Robin Williams was offered the role of 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 did not. Nicholson took the role, and Williams was released. Williams resented being used as bait, and not only refused to play Riddler in Batman Forever (1995) but also refused to be involved in any Warner Bros. productions until the studio apologized.
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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 "It made me go inward and that's how I wanted the character to be anyway, to be withdrawn," he said.
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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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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 Bros. 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.
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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. Nicholson 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 Nicholson would come in around 10:00 a.m. at the earliest and greet Keaton, 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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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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Michael Keaton came up with the famous "I'm Batman" line. The line in the script was "I am the night".
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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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This movie was released the year of the character's 50th anniversary.
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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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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 Bros. 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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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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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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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, 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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(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 co-creator of the Batman comic book.
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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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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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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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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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(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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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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First Batman adaptation to depict the Joker's origin story. It remained the only film to do this until Batman: The Killing Joke (2016), whose source material was a big inspiration in the making of this movie.
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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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Tim Burton recalls being nervous in the 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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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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Upon seeing the initial life-size polystyrene model of the Batmobile, Tim Burton turned to art director 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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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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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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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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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 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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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 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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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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Michael Keaton's casting as Bruce Wayne (Batman) caused a controversy amongst comic book fans, with 50,000 protest letters sent to Warner Bros. offices. Bob Kane, Sam Hamm, and Michael E. Uslan also heavily questioned the casting.
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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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(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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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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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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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 sport available on the four TV channels in the UK at that time, the 1989 BDO World Darts Championship. The next day as he passed Michael on the set, he looked at him and asked, "How about that dart game?", to which both he and Michael burst out laughing.
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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 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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(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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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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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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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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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 (1995) but was forced to turn it down due to his commitment to Braveheart.
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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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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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The police were called in when two reels of footage (about twenty minutes' worth) were stolen.
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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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Batman was released during a time when action films were all but ignored at the Oscars, Warner Bros. 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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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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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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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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The only live action Batman film to feature only one supervillain from the comics.
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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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The museum which the Joker attacks, is called "The Flugelheim Museum". The name spoofs that of New York City's iconic Guggenheim Museum, incorporating the word Flügel, which is German for "wing", as in bat wing.
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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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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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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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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 Batman: The Animated Series: Beware the Gray Ghost (1992).
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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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The initial inspiration of the Joker's face was brought to Bob Kane and Bill Finger by Conrad Veidt as The Man Who Laughs (1928), based on Victor Hugo's L'homme que rit (The Man Who Laughs).
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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's box-office and critical success and Clean and Sober's good word of mouth made Keaton's standing with Warner Bros. 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 Batman (1966), 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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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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(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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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 sound stages, with most of the Aliens' nest and eggs still intact.
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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 his pre-Joker flashback scenes address him only with "Hey you!", or having him about to say his name but be interrupted, or having him sign a form which remains tantalizingly out of the reader's vision or "off panel". 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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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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(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 the original The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) in Murray's role.
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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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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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(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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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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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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The Joker uses a throne during the parade. The actual prop 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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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." I.e., Batman (1966).
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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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The original script featured a bitter rivalry between Bruce Wayne and Knox over Vicki.
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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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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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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 Bros., 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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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 Michael Keaton's involvement.
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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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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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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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In a 2020 interview, Michael Keaton revealed he was really nervous and self-conscious about working with Jack Nicholson, because he's so strong on film and had so much power. It ended up just being great because Nicholson made everybody feel really, really relaxed. They ended up becoming close friends.
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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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Ray Liotta was offered the roles of Harvey Dent, Bruce Wayne/Batman, and Jack Napier/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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Tim Burton doesn't think Michael 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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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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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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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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The highest grossing Warner Bros. movie of the 1980s. The previous decade, the highest grossing movie for Warner Bros., was another DC Comics hero, Superman (1978).
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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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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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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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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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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 The Arsenio Hall Show: Episode dated 13 July 1990 (1990), he denied ever being considered for the role, rendering this alleged idea of a Batman film nonexistent.
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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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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 (Alicia) was hired as the role called for a model, but according to Tim Burton, "she's also a good fainter."
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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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The Bat Cave was created on Pinewood's stage D and completely filled its 18,150 square feet.
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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 1999's "No Man's Land" story epic where most of the buildings in Gotham City were destroyed by natural disasters and terrorist acts.
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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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The first comic book film to win a competitive Oscar (Best Art Direction). Superman (1978) had won a non-competitive Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects at the Oscars.
(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).
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."
Mayor Borg bears a striking resemblance to (and was likely inspired by) then-New York City Mayor Ed Koch.
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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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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.
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 Batman (1966) 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.
Michael Gough was a friend of Alan Napier, who played Alfred on the Batman (1966) television series and Batman (1966).
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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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Vicki Vale's camera flash is timed with several of Batman's punches and kicks. Which is a call back to the "Pow!" and "Bam!" shots from the 1966 show.
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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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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).
In designing the look of Gotham, they went more for timeless and alternative design rather than futuristic.
Tim Burton took older films like The Man Who Laughs (1928), vampire movies, and the work of Val Lewton as inspirations for Batman.
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.
According to Michael Keaton, seven stunt doubles were hired for him, one being a world class martial artist and another being a dancer who briefly appears in one shot folding the Batman cape behind him in a specific manner that Michael could not accomplish. He has joked that, to his dismay, all of them were taller than him.
The police file on Jack Napier lists his date of birth as April 22, 1937, which is Jack Nicholson's actual date of birth.
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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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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In interviews given at the time of the film'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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"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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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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Tim Burton said being in a used, dark, dank chemical plant wasn't the most fun.
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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).
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."
Tracey Walter (Bob the Goon) often jokes in hindsight that this is the film that "immortalized" him - by his character having an action figure with a power kick.
Jack 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.
Robert Wuhl reprised his role as Alexander Knox in Supergirl: Crisis on Infinite Earths: Part One (2019). That episode established the film takes place on Earth-89, a reference to the year of its release.
Alfred's car is the only car with the steering wheel on the right side instead of the left, in line with Alfred being British. This was also likely convenient, as the film was shot outside London.
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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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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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."
Tim Burton was sick pretty much every day working on the movie.
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 Dick Grayson or Alfred Pennyworth were introduced.
Pinewood Studios is a magical place for Tim Burton, and he recalls finding new corners to explore and shoot in every time he visited.
Michael Keaton made a cameo in Prince: Batdance (1989) dressed as Batman. He appears at 6:35 in front of Prince's character Gemini, shaking his head.
The 4K Blu-ray release has changed the color grading to teal undertone and altered some sound effects.
Kim Basinger is seen taking off her shoes for no apparent reason while exiting the Batmobile. It was actually due to the fact that she kept scraping the paint while getting out. The paint was imported from Japan and was very sensitive so it kept needing to be resprayed.
(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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(at 00:58:23) The flag of Gotham City seen in Harvey Dent's office closely resembles the state flag of Indiana (blue background, yellow stars, torch).
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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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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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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).
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.
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 Jack 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."
Danny Elfman's legendary theme became so iconic that it was used in the trailers for Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997) despite the fact that Elfman did not do the scores for those two films.
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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David Cronenberg was offered a chance to direct, but declined.
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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 Bros. has removed the final screen card which originally indicated the film's release date in North America: June 23 (1989).
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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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Steve Martin and Daniel Stern turned down the role of Alexander Knox. Steve Martin later turned down the role of The Riddler In Batman Forever.
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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 Bros. 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 Bros. sound stages, and it would be another fifteen years before a Batman movie would lense again in Britain, Batman Begins (2005).
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One of the reasons why Tim Burton wasn't much of a comic book fan was that, due to his dyslexia, he "didn't know which box to read first" as far as following the story through the panels.
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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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Tim Burton reasons, "If a guy looks like that, why does he need to put on a Batsuit?" The idea of transforming an average-looking guy into a shadowy vigilante was much more appealing to him. (His casting goals would become a bit more literal in Batman Returns (1992) though when he was like, "What if a guy shaped like a penguin played The Penguin?") "He's a very modern superhero character," the director adds of Batman. "It's a guy with problems. I mean the guy has problems. He's a bit of a split personality, and that's the whole point of him."
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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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The film's success was a surprise, although Tim Burton acknowledges that both success and failure always surprise him.
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The studio wanted John Williams to work on the film's music.
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In addition to playing X-wing pilots in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), both David Baxt (Thomas Wayne) and William Hootkins (Max Eckhardt) played minor villains in movies based on Superman. Baxt played the burglar who scales the building in Superman (1978), and Hootkins played crime boss Harry Howler in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).
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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. "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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Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
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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 Batman (1966) TV series.
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.
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 Bros. 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."
The Joker speaks French twice in this film (Bruce Wayne, ne c'est pas?" "Commence au festival!") He is actually based on a character from French literature: Gwynplaine from Victor Hugo's "The Man Who Laughs." In the earliest Batman comics, the Joker similarly peppered his speech with French expressions, presumably for this reason.
In 2015, a comic book series titled Batman '89 was pitched by Kate Leth and Joe Quinones. It would have continued off this movie and Batman Returns (1992). The series would have brought back Catwoman, and turned Harvey Dent in Two-Face, with the likeness of Billy Dee Williams. Other characters to be introduced with Tim Burton style uniqueness included Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Robin and Batgirl. The pitch was turned down for unknown reasons. However, in 2021, the series greenlit, with Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) writer Sam Hamm as the main writer.
Jean-Claude Van Damme auditioned for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne.
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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. Both Tim Curry and Willem Dafoe would later play a similar role when Curry played Pennywise in It (1990) and Dafoe played the Green Goblin in Spider-Man (2002).
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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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This movie had three actors from the Star Wars trilogy present. Lieutenant Max Eckhardt was played by William Hootkins, who played 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, who played Biggs Darklighter, another X-Wing pilot and childhood friend of Luke Skywalker in the same movie. District Attorney Harvey Dent was played by Billy Dee Williams, who played Captain (later General) Lando Calrissian in Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983).
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The film cast includes three Oscar winners as actors: Jack Nicholson (3 times), Kim Basinger, and Jack Palance. Michael Keaton was eventually nominated in 2015.
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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. He ended up directing Sony's Spider-Man movies.
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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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Warner Bros. 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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Jon Peters wanted to work in a Nike product placement with the Batsuit. Therefore, the suit in the film features the Nike Air Trainer III.
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Costume designer Bob Ringwood based Jack Napier/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.
The bell tower pulley forms the shape of a bat.
The newspapers show that the movie takes place in the 1940s apparently. Tim Burton said he wanted a mix of different decades so the movie could be considered timeless and enjoyed at any generation.
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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The handgun Jack uses at the beginning is a Colt New Service Revolver.
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Rotelli's first name in the original script was Carmine, a possible reference to comic character Carmine Falcone. 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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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."
Kyle MacLachlan lobbied hard for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne.
Christopher Nolan said that the look of the Joker in The Dark Knight (2008) was based heavily on the paintings of Francis Bacon, which are famous for their depictions of violence and agony. Bacon's "Figure with Meat" is the painting the Joker spares in The Art Museum in this movie.
During the Art Museum scene, Bob is keeping track of what they destroy and how much it was worth.
In the scene where Vicki Vale(Kim Basinger)and Bruce Wayne(Micheal Keaton)are walking around Wayne Manor,Kim Basinger pulls off her shoes and remarks"my feet are killing me."That was ad-libbed by the actress because the 3-inch high heels that she was wearing were,in fact,hurting her feet.
In the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher Batman franchise, each villain got their revenge on their boss. In this film, Joker gets revenge on his boss Carl Grissom. In Batman Returns, Catwoman gets revenge on her boss Max Schreck. In Batman Forever, Riddler gets revenge on Fred Stickley. In Batman & Robin, Poison Ivy gets revenge on Jason Woodrue.
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In the original script, the paper for which Knox and Vicki worked was the Gotham Gazette, the actual newspaper from the comics.
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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.
(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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(at around 38 mins) The Joker says the line "What a day!" Jack Nicholson said the same line playing Darryl Van Horne in The Witches of Eastwick (1987).
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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.
Irish actor Ricky Addison Reed was cast as Dick Grayson (also known as Robin), but the segment was ultimately cut from the script.
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, with whom Dourif starred in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975). Brad Dourif was later wanted by Burton to play The Scarecrow in the third installment, Batman Forever (1995). However, Burton was replaced by Joel Schumacher as director, as he didn't want to change the dark tones of the franchise.
Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton were eventually considered for the role of Hades in Hercules (1997) before the role was given to James Woods who was a previous candidate for the role of the Joker. Danny DeVito who played Penguin in Batman Returns (1992) starred as Hercules as the voice of Phil.
On Conan: John Lithgow (2019), John Lithgow said that he turned down the role of Jack Napier/Joker. Casting director Marion Dougherty "just laid it out on a silver platter" in offering him the role. However, Lithgow convinced Tim Burton not to cast him due to his Broadway commitment to M. Butterfly. Reflecting on his decision, "[Burton] would have had the choice between me and Jack Nicholson, and it would have been a slam dunk." And because Lithgow is 7 inches taller at 6ft4 than Michael Keaton who is 5ft10.
Robert Downey Jr. was considered for the role of Batman. He'd eventually play Iron Man/Tony Stark in Marvel Cinematic Universe and would costar with Michael Keaton in Game 6 (2005) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), and with successive Batmen Val Kilmer in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005) and George Clooney in Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005).
Jack Nicholson accepted a salary of $6 million for doing this movie, even though his then average salary was $10 million, with a clause that he would take a percentage of earnings and merchandise on the unproven franchise. He made over $50 million ($100m + in today's money).
The room at City Hall in which the Mayor and Harvey Dent discuss the festival is the same as the one in the following scene, where Alfred listens to the answering machine at Wayne Manor.
Joker passes by an unfinished portrait of George Washington at the art museum. This portrait is known as The Anthenaeum by Gilbert Stuart, created in 1796. The painting, depicting a 65 year old Washington, is seen in many western movie courtroom settings.
During the period when the filmmakers were attempting to bring Jack Nicholson onto the project, Nicholson invited producer Peter Guber and director Tim Burton to go horseback riding in Aspen, Colorado. Burton said he had never gone riding before, to which Guber told him, "You do today." Burton reluctantly agreed ("he looked like he discovered God on that horse," according to Guber). Nicholson agreed to star in the film soon afterward.
Shot across from the sound stages of the second series of UK CITV show Press Gang (1989). The young cast of the show were known for sneaking onto the Gotham City set during their breaks.
The design of the Batmobile bears a strong resemblance to the Thrust2, a British jet propelled car, which held a world land speed record from 1983 to 1997.
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The back cover of the original VHS features a still of the Joker smiling directly at the camera. The picture was not featured in the movie itself. It is probably a publicity still.
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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 and Kyle MacLachlan were considered for the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne. Arnold Schwarzenegger would later play Mr. Freeze in Batman & Robin (1997). Mel Gibson was forced to turn down the role because of his commitment to Lethal Weapon 2 (1989). He'd later be offered the role of Two-Face/Harvey Dent in Batman Forever (1995) but was later forced to turn down the role due to his commitment to Braveheart (1995). Kevin Spacey would eventually play Lex Luthor In Superman Returns (2006). Kevin Costner would eventually play Jonathan Kent in Man Of Steel. Mickey Rourke and Jeff Bridges would eventually play villains in Marvel's Iron Man Trilogy.
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After his altercation with Jack Napier, Lt. Eckhart says "Where have you been spending your nights?". A reference to Jack's instability, it also implies that he knows about Jack's affair with Grissom's mistress Alicia, suggesting Eckhart told Grissom in revenge. This is confirmed in the films novelization.
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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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This is the first Batman film to appeal to mature audiences, and as such was given the PG-13 rating. The animated television spin-off Batman: The Animated Series (1992) was rated for children between the ages seven and twelve.
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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.
Ivan Reitman was considered for directing duties but screenwriter Sam Hamm and Batman creator Bob Kane were 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 De Palma, 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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The Joker is between 6'0" - 6'4" in the comics (depending on the writer), but Jack Nicholson is 5'10.
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Back when studios wanted to do a comedy Batman (a la the Batman (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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Bruce screams the unusual turn of phrase "Let's gets nuts!" during the altercation with the Joker in Vicki's apartment. "Lets get nuts" is a line in the 1984 song "Let's Go Crazy" by Prince, who wrote several original songs for the soundtrack for this film.
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Charles McKeown did an uncredited rewrite on the screenplay when Warren Skaaren was unavailable. McKeown was previously Oscar-nominated for the screenplay to Brazil (1985), whose production design was a big inspiration for the look of this film.
Included among the American Film Institute's 2001 list of 400 movies nominated for the top 100 Most Heart-Pounding American Movies.
Carl Grissom was created specifically for the film.
Features a redesigned Bat-Symbol with points in the tail. The marketing, the hero's Bat Signal, the hubcaps on his Batmobile, and his suit in the sequel stuck with the classic design.
Jack Nicholson said that when he was at the Academy Awards, months before the release of the film, he was in the bathroom during one of the commercial breaks and encountered Jack Valenti, president of the Motion Picture Association of America. Valenti asked Nicholson about the movie, to which Nicholson said, "Jack, let me tell you something. There is not a single person in the motion picture industry qualified to estimate the top [revenue] on 'Batman'." Valenti was amazed at how confident Nicholson was about the film's prospects, and the story soon got out in the media. Nicholson has called this bit of "guerrilla promotion" his small contribution to the film's marketing campaign.
In the Joker's Smylex commercial, he says "So remember... put on a happy face". Thirty years later, in Joker (2019), that phrase becomes Arthur Fleck's motto.
At the Save the Festival benefit, the roulette wheel and layout being used is the French type with only 1 Zero, not the 0 and 00 that would be used in the US
Michael E. Uslan had been struggling to get the film off the ground for well over a decade before production began. When he first got the rights to Batman he pitched the film to Columbia Pictures, who turned it down based on the financial disappointment of Robin and Marian (1976), a film about an aging Robin Hood coming out of retirement for one last adventure. Despite that film's positive critical reception it was a box office disappointment and convinced Columbia that audiences didn't want to see a serious and darker take on a classic hero. Uslan would try them again several years later, after the successes of the first two Superman movies, only for them to turn him down once again due to the film Annie (1982)'s box office success had been outweighed by its enormous budget. When Uslan asked a Columbia studio head what Batman had to do with Annie, said executive replied that both characters were from comics so Batman would have no better chance at success than Annie would.
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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Smilex became canon within the DC Universe In Dark Nights: Death Metal: Robin King #1 by Peter Tomasi, Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascencia, and Rob Leigh. The story follows the twisted Robin King and his origin in becoming the powerful villain in DC's future universe. Robin King might be the darkest version of Bruce Wayne, as he's responsible for killing his parents on his way to becoming a supervillain across the multiverse. In a panel, readers are shown the twisted villains utility belt which features some pretty gnarly weapons, including Joker's "Smilex" toxin.
Jack Nicholson described his portrayal of the Joker as "pop art".
When we first see the Joker in his Axis Chemicals hideout there is a folder from a top-secret CIA nerve-gas program along with images of the soldiers upon whom it was tested. Joker is known to be a skilled chemist; it is logical to assume his Smylex gas is based on this research.
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.
The Batmobile resembles the British Thrust2, a jet propelled car designed by John Ackroyd which held the world land speed record from 1983-1997.
According to producer Jon Peters during his interview in "The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened," the iconic line "I'm Batman" was originally "I'm Batman, motherf***er."
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). Joaquin Phoenix then went on to win the Best Actor Academy Award for his role in Joker (2020).
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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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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 Gotham Globe has the same motto as the New York Times: "All the news that's fit to print."
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The Joker calls Batman "Junior Birdman". The Junior Birdmen of America were a 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 film To Hell and Back (1955). Michael Keaton later starred in Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014), which included a self-parody of his Batman days.
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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 throne on top of the parade float used during the Joker's parade is a replica of queen Christina of Sweden's silver throne.
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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.
Despite cause a huge renewal of interest in the Batman franchise, Burgess Meredith and Burt Ward were the only cast members from the Batman (1966) TV show to attend the premiere.
Tim Burton originally wanted to cast John Glover as the Joker, but the studio insisted him on using a big named actor for the role.
Upon winning Best Art Direction at the 62nd Academy Awards, production designer Anton Furst quipped, "Me instead of Jack Nicholson? I love it!".
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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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Bruce Wayne's middle name according to the comics is Thomas, named after his father Dr. Thomas Wayne.
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The newspaper with the headline "BATMAN CRACKS JOKER'S POISON CODE!" is dated November 7 (year not specified).
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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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Brian Dennehy was considered to play Lieutenant Max Eckhart.
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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 van Rijn, 'Two Dancers on a Stage' (1874) by Edgar Degas, and Gilbert Stuart's unfinished 1796 portrait of George Washington.
On a film in the making, select members of the cast and crew watch unedited footage, known as "dailies," to get an idea of the progress of the film. Jack Nicholson admitted in an interview that he was so nervous about the film's chance of success (comic book movies weren't considered a viable enterprise at the time) that he didn't go to the dailies at first. One day he decided to go anyway, and from that day on he was sure that the film would be an enormous success. He ended up becoming one of the film's most vocal supporters before and after its release.
The aerobatic maneuver where Batman puts the bat plane in front of the moon to form the bat logo is known as a hammerhead, stall turn, or tailslide.
Jack Palance's Carl Grissom was based on mobsters Rupert Thorne and Carmine Falcone in the original comic narrative. Thorne was a corrupt politician and gangster who ordered one of his henchmen Joe Chill to murder Bruce Wayne's parents, Thomas and Martha. Thomas was a doctor who was running against Thorne for Gotham City councilman, and pledged to fight against the city's racketeers.
Actor Robert Wuhl - in keeping with his role as reporter Alexander Knox - acted as the promotional 'face' of movie in the lead-up to it's release, hosting behind the scenes documentaries and playing the role in promos and competitions also.
Laurence Fishburne was considered for the role of Harvey Dent.
Included in "The A to Z of Superhero Movies: From Abar to ZsaZsa via the MCU", written by Rob Hill.
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(at around 1h 8 mins) During the first appearance of the Batmobile, the Joker's men 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.
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Richard Crenna was one of the considerations for the role of Commissioner Gordon as a follow-up to his iconic role as Colonel Trautman, who can be considered similar to Gordon except as a Special Forces colonel, from the Rambo movies.
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Michael Gough (Alfred Pennyworth) and Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon) are the only 2 actors who appear in all 4 original Batman movies.
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Jack Nicholson and Billy Dee Williams share the same birth month and year: April of 1937. Williams is a little more than two weeks older (April 6) than Nicholson (April 22).
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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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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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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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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 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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In the established Batman origin story, Joe Chill was the killer of Bruce Wayne's parents, not the Joker. 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.
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Vicki Vale is the only civilian allowed in the original four-film franchise to get inside the Batmobile as a passenger. In Batman Forever (1995), Dick Grayson stole it to go joyriding, before being granted the rank of Robin. The rescue from the Flugelheim Museum and the subsequent descent to the Batcave, marks the only time that Batman willingly let someone who was not a team member enter his car while he was driving it.
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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 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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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 political career was incorporated into 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 onward.
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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. In Batman Returns (1992), a similar fate would be used for the Penguin.
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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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On-screen body count: fifty-six.
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In Sam Hamm's draft, the Joker shoots down the Batwing in a tank that was hidden under the parade float, but when Warren Skaaren re-wrote it, he had the Joker take it down with a telescopic gun. This was apparently done so the production wouldn't have to pay for a Joker tank.
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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. In Batman Returns (1992), Bruce mocks Alfred for allowing Vale in.
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(at around 42 mins) The name of the song the Joker is singing when he's electrocuting Anton 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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(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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Carl Grissom was originally going to be comic book villain Rupert Throne, a corrupt city councilman introduced in 1978's Strange Apparitions story arc. He was renamed when the character was going to be killed off.
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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The first scene involving the mugging of a couple and their young son upon their leaving a movie theatre foreshadows the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents, which is depicted later in the film in a flashback.
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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 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 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).
Tim Burton has cited Paul Leni's The Man Who Laughs (1928) as having influenced his cinematic approach to the Joker.
Tim Burton stated in an interview that he had initially wanted Adam West and Julie Newmar, from Batman (1966), 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 Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Chill of the Night! (2010).
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.
(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. Basinger later recreates this scene in Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: Mary Jane's Last Dance (1993). 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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After killing Vinnie Ricorso with the quill pen, the Joker says "The pen is truly mightier than the sword." This lines is from Act II scene II of Edward George Bulwer-Lytton's 1839 play Richelieu; Or the Conspiracy. A similar line is attributed to Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd US President, who died in 1826.
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).
Batman is known for making grand entrances by crashing through the ceiling. In this film, this is during the sequence where Batman rescues Vicki at the museum. 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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(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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The music that plays while the Joker attempts to woo Vicki is Max Steiner's 'Theme from A Summer Place', originally written for Delmer Daves's film A Summer Place (1959).
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.
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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 music that plays when the Joker and his goons show up at Vicki's apartment, and he tells her that Alicia Hunt is dead, is an instrumental version of Stephen Foster's 1864 song "Beautiful Dreamer," allegedly composed just a few days before Foster's death.
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The film showing at the Monarch Theatre in the flashback scene 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 names featured on the poster (Ronald E. House, Diz White, Alan Shearman) are all names of people who appeared in the 1984 film.
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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 (2012), when Batman shoots at a villain's truck. In most comics, Batman refuses to use a gun because such a weapon killed his parents.
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The sequence where The Joker and his goons deface the paintings is similar to a scene from Batman: Pop Goes the Joker (1967), where the Joker and his henchman invade an art gallery and 'improve' the exhibits by defacing them with green and red paint.
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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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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 It' ad campaign for American Express Traveler's Checks that began in 1975.
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