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Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

Jack Nicholson
Michael Keaton
Kim Basinger
Robert Wuhl.
Tim Burton.
Bob Kane
Sam Hamm
Warren Skaaren.
Running Time
126 minutes

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1 Star Empire Rating
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3 Star Empire Rating

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5 Star Empire Rating
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5 Star Empire Rating

Tim Burton's original Batman movie with Jack Nicholson as the Joker.

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Millionaire Bruce Wayne by day, avenging Batman by night, the caped crusader encounters a grinning face from his past when a madman known as the Joker threatens Gotham city.

Even glazed-over Clooney fans have to admit that Michael Keaton made the best and deepest Batman, and there's little to beat the first of the franchise, in which Tim Burton's Gothic vision had yet to be re-hijacked by Schumacher camp.Anton Furst's looming set design remains astonishing, as does Michael Keaton's slightly dotty Bruce Wayne.

Jack Nicholson provides the colour in this gloomy expressionist world, which has since become a Burton trademark. About as unrestrained a performance as he's ever been allowed to get away with, Jack cuts a showboating swathe that pretty much dominates the movie. "Where did he get those wonderful toys?"


Batman: Special Edition Batman: Special Edition
Released: 21 October 2005

Disc One: 
Commentary by Tim Burton
Theatrical Trailer

Disc Two:
On the Set with Bob Kane
Legends of the Dark Knight: The History of Batman: The Batman comic book saga as reinvented and reinterpreted over nearly seven decades.
Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight
Part 1: The Road to Gotham City
Part 2: The Gathering Storm
Part 3: The Legend Reborn
Batman: The Heroes - Batman, Vicki Vale, Alexander Knox, Commissioner Gordon, Harvey Dent
Batman: The Villains - The Joker, Bob the Goon
Beyond Batman Documentary Gallery
Visualizing Gotham: The Production Design of Batman
Building the Batmobile
From Jack to the Joker
Designing the Batsuit
Those Wonderful Toys: The Props and Gadgets of Batman
Nocturnal Overtures: The Music of Batman
Batman: The Complete Robin Storyboard Sequence
Music Videos by Prince - Batdance, Partyman, Scandalous

The movie that gave birth to the summer blockbuster remains impressive.

Reviewed by Andrew Collins

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Average user rating for Batman
Empire Star Rating

"Ever seen the devil dance in the pail moon light".

Rock' em sock' em awesome. Just the fact that Batman cant stand to see a child being hurt makes him a legend. Overall a triumphant and unforgettable film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jericho117 at 19:38, 14 October 2013 | Report This Post

Batman Review

An eerie, haunting spectacle, Batman succeeds as dark entertainment, even if Jack Nicholson's Joker too often overshadows the title character. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 23:36, 13 December 2011 | Report This Post

Really? people consider this to be the best incarnation of Batman? Such a poor movie, it's dull, annoying and just overall pretty damn poor. The script and dialogue is abysmal apart from a few memorable quotes from The Joker. The action scenes are bad and cheesy, and the only redeeming factor is the cool set design and the cool bat suit. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Coyleone at 03:07, 02 September 2011 | Report This Post

"Have you ever danced with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight...?"

And that's just one of many memorable and ever-quotable lines from this undisputed classic! If you're a guy and you were of the same generation I'm from - I saw this at the cinema in 1989 when I was 13 - then you' KNOW the score! I have no time for the Nolan/Bale efforts or any of the immediate sequels. This remains the best BATMAN ever. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Snake-Eyes at 15:26, 06 February 2011 | Report This Post

Cateir de Pheniox

In this review Empire got the star rating spot on however I have to disagree with the ratings for the batman sequels which seemed to be getting worse as; Batman 4 stars, Batman Returns 3 stars Batman Forever 2 stars batman & Robin 1 star As I stated above the films do get worse and one particular though slow downfall are the batman performances; Micheal Keaton good, Val Kilmer ok, George Clooney shit. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Cateir de Pheniox at 21:24, 24 November 2010 | Report This Post

I am a HUGE fan of Batman and I thought this really captured the comic very well. Jack Nicholson as always is brilliant as the Joker and is a very believable character even though his credibility is partially shot with all that make up. :) Well worth a look. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PureAinmhi at 15:45, 14 June 2009 | Report This Post

if only he could turn his head

if only he could turn his head. nicholsons joker is just that, a joker. there was no real threat level the whole way through. and this may be just me but I always thought that Alfred was the backbone of the batman mythology, what kept it from being dark and not gloomy. and in this he has no virtually no useful dialogue and found the performance lacked emotion. keaton is just a little too kooky for my liking. but the sets were excellent, with burton clearly having heavy input. this film finnally ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Chetta95 at 22:48, 28 March 2009 | Report This Post

start of summer blockbusters?

weren't the summer blockbusters kick-started by Star Wars and Jaws in the 70's??? I remember when this film was the talk of the town. How camp and dated it all seems compared to Nolan's vision. Although I have to say no matter how angst-ridden or psychologically scarred these directors want to make this character he is still just a man dressed as a bat. Strange how the movies date so quickly whilst the original comics remain as fresh as the day they were born. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dhowdy at 14:50, 10 January 2009 | Report This Post

this is the first one?

In most sagas (or whatever you want to call them) usually the first/original installment is the one to beat (the best) but in this case its definetaly not the same. Even though Nicholson is much more watchable than Keaton, he just isn't enough to save this movie...because this movie is so much like the cartoon series that it may as well have BANG and POW signs in the useless action scenes and the usless script. And Empire, what the hell do you mean that this started the summer blockbuster-WHAT A... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by !xHoTRoDx! at 15:07, 06 January 2009 | Report This Post

Overhyped and not holding even to the basics of The Legend

While rating this movie we cannot ignore the REAL Batman movies by Nolan. Nolan's Batman & Joker are the TRUE characters we Batman fans have imagined about, based on 'The Killing Joke', 'The long Halloween' and 'Batman: Year One' which are true classic novels about Batman. Among all Batmans, Campy Keaton was the least good looking and had the least physique required for an ideal Wayne/Batman respectively. He never had the ideal Wayne magnetic personality to attract females. He was a ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Amol at 07:30, 26 September 2008 | Report This Post

This may the only film that make me argue with myself over whether I like it or not. But despite my MANY gripes with this film I have to give it it's dues as milestone in comic book adaptions. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SkullKassidy at 10:32, 24 September 2008 | Report This Post

Burton's Bat Best

I still consider this to be the best of te bunch (Yes, including the Christopher Nolan one's.) Burton and co comletely commit to a fantasy world where we can truly believe a character like Batman could exist and while heath Ledger gives an undeniably astonishing performance in "The Dark Knight", whenever i hear the name "Joker" i still think of Nicholson. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Tindum at 16:30, 09 September 2008 | Report This Post

Just watched Batman for the first time. The term 'Shit Sandwich' springs to mind - just utter dross of the worst kind Someone, please tell me what this film has going for it. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sexysam_07 at 22:44, 06 September 2008 | Report This Post

Burton's Batman

The first of Burton's movies is still the best of the 4 early Batman movies. Keaton is good, Nicholson steals the film, and the effects and visuals are astounding. Basinger is a pretty waste of air but fills the screen well. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lynnshep at 03:44, 22 July 2008 | Report This Post

Burton's Batman

I was first shown this film at the very early age of 6 and since then i have loved the joker and Tim Burton!!! Jack N. makes it look easy playing a psycho but as i have just learned in my drama class it is not as easy as it seems.... Anyway I love this film but it doesnt compare to Batman Begins and i have to say i am obsessed with The Dark Knight and the new Joker!!!! R.I.P Heath Ledger may you be laughing in the afterlife p.s. i think the dodgy music in the museum should have been bann... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Chimene at 15:24, 02 May 2008 | Report This Post


Excellent film. The gothic feel of the film is superbub, and Michael Keaton was very good as Batman but it was Jack/ The joker that stole the show. The performance was excellent, truly unforgettable. lines like "MY BALLOONS... HE STOLE MY BALLOONS" and " where did he get all those nice toys from" suit the role so well that the movie could have been called The Joker ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by davieboy at 13:55, 18 February 2008 | Report This Post

True origionality...

is hard to find but Burton hit the nail on the head! Completely unforeseen with the camp batman of the swingin' sixtes still praying on people's minds. It took someone as truly demented as Burton to create this and good on him. "Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight"? TOP BANANA! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JCrooks at 20:51, 02 February 2008 | Report This Post

RE: Superb

]the best batman movie. wasn't impressed by begins. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by marky_77 at 21:59, 13 August 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Superb

While its the best Batman film of the burton/schumacher era,thats not really saying much.Good set design,great music,a suitably ott joker,and a good performance from Michael Keaton cant hide the fact that this movie has dated badly.The film has no real plot to speak of,kim basinger is awful,and the tone veers from all out camp to dark melodrama. Not a patch on the magnificent Batman Begins. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by darth silas at 14:09, 07 August 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Superb

I can't understand why people describe Burtons' work as "dark"...Maybe for 10 year old's it's dark... It's gothic fairy stories, mildly amusing at best.. His batman was all about extravagant set pieces, gadgets and overblown charachters, it's far from the worst but stylistically - he set the tone for the increasingly awful series..             ... More

Posted by Juju boy at 13:46, 07 August 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Superb

L: Juju boy  Tim Burtons sense of "darkness" is for me; camp, overtheatrical and cliche ridden. sp; Care to explain that, as in my interpretation of those words Tim Burton's Batman is none of those things. ... More

Posted by skeletonjack at 11:52, 07 August 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Superb

I think "Begins" is by far the darkest and best batman. Tim Burtons sense of "darkness" is for me; camp, overtheatrical and cliche ridden. Nicholson manages to portray the Joker with a certain mischevious menace and Keaton was the best of the former batmen.. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Juju boy at 10:28, 07 August 2007 | Report This Post


I always find it difficult to decide which Batman movie I like the best, and its always between this and Batman Returns (sorry Begins fans). Dark, brooding, atmospheric, this is for me a fantastic comic book movie, even if it has dated somewhat. 5 stars ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by skeletonjack at 22:00, 05 August 2007 | Report This Post

RE: Batman Begins (For Burton)

Great film and jack the man is great as the joker and micheal keaton is still the best batman by a long shot. Tim Burton rules. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Marty5 at 13:11, 05 August 2007 | Report This Post

Batman Begins (For Burton)

Not as good as batman begins but a great movie with material not like 'the batman' the childrens cartoon. Dark, Funny, original. And im not suprised the anti-vigilante group turned up. Not as brutal as batman begins but definately as violent ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by rockerjo at 20:05, 03 April 2007 | Report This Post

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