June 23rd, 1989

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Still of Kim Basinger and Michael Keaton in BatmanStill of Jack Nicholson in BatmanStill of Jack Nicholson and Michael Keaton in BatmanStill of Michael Keaton and Michael Gough in BatmanStill of Kim Basinger and Jack Nicholson in BatmanStill of Kim Basinger in Batman

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

Release Year: 1989

Rating: 7.6/10 (141,705 voted)

Critic's Score: 66/100

Director: Tim Burton

Stars: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger

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

Writers: Bob Kane, Sam Hamm

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


Official Website: Warner Bros. [United States] |

Release Date: 23 June 1989

Filming Locations: Acton Lane Power Station, Acton Lane, Acton, London, England, UK

Box Office Details

Budget: $35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $42,705,884 (USA) (25 June 1989) (2 Screens)

Gross: $411,348,924 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Sean Young was originally cast as Vicki Vale, but broke her collarbone while filming a horse-riding scene with Michael Keaton. The scene was subsequently written out of the script. Tim Burton suggested replacing Young with Michelle Pfeiffer but Keaton, who was in a relationship with Pfeiffer, believed it would be too awkward. She went on to portray Catwoman in Batman Returns. Jon Peters suggested Kim Basinger and she was cast.

Continuity: At the beginning of the movie, on the rooftop, Batman pulls out a batarang to catch the fleeing crook. The batarang is matte black, ridged, and hinged in the middle. Once it's around the crook's ankle, though, it's shiny black, smooth and all one piece.

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

User Review

I don't even need to say that this is the best Batman of the series. It's obvious enough.

Rating: 10/10

What is all this yap about Michael Keaton as Batman? Yes, he was Batman, and he was a GREAT Batman. He pulled off every aspect of the role perfectly – he was better than Val Kilmer, better than George Clooney, better than everyone. He portrayed the mysterious charm of the winged crusader just as well as he captured the cool and collected character of Bruce Wayne. Michael Keaton is a huge part of the reason that this film was such a huge success, the other main portion having come from the tremendous contribution from Jack Nicholson as the Joker. Gotham City is created in incredibly detailed comic-book style, which adds to the overall quality of the movie.

Director Tim Burton does an amazing job bringing this unreal world to reality, and Kim Basinger is excellent as Vicky Vale, the film's main female presence. The script is particularly brilliant. The role of the Joker seems to have been written specifically for Jack Nicholson, which would not be surprising because of how well he pulled off the role with lines like `Why didn't anyone tell me he had one of those…things?!' and `Remember me? When you dropped me into that vat of chemicals? That wasn't easy to get over, and don't think that I didn't try.' And, of course, my favorite, `…we'll be like Beauty and the Beast. Of course, if anyone else ever calls you beast, I'll rip their lungs out.'

Everything, from the setting in Gotham City to the characters costumes to the actual dialogue, gives the unreal feeling of a comic book, but the characters are developed enough so that we understand their problems and we care about what happens. The movie is a thrill ride from the beginning to the end, and is enjoyable for all ages. If anyone is going to complain about who was chosen to play Batman, there is much more room for complaint among the film's several sequels. Keaton did a spectacular job that no one has ever even come close to.

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