The 1989 film Batman marked the beginning of Warner Brothers’ iconic franchise. The movie featured a star-studded cast, with Michael Keaton taking on the role of Batman and Jack Nicholson bringing The Joker to life, while Tim Burton sat in the director’s chair.
Although Michael Keaton’s performance as Batman is now regarded as one of the most memorable portrayals of the character, many were initially doubtful about his casting due to his background in comedic roles. Fans were hesitant about his ability to pull off the dark, brooding character of Batman, with Kevin Smith famously exclaiming “It’s the guy from Mr Mom!” Yet Keaton silenced all critics with his stellar performance, proving himself to be the perfect choice for the role.
From his lunatic laughing to that lethal smile, Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of The Joker has established the gold standard for how The Joker should be portrayed.
Not only did Batman give us a legendary film, but it also rocked our world with not one, but two epic soundtracks! The movie’s orchestral score was composed by the iconic Danny Elfman, while the second soundtrack featured none other than the legendary pop artist, Prince.
The success of the film ignited a fire in Warner Brothers, leading to the creation of Batman: The Animated Series. This ground-breaking show introduced us to beloved characters such as Harley Quinn and reshaped the origin story of Mr. Freeze into the epic tale we know and love today.
Even after more than 30 years, the film is still entertaining to watch.
In the gloomy, perilous city of Gotham, corruption runs rampant, and the police force is hardly a beacon of justice. Even the efforts of D.A. Harvey Dent and Commissioner Jim Gordon seem futile in the face of escalating violence. But a glimmer of hope emerges with the arrival of the enigmatic Dark Knight, whose very appearance strikes fear into the hearts of criminals. His chosen guise? A bat, perfectly suited to intimidate those who prey on the weak.
As the city struggles to come to grips with this new protector, award-winning photojournalist Vicky Vale sets out to unravel the mystery of the “bat-man.” Meanwhile, the dangerous and volatile Jack Napier, once an enforcer for Boss Grissom, undergoes a horrific transformation after a violent altercation at a chemical plant. Reborn as the deranged and unpredictable Joker, he sets his sights on ruling over Gotham’s seedy underbelly, consumed by madness and devoid of any remaining sanity.
10 Fun facts about Tim Burton’s Batman
(1) Robin Williams was initially offered the role of The Joker, but was replaced by Jack Nicholson after he hesitated. Williams refused to participate in any Warner Bros. productions after feeling used as bait.
(2) Michael Keaton experienced claustrophobia while wearing the Bat-suit, which helped him get into character as Batman.
(3) Jack Nicholson’s contract entitled him to a percentage of the film’s gross revenue, earning him almost $60 million.
(4) The film was released in the year of Batman’s 50th birthday.
(5) Willem Dafoe, David Bowie, John Lithgow, Tim Curry, and James Woods were considered for the role of The Joker.
(6) The same dental props used by Steve Martin on Bill Murray in Little Shop of Horrors were used as surgical instruments to “reconstruct” The Joker’s face.
(7) Michael Jackson was asked to write and perform songs for the movie, but declined due to concert commitments.
(8) The appearance of The Joker was inspired by Conrad Veidt’s character in The Man Who Laughs (1928).
(9) Tim Burton cast Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth due to his work in various Hammer horror films, which Burton was a fan of.
(10) Although Tim Burton initially intended to cast Brad Dourif as The Joker, the studio overruled him. Additionally, the Batwing would have had a 35-foot wingspan if built to scale, and the cartoon sketch of Batman shown in the press room at the beginning of the film was signed by Bob Kane, the original creator of the Batman comics.