The Dark Knight (2008) Poster


In preparation for his role as The Joker, Heath Ledger hid away in a motel room for about six weeks. During this extended stay of seclusion, Ledger delved deep into the psychology of the character. He devoted himself to developing The Joker's every tic, namely the voice and that sadistic-sounding laugh (for the voice, Ledger's goal was to create a tone that didn't echo the work Jack Nicholson did in his 1989 performance as the Joker). Ledger's interpretation of The Joker's appearance was primarily based on the chaotic, disheveled look of punk rocker Sid Vicious combined with the psychotic mannerisms of Malcolm McDowell's character, Alex De Large, from A Clockwork Orange (1971).
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In Sir Michael Caine's opinion, Heath Ledger beat the odds and topped Jack Nicholson's Joker from Batman (1989): "Jack was like a clown figure, benign but wicked, maybe a killer old uncle. He could be funny and make you laugh. Heath's gone in a completely different direction to Jack, he's like a really scary psychopath. He's a lovely guy and his Joker is going to be a hell of a revelation in this picture." Caine bases this belief on a scene where the Joker pays a visit to Bruce Wayne's penthouse. He'd never met Ledger before, so when Ledger arrived and performed he gave Caine such a fright, he forgot his lines.
Heath Ledger directed both homemade videos that the Joker sends to GCN himself. The first video involving the fake Batman, was done under Christopher Nolan's supervision. Nolan thought Ledger had done so well with that sequence, he felt there was no need for him to be there when it came time to film the scene where reporter Mike Engel reads the Joker's statement. He put his trust in Ledger and let him do whatever he wanted, ultimately pleased with the result, after he'd seen the outcome.
Heath Ledger's sudden death from drug toxicity on January 22, 2008 prompted immediate speculation over the film's state and Ledger's disposition prior to death. Soon after Ledger's death was announced, Warner Brothers issued a statement that verified that Ledger had finished all of his scenes in principal photography, as well as post-production fulfillments (i.e., looping), thus making The Joker his final, completed film role. Rumors abounded that playing the intense role had taken its toll on Ledger's mental state, causing him to become depressed and take a wrong combination of drugs as a result. However, his family has since put such rumors to rest, by stating that far from being depressed, he had a lot of fun playing the role. Ledger did suffer from insomnia throughout his life, and would often take sleeping pills together with other prescription drugs (something his sister had actually warned against the night before his death). Unfortunately, the mix he took on that night proved to be a fatal combination.
Made more money than Batman Begins (2005)'s entire domestic run in only six days of release.
While the movie was filming a chase scene on Lake Street, the Chicago Police Department received several calls from concerned citizens stating that the police were involved in a vehicle pursuit with a dark vehicle of unknown make or model.
While the film is dedicated to Heath Ledger, it also bears a dedication to Conway Wickliffe, a stuntman who was killed when the car he was driving crashed.
While filming the chase scene with the Joker and the SWAT vans, one of only four IMAX cameras in the world at that time was destroyed.
In the documentary I Am Heath Ledger (2017), Heath Ledger's vocal coach on the film, Gerry Grennell, stated that Heath had to continuously lick his lips due to his prosthetic coming off whenever he spoke. He eventually made this a tic of the character as he was filming.
Trouble arose during a PR campaign before the movie's release, when a website related to the film, sent out several cakes purportedly from The Joker, containing a cell phone inside which made the cake vibrate, and had wires sticking out, making the cake look like a bomb. One such news station, which received one of the cakes, believed it to be an actual terrorist act, and the entire building had to be evacuated.
Aaron Eckhart spoke about a unique experience he had with Heath Ledger during the hospital scene. He said that before lines were exchanged, Ledger would just walk around, in character, mumbling to himself in an odd manner. All Eckhart could do at the time, was just watch him while still in character. This went on for several minutes, until Ledger got close to him. Eckhart felt compelled at this point to fiercely raise his hand up. Immediately, Ledger grabbed Eckhart's raised hand in an equally matched fierce manner. When the scene was over, Ledger, now out of character, told Eckhart "That's what acting's all about."
The character of Reese is an allusion to The Riddler, who attempts to reveal the identity of Batman. Much like Edward Nygma whose name sounds like "enigma" (as in E. Nygma), Mr. Reese sounds like "mysteries".
Despite endless speculation on which actor had been chosen to portray The Joker, Heath Ledger had always been among Christopher Nolan's foremost choices for the role. Ledger and Nolan had met during the Batman Begins (2005) casting process for the role of Bruce Wayne/Batman, but Nolan and Heath agreed Ledger was wrong for the part. When casting the part of the Joker, Nolan met with several other actors before Ledger, but found them reluctant to take the role because of the popularity of Jack Nicholson's performance in the original Batman (1989). Upon meeting with Ledger again, Nolan recognized him as the perfect choice for the part. When asked the reason for this unexpected casting, Nolan simply replied, "Because he's fearless."
Cillian Murphy reprises his role as Dr. Jonathan Crane a.k.a. Scarecrow from Batman Begins (2005) in this film. This makes him the first actor to reprise the role of a Batman villain in the whole film franchise. He also reprises his role in a cameo in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
This was the first comic book movie to reach the one billion dollar mark.
According to Christopher Nolan, Bruce Wayne's reasons for needing a new Batsuit (to be faster and more agile) were, in fact, the real reasons why Nolan wanted the Batsuit to be redesigned for this film.
Blood is only ever seen four times on-screen: on the face of the civilian Batman that the Joker hangs, on Harvey's pillow in the hospital, on Batman's arm due to the dog attacking him, and briefly on the back of Jim Gordon when he is shot during the funeral scene; most of the violence either occurs off-screen or is obscured by camera angles.
This is the first Batman movie where Batman operates outside of Gotham.
Christopher Nolan and his co-writers, Jonathan Nolan and David S. Goyer, made the decision very early on not to explore The Joker's origins. This was so the character could be presented as an "absolute".
Heath Ledger's posthumous Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar win, marks the first time an Academy Award has been awarded, in a major category, to a comic book movie.
The Batman theme is heard only twice in the film, as composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard decided that a heroic theme that a viewer could hum would overlook the complexity and darkness of the character. Hearing the tune only twice would create what Zimmer calls "a musical foreshadowing."
The infamous growl performed by Christian Bale was much rougher in this film than Batman Begins (2005), and has been parodied countless times due to its extreme nature, however, the common misconception is that Christian Bale was fully responsible for this voice. The real voice, during filming, was more toned down, and then heightened to a rougher, grittier vibe during post-production under the decision of Christopher Nolan.
Aaron Eckhart described his portrayal of Harvey Dent as simultaneously coming from, and being apart from, the same world as Batman (Dent is the white knight of Gotham, as opposed to the Dark Knight). His challenge was "looking for the similarities and the tension between the two; to find what's similar to Batman, and then what's opposite to him." Eckhart prepared for his role by studying split personalities.
David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan collaborated on the story of the film. The script itself was written by Nolan and his brother Jonathan Nolan. After watching 'The Dark Knight', Goyer stated "I can't believe my name is on a movie this good".
(at around 1h 18 mins) During the chase scene, when the Joker takes over driving the semi after his driver is killed, the bullet holes on the windshield form a smiley face.
Bruce Wayne drives a Lamborghini Murcielago in the movie. The Spanish word for "bat" is "murciélago".
Christian Bale admitted he did not pack on as much muscle weight for this film as he did for Batman Begins (2005), in part due to keeping with the new Batsuit design, which is leaner and more flexible.
Heath Ledger posthumously won a total of 32 Best Actor in a Supporting Role awards for his work on this film, including the Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, SAG, and Critics' Choice award. The only awards, for which he was nominated, but didn't win, were the Satellite Award (which went to Michael Shannon for Revolutionary Road (2008)) and the London Film Critics' Circle Award for actor of the year (which went to Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler (2008)). Michael Shannon and Mickey Rourke would later go on to play comic book villains in films of their own; Shannon as General Zod in Man of Steel (2013), and Rourke as Ivan Vanko in Iron Man 2 (2010).
Heath Ledger's posthumous Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, as the Joker, was coincidentally announced on the first anniversary of his death.
Many believe that one of the key reasons why the Academy moved from five Best Picture nominations to ten, was because two of the best received films of the year - The Dark Knight (2008) and WALL·E (2008) - were not among the five nominees.
Even though Christopher Nolan offered her the part, Katie Holmes decided not to reprise her role as Rachel Dawes. Instead, she opted to co-star with Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah in Mad Money (2008) that same year. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Isla Fisher, Emily Blunt, and Rachel McAdams were all considered for the role before Maggie Gyllenhaal stepped in.
The bus crashing backwards into the bank in the opening sequence was much harder to pull off than was anticipated. The bus had to be taken apart and reassembled inside the building (a disused post office), concealed behind a large false wall, and then propelled backwards with an air cannon.
Takes place roughly nine months after Batman Begins (2005) ended.
The first four days of scheduled shooting resulted in no film being rolled. Instead, Christopher Nolan screened two films for the cast and crew with a break in between. The eight films were (in order): Heat (1995), Cat People (1942), Citizen Kane (1941), King Kong (1933), Batman Begins (2005), Black Sunday (1977), A Clockwork Orange (1971), and Stalag 17 (1953).
Elaborate, interactive marketing campaigns were launched in the months leading up to the release of this film. One of these was an event at the 2007 San Diego Comic-con called Why So Serious, which involved fans following clues hidden around the city. The legions of Joker-painted fans ended up congregating in the street across from the convention center, where one of their numbers was welcomed into a black Escalade (with Gotham license plates) that had just pulled up. After a moment the fan started screaming and the SUV sped away. Later that day, a Gotham City newspaper was circulated reporting that a man believed to be the Joker was found beaten to death. Included were crime scene photos of the fan who had gotten into the Escalade, and a mention that he was found with a playing card in his hand, on which was scribbled "See you in December."
Christian Bale got to keep the Batman mask from the movie after filming. He wanted to keep the entire uniform, but he did not have enough room for it.
This was the highest grossing Batman movie, and in fact, the highest grossing of any film adapting DC Comics characters. Both records were previously held by Batman (1989).
In their face to face confrontations, neither Batman nor Joker refer to one another by name.
The Joker make-up was composed of three pieces of stamped silicone, which took less than an hour to apply to Heath Ledger on each day of shooting. Ledger described it as "new technology which is much quicker to apply than regular prosthetics"; he felt like he was not wearing any make-up at all.
Like its predecessor Batman Begins (2005), there are no opening credits or titles.
Bruce Wayne's penthouse was actually shot on the ground floor of an office building in downtown Chicago. During the daytime, the same space was re-dressed and used for Harvey Dent's press conference scenes.
Bruce Wayne wears a new Batsuit in the film. This Batsuit was an improvement on the outfit from Batman Begins (2005), and made Christian Bale more comfortable and agile in his performance. It was constructed from two hundred unique pieces of rubber, fiberglass, metallic mesh, and nylon (producing an impression of sophisticated technology), with elastic banding added for tightening the costume to fit Bale. The gauntlets had their razors made retractable and able to be fired. The suit's cowl was based on a motorcycle helmet and separated from the neck piece, allowing Bale to move his head left/right/up/down, and comes equipped with white eye lenses for when Batman turns on Bat-sonar.
(at around 19 mins) In the film, Bruce asks Lucius Fox for a new Batman suit with a head piece that is 'easier to look around in'. This is a comical reference to older Batman films in which the actors playing Batman wore a suit that had a solid head piece covering the head, neck and shoulders. This made it impossible for the actors to turn their heads and instead had to turn their entire torso to look at their targets.
Unlike his counterpart in both the comics and Batman (1989), the Joker in this film does not have his hair and flesh permanently bleached by toxic waste. His trademark grin was never definitively identified in the comics as a disfigurement. However, its appearance here, as scars deliberately carved into his flesh, echo the character's original inspiration, the character Gwynplaine from Victor Hugo's novel The Man Who Laughs (1928).
The nine-minute suite composed for the Joker is based on two notes, D and C, named after DC Comics which publishes these characters.
In one draft of the script, a reference to Robin, being related to Rachel Dawes, was considered. The character of Dick Grayson was not explicitly mentioned, however, Rachel Dawes is revealed as being a relative of the Grayson family. Christopher Nolan had it removed, because he didn't want to build hopes up about Robin appearing in a future film.
The Joker falling from the Prewitt building mirrors a scene from the very first Joker story in Batman #1 (Spring, 1940) in which the Joker falls from a penthouse scaffolding, but is caught by Batman.
While filming in Chicago, Wanted (2008) was the neighboring production, and Morgan Freeman worked concurrently on both films. At one point, Wanted comic book writer Mark Millar visited the set but without permission. The security and Lauren Shuler Donner (who also visited the set at that time) caught Millar sitting on the Batpod. Millar was escorted away from the set.
(at around 13 mins) The date seen on Gordon's security camera photo of The Joker taken during the bank heist reads "2008/07/18", which was the U.S. theatrical release date of the film.
After seeing his performance in Thank You for Smoking (2005), Christopher Nolan thought that Aaron Eckhart would be perfect for the role of District Attorney Harvey Dent.
Once she knew Heath Ledger had been cast as The Joker, Costume Designer Lindy Hemming based the character's attire off of an eclectic line-up of clothing styles, ranging from Vivienne Westwood to John Lydon to Iggy Pop to Pete Doherty to Alexander McQueen. Hemming's aim was to modify The Joker's familiar appearance with "a younger, trendier look", in order to represent Ledger's generation.
Just as it was when filming Batman Begins (2005), Christopher Nolan oversaw every shot himself, because there was no second unit.
The comic book film with the most Academy Award nominations (eight).
Off-duty Chicago police officers played Gotham police officer extras, along with officers from Elyria, Ohio, Hammond, Indiana, Buffalo Grove, Illinois, and Joliet, Illinois.
(at around 15 mins) When Harvey Dent disarms the witness in court, he removes the magazine and holds it in his little finger. This is actually the correct procedure for emergency reloads and correcting malfunctions.
The only Batman movie where Batman does not use a batarang.
The Batman comic books The Long Halloween, The Killing Joke, The Man Who Laughs and the first two (untitled) stories to feature the Joker character served as an influence on the film's storyline.
Along with Spider-Man 3 (2007) and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006), this film reached the one hundred million dollar mark the fastest, in only two days. Since it had a larger opening day than those two blockbusters, it reached the milestone even sooner.
Aaron Eckhart is the third actor to play Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face in a feature film. Billy Dee Williams played a pre-disfigured Dent in Batman (1989), but he didn't become Two-Face until Batman Forever (1995), where Tommy Lee Jones took over the role (in that film, Dent's transformation was briefly shown in a flashback where Batman tried to save him from Boss Maroni, and Harvey was already Two-Face at the beginning). This is the first Batman film to depict Two-Face's origin, starting with Harvey Dent as Gotham's district attorney, and eventually becoming Two-Face.
Jerry Robinson, one of the original creators of the Joker back in 1940, was hired as a consultant on the film (the Joker is to be portrayed according to his first two appearances in the comics, which Robinson was involved in). His "Batman" co-creator Bob Kane had earlier been hired as a consultant for Batman (1989).
The Joker's mask during the initial bank robbery is almost exactly the same as the mask worn by Cesar Romero when hijacking a performance of Pagliacci in the original Batman (1966) television series.
When it was announced that the Joker would be main antagonist in the film, it was rumored that Paul Bettany would be playing the part. However, when Heath Ledger was cast, Christopher Nolan came under criticism from the media, as they thought Ledger was completely wrong for the role. These concerns were quickly silenced when the movie came out, as Ledger received universal praise for his performance.
Paul Bettany, Lachy Hulme, Adrien Brody, Steve Carell, and Robin Williams all publicly expressed interest in playing the Joker, little knowing that Christopher Nolan always had Heath Ledger in mind.
A video game adaptation was in production, but was canceled due to technical difficulties in development. Though the game was picked up by British game developing company Rocksteady and reworked into what would be Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009).
39 vehicles are crashed, shot, blown up, bumped, or otherwise involved in some sort of violence in this film.
(at around 54 mins) Bruce Wayne references Ra's Al Ghul's teachings in his statement to Alfred (on The Joker) "Criminals aren't complicated Alfred".
The IMAX cameras used in filming, proved to be problematic for the crew. Dialogue that was recorded on film, was very noisy, so it had to be replaced during post-production. Also, the cameras were so heavy, that special mounts were created to support the weight. Finally, IMAX cameras took five days to process film negatives, as opposed to conventional dailies.
In the Italian version of Batman (1989), Jack Nicholson's voice was dubbed by actor Giancarlo Giannini. In this movie, Heath Ledger was voiced by Giannini's son Adriano Giannini, with the result that Italian audience felt a connection between the two Jokers, since the voices are very similar. Giancarlo Giannini, however, makes a cameo by dubbing in Italian one of the Mafia bosses.
Held the record for reaching the five hundred million dollar mark the fastest, after 45 days. The former record holder was Titanic (1997) (98 days). It has since been surpassed by Avatar (2009) (32 days), The Avengers (2012) (23 days), Jurassic World (2015) (17 days), and Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) (10 days). As of December 2016, these are the only six movies to have reached this milestone.
This is the first Batman feature film that doesn't incorporate the word "Batman" in its title.
Matt Damon was offered the part of Harvey Dent, but had to turn it down because of a schedule conflict with Invictus (2009), which also starred Morgan Freeman. "Invictus" was directed by Clint Eastwood, who coincidentally was considered for playing Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face in the 1960's Batman (1966) television series.
Before filming the interrogation scene. Heath Ledger told Christian Bale to hit him as hard as if Batman was really hitting the Joker.
Aaron Eckhart says he modeled his performance in part after Robert F. Kennedy, both in terms of his initially polished, dashing appearance and his preoccupation with revenge.
Along with Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Glory (1989), Crimson Tide (1995), and Independence Day (1996), this is one of only five films whose purely orchestral soundtracks won the Grammy Award for Best Score despite not being nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Score.
According to the British Board of Film Classification (or BBFC), this film received the most complaints of the decade from British viewers. It was the subject of 42 percent of all letters received by the BBFC in 2008.
(at around 1h 16 mins) When Harvey Dent is being transferred, his holding vehicle is attacked by The Joker with various guns. One gun is an RPG and a SWAT member is heard asking if it is a bazooka - which is a signature weapon of The Joker's girlfriend/partner in crime - Harley Quinn.
Shortly before the film's DVD debut, Warner Brothers were under legal action by the city of Batman, Turkey (pronounced "but-mun") in November 2008. Even though it wasn't used in the title, the character name of Batman was considered an infringement.
The false title given to the film during production, Rory's First Kiss, was named after Christopher Nolan's son, Rory. When filming began in April 2007, the production was code-named to thwart onlookers and trespassers. All over downtown Chicago, fliers were posted with this pseudonym (alongside an "RFK" logo) and also listed the address for the film's production offices.
The lenses that cover Batman's eyes during the hostage rescue scene, give him a look that's close to the comic and animated adaptations, where Batman's eyes are often visible in the dark, while the rest of his body is blackened out.
The music used in the trailers for this film was reused from the Batman Begins (2005) soundtrack.
(at around 10 mins) Near the beginning of the movie, there is a scene where Batman pauses at the top of a parking garage, looking down a spiraling entrance ramp at an escaping van and planning the exact time to jump. Christian Bale does this exact same thing with a chainsaw in a spiraling staircase in American Psycho (2000).
(at around 35 mins) Batman leaps from the roof of Two IFC, the tallest building in Hong Kong at the time, at over 400 meters. Some time later, he appears to be gliding down to the same rooftop. His target is in fact One IFC, which is about half as tall and has a similar ornate crown.
The film was delivered to some theaters under the name "Oliver's Army".
Chinese actor Edison Chen can be seen escorting Lucius Fox from the helicopter into the building, and later, when the police go in for the raid at Lau's office. The Hong Kong scene contains a scripted set piece where Batman drops into the harbor. However, it was scrapped, because environmental officials found out that the water was polluted.
The final fight scene between Joker and Batman was shot in the Trump Tower in Chicago during its construction.
That's really Christian Bale standing on top of the Sears Tower in Chicago, over one hundred stories high. They were originally going to use a stunt double, but Bale insisted he do it himself.
With 4,366 locations, this film held the record for opening in the most venues on its release date. (Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (2007) opened in 4,362 movie houses the previous summer.) It held the record until the release of Iron Man 2 (2010), which opened in 4,380 theaters.
On February 20, 2009, it became the fourth movie to have earned more than one billion dollars worldwide.
Richard King's Best Sound Editing Academy Award win stopped Slumdog Millionaire (2008) from steamrolling through every one of its nominations.
For the first time in feature filmmaking, IMAX cameras were utilized. Christopher Nolan had wanted to shoot in the IMAX format for years, thus using this film as his opportunity to do so. Six major action-heavy sequences, along with various high-altitude shots, were filmed on the IMAX ratio. (These sequences are available on the Bonus Disc of the 2-Disc DVD Edition.)
The Gotham City license plates were directly modeled off of Illinois license plates.
Lower Wacker Drive in Chicago was closed every night, starting at seven p.m., during the summer of 2007, to accommodate filming. The street was open during the day, however, and the several Batmobiles and Tumblers were visible, just on the other side of the barricades, covered only with sheets.
Actor Chin Han, who portrays Lau, has been in three separate superhero productions: The Dark Knight (2008), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), and Arrow (2012).
The studio's viral campaign - which focused largely on the character of the Joker - had to be refocused following Heath Ledger's sudden death.
On Thanksgiving weekend, 2007, fake four-page tabloid-size Gotham Times newspapers were distributed at various public events. Headlined "City at War - Batman Saves Entire Family," every article teased events in the film, and everything in the handout was geared toward the film, including the weather ("Gloomy and overcast...") and advertisements for Gotham National Bank, the Gotham Girl Guides and recruitment for the Gotham Police Department.
The Dark Knight trilogy is one of the three trilogies to be charted in IMDb top 250 movies. The other two trilogies are: Star Wars original trilogy - Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977), Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983). The Lord of the Rings trilogy - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002), The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).
Paul Birchard also acted in Tim Burton's Batman (1989), making him one of the very few actors to have been in both Batman franchises.
The console for the Bat Sonar resembles "The Listening Post", Mark Hasen and Ben Rubin's dynamic portrait of online communication, especially when Lucius Fox and Batman switch it off. The installation is currently on display at the Science Museum in London.
Bob Hoskins and James Gandolfini auditioned for the part of Sal Maroni, a part that went to Eric Roberts.
Ryan Phillippe and Hugh Jackman were also considered for the part of Harvey Dent.
Features 37 minutes of IMAX footage.
This is the fourth time a film, based on a comic, has been nominated for a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Academy Award, and the first time one has won. The others are Al Pacino for Dick Tracy (1990), Paul Newman for Road to Perdition (2002), and William Hurt for A History of Violence (2005).
An explosion was filmed at the Battersea Power Station in London. The fireball created calls from panic-stricken local residents, who assumed a terrorist attack had occurred at the out-of-use station. The Battersea Power Station first received popularity after being featured on the front cover of Pink Floyd's 1977 album "Animals". (A pig is seen flying over the power station.)
Heath Ledger spent several months working with a vocal coach on the Joker's voice. He used ventriloquist dummies as inspiration for the disconnected, mocking quality.
Bruce Wayne's cell phone number is 1 735 185-7301, there is no area code 735 in the United States.
When it was released on July 18, 2008, this film made 67.2 million dollars in a single day, the most lucrative opening for any film. Because of its pent-up demand, midnight showings all over the country were sold out, resulting in 18.5 million dollars in late-night showings alone. The movie held the record for biggest one-day intake until The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009).
IMAX camera technician/consultant Wayne Baker has a cameo that is the only close up shot in the IMAX format in the film. He sits on the loading dock and reacts to the Batpod emerging from the wreckage of the Batmobile.
Voted movie of the year by Empire magazine in 2008.
This film held the box-office record for the largest opening weekend of all time. It made 158,411,483 dollars in its first weekend of release. Another superhero sequel, Spider-Man 3 (2007), set the record the previous summer. Dark Knight held it, until the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011), which had an opening weekend of 169,189,427 dollars, which was later beaten by The Avengers (2012), with 200.3 million dollars. This is the fourth Batman movie to break the opening weekend record following Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), and Batman Forever (1995).
Other actors under consideration for the coveted role of Harvey Dent - pending Aaron Eckhart's availability - were Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, and Josh Lucas.
Sam Rockwell, Hugo Weaving, and Heath Ledger were the finalists for the role of The Joker.
(at around 28 mins) In the film Batman Returns (1992), Catwoman finds a gap in Batman's armor and sticks a claw into him. In a possible nod to this, when describing the new armor for the Bat suit, Fox tells Wayne that it would do okay against cats.
While filming both the bank and police department scenes at the post office, an unrelated fire broke out in a top floor mechanical room and many onlookers believed that the smoke and fire was related to the filming.
The film cast includes five Oscar winners: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Sir Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman; and two Oscar nominees: Maggie Gyllenhaal and Eric Roberts.
Aaron Eckhart previously appeared in The Black Dahlia (2006), which features several references to The Man Who Laughs (1928). The appearance of the hero, Gwynplaine, in that film is what inspired the appearance of The Joker.
The sky-hook device is - in contrast to many other Batman gadgets - not fictional. The full name is the "Fulton surface-to-air recovery system" and was developed in the 1950s by inventor Robert Edison Fulton, Jr., for the Central Intelligence Agency. The first pick-up of a human, happened in 1958. The experience is described as less violent than that of opening a parachute.
The Joker's makeup and look was partially inspired by Brandon Lee's character in The Crow (1994). Interestingly, both Lee and Ledger died during, or just after, the making of their respective projects.
The Dark Knight (2008) on Blu-ray, features the IMAX version of the film. Any sequence filmed with the IMAX cameras fills up a widescreen television at a 1.78:1 ratio, thus giving a grander view from the top to bottom. The rest of the film plays at a 2.35:1 scope ratio, which delivers a panoramic view. It is only on Blu-ray, that the film can be watched this way, as on a 4:3 television, the transition would be too jarring, however, the IMAX sequences can be viewed as a special feature on the DVD version.
Hans Zimmer often used bizarre methods when developing his musical score, particularly with scenes with the Joker which would involve playing piano wires with razor blades, and guitar with shards of metal.
Christopher Nolan and Jonathan Nolan have cited Game Theory as influential to the plot and its characters.
This film reached the two hundred million dollar mark in only five days, quickly achieving another box-office record. This jumped to three hundred million dollars on the tenth day, setting yet another record.
Christopher Nolan cast Heath Ledger, based on his Oscar-nominated performance in Brokeback Mountain (2005). "He had such a lack of vanity... He wasn't afraid to bury himself in his character."
Sir Michael Caine also appeared in Quicksand (2003), opposite previous Batman Michael Keaton; Blood and Wine (1996), opposite previous Joker Jack Nicholson; and The Fourth Protocol (1987), opposite previous Alfred Michael Gough.
The luminous ceiling in Batman's secret bunker was lit by a grid of three hundred fixtures, each containing six 800-watt bulbs, consuming a total of 1.44 megawatts.
(at around 1h 55 mins) When Maroni is going into the car to go see his wife if you look at the left edge of the screen you can see Two-Face attacking one of his Goons.
To prepare for the role of Two-Face, Aaron Eckhart studied what happens psychologically to burn victims.
(at around 38 mins) RICO refers to the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The 1970 law has been used to prosecute organized crime.
Aaron Eckhart said he felt that law enforcement officials like Dent "love the law, but they're constrained by the law."
Christian Bale never got to ride the Batpod himself. Only one of the stuntmen was able to stay on it.
When asked if Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two Face would return in The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Aaron Eckhart spoke about the conversation he had with Christopher Nolan about it. He said that he told Nolan that people keep asking him about it, to which Nolan responded "...yes?" Eckhart then asked "...well, am I (returning)?" He then said that Nolan looked at him with a serious face and replied "...of course, not."
A fan proposed that this iteration of The Joker is a heavily-traumatized veteran of the War on Terror, hence his "truckload of soldiers" line and his skill with multiple types of firearms.
This film reached the four hundred million dollar mark after only eighteen days of release, less than half as long as it took Shrek 2 (2004), the former record-holder, to reach.
The serrated edges on the side of the Batman's gauntlets were inspired by the pulp character Tony Quinn, the Black Bat, whose origin (he was a district attorney victim of an acid flinging gangster) was borrowed for Two-Face.
Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider.
According to their father, Heath Ledger's sister would dress him up as a nurse when they were kids.
The Batpod weighed six hundred pounds.
Christopher Nolan called the movie "The Dark Knight" to make a definitive statement about the character of Batman.
Voted #15 on Empire magazine's 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time (September 2008).
There are only two scenes in the movie where the Joker does not have make-up on, first, at the dinner table, and second, during Commisioner Loeb's funeral.
This one of the only two Batman films to have the sonar enhancement added to the Bat-suit. The other is Batman Forever (1995).
Christian Bale trained in the Keysi Fighting Method to play Batman. Keysi means "from the heart." The martial arts style was developed by two stuntmen who worked on Batman Begins (2005).
Christopher Nolan had the initial full-size mock model of the Batpod built in his garage.
Heath Ledger is the only Joker actor not to be older than his Batman co-star Christian Bale as Bale was five year's older than Ledger.
The 70mm IMAX prints of the film each consisted of 45 reels, which once assembled, were roughly 9.5 miles long and weighed 450 pounds.
(at around 1h 45 mins) Batman asks Alfred to find the names of any police officers who have family members staying in the hospital. Alfred texts Gordon with two names "Ramirez, Berg". Charles Ramirez-Berg is an acclaimed professor of radio-television-film at the University of Texas at Austin who, among other honors, was mentioned in Robert Rodriguez 's autobiography as his favorite professor.
Wally Pfister personally filmed most of the film's hand held shots.
Is the highest rated superhero film.
In the original script, The Joker reads the message to the citizens of Gotham, which scares them into taking the ferry. In the film, it's Engel.
Set a weekend box-office record for IMAX venues with 6.2 million dollars. The former record holder was Spider-Man 3 (2007).
This is one of two Christopher Nolan's movies, in which a character has a two-headed coin, the other one being The Prestige (2006), in which Alfred Borden has one, and passes it onto Sarah's nephew.
35mm VistaVision cameras were used, to provide additional coverage of some of the action sequences, as there were only a limited number of IMAX cameras available. Though rarely used since the 1960s, the format provides a larger frame area than regular 35mm, and is horizontally-gated in the same manner as 65mm IMAX.
Many cast members in this film have worked with the siblings of other cast members. Heath Ledger had previously worked with Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain (2005). Maggie Gyllenhaal had worked with Julia Roberts in Mona Lisa Smile (2003), as had Aaron Eckhart in Erin Brockovich (2000).
The Joker's primary handgun/sidearm is a Glock 17-two tone converted to full-auto, with a stainless slide and a Glock 18 standard 33-round magazine which has been converted to full-auto as the gun lacks the Glock's 18's firing selector switch on the side of the slide.
In addition to the Lamborghini being a "bat"mobile, its color scheme is an homage to Batman himself. The wheels are black, the color is dark grey, and the brake calipers are vibrant yellow. In the animated series and some comic versions, the cowl and cape are black, the suit is dark grey and the oval around the bay symbol and his belt are yellow.
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The first superhero film to gross over $1 billion worldwide.
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Eight hundred extras worked on the ferry scene, which was shot in only one day. With so many extras on the boats, they had to use a precise schedule to get everyone in costume on time.
The Batman film franchises have attracted the longest list of actors who have Oscar and Golden Globe wins or nominations. 18 Oscars, 33 Golden Globes. The franchises have won 3 Oscars.
Maggie Gyllenhaal, who had mostly acted in independent films, said she was a little scared of doing stunts in this movie.
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(at around 25 mins) When the Joker interrupts the crime boss meeting, Gambol, portrayed by Michael Jai White, shouts "Enough, from the clown!" This is in reference to White's performance in the 1997 film Spawn (1997). He shouts this same line to a wise cracking Violater, played by John Leguizamo, another comic book villain that also wears clown makeup.
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To this day, The Dark Knight is the only film of the superhero genre to ever receive an Academy Award for an actor's performance which is given to Heath Ledger's The Joker.
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One of five films released in 2008 (and the only one still running in theaters when the voting took place) to be on Empire's 500 Greatest Movies Of All Time (September 2008). The other four are Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Iron Man (2008), Cloverfield (2008), and WALL·E (2008).
In the comics and Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Barbara Gordon is the daughter of James Gordon, as well as Batgirl. But in the film, Barbara Gordon is James' wife (Melinda McGraw). Although we do see that James has a daughter in the film, her name was never mentioned. James Gordon's daughter is named after his wife Barbara, and they also have a son named James, Jr.
(at around 1h 40 mins) In the original English version, when Lau is sitting on a pile of burning cash, Joker asks Checken "Where's the Italian?" while in the Italian version he asks "Where's Maroni?"
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This is the second movie that Christian Bale and Heath Ledger play together. The other movie is I'm Not There. (2007).
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Gotham City's civic heraldry combines elements of New York City's and Chicago's municipal emblems. Examples include Gotham-area license plates (based on Illinois plates) and Gotham's garbage trucks (whose door emblems directly quote New York City's old Sanitation Department logo: a large red sans-serif capital letter S atop a medical caduceus, all within a circle with a text border).
(at around 1h 16 mins) In the chase scene where the Joker is firing a bazooka at the police car Harvey Dent is in, on the side of the truck the Joker is driving the letter "S" has been painted on ahead of the word "Laughter" which is already imprinted on the truck - making the word "Slaughter".
Actor and musician Dwight Yoakam turned down two different roles in this film. One was for the part of Detective Wuertz (later played by Ron Dean), as well as the small part of the Gotham National Bank manager (portrayed by William Fichtner) featured at the very beginning.
The ferries depicted, are CGI models of the Molinari-class of Staten Island Ferry. The Staten Island Ferry, which is run by the New York Department of Transportation, offers a free 25-minute ride across New York harbor from St. George in Staten Island to South Ferry in Manhattan.
There are only two official Lego figures released under The Dark Knight (2008) label. They are, of course, Batman and the Joker, and can only be purchased with the pro-builder's model of the Tumbler.
Years and years were taken off the Joker in this film, placing him in his late 20's. He is typically placed in his mid 40's, older than Batman.
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Wayne Tower is different than the one in Batman Begins (2005). Christopher Nolan wanted it to look more modern.
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(at around 5 mins) The shotgun the Joker uses which he took from the bank manager at the beginning is a sawed-off Remington 870.
One of the featured extra's military uniforms bears the name Philo. This is a nod to Joan Philo, the Illinois-based Casting Director for extras.
Based on early concept art produced by artist Jamie Rama, a potential scene was pitched that would have featured the Joker in a slaughterhouse. No further information or details on this scrapped scene have been released since the film's release.
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Nathan Crowley based the look of the Bat Bunker on 1960s buildings in Chicago.
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Prosthetics Make-up Supervisor Colin Sullivan created three different sculptures for the Joker's scars. He made a silicone mold combining the three looks, using a technique he learned on The Last Samurai (2003).
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Christopher Nolan wrote some of the script while visiting Hong Kong. He wanted to take Batman somewhere he'd never been before.
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The only one of Christopher Nolan's films that has linear story telling. That is, the plot does not take the viewer back and forth through different time periods to tell the story.
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(at around 1h 21 mins) Shortly after the truck flip scene, as The Joker walks out of the truck, you can see "Sweet Home Chicago" in the background on a building.
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Ron Dean previously appeared in The Fugitive (1993), which was also filmed in his native Chicago. It also won an Oscar for Tommy Lee Jones for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. His character, like Heath Ledger's, was inspired by a Victor Hugo character. Gerard was modeled after Inspector Javert from Les Miserables, while the Joker was inspired by Gwynplaine from The Man Who Laughs. Jones also played Two-Face in Batman Forever (1995).
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As of 2017, the highest grossing film to win an Oscar for acting.
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Batman's sonar is very similar to the Arkham games detective mode. Batman: Arkham Asylum (2009) is also the video game for this movie after the Dark Knight video game was cancelled.
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Nestor Carbonell who plays the Mayor of Gotham City, also played a parody of Batman, named Batmanuel in the television series The Tick (2001).
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The third appearance in a movie or television show, based on a comic book for Michael Jai White. The others being Spawn (1997) and Arrow (2012).
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(at around 1h 55 mins) When Harvey Dent confronts Wuertz in the bar a small statue of Marvel superhero Captain America can be seen on the shelf behind Dent. The star on Captain America's chest is clearly visible and he is holding his shield in his right arm. DC and Marvel are rival comics companies.
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The skyhook retrieval process is a real one devised by the CIA. It was used in the 007 movie Thunderball (1965) at the end. In that movie and this one, the hero is shown holding another person when the plane grabs him. It was Domino in Thunderball and Lau in The Dark Knight.
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While shooting in Hong Kong, Cinematographer Wally Pfister said he'd "never seen so many people out to see movie stars on the street."
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In the opening sequence, you can see the amount of bags that are ready to be loaded onto the bus is between 8 and 10 bags. Yet we only see The Joker load 4 bags onto the bus. Lau later tells the mobsters around the table that they were robbed of $68 million dollars. A million dollars in $100 dollar bills weighs 22 pounds, meaning: if the bags are loaded evenly in multiples of a million, each bag would have contained $17 million dollars and would have weighed in excess of 350 pounds/bag.
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This is the second time that Christian Bale has acted with an actor (Heath Ledger) who has played The Joker. The first was Jared Leto in American Psycho (2000), who would later play The Joker in Suicide Squad (2016).
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Two-Face in the movie is similar to the villain of the Bond movie GoldenEye (1995) Alec Trevelyan, who is Janus. They are both two sided, believes in the same aspect, and is a friend of the protagonist until something happens and turns against them. Also Javier Bardem Bond villain Silva was inspired by Heath Ledger's Joker and Tom Hardy's Bane in the Batman franchise.
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In scenes where Batman speaks with the three people who know his secret identity, Alfred, Rachel, and Lucious, while dressed as Batman, uses his Batman voice but when speaking with them as Bruce Wayne uses his normal one.
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In the original origin story of the Joker, he was disfigured by acid, whereas in this film it was done by a blade. This ties into the notorious 1947 murder and disfiguration of Elizabeth Short, who was referred to as "the Black Dahlia". The first time the Joker describes his scars, he says that they were made with a knife and were intended to create a smile. When Elizabeth Short was killed, this is exactly what was done to her face. Until the Manson murders in 1969, the Short murder and mutilation represented the most hideous and deeply shocking crime in all of Los Angeles history. The concept in this film that the Joker had a smile carved into his face adds to the terrifying nature of the character.
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The mask that Heath Ledger wears during the bank heist at the beginning is also extremely similar to the mask that Cesar Romero wears during the end of Batman: The Joker Is Wild (1966).
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This is the first Batman movie where Batman doesn't use his batarangs. He also doesn't use them in The Dark Knight Rises (2012).
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Marked the only time in Heath Ledger played a villain. While he played Ned Kelly, that film portrayed Kelly as a Robin Hood-like figure.
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Christopher Nolan tells on the Blu-ray that he ended up having to place a "very small visual-effects component" into the scene of blowing up Gotham General Hospital that he'd planned to film on IMAX with no added visual-effects at all. Between the time they'd gotten the agreement to demolish the building and were able to actually go film, somebody came in and stole all the windows and all the metal frames from the top two floors. Nick Davis, the visual effects supervisor, and his crew were able to very subtly just put in some window reflections and match the real row of windows that the building still had.
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Russell Gilbert, Willem Dafoe, Geoffrey Rush and Glenn Robbins were considered for the role of the Joker.
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The Joker kills 34 people.
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The only non-Best Picture Oscar nominee that year to be nominated for Best Editing.
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Has the most Oscar nominations for a comic book or superhero movie with eight.
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A common misconception is that Heath Ledger was method acting when playing the role of the Joker. There is no indication that he tried to "live" as his character, and there is no evidence that he drew from his own life experiences when acting the part.
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The only film that year to be nominated for Best Picture at the Producers Guild of America Awards, but not at The Academy Awards.
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(at around 42 mins) In the city scene where the fake Batman gets hung by Joker there's a reference to Eminem's song "The Real Slim Shady". On the joker card it says 'will the real Batman please stand up?'.
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(at around 55 mins) Batman overhears a call between the Joker and the 911 operator where the Joker says "Eighth and Orchard. You'll find Harvey Dent there (believed to be missing at the time)." Batman finds two dead men, one named Patrick Harvey. The other was Richard Dent, who was a Hall of Fame NFL player for the Chicago Bears, with much of the film being shot in Chicago.
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David Dastmalchian, who was one of the Joker's thugs, plays a man that tries to revive Jerome back from the dead on Gotham (2014).
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(at around 1 min) When Joker is standing on the street waiting to be picked up by his henchmen, over his left shoulder is a sign Payday Store. They are about to rob a bank, and a typical expression for that sort of day is "payday".
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The interrogation scene was shot entirely in England.
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Highest grossing film of 2008.
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John Jarratt and Don Johnson were considered to play the Joker.
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Aaron Eckhart shares his name with Lt. Eckhart, a corrupt cop in Batman (1989).
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(at around 55 mins) When Batman is atop the Sears Tower monitoring telecommunications, a voice says "8th & Orchard, you'll find Harvey Dent there". The voice is very similar to that of Jack Nicholson, who iconically portrayed the Joker in Batman (1989). Nicholson has a very distinguishable voice, and although unconfirmed by Christopher Nolan, there is much speculation among fans that it is indeed either a Jack Nicholson cameo, or tribute to him.
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Maggie Gyllenhaal's brother Jake Gyllenhaal was considered for the part of Rick Flag in Suicide Squad (2016) after originally casted Tom Hardy turned it down to do The Revenant (2015), but it ultimately went to Joel Kinnaman.
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This film marks the second Oscar nomination film for Heath Ledger, in which he has acted with a Gyllenhaal sibling. He had previously worked with Maggie Gyllenhaal's brother Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain (2005), which had earned him his first and only other Oscar nomination. And both Oscar nominations were also in the exact same category for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.
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In the beginning of the movie, pay close attention to the masks that the Joker and his gang wear. They appear to be a homage to the mask the robber wears while robbing a racetrack in Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing."
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Patrick Leahy: (at around 50 mins) The older gentleman that confronts the Joker at the party thrown by Bruce Wayne for Harvey Dent. Senator Leahy is a huge Batman fan, and arranged an early showing of the movie on July 12th, as a fund-raiser for the children's section of the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in Montpelier, Vermont, the state's capital. He has also appeared in Batman & Robin (1997) and as a Batman: The Animated Series (1992) cartoon voice.
Buster Reeves: (at around 1h 16 mins) A Joker thug. He appears in the trailer of the Joker's semi-truck, as he hands The Joker his weapons, and he fires them at the police transport. He then rides in the passenger seat of the cab of the truck as The Joker drives.


The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

In the early minutes of each film in the trilogy, the main villain (Ra's Al Ghul, Joker, Bane) disguises himself as one of his own henchmen, and there is a conversation about said villain, in each scene.
(at around 1h 50 mins) After the Joker exits the hospital, the pause in the explosions was scripted, but Heath Ledger's actions, while it was stopped, weren't.
(at around 1h 24 mins) Heath Ledger improvised, when he started clapping inside his jail cell in a mocking and sardonic way, as Gordon is promoted. The clapping was not scripted, but Christopher Nolan immediately encouraged the crew to continue filming and the sequence was included in the film.
Christian Bale stated in an interview, that during the interrogation scene, Heath Ledger wanted him to beat him as hard as he could, to get the real feeling of what was required from the scene.
(at around 1h 50 mins) When Harvey holds the Joker at gunpoint in the hospital scene, you can see that the Joker is actually holding the revolver's hammer with his finger, thus preventing the shot in case Harvey's coin lands on "bad" side.
During the hospital scene, when The Joker is dressed as a nurse, his name tag reads Matilda, after Heath Ledger's daughter Matilda Ledger.
Two-Face's disfigurement was created through computer graphics rather than prosthetic make-up, as Christopher Nolan felt that, no matter how good the make-up was, it is still inherently adding something onto an actor's face, when Two-Face's appearance requires part of his face to be burned away.
(at around 34 mins) During the Hong Kong action scene (to bring Lau back), Batman shoots time-bombs on the glass which has a time of 2:22 minutes. The bombs explode almost exactly after 2 minutes 20 seconds in real-time, which shows that the action could happen in almost two minutes.
The Joker only looks at three of the people he kills in the film. He shoots the bus driver while looking back at the hostages. Two of Gambol's thugs he stabs while looking up. He kills Gambol while looking at another thug. He throws the cigar lighting Lau on fire and turns to talk to The Chechen as Lau dies. The three he looks at are the thug he kills with a pencil, the policeman stopping the semi-truck before the chase, and the policeman that is clearing the hospital out which he shoots with a pistol while in a nurse uniform. This character choice is a reference to the graphic novel "The Man Who Laughs" in which it is mentioned that The Joker "just opened fire and didn't even look at the people while he killed them".
(at around 2h 10 mins) In Batman (1989) Batman uses the grapple gun on the Joker, causing him to fall to his death. In this film, Batman also uses the grapple gun on the Joker, this time to save him from falling.
In one of the final scenes of the film, where Harvey flips his coin for Batman, Gordon, and himself, the outcome of the flips foreshadows the future of each of the three characters. Batman received "Tails," the "bad" side; at the end of the film, he asked Gordon to blame all of the city's troubles on him, resulting in the Batman's reputation being disgraced and scorned. On the other hand, both Gordon and Harvey received "Heads," the "good" side, and were both honored as heroes at the end of the film.
The address 250 52nd Street where Rachel Dawes is killed, and where Harvey Dent brings Gordon's family is a palindrome: it's the same forwards as it is backwards. The way it's framed with a zero in the middle and the same numbers in opposite directions on either side suggests the opposite sides of Dent's favorite coin, the two sides of his face, and by extension the duality of his nature.
(at around 1h 35 mins) When Harvey Dent's face is on fire, the first frame reveals the Batman logo on his close-up.
Christopher Nolan asked Aaron Eckhart not to perform any tics or slurping noises as Two-Face to make the character less "showy".
(at around 15 mins) Early in the film, a witness on stand pulls a gun out on Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face during the trial and tries to shoot him. This is a nod towards Two-Face's original origin story in the comics, where in a similar trial scenario, crime boss Sal Maroni is on stand and throws sulfuric acid in Dent's face resulting in his scarring.
The infamous interrogation scene originally ended with Batman, after getting the information he needs from the Joker and dropping him on the ground, quickly kicking the Joker in the head right before he leaves to save Rachel, almost as an afterthought. However, this part was removed in editing, because Christopher Nolan felt the action seemed "a little too petulant for Batman".
After his transformation, Two-Face flips his coin eight times. It comes up on the good side five times for the Joker, Sal Maroni, Detective Ramirez, Dent himself, Gordon's son (though Two-Face didn't catch that one) and the bad side three times, for Detective Wuertz, Maroni's driver, and Batman.
The film uses numerous elements of the Joker's first appearance in Batman #1, published in 1940. In both The Dark Knight and Batman #1, the Joker publicly announces his crimes before committing them, removes his make-up and disguises himself as a police officer to gain access to a person he threatened to kill, uses a powerful bomb smuggled into jail to escape, steals and kills not for personal gain but simply to create chaos and disorder, and infringes upon the city's old-fashioned mobsters.
Bruce Wayne makes his final appearance in the film (out of the batsuit) a whole forty minutes before the end of the movie, when he is reacting to the sound of Gotham General Hospital exploding shortly after his car accident.
There are many elements from various Batman graphic novels, either verbatim or slightly recast. In The Long Halloween, Batman, Gordon, and Dent fake Dent's death; in The Dark Knight, Gordon's death is faked. Also in The Long Halloween, Batman poses as a SWAT officer; in the movie, Gordon does. The Joker's reference at the end of the film to pushing Dent over the edge, mirrors his social experiment with Gordon in The Killing Joke, in which The Joker attempts to drive Gordon insane by making him have a really bad day. A lot of the interaction between Batman and The Joker is taken from The Long Halloween, specifically the interrogation scene in the film, which is also is similar to elements of The Dark Knight Returns. The copycat Batmen are clearly inspired by The Sons of The Batman from The Dark Knight Returns. Finally, in The Killing Joke, the Joker explains if he "had a past, it would be multiple choice." This is referenced when the Joker tells two different stories about the origin of his scars.
This is the only film in the Dark Knight trilogy, where there is not a surprise revelation as to who was the instigator of the criminal events, and the identity of a villain. This is also the only film in the trilogy where the League of Shadows does not play an active part in the plot.
Body count: 36.
The Joker's fate, at the end of the film, was left ambiguous. This is in line with the comics, as Joker would routinely be presumed dead to end a story, only to see him return in later stories very much alive.
In the original Batman comics (specifically, Detective Comics #80, 1943) the surname of the plastic surgeon who attempts to repair Two-Face is "Ekhart". In this movie, Two-Face is, of course, played by Aaron Eckhart.
Harvey Dent's scarring in this film, due to an explosion, is not what happens in the comics, but rather is closer to the Batman: The Animated Series (1992) episodes Two-Face Part I and II.
Christopher Nolan has said that if he knew he was going to make another sequel, Harvey Dent wouldn't have died.
In all three films of the Dark Knight trilogy, Batman/Bruce Wayne has the last on-screen conversation with Jim Gordon only.
(at around 2h 5 mins) The camera angle shooting up at The Joker as he beats Batman with a pipe is reflective of the graphic novel scene in the Batman series 'A Death In The Family', in which The Joker beats up Robin (Jason Todd) with a crowbar.
In this film, despite his name, Joker only performs three actions that could pass for jokes...the smoke bomb in the bank, the pencil trick, and his fake seductive greeting to Harvey Dent while in the nurse's outfit. (He also claps sardonically when Gordon is appointed Commissioner of Police, and throws his hands up in mock despair when the hospital he targets (Gotham General) doesn't immediately go up in flames.)
The Bat Symbol at the beginning of each film in the trilogy foreshadows something that happens later. In this case the Bat Symbol is made up of fire and it symbolizes Harvey Dent's face being burned which later turns him into Two-Face.
In Batman Forever (1995), Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face falls to his death when he flips his coin. The same things happens in this film.
The Joker and Batman share numerous scenes, however the Joker and Bruce Wayne never share a scene.
(at around 2h 15 mins) In the final fight in the tower, after Batman pulls Joker up by a cable - right before the police officers arrive to arrest Joker, he hits the camera while giving his monologue and waving around with his arms, you can see the screen view shaking for a moment.
All of the main action in this film takes place over nine days and nights, by far the shortest time span of the Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman Begins (2005) takes place over decades, and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) - even when removing the flashbacks that elongate its time span to decades - still covers many months within the main action). The only scenes in the film that are implied to take place outside of these nine days and nights are the brief flash-forwards in the final scene of Harvey Dent's funeral (which would probably not take place for at least one week) and Gordon breaking the bat signal. The "day" with the most screen time in the film is the final day, which covers forty-eight minutes (a full third of the total runtime). Furthermore, unlike the other films of the trilogy, which contain copious flashbacks, this film only contains one flashback, when Harvey Dent remembers flipping his coin to Rachel while lying in his hospital bed. With that flashback, The Dark Knight not only becomes the only film in the trilogy where Bruce Wayne does not have a flashback, but also the only film where the content of the flashback references a previous scene within the film's main action. The flashbacks of the other films all either reference moments that take place outside of the film's main action (e.g. a flashback to Wayne's childhood), or moments that, while being part of the main action, are shown for the first time in the flashback.
(at around 1h 30 mins) The Joker says that Rachel is located at Avenue X and Cicero. Cicero is a prominent street in Chicago (where a lot of the movie was filmed) located at 4800 West (48 blocks from State Street).
The hospital that the Joker blows up, was actually an old, out-of-use candy factory in the Chicago suburbs. It was redressed and imploded for the film.
Harvey Dent does not appear fully transformed as Two-Face until nearly 102 minutes into the film.
The masks that the Joker and his partners wear at the beginning of the movie during the bank robbery are the exact same as the masks that Joker and his henchmen use in his first appearance on the 60's series.
Composer James Newton Howard composed an elegant and beautiful score for Harvey Dent, which would serve as a jarring contrast to Two-Face's persona.
In each part of the trilogy Batman/Bruce Wayne has either a friend who turns into the villain, or vice versa. In this one, Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face is an ally of Bruce Wayne, then afterwards opposes Batman, blaming him for Rachel's death, and his transformation.
In the "Two ships" game theory scenario, the Joker is seen with all three of the Chechen's dogs. In Greek Mythology, Cerberus is the "hound of Hades', who guards the gates of Hell, and is usually is presented as a three-headed dog. Though this may come off as purely coincidental, the Joker's deeds and personality are emblematic of Pluto, Lucifer, and other demonic entities, and the image of him with three dogs, gives that notion further validation.
(at around 20 mins) When Dent discusses Gotham's politics and referencing Ancient Rome, Rachel brings up Julius Caesar, which leads Dent to saying "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain". In Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", the titular character is portrayed to be a man of notable ignorance, whose "partial deafness" implies that he only listens to that which he deems relevant, rather than being an open-minded leader. In the aftermath of Harvey Dent's transformation into his "Two Face" persona, he loses his sense of reason, instead, only discussing matters that relate to Rachel's murder and his "betrayal" by Gordon and the Batman. When Batman "kills" him for crossing the line, it almost mirrors Brutus's slaying of Caesar, a man who was his friend, but was no longer serving his people the way he swore to.
The only movie in the trilogy where the phrase "The Dark Knight" is spoken. It is said at the near end of the movie where Batman is escaping from the police and Jim Gordon is talking to his son.
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At 6'1", Heath Ledger is the second tallest Joker, after Cesar Romero's 6'3", and before Jack Nicholson's 5'9".
(at around 45 mins) At the fund raising party, Bruce remarks about Harvey's previous campaign slogan "I believe in Harvey Dent". He then says, "Look at that face", which turns out to be ironic since Harvey later becomes a gruesome Two-Face villain that is hard to look at.
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The joker is the only primary antagonist in the whole The Dark Knight trilogy to remain alive. But also it is the only unfortunate case of the actor passing away shortly after filming.
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(at around 1h 22 mins) When Batman goes head to head with the Joker facing off and staring Batman down as he heads toward him on the batpod...this is a similar recreation of when Batman faces off with the Joker in his Batwing aircraft in the 1989 film Batman (1989) directed by Tim Burton.
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Harvey Dent's transformation into Two-Face in the film is different from the comic books, Batman: The Animated Series (1992) and Batman Forever (1995). In the comic books and in Batman Forever (1995), Harvey Dent became Two-Face when Sal Maroni disfigured Dent by throwing acid onto Harvey's face. In the 1992 animated series, Dent's face gets disfigured in an electrical fire explosion when he chased Rupert Throne and in this film, Dent is disfigured in a building explosion when Batman rescues him from an abandoned building which The Joker imprisoned him and rigged to explode.
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Nicky Katt has been in two Batman movies. In The Dark Knight as the SWAT officer who rides shotgun in the armored car chase. In Batman & Robin (1997) he plays the motorcycle racer who wants to race Barbara Wilson (Alicia Silverstone).
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