identification with many of the hero's traits including the split personality, his desire to remain hidden, and his trouble with relationships and communication.
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Jerry Hall was hired as the role called for a model, but according to Burton, "she's also a good fainter."
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Tim Burton recalls the good fortune of being in England for the film's production as he missed out on all the gossip, criticism, and attitude from people complaining about his and Keaton's involvement.
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Tim Burton realized early that he has immense appreciation for actors who are good at improvisation "as long as it kept within the spirit and the form of what it is."
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Tim Burton recalls getting flack for letting Vale into the Batcave, but he still feels like they were staying pure to the comics. "There were some near death threats," he says, adding that it gave him a reason not to attend conventions for quite a while.
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The design of Gotham City is based on the work of architects Antoni Gaudí, Otto Wagner, Shia Takamatsu, and Louis H. Sullivan. In particular, the Gotham cathedral mirrored the works of Gaudi, and the Flugelheim Museum exterior was directly based upon Nishina dental clinic, which Takamatsu designed.
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Garrick Hagon and Liza Ross, who play the tourist couple who are mugged at the beginning of the film, are married in real-life. They had also played each other's love interests in the English version of Lupin the Third: Bye Bye, Lady Liberty (1989).
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Corto Maltese is also an island country in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, one of Tim Burton's inspirations for Batman. It is named for a man from Hugo Pratt's Italian series of comic books, of which Frank Miller is a fan.
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In 1989, Patrick McLynn, a college student from Richmond, Virginia, won the engine-free prop offered in MTV's promotional "Steal the Batmobile" contest. He intended to loan the prop to local conventions and museums, but he had signed a contract preventing him from profiting off of its exhibition. At one museum, the shift lever was stolen. The car was also taxable, and led to an I.R.S. audit. Eventually, due to mounting expenses from a motorcycle accident, and the prize's ten thousand dollar insurance premium, McLynn was forced to sell the Batmobile at a paltry sum.
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Vicki Vale didn't go up the cathedral in original drafts of the climax, but Kim Basinger was eager to expand her role and worked with Jon Peters to write her character into the climax.
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From the start of the movie's development, filmmakers made it clear the movie would be dramatic and seriously minded. In addition, when confirming a Batman film project in the early 1980's a DC Comics Ask The Answer Man column noted it wouldn't be campy like the 1960's TV series.
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The film is one of the earliest examples of a work that tries to subvert the idea that the Joker is criminally insane and isn't responsible for his actions, an idea that only really emerged in the 70's itself. Like Batman: The Animated Series (1992), it does so by making him a violent criminal even before he had his toxic bath, though in this one he is killed before we find out if he would have been thrown in an insane asylum rather than prison, it's only because he's managed to convince people that he's crazy, rather than actually being as crazy as he pretends).
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Danny Elfman score was influenced by numerous composers. The opening title theme begins with a reference to Bernard Herrmann's score for Henry Levins Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959). The title theme also references the score for George Waggner's The Wolf Man (1941), composed by Charles Previn, Hans J. Salter and Frank Skinner. Elfman would go on to score Joe Johnston's The Wolfman (2010), which was a remake of the 1941 film.
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This was one of the first films to alter the studio logo at its start, and Burton recalls "it was kind of a struggle, but now I notice we're able to do it every single time."
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Tim Burton doesn't even recall a conversation as to alternatives for the Joker as Jack Nicholson was "just so perfect. He is the Joker." He adds that the only real worry was that maybe Nicholson was too perfect for the role. "You want to make it the Joker but retain Jack."
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Tim Burton remembers first meeting Prince in the soundstage of the Batcave.
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Steve Martin and Daniel Stern turned down the role of Alexander Knox.
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Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Patrick Swayze, Mel Gibson, Tom Cruise, Nicolas Cage, Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin Spacey, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Costner, Richard Gere, Michael Biehn, Ray Liotta, Tom Hanks, John Travolta, Sean Penn, Emilio Estevez, Matthew Broderick, Sylvester Stallone, Kevin Kline, William Hurt, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Charlie Sheen, Dennis Quaid, Jeff Bridges, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Selleck, & Kyle MacLachlan were considered for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Arnold Schwarzenegger would later play Mr. Freeze in Batman and Robin. Mel Gibson was forced to turn down the role because of his commitment to Lethal Weapon 2. He'd later be offered the role of Two-Face/Harvey Dent in Batman Forever but was later forced to turn down the role due to his commitment to Braverheart.
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Tim Curry, Willem Dafoe, David Bowie, Jeff Goldblum, James Woods, Donald Sutherland, John Lithgow, Brad Dourif, Robert Englund, Robert De Niro, Alan Rickman, Ray Liotta, John Malkovich and Christopher Lloyd were considered for the role of The Joker. Willem Dafoe would later play Nudius Valko in Aquaman.
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Sam Raimi was in contention to direct, but was ultimately overlooked as he was not a big enough name. His name was brought up again as potential replacement for Tim Burton on Batman Forever (1995), but was overlooked again in favor of Joel Schumacher.
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This movie had three actors from the Star Wars trilogy present. District Attorney Harvey Dent was played by Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). Lieutenant Max Eckhardt was played by William Hootkins, the X-Wing pilot Tono Porkins in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). Tourist Dad in the first scene was played by Garrick Hagon, the X-Wing pilot and childhood friend of Luke Skywalker, Biggs, in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
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(at around 1h 17 mins) The Joker, at one point, says, "We've got a flying mouse to kill, and I wanna clean my claws." In German, the word for bat is "fledermaus", which can be translated as "flying mouse".
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The news channel is called Action News and bears a similar logo to Action Comics. Action Comics was published by National Allied Publications before the company changed its name to DC Comics.
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The studio wanted John Williams to work on the film's music.
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Irish actor Ricky Addison Reed was cast as Dick Grayson, but the segment was ultimately cut from the script. Before Reed's casting, both Ben Affleck and Matt Damon had also auditioned for the role.
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The portrayal of Bruce Wayne as an idle recluse who doesn't seem to care what's going on in the world is very much in line with how he was characterized in the early comics, before Robin or Alfred were introduced.
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Tim Burton and Anton Furst both cited Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985) as an influence on the look of the movie. Roger Pratt served as director of photography on both pictures. The look of Gotham City incorporates elements from several different artistic movements, including Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Gothic. The architectural works of Otto Wagner, Norman Foster, Louis H. Sullivan and Albert Speer all proved influential, as did the futuristic city featured in Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927).
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William Hootkins's performance as Lieutenant Eckhardt was influenced by Orson Welles's portrayal of Police Captain Hank Quinlan in his 1958 film noir Touch of Evil (1958). In addition to the obvious physical similarities, both characters are highly corrupt and villainous police officers whose deep gravelly voices are almost identical.
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Warner Bros. proposed the idea of Steven Seagal for the main lead.
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In designing the look of Gotham, they went more for timeless and alternative design rather than futuristic.
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Tim Burton stated: "This was the first time I'd experienced the Hollywood trend of, you're making a big movie, you have a script that we all seem to like and then all of a sudden it unravels." He's not a fan of that part of the experience, but he says budget fluctuations caused changes to be made. He seems to specifically be addressing how Nicholson's presence led to a higher budget, adding "I don't remember adding stuff for him and taking stuff out from other people, necessarily, I mean the script may have changed for certain reasons."
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Pinewood Studios is a magical place for Tim Burton, and he recalls finding new corners to explore and shoot in every time he visited.
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Included among the American Film Institute's 1998 list of the four hundred movies nominated for the Top 100 Greatest American Movies.
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Charlie Sheen was deemed too young to play Batman.
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The design of the Batmobile bears a strong resemblance to Thrust2, a British jet propelled car, which held a world land speed record from 1983 to 1997.
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The sets occupied a huge chunk of Pinewood Studios' 85 acres, and were kept standing for almost two years, in the hope that the sequel would be shot there. By the time Warner Brothers decided instead to film Batman Returns (1992) on their Burbank backlot, the UK sets were in a terrible state of disrepair, and had to be torn down. The third and fourth sequels were also filmed on the Warner Brothers soundstages, and it would be another fifteen years before a Batman movie would lense again in Britain, Batman Begins (2005).
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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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The first film to be released in the UK under the 12 age rating certificate. For years, 12-rated films wouldn't be released as such on home video formats (they would either be bumped up to a 15 or lowered to a PG), explaining why Batman was (and still is) rated 15 on home video.
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Contrary to such information, it would seem neither Ben Affleck or Matt Damon were considered to play Robin in the movie. Both were not established or "name" actors at the time of the film's production.
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One of the reasons why Tim Burton wasn't much of a comic book fan was that he "didn't know which box to read first" as far as following the story through the panels.
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20. The Batmobile was the second most important design element after Batman's costume, and Tim Burton recalls discussing the "perversity" of the vehicle. That's what led to the "weird sort-of round thing, the sort-of jet engine thing" at the front of the car "which almost has a strange, obscene quality. There's just something aggressive about it that we liked."
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The film's success was a surprise, although Burton acknowledges that both success and failure always surprise him.
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"There's a few moments I think in the film where the technology is a little shaky. That's one of them," Burton says, referring to the Joker's fall at 1hr 58 mins.
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Tim Burton said being in a used, dark, dank chemical plant wasn't the most fun.
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Tim Burton was sick pretty much every day working on the movie.
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Jon Peters wanted to use a Nike product placement with the Batsuit, the suit in the film features the Nike Air Trainer III.
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Costume designer Bob Ringwood turned down the chance to work on Licence to Kill (1989) in favor of this film.
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The handgun Jack uses at the beginning is a colt new service revolver.
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The idea of having Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent excited Tim Burton as Two-Face would have made an eventual appearance in a sequel, but it sounds like we might have been lucky that it never happened. "I love the idea of somebody like him, because then you could do like a black/white thing, again the duality thing which is so crucial to the Batman material."
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Promotional material included Alfred's last name (Pennyworth) and Gordon's first name (James). Neither of which were mentioned in the movie. However, the name "James Gordon" does appear on the table at the press conference early in the film.
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The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Jack Nicholson (3 times), Kim Basinger and Jack Palance. And Michael Keaton was nominee. Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Jack Palance, and Michael Keaton.
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Warner Brothers considered Bruce Payne to play Batman, to have "Bruce Payne as Bruce Wayne" on their "one liner" press marketing PR campaign for the film. Payne has said that "they drew up a very short shortlist and there I was on it. Obviously, I lost out in the end to Michael Keaton."
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Charles McKeown did an uncredited rewrite on the screenplay when Warren Skaaren was unavailable.
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Tim Burton took older films like The Man Who Laughs (1928), vampire movies, and the work of Val Lewton as inspirations for Batman.
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Tom Atkins was almost cast as Comissioner Gordon, but he ultimately lost out to Pat Hingle.
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Costume designer Bob Ringwood based Jack Napier/The Joker's suits - purple and orange with broad shoulders and baggy trousers -on the work of Tommy Nutter, the Savile Row tailor known for outfitting rock stars like The Beatles and Elton John. Ringwood employed Nutter to make the suits, which proved difficult as Ringwood's designs were so extreme they were almost impossible to represent physically.
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Tracey Walter often jokes in hindsight that this is the film that 'immortalised' him - by his character having an action figure with a power kick.
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As Jimmy and his parents are walking through the city at the start, a version of Prince's song "The Future" (made for the film) can be heard.
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(at around 59 mins) When Alfred receives Vicki Vale's message, a portrait of Thomas Wayne can be seen in the background.
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Michael Biehn was considered for the role of Batman (Bruce Wayne).
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(at around 1h 35 mins) The Joker taunts Batman from his helicopter, calling him "Junior Birdman". Michael Keaton appeared in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) as an actor best known for playing a superhero.
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Production designer Anton Furst studied Brazil (1985) to get an idea on how to create the sets for Gotham City.
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(at around 35 mins) Vicki having to climb the "many" stairs of Wayne Mansion, having to remove her heels, foreshadowing near the end in the cathedral with The Joker.
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Rotelli's first name in the original script was Carmine. However, on the day of shooting the boardroom scene, production designer Anton Furst was under a particularly high level of stress, thus Jack Nicholson improvised the line "Anton got a little hot under the collar."
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Some of the music from this film bears a resemblance to that in The Wolf Man (1941). The scene where Lawrence Talbot throws rocks at Gwen Conliffe's bedroom window to get her attention is particularly noticeable.
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Back when studios wanted to do a comedy Batman (a'la the 1966 series), studios considered Chevy Chase or Bill Murray as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Michael J. Fox or Tom Cruise as Robin, Molly Ringwald as Batgirl, Tim Curry as the Joker, John Candy as The Penguin, Steve Martin as The Riddler, and Sigourney Weaver as Catwoman.
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Paul Birchard, who has a minor role in this movie, also played a cop in The Dark Knight (2008).
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Peter O'Toole was considered for The Penguin when Tom Mankiewicz was attached.
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(at around 38 mins) The Joker says the line "What a day!" Jack Nicholson said the same line playing the Devil in The Witches of Eastwick (1987).
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Ford bid to take part in the Batmobile's development early in production, but they weren't able to commit to the restrictive time frame. Terry Ackland-Snow's team completed the vehicle in just fourteen weeks.
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This is the first Batman film to appeal to mature audiences, due to the PG-13 rating. The animated television spin-off Batman: The Animated Series (1992) then appealed to children, who are between the ages seven and twelve.
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After the success of Repo Man (1984), Alex Cox was offered a chance to direct, but declined.
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Michael Jackson was asked to write and perform the songs for the movie, but he had to turn it down due to his concert commitments. George Michael was also considered.
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Jon Peters and Peter Guber wanted Prince to write music for the Joker and Michael Jackson to do the romance songs. Danny Elfman would then combine the style of Prince and Jackson's songs together for the entire film score.
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Steve Englehart claims the movie version of Vicki Vale was based on Silver St. Cloud. In fact the Vicki Vale in the comics preceded Silver by several decades. She was first introduced in 'The Scoop of the Century!' (Batman #49, October 1948), where she set out to chronicle Batman's exploits with her camera.
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Gotham's Flugelheim Museum is named after New York City's Guggenheim Museum. The building's distinctive exterior was inspired by the works of Japanese architect Shin Takamatsu. The design of the circular protrusion above the main entrance was taken from Takamatsu's Ark Nishina building in Kyoto. Inside the gallery hang numerous real works of art. These include 'A Woman Holding a Balance' (1662-1663) by Johannes Vermeer, 'Self-Portrait at the Age of 63' (1669) by Rembrandt, 'Two Dancers on a Stage' (1874) by Edgar Degas, and Gilbert Stuart's unfinished 1796 portrait of George Washington.
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On the day the actors playing the Joker's Goons were introduced to Jack Nicholson, he reportedly came to meet them after shooting a scene and walked down the line of them like a General inspecting his troops in full make-up and costume.
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The first Batman script commission by Warners was written by Tom Mankiewicz, nephew of Herman Mankiewicz, who cowrote Citizen Kane with Orson Welles. There are many parallels between Charles Foster Kane and Bruce Wayne: Both grew up rich but orphaned (however Kane was taken from his parents rather than saw them muredered). Both consider themselves crusaders against corruption. Finally, both live isolated in mansions surrounded by artefacts. While Batman predated Citizen Kane by two years the movie influenced the look of the comic, which also drew inspiration from Welles's earlier character The Shadow. In the mid 2000s comic book writer Mark Millar wrote a tongue-in-cheek article for the Comic Book Resource site in which he claimed to have unearthed material from an abandoned production of Batman by Welles in the 40s which would have starred Welles as Wayne, Marlene Dietrich as Catwoman and James Cagney as the Riddler. Finally, writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Gaydos once produced a Batman "Elseworlds" story called "Citizen Wayne" which reimagined Batman through the lens of the 1941 movie
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Kyle MacLachlan lobbied hard for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne.
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Ivan Reitman was considered for directing duties but screenwriter Sam Hamm & Batman creator Bob Kane we're heavily against that directing choice, David Cronenberg, Terry Gilliam, Wes Craven, David Lynch, Martin Scorsese, John Carpenter, Tobe Hooper, James Cameron, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, Tony Scott, Richard Donner, Brian DePalma, George Miller, Robert Zemeckis, Walter Hill, & John McTiernan were also considered for directing duties as well before Tim Burton was hired.
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Jean-Claude Van Damme auditioned for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne.
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After Pee-Wee's Big Adventure (1985) and Beetlejuice (1988), this was Tim Burton's first attempt at giving a film, "a reality that I've never really worked with before."
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The Batman film franchise has attracted the longest list of actors who have Oscar and Golden Globe wins or nominations. Twenty Oscars, and thirty-nine Golden Globes. The franchise has won three Oscars. Jack Nicholson Three Oscars, nine nominations Seven Golden Globes, ten nominations George Clooney Two Oscars, four nominations Four Golden Globes, seven nominations Michael Caine Two Oscars, four nominations Three Golden Globes, eight nominations Tommy Lee Jones One Oscar, three nominations One Golden Globe, three nominations Christian Bale One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe, one nomination Halle Berry One Oscar One Golden Globe, three nominations Heath Ledger - (only actor to win an Oscar or Golden Globe for a Batman character performance) One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe, one nomination Kim Basinger One Oscar One Golden Globe, one nomination Nicole Kidman One Oscar, two nomination Three Golden Globes, six Nominations Ben Affleck Two Oscars, two nominations Two Golden Globes, one nomination Morgan Freeman One Oscar, three nominations Two Golden Globes, four nominations Anne Hathaway One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe, two nominations Marion Cotillard One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe, two nominations Christopher Walken One Oscar, one nomination One Golden Globe nomination Jack Palance One Oscar, two nominations One Golden Globe Michelle Pfeiffer Three Oscar Nominations One Golden Globe, five nominations Tom Wilkinson Two Oscar nominations One Golden Globe, three nominations Uma Thurman One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe, three nominations Liam Neeson One Oscar nomination Three Golden Globe nominations Michael Keaton One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe, one nomination Gary Oldman One Oscar nomination Jim Carrey Two Golden Globe, four nominations. Danny DeVito One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe, five nominations Maggie Gyllenhaal One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe, twi nominations Drew Barrymore One Golden Globe, two nominations. Chris O'Donnell One Golden Globe nomination. Tom Conti One Oscar nomination Two Golden Globe nominations Matthew Modine Two Golden Globe nominations Eric Roberts One Oscar nomination Three Golden Globe nominations Ken Watanabe One Oscar nomination One Golden Globe nomination Joseph Gordon-Levitt Two Golden Globe nominations Arnold Schwarzenegger One Golden Globe, one nomination Alicia Silverstone One Golden Globe nomination.
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In the original script, the paper for which Knox and Vicki worked was the Gotham Gazette, not the Gotham Globe.
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At the time of the theatrical debut of Suicide Squad (2016), Jared Leto became the third actor in the modern era to portray The Joker in a major live-action cinema movie to have won an Oscar for acting. Leto had recently won a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Academy Award for Dallas Buyers Club (2013). Jack Nicholson, who portrayed The Joker in this movie, has won three Oscars, one each for Terms of Endearment (1983) (Actor in a Supporting Role), As Good as It Gets (1997) (Lead Actor), and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) (Lead Actor). Heath Ledger won a posthumous Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for portraying The Joker in The Dark Knight (2008).
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The Gotham Globe has the same motto as the New York Times: "All the news that's fit to print."
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Joker called out to Batman (from a helicopter, with a megaphone) addressing him as, "Birdman." Michael Keaton would later portray the title role of 'Birdman (2014)'. Joker would later pilot (and be its gunner!) a helicopter in 'Suicide Squad (2016)'.
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Billy Dee Williams modelled his portrayal of Harvey Dent after Adam Clayton Powell Jr., a famous pastor. Tommy Lee Jones, who took over the role in Batman Forever (1995), had previously played a scripture-quoting prosecutor in The Client (1994), also for director Joel Schumacher.
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The Batmobile resembles the British Thrust2, a jet propelled car designed by John Ackroyd which held the world land speed record from 1983-1997.
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The Joker calls Batman "junior birdman" in reference to the Junior Birdmen of America youth organization founded in 1934. The line "Into the air, junior birdman!" is taken from the lyrics of the group's song 'Up in the Air, Junior Birdmen', which featured memorably in Jesse Hibbs's 1955 film To Hell and Back (1955).
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The design of The Joker's throne atop the parade float was inspired by the Silver Throne made by Abraham Drentwett for the coronation of Queen Christina of Sweden in 1650.
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Though he enjoyed being part of the movie, Tracey Walter was reportedly uneasy during his time in Britain and was eager to complete the shoot and return home.
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The VHS on the back cover features a picture of Jack Nicholson's character Jack Napier as The Joker smiling directly at the camera. The picture wasn't featured from any scenes.
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Batman's grapple gun may have been inspired by the hoist cable Luke Skywalker uses during the Battle of Hoth in Irvin Kershner's Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Like Batman's grapple gun, Skywalker's hoist cable features a retractable line and can be attached to the user's belt like a harness.
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Nicholson got into the habit of signing his Joker gloves and giving them away as gifts to visitors on the set, much to the chagrin of Costume Designer Bob Ringwood. Ringwood then asked Nicholson to cease giving out the gloves and, although he promised that he would, kept doing it. New gloves were constantly being made throughout filming, Ringwood estimated that there must have been hundreds of signed Nicholson Joker Gloves.
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Michael Keaton made a cameo in Prince's music video "Batdance" dressed as Batman. He appears at 6:35 in front of Prince's Batman/Joker double costume shaking his head.
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In a 1997 interview, B-movie Queen Julie Strain said she and her husband, Kevin Eastman, creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, bought one of the five Batmobiles built for this movie. She said "There's a guy at our gym, Mike Eisenberg, who collects that kind of memorabilia. I've done modeling for his wife, so we know each other well, and when he heard that we collect that kind of stuff, he told us about an auction where one of the Batmobiles was on the block. So we went and bid for it and David Copperfield actually got it, but Warner Brothers wouldn't let him make Claudia Schiffer disappear in it, so he gave it back and we got it for the original, low, low price. Which could buy most people a house. The only drawback is that there's only a five-gallon gas tank in it with all the other mechanical stuff in there, so you can only drive from one gas station to the next, but still look pretty cool doing it."
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(at around 1h 8 mins) During the first appearance of the Batmobile, The Joker's hitmen drive a 1979 Chevrolet Malibu and a Dodge 3700. Two Dodge 3700s were procured by Christian Wolf-La'Moy when travelling to Spain, and he and his brother drove the car from Spain to the UK. One of the 3700s was damaged in a stunt, while the other is still in storage. The 3700 was based on the U.S. market Mopar A platform automobiles (Dodge Dart and Plymouth Valiant, including the first generation Barracuda and Duster/Dart Sport coupes) when the Chrysler Corporation marketed the A platform in a few international markets (Europe, Australia, and Latin America), the 3700 seen in the film were manufactured by Barrieros in Spain from 1971 to 1978, with a sheetmetal design unique to Spain (it was also assembled in Argentina, where a two-door hardtop coupe was also marketed). The 3700 nameplate was in reference to the engine displacement in metric (3.7 liter), which is, in this case, the Chrysler Slant Six, first introduced in the 1960 Valiant (first as a low deck 2.8 liter (one hundred seventy cubic inches) and later as a tall deck 3.7 liter (two hundred twenty-five cubic inches), it was produced until 1991 for industrial use (automotive use ended in 1983 with passenger cars, and 1987 with the truck and van line. Later production was shifted to Mexico during the late 1970s).
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In the comics, the Joker I between 6'0" - 6'4" (depending on the writer), Jack Nicholson is 5'10.
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Tim Burton considered Brad Dourif to play Jack Napier and the Joker but the production team wanted someone more mature looking and chosen Jack Nicholson whom Brad starred with in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest. Brad Dourif was later wanted by Burton to play The Scarecrow in the third installment, Batman Forever with Chris O' Donnell as Robin being added. However, Tim got fired because he didn't want to change the dark tones of the franchise and replaced by Joel Schumacher as director.
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Michael Keaton's real name is Michael Douglas. He ofcourse could not use that name or he would be confused with Kirk Douglas' Oscar winning son; so he changed it (randomly) to Keaton. He insists he was not copying Buster Keaton or Diane Keaton. He couldn't change his name to Mike Douglas because of the talk show host; that was still famous at the time. For a while he was considering changing it to Michael Jackson; this was before Michael Jackson become the King of Pop; but thankfully for everyone he changed his mind. Ironically, the other Michael Douglas; Kirk Douglas' son; just joined the league of superheroes; he play's Antman's sidekick, Hope Pym's/The Wasp's, dad, Hank Pym, in the Marvel franchise. Also ironically; MIchael Keaton said recently in an interview with Steven Colbert he was changing his name back to Michael Douglas.
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Director Cameo 

Tim Burton: (at around 1h 1 min) As one of The Joker's goons in the museum scene.
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Director Trademark 

Tim Burton: [TV commercials] The Joker announces his terroristic plans via television commercials.
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Tim Burton: [opening credits] The opening credits pass slowly over the length of a large bat insignia.
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Tim Burton: [distorted female face] The Joker poisons women with his "Smilex" products causing them to have death rictus with "Glasgow smiles" like his own. Later, he scars the face of Alicia.
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Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

According to actor Pat Hingle (Commisioner Gordon) in his Special Edition DVD interview, there was a flashback scene shot, but not used, that reveals that after Bruce Wayne's parents were murdered, Bruce was watched over that night by Gordon, who was then a young street patrolman. The still photo of the young Bruce Wayne being held by an unseen policeman in the newspaper story that Vicki Vale and Alex Knox reads is from that scene. Although discarded, the idea was re-used for Batman Begins (2005), with Gary Oldman as Gordon. The same idea has been incorporated into some comic book reiterations to further explain the alliance between Gordon and Batman.
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In the original draft by Sam Hamm, the age of Jack Napier was specified as being thirty-two, meaning that The Joker would be young. After several re-writes by Warren Skaaren and others, and the casting of Jack Nicholson, the age of Jack Napier had to be changed to suit a middle aged man. The final revelation about Napier killing Thomas and Martha Wayne was a last minute addition by Tim Burton and Warren Skaaren in order to raise the stakes between Batman and The Joker.
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Originally in the climax, The Joker was to kill Vicki Vale, sending Batman into a vengeful fury. Jon Peters re-worked the climax without telling Burton, and commissioned production designer Anton Furst to create a thirty-eight-foot (twelve meter) model of the cathedral. This cost $100,000, when the film was already over budget.
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The Joker falls to his death during the climactic battle with Batman. In the comics, it had become a long standing trademark for The Joker to appear to be killed at the end of a story, only to return in a later one.
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Sam Hamm has absolved himself from the sequence where Alfred leads Vicki to the Batcave, a move that didn't sit well with a lot of fans. Hamm said the scene didn't come from him, and that the day Alfred let someone in the Batcave would be his last day of employment.
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The climax of the film; with Batman, The Joker, and Vicki on the roof of a cathedral, is inspired by the climax of Victor Hugo's novel The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Appropriately, there is a second influence from Hugo: The Joker is inspired by Gwynplaine (Conrad Veidt) from The Man Who Laughs (1928).
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The revelation of the Joker having killed Bruce Wayne's parents became a point of controversy for some, as it conflicted with the long established Batman origin story in which Joe Chill was the killer. However, Batman creator Bob Kane approved of the twist in the origin story, saying that if the story had been planned out ahead of time, he would have likely made The Joker the killer also. A popular fan theory is that The Joker isn't the actual killer, but that Batman projects this on all of his enemies.
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Though the murderer of the Waynes is shown here to be Jack Napier, who eventually becomes The Joker, in the comics, the name of the killer is Joe Chill. The method of the killing, and the effect and consequence it had on young Bruce Wayne is the same in both comics and movie. The Joe Chill scenario would later be used in Batman Begins (2005). According to producer, Michael E. Uslan, the Jack Napier's partner in crime during the flashback scene of Thomas and Martha Wayne's assassination is the own Joe Chill.
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Originally, Alexander Knox was to have been killed during The Joker's parade. According to Robert Wuhl, producers came to like the character so much, they decided to let him live.
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In the original script, written by Tom Mankiewicz, crime boss Rupert Thorne hired Joe Chill to murder Thomas Wayne, because he was running against Thorne for city council. Eventually, Thomas Wayne's politic carrier was incorporated to the Batman's spun-off Joker (2019).
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In Sam Hamm's original script, the effect of Smilex (called Smylenol in the script) is first seen on the two female models, who are only represented in the film as cardboard cut-outs in The Joker's commercial. The original scene has them in a bikini photo session with a photographer who is urging them to smile more as he snaps away. The girls begin to giggle, which at first pleases the photographer, then their giggles become laughter, then uncontrollable helpless hysterics, which has the photographer going from mild annoyance to complete horror as the exhausted girls die from forced hilarity, with the ghastly Joker-like grins frozen on their faces. As it was originally intended, the death scene is much more protracted than the one that remains in the film with Becky the newscaster, depicting death by Smilex as a particularly agonizing, if mirthful, way to go. This kind of death scene was a running gimmick from The Joker's original story in 1940, and was revived in comic books from 1973 onwards.
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Vicki Vale is the only character in the original four film franchise to get inside the Batmobile as a co-passenger. Dick Grayson in Batman Forever (1995) hijacked the vehicle without Batman's consent. However, the rescue from the Flugelheim Museum and the subsequent descent to the Batcave marks the only time that Batman willingly let another character enter his car while he was driving it.
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Sam Hamm's ending had The Joker attempting escape via helicopter, the helicopter rouses a swarm of bats that had been sleeping in the rafters, and the bats engulf The Joker, who falls to his death. But Warren Skaaren scrapped it and re-wrote the third act. A similar fate would be re-used for the Penguin in Batman Returns (1992).
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On-screen body count: fifty-six.
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(at around 1h 35 mins) When The Joker is shouting at Batman from the helicopter after Batman destroys Axis Chemicals, Michael Keaton couldn't turn his head to look up, so he had to move his entire body up to look at the Joker, which has been dubbed "The Hero Turn".
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In the film, Jack Napier, The Joker, is the murderer of Batman's parents. One of the facts not addressed in the film that has its roots in the comic is that Batman would dream whichever villain he was chasing at the time was the one who murdered his parents. In addition, although this change bothered many fans, it was approved by Bob Kane, who served as a consultant to the film. He said he would have done it in the comics if he had introduced The Joker at around the same time he had created Batman.
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A publicity shot cut from the film, but used in the "Batman" Fall 1989 trading cards is of The Joker when he is about to kill Carl Grissom. The subheading read, "No deals this time, Grissom."
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Carl Grissom was originally going to be comic book villain Rupert Throne, but he was renamed when the character was going to be killed off.
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In Sam Hamm's draft, The Joker shoots down the Batwing in a tank, but when Warren Skaaren re-wrote it, he had The Joker take it down with a telescopic gun.
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(at around 42 mins) The name of the song The Joker is singing when he's electrocuting Rotelli with the hand buzzer is "There'll Be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight". It was composed in 1896 by Theodore A. Metz, with lyrics by Joe Hayden.
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Alicia Hunt bears a resemblance to an obscure Batman comics character named Circe, created by Doug Moench. This ex-girlfriend and hanger-on of a criminal named Roman Sionis, a.k.a. The Black Mask, was scarred by her lover and boss, and reportedly (according to him) subsequently committed suicide.
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(at around 15 mins) After Grissom tells Jack he wants him to go to Axis chemicals, Jack says "Me?" and holds up a Joker card. There's a hole on the cheek of the Joker on the card, the same place where Jack gets shot at Axis chemicals.
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(at around 1h 40 mins) The freakishly long revolver that Joker uses to shoot the Batwing down at the end, is a Smith & Wesson model 15-3 with a custom twenty-one inch barrel.
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The character of Alexander Knox appears nowhere in old Batman comic books. He was a character created for the movie. In the script, the character was to be killed by poisonous gas during the parade scene. In an interview with Starlog Magazine done at the time, Robert Wuhl joked that his character should become Robin in a sequel.
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At the end of the film, The Joker's corpse is shown to have a grin on its face. This is similar to The Joker's death at the end of 'The Joker Returns' (Batman #1, 1940). Bob Kane and Bill Finger had originally intended to kill off the character in this scene, but later added an extra panel to reveal he had survived. The Joker in the film is not so lucky.
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The fight in the cathedral references William Dieterle's The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939). Both finales occur in a bell tower as a crowd of people gathers on the cathedral steps outside. Quasimodo/Batman climbs up to the tower to rescue his beloved Esmeralda/Vicki from the villainous Frollo/Joker. Both confrontations include a moment where the hero rings one of the bells, and both end with the hero sending the villain to his death over the parapet. The set design is also similar in both films.
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Fans complained about The Joker being revealed as the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents, and Vicki Vale being let in the Batcave, as Alfred would never let anyone enter the Batcave without Bruce's permission.
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The idea of Bruce visiting Crime Alley each year on the anniversary of his parents' deaths comes from Denny O'Neil's 'There is No Hope in Crime Alley!' (Detective Comics #457, March 1976). In the movie, Bruce leaves two roses (one for Thomas, one for Martha) on the exact place where his parents were killed. This detail was lately incorporated into the comics, as seen in this example from Detective Comics #782 (July 2003).
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Bruce first sees The Joker in action when he murders Vinnie Ricorso on the steps of City Hall. The Joker's outfit here is different from his trademark purple costume. Instead it resembles the suit he wears on Jim Aparo's cover art for Batman #429 (January 1989), which was part of the Death in the Family story arc.
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Tim Burton has cited Paul Leni's The Man Who Laughs (1928) as having influenced his cinematic approach to the Joker. The characterization of The Joker as a sadistic cane-twirling gang leader with a twisted appreciation of art echoes that of Alex DeLarge in Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971). Both characters are narcissistic criminals who dress in gaudy clothing, dance gleefully over their victims and are violently abusive towards women they find attractive. Both characters associate their criminal acts with art and are prone to violence against their own henchmen.
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(at around 1h 50 mins) When Joker (Jack Nicholson) takes Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) to the roof of the cathedral, he forces her to dance with him. She drags her feet and dances limply, in 'ragdoll' fashion. She later recreates this scene in the 1993 music video for the Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' song, 'Mary Jane's Last Dance.' In the video, Tom Petty is an assistant medical examiner who absconds with Kim Basinger's corpse, has a private wedding ceremony, and enjoys their first dance together.
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When Batman is holding the mugger Nic over the ledge, he pleads "don't kill me," foreshadowing the ending in which Batman (unintentionally) causes the Joker to fall to his death. Ironically he also tells Joker "I'm going to kill you."
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The Joker's line "Take thy beak from out my heart" is a quotation from the penultimate stanza of 'The Raven' (1845) by Edgar Allan Poe.
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Batman chases after The Joker and faces off against his goons in the cathedral bell tower. He takes down the last goon by disappearing over a ledge and then surprising him with a head scissor move. He uses the exact same trick against Deadshot in 'The Deadshot Ricochet' (Detective Comics #474, 1977).
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(at around 43 mins) When The Joker breathes imitating Grissom's voice, "You... are my number one... guy!" to Bob, Bob should have realized it was a threat, foreshadowing when Joker kills him.
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Napier's plunge into the vat of chemicals recalls Jarrod's fate at the end of André De Toth's House of Wax (1953); a film which Tim Burton has cited as one of his personal favorites. At the end of the movie, the villainous Jarrod is cornered by the police on a platform above a vat of molten wax. Following a brief struggle, he topples through the railing and plunges into the vat below.
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After killing Ricorso with the quill pen, The Joker says "The pen is truly mightier than the sword." This is a reference to Act II scene II of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's 1839 play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy.
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Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Família in Barcelona was an architectural influence on the Gotham City cathedral. Both churches display a fusion of Gothic and Art Nouveau forms, with lofty conical spires that soar towards the heavens. The scene where The Joker and Vicki climb the cathedral staircase recalls the ending of Metropolis (1927), where the villainous Rotwang pursues Maria up the cathedral steps. In both films the hero (Freder/Batman) races to the top of the cathedral in an attempt to rescue his beloved. The hero and the villain then fight on the roof of the cathedral while Maria/Vicki hangs on for dear life. The showdown in both films ends with the villain falling to his death. The POV shot looking down the cathedral staircase is another nod to Alfred Hitchcocks Vertigo (1958).
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The music that plays while The Joker woos Vicki is Max Steiner's 'Theme from A Summer Place', originally written for Delmer Daves's film A Summer Place (1959).
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The Joker tries to spray Vicki with an acid-squirting flower. This is another weapon he's used many times in the comics. The following example is from 'The Last Laugh!' (Detective Comics #570, January 1987). When Vicki splashes The Joker with water he quotes the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz (1939): "I'm melting! I'm melting!" The Joker quotes the same line in 'You May See a Stranger' (Batman: Dark Detective #2, July 2005, Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers).
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Batman is known for making grand entrances by crashing through the ceiling. It's during the sequence where Batman rescues Vicki at the museum that it's introduced the Batmobile. In his introduction to Batman In The Fifties, Michael E. Uslan states that the "Batmobile of 1950" was the primary influence on Anton Furst's Academy Award winning design. The Batmobile of 1950 gave the car its trademark "long" look as well as the flaming afterburner at the back of the vehicle. Both aspects were incorporated into Furst's design.
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In the foreword to one of the Greatest Batman Stories Ever Told collections, movie's producer Michael E. Uslan mentions that he showed Steve Englehart's story 'Night of the Stalker' (Detective Comics #439, March 1974) to Tim Burton. In his book, The Boy Who Loved Batman, Uslan confirmed that the opening of the movie used 'Night of the Stalker' as inspiration.

Both the movie and the comic begin with an innocent family wandering the streets of Gotham, only to encounter a group of armed criminals - an intentional echo of the Wayne family's fatal encounter. Batman hears the screams and tracks down the criminals to bring them to justice. Unlike the comic, however, the family in the film survives the encounter.

In both stories, after the crime is committed, one of the criminals reprimands the other for his methods while the other remains unrepentant.

Later, Batman pretends to be killed in order to trick the criminals, thus making them more fearful later when he tracks them down.

Another noteworthy aspect of 'Night of the Stalker' is Batman's lack of dialogue throughout the story. He uses the same intimidation-through-silence technique that Batman deploys in the movie.

The rooftop confrontation also reflects Batman's very first comic appearance in 'The Case of the Chemical Syndicate' (Bill Finger) in Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). Batman's first appearance in this story sees him fighting two goons on a rooftop right after they commit a crime.

Like The Joker in Batman #1 (Spring 1940), the muggers are surprised to see that Batman is unaffected by bullets, unaware that he is wearing armor to protect himself.

During the confrontation, Batman trips a fleeing criminal using a batarang with a rope attached to it. An example of this happening in the comics can be seen here in 'The Batman Encyclopedia' (Detective Comics #214, December 1954).

Batman's suit is pretty much the Neal Adams's Batsuit, with cowl and cape being seemingly one piece. yet detaching separately. Note how the cape drapes over his body when Batman is standing still.

The chest emblem in the movie is different from the conventional design as it features two additional points. The emblems in The Dark Knight Returns and The Killing Joke also featured two extra points.
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The Joker's disfigurement of Alicia with acid may have been inspired by Fritz Lang's The Big Heat (1953), in which mobster Vince Stone disfigures his girlfriend Debby by hurling scalding coffee in her face. Screenwriter Sam Hamm has confirmed Alicia's mask was inspired by the mask Christine wears to conceal her disfigurement in Georges Franju's Eyes Without a Face (1960).
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The first time we see Wayne Manor in the movie is during a charity function hosted by Bruce Wayne. Amongst the guests is Commissioner James Gordon. The first time Gordon appeared in the comics was in 'The Case of the Chemical Syndicate' where he was attending a social engagement with Bruce Wayne. He had to leave suddenly upon receiving word a crime had been committed. Bruce, affecting an air of idle disinterest, was in reality observing Gordon's investigation with close attention. He then raced ahead as Batman to get an advanced start on the police in solving the case.

Accompanying Gordon at the party is his wife. While her first name is never given in the film, we can assume this is Barbara Gordon, James' wife from the Pre-Crisis era.

Also present at the party is district attorney Harvey Dent. Dent, originally called Harvey Kent, first appeared in 'The Crimes of Two-Face' (Detective Comics #66, August 1942). As in the comics, the movie version is depicted as a charismatic crusader working closely with the mayor and Commissioner Gordon to take down the organized crime rackets in Gotham. Over the course of the film he starts to display signs of buckling under pressure; subtle hints of the repressed anger that will one day surface when he becomes Two-Face.
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When we first see Jack Napier he is playing with a deck of cards. This may be a nod to one of Jack Nicholson's earlier films, Milos Forman's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), in which Nicholson's character is often seen toying with a deck of cards.
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Batman taking Vicki back to the Batcave recalls Erik taking Christine to his underground lair in Lon Chaney's The Phantom of the Opera (1925). Of particular note is the way Vicki stands behind Batman as he sits operating the Batcomputer, peering over his shoulder to try and get a closer look at him. This evokes the famous unmasking scene from Chaney's film, where Christine peers over the Phantom's shoulder as he sits playing the organ with his back to her.
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Bruce survives the Joker's gunshot by concealing a metal tray beneath his clothing so it obstructs the bullet. The Man With No Name uses the same trick when confronting Ramón at the end of Sergio Leone's A Fistful of Dollars (1964).
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The flashback scene where Bruce and his parents leave the theater is evocative of a similar moment from François Truffaut's The 400 Blows (1959) , where Antoine and his parents walk to their car following an evening at the cinema. In both films this represents a moment of happiness in the protagonist's otherwise troubled childhood. The film showing at the Monarch Theatre is titled Footlight Frenzy. A real film with this title was released in 1984 based on a stage play of the same name, though the Footlight Frenzy (1984) featured in Tim Burton's movie is entirely fictitious. The poster is designed in the style of the German Expressionist films produced during the Weimar period. The names featured on the Footlight Frenzy poster (Ronald E. House, Diz White, Alan Shearman) are all names of people who appeared in the 1984 film of the same name. Diz White also created the original stage play.
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The moment where the acrobatic goon attacks Batman is a variation of the Cairo swordsman gag from Steven Spielberg's Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). In both scenes the hero is in pursuit of his kidnapped love interest when he encounters a henchman armed with blades. The henchman executes an ostentatious display of physical prowess, only for the unimpressed hero to casually take him out with a projectile weapon.
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(at around 1h 30 mins) In the flashback scene when Bruce is repressing memories from when his parents were killed, the beginning of this flashback shows a movie poster of Footlight Frenzy encased in glass on the wall of the Monarch Theater. A closer look towards the bottom revealed that it was directed by Ron House. There was a Footlight Frenzy (1984) made but only five years earlier in 1984 in the UK, though this flashback was suppose to be roughly thirty years earlier. Ronald E. House played one of the characters, Tony Langdon. This is easily viewable on the Blu-ray edition of this movie, but may be easily missed in earlier formats.
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Batman explains to Vicki that The Joker's poison only works when beauty products are mixed. This is similar to the binary compound that was used to kill G. Carl Francis in Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers 'The Laughing Fish'.
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When The Joker holds Vicki hostage, he pretends to shoot himself with his own gun. But instead of a bullet it ejects a miniature flag with the word "BANG" written on it. The Joker's "BANG" gun has also appeared in the comics, as illustrated by this example from 'Dreadful Birthday, Dear Joker!' (Batman #321, 1980).
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When Batman and Vicki are hanging onto the cathedral, The Joker tries to trick Vicki using a phony hand. The Joker plays a similar gag on Batman at the end of 'Dreadful Birthday, Dear Joker!'.
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The sequence where The Joker and his goons deface the paintings is redolent of a scene from Batman (1966) ('Pop Goes the Joker', season 2 episode 57), where the Cesar Romero Joker and his henchman conduct a similar raid. In both instances, The Joker and his men invade an art gallery and 'improve' its exhibits by defacing them with green and red paint.
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The way Batman maneuvers the Batwing through the streets of Gotham is visually reminiscent of Luke Skywalker piloting his X-Wing fighter through the Death Star trench at the end of George Lucas's Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977). Luke Skywalker and Batman both use on-board weapons systems to lock onto crucial ground targets. Luke ultimately deactivates his, while Batman's fails to hit its mark. The scene where The Joker positions himself in the path of the Batwing's strafing run and challenges Batman to shoot him is a pastiche of a scene from Franklin J. Schaffner's Patton (1970), where the eponymous character faces down the Luftwaffe in North Africa. In both films the character in question fearlessly makes a target of himself by stepping into a public street during an aerial attack. In both films the attacking aircraft opens fire on the figure in the street but fails to hit him, and in both films the character draws a pistol and returns fire at the attacking aircraft as it flies overhead.
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The showdown with The Joker also recalls the finale of Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959), where Roger and Eve cling to a precipice atop Mount Rushmore as the villainous Leonard steps on their fingers.
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The high-angle shot looking down on the Joker as he plummets to his death may have been inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Saboteur (1942), which features a similar shot during the finale when Fry falls from atop the Statue of Liberty. Hitchcock used similar high-angle shots of characters falling in several other films, including Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958) and North by Northwest (1959). Any one of these might have influenced Tim Burton.
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Danny Elfman's 'Finale' contains echoes of the 'Sunrise' fanfare featured in Richard Strauss's Also sprach Zarathustra (1896).
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In the scene in which Bruce Wayne and later The Joker visit Vicki Vale in her apartment, Kim Basinger is wearing a black velour, long sleeve sweater dress. She wore a similar looking dress in 9½ Weeks (1986) in the scene involving Mickey Rourke having her crawl to pick up a pile of money.
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Later in the movie, Jack Napier holds up a Joker card. The design is similar to the one from Joker's first appearance in Batman #1, with the smiling Joker in a jester hat.

In both the film and in Detective Comics #27, Batman's second appearance in the story is stopping a crime at a chemical factory.

Much like the origin in 'The Man Behind the Red Hood', The Joker's insanity is triggered by his realization about his appearance upon looking at his reflection.

The moment where he sees his reflection for the first time, doubles over as if crying, then starts laughing maniacally, is also clearly influenced by Alan Moore's The Killing Joke (1988); a copy of which Tim Burton is said to have carried around with him on set.

Jack Napier's fall into the chemicals reflects the origin of The Joker in the Pre-Crisis comics, as first depicted in 'The Man Behind the Red Hood' (Detective Comics #168 by Bill Finger).

When in need of an escape route, the Golden Age Batman would use gas pellets to disorientate his enemies.
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In both the film and his first appearance in Batman #1, The Joker kills a mobster who'd previously threatened his life by shooting him to death. In the comic it's a gangster named Brute Nelson; whose death, according to Joker, "settles an old score". In the movie The Joker's victim is his former boss, Carl Grissom.

Also reminiscent of the first Joker story in Batman #1 is the way The Joker talks to himself as he concocts his latest scheme.

Later in the film, The Joker summons Grissom's former associates to a meeting. To mask his features, he covers his face in skin colored makeup. The Joker in the comics has used similar cosmetics to disguise himself on several occasions, dating back to his first appearance in Batman #1.

Another example of him doing this can be seen in Detective Comics #45 (November 1940), 'The Case of the Laughing Death' by Bill Finger.

When Antoine Rotelli objects to the Joker's takeover, the Clown Prince of Crime electrocutes him using a high-voltage electric buzzer. The Joker's buzzer is one of the many gag-style weapons he's used in the comics over the years.

The Joker then conducts a one-sided conversation with Rotelli's corpse. He does the same thing in The Killing Joke. In both stories the person he's talking to was killed with a lethal handshake.
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The Joker's always had a big ego in the comics, growing enraged whenever someone else steals the spotlight from him. In revenge for Batman stealing his press (as well as creating him by dropping him the vat of chemicals), The Joker releases an advertisement for the poison he's released into the city. The Joker in the comics has also been known to announce his crimes in advance. First on the radio in Batman #1. Then on TV in stories like Steve Englehart and Marshall Rogers's 'The Laughing Fish' (Detective Comics #475, February 1978).
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When Bruce researches Jack Napier's background he discovers The Joker has an aptitude for art. This is hardly new to the character. Note the panel mentioning The Joker's art treasures here in 'The Case of the Laughing Death'.

In keeping with the art theme, The Joker later crashes a museum wearing a beret. He dresses in a similarly outrageous manner in 'The Joker's Happy Victims' (The Batman Kellog's Special, 1966).

It is during this scene that The Joker dances to Prince's 'Partyman'. The Joker has danced with his goons in several comics over the years. One of the more famous examples would be in The Killing Joke.

The Joker has also been shown to dance to popular songs. In 'The Last Ha Ha' (Joker #3, October 1975) he sings his own demented version of 'Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah' while dancing to celebrate the death of one of his victims. He and his henchmen dance to 'There's No Business Like Show Business' in 'Sherlock Stalks the Joker' (Joker #6, April 1976).

The Joker also delights in destroying priceless works of art, as seen here in 'A Clash of Symbols' (Detective Comics #617, July 1990).

The Joker makes a point of stopping Bob from slashing Francis Bacon's 1954 painting 'Figure with Meat'. In the Elseworlds story JLA: The Nail (1998), The Joker slaughters Batgirl and Robin and compares his work to a Francis Bacon painting. Evidently, both versions of The Joker share an affinity for Bacon's work.
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Bruce Wayne attempts to give flowers to an unimpressed Vicki. This is another scene that recalls Vicki's first comic story, 'The Scoop of the Century!'.

Bruce's attempts to patch things up with Vicki are ruined when the Joker shows up. The Joker's insane romantic interest in Vicki is similar to his obsession with Dinah Lance in 'A Gold Star for the Joker' (Joker #4, December 1975). In both stories The Joker becomes fixated on a beautiful woman who happens to be the girlfriend of a superhero (Batman/Green Arrow). His attempts to woo this woman become increasingly violent and insane, and her boyfriend ultimately has to intervene in order to save her.

The scene in Vicki's apartment also has strong parallels with the scene where Barbara Gordon is crippled in The Killing Joke. In both the movie and the comic we see a man and woman talking in an apartment. The door bell rings and the woman answers it. The Joker then enters the apartment flanked on either side by his goons. The scene ends with one of the room's occupants being rendered unconscious while the other is shot by The Joker.

The two goons accompanying The Joker in The Killing Joke may have inspired the look of his henchmen in the film. In particular, the goon standing to the left of The Joker as he enters the apartment resembles Bob.

While the thug that beats up Gordon resembles the henchman Batman fights in the cathedral at the end of the movie.

The apartment scene ends with The Joker rendering Vicki unconscious with a non-lethal prank involving flowers and a spring-loaded hand. A similar moment occurs in 'Dreadful Birthday, Dear Joker!' (Batman #321, 1980, Len Wein).
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When The Joker next appears on TV, he announces his intent to act at midnight. This seems to be the character's favorite time to kill, because he also announces his plan to kill at midnight in Batman #1.

The Joker's message prompts Bruce to reflect on the night his parents were killed. His brooding pose is similar to the one in Detective Comics #33, which was the first comic to depict his origin. Detective Comics ran from issues #27-32 without revealing Batman's origin or the death of his parents, similar to how the film delays revealing his back story until the final act.

In the haunting flashback scene, Thomas, Martha, and young Bruce Wayne are shown leaving the Monarch Theater. In 'The Man Behind the Red Hood' the Monarch Playing Card Co. was the name of the company the Red Hood robbed on the night he became The Joker. The police attempted to catch him in the act, so he fled into the adjacent chemical factory and tried to outmaneuver his pursuers by leaping into a vat of chemicals.

'Monarch' has been referenced in later comics as the name of the cinema Bruce and his parents visited the night they were murdered.

During the flashback sequence, Jack Napier's partner grabs Martha Wayne's pearl necklace and breaks it. This is similar to the flashback sequence in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.
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Towards the end of the film, The Joker holds his own parade where he throws money to the people of Gotham. This sequence is similar to the climax of 'Dreadful Birthday, Dear Joker!' (Batman #321, 1980). In both the film and the comic, The Joker lures a crowd of spectators to a mass murder disguised as a fun-house party. He addresses the crowd in the manner of a ringleader talking to a circus audience, using a public stage to settle his personal score with Batman. Also note that The Joker's parade float in the movie resembles a giant pink and white birthday cake, just like the one in the comic.

But it turns out the whole parade is a death-trap and The Joker's parade balloons are filled with lethal laughing gas. In 'Laugh, Town, Laugh' (Detective Comics #62, April 1942), The Joker poisons some of his victims using balloons filled with laughing gas.

The parade scene also has similarities with the final chapter of A Death in The Family, specifically regarding The Joker's fondness for "large dead crowds".

Towards the end of this story The Joker goes to address the U.S. General Assembly on behalf of Iran, but instead unleashes his lethal gas upon the crowd. Just like he does in the movie.

Luckily Batman comes to the rescue in the Batwing. While the Batwing had been dubbed the "Batplane" in the comics, the vehicle in the movie may have been inspired by the Batplane's precursor, The Bat-Gyro, which was introduced in 'Batman Versus The Vampire, Part One'.

Bob Kane would frequently draw it against the moon. The Batwing in the movie draws visual influence from the Batplane in the comics as well.

Furious that Batman took away his poisoned balloons, The Joker decides to take his anger out on his right hand man, Bob. The Joker in the comics has also been known to spontaneously kill his own henchmen for fun, as seen here in 'The Laughing Fish', when he shoves one of his goons in front of a truck.
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In one of the film's more controversial moments, Batman shoots at The Joker's thugs with a machine gun attached to the Batwing. This moment is lifted from the finale of 'The Giant of Hugo Strange' (Batman #1, Spring 1940), where Batman open fires on Hugo Strange's men from the Batplane. It was referenced again in the finale of The Dark Knight Rises, when Batman shoots at Talia's truck.
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As the two muggers count their loot, one of them finds an American Express card and says "Don't leave home without it." This is a nod to the 'Don't Leave Home Without Them' ad campaign for American Express Traveler's Checks that began in 1975. Batman's use of his cape to simulate wings visually references Bela Lugosi's performance in Tod Browning's Dracula (1931).
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The sequence where Vicki follows Bruce through the streets of Gotham is similar to the scenes of Scottie trailing Madeleine around San Francisco in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958). In both films we see a character covertly follow someone for whom they harbor romantic feelings. The observer ponders the significance of the locations visited by their beloved, which include an alleyway and a place where flowers are laid in memory of a deceased relative. Danny Elfman's score for the sequence likewise reflects the mood of Bernard Herrmann's music in Hitchcock's film.
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After Vicki wakes up at home, there is an interesting overhead shot of her lying on her bed which may be a deliberate panel recreation. The original panel in question comes from 'Vicki Vale's Secret!' (Batman #73, October 1952). This particular panel was occasionally reused in later comics whenever Vicki was mentioned. It more or less became her signature pose.
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During their final showdown in the movie, The Joker taunts Batman and calls him 'bat breath' and 'batsy'. This is exactly the kind of petty taunting The Joker does in the comics. Here's an example from Batman: A Death in the Family (1988-1989).
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The Joker attempts to kill Batman while the Dark Knight is hanging from a precipice atop a tall building, only to fall off the building himself. This recalls their showdown at the end of 'The Riddle of the Missing Card' (Batman #5, Spring 1941). Then final showdown is also reminiscent of a scene from 'Did Robin Die Tonight?' (Batman #408, June 1987), in which Batman fights The Joker on top of a large Gothic building while the latter is attempting to make a getaway. The Joker knocks Robin over the battlements, forcing him to hang on for dear life. While Batman is distracted trying to help Robin, The Joker tries to make his escape by grabbing a rope ladder hanging from his Jokercopter. Batman uses a projectile weapon which causes The Joker to lose his grip on the ladder and fall back down.
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Harvey Dent's press conference recalls Charles Foster Kane's campaign speech in Orson Welles's Citizen Kane (1941). Both characters launch scathing attacks against corrupt opponents - Kane attacks Boss Jim W. Gettys, while Dent and Mayor Borg attack Boss Carl Grissom - and both vow to protect the "decent" people of their constituency.
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Napier's appearance references that of Harry Lime in Carol Reed's The Third Man (1949). The scene where Napier attempts to escape from Axis Chemicals is similar to the climax of Reed's film, where Lime is pursued by the police through the sewers of Vienna.
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The music that plays when The Joker and his goons show up at Vicki's apartment is an instrumental version of 'Beautiful Dreamer' (1864) by Stephen Foster.
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When Jack Napier and Alicia Hunt are watching Harvey Dent on television, Jack says "If this clown could touch Grissom. I'd have handed him his lungs by now." This line foreshadows The Joker (Jack Napier) shooting and killing Carl Grissom.
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In the movie, The Joker's thugs succeed in overpowering Batman and then try to remove his mask. This is similar to a scene from the Joker's second appearance in Batman #1, 'The Joker Returns'. In this story the Joker's assault on a museum leaves Batman unconscious. The Gotham City police attempt to unmask him...only for Batman to come back to life, having played possum the whole time.

A similar scene also occurs in 'Clue of the False Faces!' (Detective Comics #430, December 1972).

After dealing with the thugs, Batman and Vicki go for a ride in the Batmobile. Batman remains mysteriously taciturn through this scene, evoking a similar moment from 'Batman Versus The Vampire, Part One' (Detective Comics #31, September 1939) where Batman drives with Bruce Wayne's fiance, Julie Madison, and refuses to speak to her.

Later in the scene, Vicki screams when the Batmobile drives straight through a rock wall. But it turns out the wall is merely a hologram. This may have been influenced by a similar moment between Batman and the Carrie Kelly Robin in The Dark Knight Returns. According to Les Daniels Batman: The Complete History, The Dark Knight Returns was one of the comics Michael Keaton read when researching the role.

Batman also took Vicki to the Batcave in her debut story, 'The Scoop of the Century!'.
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