STARRING: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Palance, Jerry Hall, Tracey Walter, Lee Wallace, William Hootkins and Michael Gough
EARNED (Worldwide): $411.3m
AWARDS: 1 Oscar (Best Art Direction/Set Direction)
The Dark Knight of Gotham City begins his war on crime with his first major enemy being the clownishly homicidal Joker.
Gotham City is a dark, dangerous place which is ‘protected’ only by a mostly corrupt police department, even though the likes of D.A Harvey Dent and Police Commissioner Jim Gordon do their best to make the city safer. Everything is changed forever in Gotham as a Dark Knight rises up tackling the criminal underworld, striking fear and terror into those that comes across his path, though unfortunately he encounters Jack Napier, who ends up horribly disfigured after coming across his path in a chemical factory and turns into the psychotic Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker. There’s also the side plot of dealing with a prize-winning photo journalist Vicki Vale looking to uncover the mysterious ‘Batman’, who also comes across the just as mysterious billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne.
Before Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy, there was Tim Burton’s Batman back in the late eighties that gave Bats a bit of legitimacy after the very camp Adam West television series, creating a dark and moody film and also a gothic looking Gotham, making it atmospheric and distinctive (earning itself an Oscar in how the set was handled), which makes Danny Elfman’s score all the more effective when watching the film. For a long time Keaton was considered (and some will argue that he still is) the best Bruce Wayne/Batman portrayal we’ve seen on the big screen, an ordinary guy (who happens to be a billionaire) with a dark undertone to him that in one moment is unleashed upon The Joker and his goons at Vale’s apartment when he’s ready to ‘get nuts’. Another top performer and some would suggest is the key player is Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of The Joker, having to deal with some of the best lines and deliver them effectively in the film, carrying the role with such charisma and menace that many still believe he’s the best big screen Joker we’ve seen to date. Also The Joker appreciates the colour purple and having Prince on the boombox! How can you not love that?
FAVOURITE SCENE: Bruce Wayne comes face to face with The Joker and tells him a story….and goes a little nuts.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: ‘As though we were made for each other… Beauty and the Beast. Of course, if anyone else calls you beast, I’ll rip their lungs out.’ – The Joker
DID YOU KNOW?: Robin Williams was offered the role of The Joker when Jack Nicholson hesitated. He had even accepted the role, when producers approached Nicholson again and told him Williams would take the part if he didn’t. Nicholson took the role and Williams was released. Williams resented being used as bait, and not only refused to play The Riddler in Batman Forever (1995) but also not to be involved in any Warner Bros. productions until the studio apologized.