AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
Director: Tim Burton (Dir)
Release Date:   23 Jun 1989
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles premiere: 19 Jun 1989; Los Angeles and New York openings: 23 Jun 1989
Production Date:   3 Oct 1988--late Jan 1989 in London, England
Duration (in mins):   124
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Cast:   Jack Nicholson (Joker/Jack Napier)  
    Michael Keaton (Batman/Bruce Wayne)  
    Kim Basinger (Vicki Vale)  
    Robert Wuhl (Alexander Knox)  
    Pat Hingle (Commissioner Gordon)  
    Billy Dee Williams (Harvey Dent)  
    Michael Gough (Alfred)  
  And Jack Palance ([Carl] Grissom)  
  Co-Starring: Jerry Hall (Alicia)  
    Tracey Walter (Bob the Goon)  
    Lee Wallace (Mayor)  
  [and] William Hootkins (Eckhardt)  
  Goons: Richard Strange    
    Carl Chase    
    Mac Macdonald    
    George Lane Cooper    
    Terence Plummer    
  [and] Philip Tan    
    John Sterland (Accountant)  
    Edwin Craig (Rotelli)  
    Vincent Wong (Crimelord 1)  
    Joel Cutrara (Crimelord 2)  
    John Dair (Ricorso)  
    Christopher Fairbank (Nic)  
    George Roth (Eddie)  
    Kate Harper (Anchorwoman)  
    Bruce McGuire (Anchorman)  
    Richard Durden (TV director)  
    Kit Hollerbach (Becky)  
    Lachelle Carl (TV technician)  
  Napier hoods: Del Baker    
    Jazzer Jeyes    
    Wayne Michaels    
    Valentino Musetti    
  [and] Rocky Taylor    
    Keith Edwards (Reporter)  
    Leon Herbert (Reporter)  
    Steve Plytas (Doctor)  
    Anthony Wellington (Patrolman at party)  
    Amir Korangy (Wine steward)  
    Hugo E. Blick (Young Jack Napier)  
    Charles Roskilly (Young Bruce Wayne)  
    Philip O'Brien (Maitre d')  
    Michael Balfour (Scientist)  
    Liza Ross (Mom)  
    Garrick Hagon (Dad)  
    Adrian Meyers (Jimmy)  
    David Baxt (Dr. Wayne)  
    Sharon Holm (Mrs. Wayne)  
    Clyde Gatell (Other mugger)  
    Jon Soresi (Medic)  
    Sam Douglas (Lawyer)  
    Elliott Stein (Man in crowd)  
    Dennis Lill (Bob the cartoonist)  
    Paul Birchard (Another reporter)  
    Paul Michael (Cop)  

Summary: Batman, the caped crusader, operates as a vigilante in crime-ridden Gotham City. Although police do not acknowledge his existence, journalist Alexander Knox publishes a story about him in the Gotham Globe, enduring the ridicule of his fellow newspapermen, who believe Batman is a myth. However, a beautiful photographer named Vicki Vale approaches Knox at his desk, reveals that she shares his enthusiasm for the Batman story and presents her latest work, photographs of a foreign war that recently made the cover of Time magazine. Knox eagerly agrees to work with Vicki, who suggests they start by attending a benefit held by local businessman, Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile, Carl Grissom, head of Gotham’s crime syndicate, worries that newly elected district attorney, Harvey Dent, plans to investigate Axis Chemical Co. Since Grissom’s syndicate has ties to Axis, Grissom sends his underling, Jack Napier, to raid company files before police get to them. Napier, who is secretly having an affair with Grissom’s mistress, grudgingly follows orders. That evening, at Bruce Wayne’s mansion, Knox attempts to glean information about Batman from Police Commissioner Gordon and Harvey Dent, while Vicki seeks out the party’s host, who eventually reveals himself and confesses he is a fan of her photography. Grissom betrays Napier by calling in an anonymous tip to the police, and Gordon gets word that Axis Chemical is being raided. The commissioner rushes to the scene with Police Lieutenant Eckhardt and a team of policemen. As they arrive, a shootout ensues, and Napier releases toxic chemicals to stave off his pursuers. Batman appears and captures Napier, but Napier’s man, Bob the Goon, holds Gordon at gunpoint, forcing the caped crusader to release his captive. Napier shoots Lt. Eckhardt, then fires at Batman, who deflects the bullet back to his attacker’s face. Napier falls into a vat of chemicals and the police leave him for dead. Later, as Knox attempts to cover the story, police claim Batman was never there, but Knox is unconvinced. Vicki accepts an invitation to dine with Bruce Wayne, and the two forgo his formal dining room to eat in the kitchen with Albert, Bruce’s butler and trusted confidant. That night, in a makeshift operating room, a doctor performs surgery on Napier’s mangled face, and the gangster laughs hysterically when he sees his reflection in the mirror. Aware that he was set up, Napier surprises Grissom at his office and reveals his new look: green-tinted hair, a chalky, white face, and a permanent, grotesque grin painted red. Still laughing, Napier instructs Grissom to call him “Joker,” then shoots the man dead. After waking up in Bruce Wayne’s bed, Vicki tries to arrange a second date, but Bruce claims he must leave town. Meanwhile, Napier’s new alter ego, the Joker, leads a crime syndicate meeting and announces Grissom has gone away and left him in charge. He kills Tony, one of the syndicate men, and his henchmen usher the others away at gunpoint. Suspicious that Bruce lied to her, Vicki follows him into town and observes as he leaves two red roses on the sidewalk in front of a shuttered hotel. At the Gotham City courthouse, Vinny, one of the syndicate members, files an affidavit for control of Grissom’s holdings, and a crowd forms outside as Knox questions him. Bruce gets there just before the Joker and his henchmen arrive. Marching up the courthouse steps, the Joker kills Vinny with a poisoned pen, then escapes in a car. Later, Bruce informs Albert that Napier is still alive and has taken control of Grissom’s operation. He requests police files on Napier, and learns that the gangster has a history of violence and psychological problems, as well as an interest in chemistry. At the Axis plant, the Joker oversees production of new chemicals, and soon, women begin dying with wide grins on their faces from poisoned cosmetics. Despite the rash of deaths, Gotham’s mayor insists that a 200th anniversary celebration for the city will go on as scheduled. Meanwhile, after seeing a photograph of Vicki in the courthouse crowd, the Joker decides to make her his next girl friend and lures her to a museum, where she believes she is meeting Bruce. As she waits at a table, Vicki receives a box containing a gas mask and a note instructing her to wear it. Suddenly, toxic gas spills into the museum, incapacitating everyone but Vicki. The gas clears and the Joker marches in with his goons, who deface paintings and sculptures at his instruction. He asks Vicki about Batman, but she claims to know nothing. Batman crashes in through the ceiling, rescues her, and drives her away in his heavily armored Batmobile. However, they are forced to proceed on foot when the vehicle crashes. The Joker’s henchmen catch up to Batman, but when they shoot, they discover he is protected by body armor. As Batman fights off his attackers, Vicki secretly snaps photographs. Afterward, he retrieves the Batmobile and leads her to his headquarters in a cave outside the city. Batman shares his findings that the Joker has poisoned hundreds of cosmetics, but the poisoning effects only take hold when certain components are mixed, like hairspray with lipstick and perfume, and provides her with a report to be printed in the Gotham Globe. The next morning, Vicki discovers that Batman stole the film from her camera, but, with the help of Knox, she gets Batman’s story printed on the front page. Unaware that he is Batman, Vicki reprimands Bruce for not returning her calls when he comes to her apartment later that day. He attempts to explain his dual identity, but they are interrupted by the Joker, who aims his gun at Bruce and asks if he “ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight.” Bruce recognizes the phrase, but crumples to the ground when the Joker shoots him. Vicki rushes to Bruce’s aid but finds him gone, realizing that he used her silver tray to stop the bullet. At the Gotham Globe offices, Knox shows Vicki a newspaper clipping about the murder of Bruce’s parents, which he witnessed as a child, and she deduces that the scene of the crime was the spot where Bruce left the roses. In a televised announcement, the Joker tells Gotham’s citizens that he will drop twenty million dollars on the streets at midnight as part of the 200th anniversary celebration, and challenges Batman to a duel. Meanwhile, Bruce looks at the newspaper clipping of his parents’ killing and recalls the shooter asking, “You ever dance with the devil by the pale moonlight?” Bruce suits up as Batman and drives the Batmobile into Axis Chemical Co., where he drops a bomb that destroys the plant. At midnight, the Joker enters Gotham City on a parade float and throws money on the crowd as promised. However, several large balloons tethered to the float release poisoned gas, causing revelers to drop to the ground, lifeless. There to cover the story, Knox orders Vicki inside his car and dons a medical mask as he attempts to fight off the Joker’s goons. Batman flies over the city in his airplane, the Batwing, collecting the poison-filled balloons and sending them into the upper atmosphere. Angry over the stolen balloons, the Joker shoots Bob the Goon dead, then fires at the Batwing, causing it to crash into a church. Vicki rushes to the Batwing, but the Joker kidnaps her and leads her inside the church. Batman emerges from the crash and follows them into a stairwell leading to the belfry. Joker releases one of the bells, which crashes to the first floor and blocks police from entering. However, Batman continues his pursuit and faces off with several of Joker’s henchmen before tussling with the Joker himself. Although Batman knocks him over the side, the Joker lands on a ledge and pulls Batman and Vicki over. As they dangle from the ledge, a helicopter arrives to rescue the Joker, who takes hold of a rope ladder dangling from the aircraft. Batman uses his grapple gun to shoot wire around Joker’s ankle. The other end of the wire is tied to a gargoyle that breaks off the belfry as the Joker is pulled away, but the weight of the gargoyle causes the archvillain to lose his grip, and he plummets to his death. Later, Harvey Dent holds a press conference and reads a letter from Batman, who promises to fight the forces of evil if they return to Gotham City. Dent also reveals a bat-shaped spotlight Batman provided for police to call on him. Viewing the spotlight with a smile, Vicki greets Albert, who awaits her with a car and informs her that Bruce will be a little late for their date.  

Production Company: Warner Bros. Pictures (A Warner Communications Company)
  Guber-Peters Company  
  Polygram Pictures  
Production Text: A Guber-Peters Company Production
A Tim Burton Film
Produced in association with Polygram Pictures
Distribution Company: Warner Bros. Pictures (A Warner Communications Company)
Director: Tim Burton (Dir)
  Peter MacDonald (2d unit dir)
  Derek Cracknell (1st asst dir)
  Pat Harrison (Unit mgr)
  Melvin Lind (2d asst dir)
  Julian Wall (2d asst dir)
  Steven Harding (Asst dir, 2d unit)
  Nikolas Korda (2d asst dir, 2d unit)
  Steve Millson (3d asst dir, 2d unit)
Producer: Jon Peters (Prod)
  Peter Guber (Prod)
  Chris Kenny (Co-prod)
  Benjamin Melniker (Exec prod)
  Michael E. Uslan (Exec prod)
  Barbara Kalish (Assoc prod)
Writer: Sam Hamm (Scr)
  Warren Skaaren (Scr)
  Sam Hamm (Story)
Photography: Roger Pratt (Dir of photog)
  Peter MacDonald (Cam)
  Mike Proudfoot (Cam op)
  John Campbell (Cam op)
  Nicolas Schlesinger (Focus puller)
  Simon Fulford (Focus puller)
  Bradley Larner (Clapper loader)
  Graham Martyr (Clapper loader)
  Nicholas Pearson (Key grip)
  Stuart Godfrey (Key grip)
  Murray Close (Stills photog)
  Chuck Finch (Gaffer)
  Bill Merrell (Best boy)
  Maurice Gillett (Rigging gaffer)
  Mike Brewster (Cam op, 2d unit)
  Stefan Stankowski (Follow focus, 2d unit)
  Adam Cooper (Clapper loader, 2d unit)
  Bob Freeman (Key grip, 2d unit)
  Bob Bremner (Gaffer, 2d unit)
  Bill Thornhill (Best boy, 2d unit)
  Eastman Colour film from Kodak (Originated on)
  Lee Lighting Limited (Lighting equip by)
Art Direction: Anton Furst (Prod des)
  Les Tomkins (Supv art dir)
  Terry Ackland-Snow (Art dir)
  Nigel Phelps (Art dir)
  John Ralph (Asst art dir)
  Michael Boone (Asst art dir)
  Michael White (Prod illustrator)
  Jenny Gregoire (Art dept asst)
  Georgia Dilley (Art dept junior)
Film Editor: Ray Lovejoy (Ed)
  Simon Harris (Asst ed)
  Jaime Estrada Torres (2d asst ed)
  Laura Lovejoy (2d asst ed)
  Ben Palmer (2d asst ed)
Set Decoration: Peter Young (Set dec)
  Dave Allday (Draughtsman)
  Julian Caldow (Draughtsman)
  Mark Harris (Draughtsman)
  Martin Laing (Draughtsman)
  Suzanna Smith (Draughtsman)
  John Lanzer (Prod buyer)
  Terry Apsey (Const mgr)
  John New (Asst const mgr)
  Mike King (Const buyer)
  Edward Butler (Sculptor/Modeller)
  Keith Short (Sculptor/Modeller)
  Clive Ingleton (Decor & lettering artist)
  Peter Wright (Decor & lettering artist)
  Brian Bishop (Scenic artist)
  Emma Harrison (Scenic artist)
  Libby McCullugh (Scenic artist)
  Michael Nugent (HOD carpenter)
  Adrian Start (HOD scenic painter)
  Ronald Newvell (HOD rigger)
  Don Taylor (HOD master plasterer)
  Ron Bede (HOD stagehand)
  Jeff Reid (Standby carpenter)
  Roy Martin (Standby painter)
  Noel Farrell (Standby rigger)
  Dave Baynham (Standby plasterer)
  Bill Dady (Standby stagehand)
  Charles Torbett (Prop master)
  Roy O'Connor (Supv propman)
  Barry Arnold (Chargehand standby propman)
  Paul Cheesman (Standby propman)
  Bradley Torbett (Standby propman)
  Cleo Nethersole (Supv drapesman)
  John Wilson (Chargehand drapesman)
  Colin Fox (Chargehand drapesman)
  Les Andrews (Dressing propman)
  Les Benson (Dressing propman)
  Bruce Cheesman (Dressing propman)
  Peter Godfrey (Dressing propman)
  Robert Hill (Dressing propman)
  Danny Hunter (Dressing propman)
  Danny Skundric (Dressing propman)
  Clive Wilson (Dressing propman)
  Brian West (Prop storeman)
  Keith Vowles (Chargehand standby propman, 2d unit)
  Eric Strange (Standby propman, 2d unit)
  David Philpott (Standby carpenter, 2d unit)
  Paul Whitelock (Standby painter, 2d unit)
  Greg Press (Standby rigger, 2d unit)
  Keith Muir (Standby stagehand, 2d unit)
Costumes: Bob Ringwood (Cost des)
  Linda Henrikson (Ms. Basinger's cost by)
  Graham Churchyard (Asst cost des)
  Annie Crawford (Ward supv)
  William Todd-Jones (Ward asst)
  David Whiteing (Ward asst)
  Len Alexander (Ward asst)
  Dylan Stone (Ward runner)
  Yvonne Hellin (Ward asst, 2d unit)
  Joe Hobbs (Ward asst, 2d unit)
  Tommy Nutter (Mr. Nicholson's clothes tailored by)
  Gianni Baldo (Selected menswear by)
  Lerario (Selected menswear by)
  Escada (Selected ladieswear by)
  Vin Burnham (Batsuit made by)
  Paul Barrett-Brown (Batsuit made by)
Music: Danny Elfman (Mus)
  Prince (Songs wrt and performed by)
  Michael Dilbeck (Mus supv)
  Bob Badami (Mus ed)
  Robin Clarke (Mus ed)
  Graham Farrow (Asst mus ed)
  Eric Tomlinson (Mus scoring mixer)
  Steve Bartek (Orch)
  Shirley Walker (Conductor)
  Sinfonia of London (Mus played by)
  CTS Studios (Mus rec at)
Sound: Don Sharpe (Supv sd ed)
  Bill Rowe (Re-rec mixer)
  Tony Dawe (Sd mixer)
  John Samworth (Boom op)
  David Brill (Sd maintenance)
  Eddy Joseph (Sd ed)
  Rocky Phelan (Foley ed)
  Paul Smith (Dial ed)
  Derek Trigg (Addl sd ed)
  David Sharpe (Asst sd ed)
  Lenny Green (Asst sd ed)
  Paula Connor (Asst sd ed)
  Pat Gilbert (Asst sd ed)
  Ray Merrin (Asst re-rec mixer)
  John Falcini (2d asst re-rec mixer)
  David Allen (Sd mixer, 2d unit)
  Don Wortham (Boom op, 2d unit)
  Goldcrest Elstree Studios (Re-rec at)
Special Effects: Derek Meddings (Spec visual eff)
  John Evans (Spec eff supv)
  Russ Woolnough (Visual eff ed)
  Mark Gill (Asst visual eff ed)
  Peter Watson (Visual eff coord)
  Dennis Bartlett (Travelling matte cam)
  Charles Staffell (Rear projection)
  Dave Docwra (Addl opticals)
  Doug Ferris (Addl matte artist)
  John Grant (Addl matte cam)
  Ronald Burton (Sr spec eff tech)
  Peter Dawson (Sr spec eff tech)
  Michael Dunleavy (Sr spec eff tech)
  Brian Lince (Sr spec eff tech)
  Ray Lovell (Sr spec eff tech)
  Digby Milner (Sr spec eff tech)
  Ken Morris (Sr spec eff tech)
  Robert Nugent (Sr spec eff tech)
  Robert Nugent (Sr spec eff tech)
  Barry Whitrod (Sr spec eff tech)
  Phil Clark (Spec eff tech)
  Terry Cox (Spec eff tech)
  Kevin Draycott (Spec eff tech)
  Kenneth Gittens (Spec eff tech)
  Mervyn Pearson (Spec eff tech)
  Andrew Smith (Spec eff tech)
  Simon Hewitt (Asst spec eff tech)
  Ian Rossiter (Asst spec eff tech)
  Steve Crawley (Wire eff tech)
  The Meddings Magic Camera Co. a member of the LEE Group of Companies (Visual eff by)
  Susan Ford (Prod mgr, MMC visual eff unit)
  Roy Button (Unit mgr, MMC visual eff unit)
  Roger Lofting (Financial controller, MMC visual eff unit)
  Brenda Coxon (Prod accountant, MMC visual eff unit)
  Christine Richardson (Asst accountant, MMC visual eff unit)
  Paul Wilson (Visual eff photog, MMC visual eff unit)
  John Morgan (Cam op, MMC visual eff unit)
  Wally Byatt (Cam op, MMC visual eff unit)
  Jonathan Taylor (Focus puller, MMC visual eff unit)
  David Watkins (Focus puller, MMC visual eff unit)
  Jason Wrenn (Clapper loader, MMC visual eff unit)
  Karl Morgan (Clapper loader, MMC visual eff unit)
  Richard Brierley (Clapper loader, MMC visual eff unit)
  Grant Branton (Video op, MMC visual eff unit)
  Angus Bickerton (Motion control cam, MMC visual eff unit)
  Nigel Stone (Motion control cam, MMC visual eff unit)
  Peter Talbot (Motion control cam, MMC visual eff unit)
  Chris F. Kenny (Motion control cam, MMC visual eff unit)
  Peter Chiang (Visual eff art dir, MMC visual eff unit)
  Darryl Carter (Carpenter, MMC visual eff unit)
  Anthony Moore (Rigger, MMC visual eff unit)
  John Rogers (Gaffer, MMC visual eff unit)
  Micky Thomas (Best boy, MMC visual eff unit)
  Roy Spencer (Sr spec eff tech, MMC visual eff unit)
  Stephen Begg (Spec eff tech, MMC visual eff unit)
  Karl Simmonds (Spec eff tech, MMC visual eff unit)
  Terry Reed (Model workshop supv, MMC visual eff unit)
  Jose Granell (Model maker, MMC visual eff unit)
  Robert Scott (Model maker, MMC visual eff unit)
  Mark Bullimore (Model maker, MMC visual eff unit)
  Ron Walden (Model maker, MMC visual eff unit)
  Carole de Jong (Model maker, MMC visual eff unit)
  Faisal Karim (Model maker, MMC visual eff unit)
  Stephen Lloyd (Buyer, MMC visual eff unit)
  Antony Hunt (Opt cam, MMC visual eff unit)
  Neil Sharp (Opt cam, MMC visual eff unit)
  Janice Body (Rotoscope, MMC visual eff unit)
  Mark Gardiner (Matte cam, MMC visual eff unit)
  Leigh Took (Matte artist, MMC visual eff unit)
  Ray Caple (Matte artist, MMC visual eff unit)
  Ian Townsend (Stagehand, MMC visual eff unit)
  Plume Partners (Title seq by)
Make Up: Paul Engelen (Chief make-up artist)
  Lynda Armstrong (Make-up artist)
  Suzy Evans (Trainee make-up artist)
  Nick Dudman (Joker make-up des)
  Suzanne Reynolds (Prosthetic make-up artist)
  Reza Karim (Prosthetic tech)
  Colin Jamison (Chief hairdresser)
  Janet Jamison (Hairdresser)
  Barry Richardson (Hairdresser)
  Rick Provenzano (Ms. Basinger's hairdresser)
Production Misc: Marion Dougherty (Casting)
  Mike Smith (Supv prod accountant)
  Chris Brock (Loc mgr)
  Margaret Adams (Prod coord)
  Bob Kane (Project consultant)
  Jo Burn (Asst to Mr. Kenny)
  Val Demeter (Asst to Mr. Burton)
  Terry Shane (Floor runner)
  Mathew Claridge (Prod runner)
  Max Brown (Prod runner)
  Cheryl Leigh (Scr supv)
  Maggie Choyce (Asst scr supv)
  Ian Kelly (Video supv)
  Val Farmer (Asst prod accountant)
  Gerard Fitzsimon (Asst prod accountant)
  Linda Bowen (Asst accountant)
  Diane Christian (Asst accountant)
  Amanda Coroon (Accounts asst)
  Sally Wignall (Casting asst)
  Gordon Arnell (Pub)
  Tricia Fisher (Pub asst)
  Judy Britten (Pub asst)
  Annie Marshall (Asst to Mr. Nicholson)
  Katie Ladyko (Asst to Mr. Keaton)
  David Allan (Physiotherapist)
  Rosie Bedford Stradling (Unit nurse)
  John Sargeant of Motors for Movies (Action vehicles)
  Tommy Lee (Prod driver)
  Steve Hill (Prod driver)
  Roy Clarke (Prod driver)
  Brian Hathaway (Prod driver)
  Peter Lewsey (Prod driver)
  Colin Morris (Prod driver)
  Billy Turner (Prod driver)
  Billy Willmot (Prod driver)
  Mary Holdsworth (Scr supv, 2d unit)
  Hilary Fagg (Scr supv, 2d unit)
  Chris Warren (Video op, 2d unit)
  Peter Hodgson (Video op, 2d unit)
Stand In: Eddie Stacey (Stunt coord)
  Carl Newman (Movement double)
  Ken Barker (Stunts)
  Marc Boyle (Stunts)
  Peter Brace (Stunts)
  Stuart Clark (Stunts)
  Gerry Crampton (Stunts)
  Graeme G. Crowther (Stunts)
  Simon Crane (Stunts)
  Clive Curtis (Stunts)
  Jeff Davis (Stunts)
  Steve Dent (Stunts)
  Jim Dowdall (Stunts)
  Eddie Eddon (Stunts)
  Tracey Eddon (Stunts)
  Steve Emerson (Stunts)
  Dorothy Anne Ford (Stunts)
  Terry Forrestal (Stunts)
  Sarah Franzl (Stunts)
  Romo Gorrara (Stunts)
  Richard Graydon (Stunts)
  Richard Hammett (Stunts)
  Paul Heasman (Stunts)
  Tom Hegarty (Stunts)
  Nick Hobbs (Stunts)
  Dave Holland (Stunts)
  Sy Hollands (Stunts)
  Dave Lea (Stunts)
  Tom Lucy (Stunts)
  Mark McBride (Stunts)
  Sean McCabe (Stunts)
  Mark Newman (Stunts)
  Eddie Powell (Stunts)
  Nicholas Powell (Stunts)
  Doug Robinson (Stunts)
  Stuart St. Paul (Stunts)
  Lee Sheward (Stunts)
  Colin Skeaping (Stunts)
  Tony Smart (Stunts)
  Tip Tipping (Stunts)
  Tony Van Silva (Stunts)
  Chris Webb (Stunts)
  Bill Weston (Stunts)
  Les White (Stunts)
  Steve Whyment (Stunts)
  Nick Wilkinson (Stunts)
Color Personnel: Technicolor® (Colour by)
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Country: Great Britain and United States
Language: English
Series: Batman

Songs: "The Future," "Vicki Waiting," "Electric Chair," "Partyman," "Trust," all written, produced and performed by Prince; "Scandalous," written by Prince with John L. Nelson, produced and performed by Prince; "Theme From A Summer Place," performed by Percy Faith and his Orchestra, written by Max Steiner, courtesy of CBS Records, Music Licensing Department; "Beautiful Dreamer," performed by Hill Bowen & Orchestra, written by Stephen Foster, courtesy of CBS Special Products, a service of CBS Records, a division of CBS Records Inc.; "There'll Be A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight," written by Joe Hayden, M. Theodore, A. Metz.
Composer: Prince
  Stephen Foster
  Joe Hayden
  Theodore August Metz
  John L. Nelson
  Max Steiner
Source Text: Based upon characters appearing in magazines published by DC Comics, Inc. Based on Batman characters created by Bob Kane.
Authors: Bob Kane

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Warner Brothers, Inc. 7/7/1989 dd/mm/yyyy PA417162

PCA NO: 29761
Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Stereo® in selected theatres
  Lenses/Prints: Lenses and Panaflex® cameras by Panavision®

Genre: Adventure
Sub-Genre: Action
Subjects (Major): Batman (Comic book character)
  Crime syndicates
Subjects (Minor): Armored cars
  Arms and armor
  Charity balls
  Chemical warfare
  Multiple murderers
  Specific types of automobiles
  Urban life

Note: While Kim Basinger’s character is credited as “Vicki Vale,” her name is spelled “Vicky Vale” on the cover of a Time magazine seen in the film. End credits include the statement: “Filmed at Pinewood Studios, London, England.”
       The project was announced in a 16 Oct 1977 HR news item, which stated that executive producer Benjamin Melnicker’s Batman Productions had teamed with Warner Publishing chairman William Sarnoff to option Batman from DC Comics and produce a feature film for release in 1981. However, two years later, a 28 Nov 1980 HR article reported that Batman was slated to be the next project for Melnicker and executive producer Michael E. Uslan, who had written Batman comics “while working his way through law school.” HR made no further mention of Sarnoff, who does not receive onscreen credit. Melnicker and Uslan planned to produce the film as part of their deal with Polygram Pictures, with Warner Bros. Pictures set to finance the $15 million production budget and filming slated for 1981 in New York City. The project was further delayed, and on 29 Dec 1982, LAHExam announced that a script had been completed. Shooting was pushed to fall 1983, with “big names” expected to fill cameo roles and younger, unknown actors playing “Batman” and “Robin,” although, according to a 10 Jun 1981 LAHExam item, Burt Reynolds’s name had been linked to the lead role. Adam West expressed interest in revisiting his role as “Batman” from the television series of the same name (ABC, 12 Jan 1966—14 Mar 1968), but Polygram vice-president Adam Fields stated that the company did not wish to associate their production with the television series; furthermore, the 50-something West was not considered age-appropriate. Ultimately, Batman did not go into production until fall 1988, and the character of “Robin” was not in the final script.
       Before Michael Keaton was cast as “Batman/Bruce Wayne,” Bill Murray was considered for the role, according to a 5 Feb 1989 NYT article. When Keaton’s casting was announced, an 11 Sep 1988 LAT item reported that the news was met with significant backlash from comic-book fans who felt the actor was not serious enough, and lacked the proper physical stature. Some dissenters went so far as to take out advertisements and organize letter-writing campaigns to Warner Bros. and DC Comics. According to an article in the 18 Jun 1989 LAT, Keaton’s salary was between $2 and 3 million.
       Although the 11 Sep 1988 LAT stated that Batman creator Bob Kane would play a cameo role as a newspaper cartoonist, Kane is not credited in the cast, while Dennis Lill appears in the role of “Bob the cartoonist.”
       A 13 Jun 1989 HR “Rambling Reporter” column noted that director Tim Burton first offered the role of “Joker/Jack Napier” to Robin Williams, who expressed interest but needed to rearrange his schedule to accommodate the role. However, before Williams could confirm his availability, Jack Nicholson was cast. A 30 Jun 1988 LAHExam brief stated that Nicholson was paid $5 million for three weeks of work playing the Joker, while an 18 Jun 1989 LAT article reported the salary as $6 million. According to a 7 Oct 1988 HR brief, the script was amended after Nicholson joined the project so that the Joker would sound more like him. Nicholson’s “Joker” makeup took two hours to apply and one hour to remove, as noted in a 7 Nov 1988 DV brief. Rumors of on-set tensions between Nicholson and Burton were mentioned in a 29 Oct 1988 Long Beach, CA Press-Telegram item, but Warner Bros. denied the claims as “rubbish.” Production notes in AMPAS library files quoted Nicholson as saying Batman was the “most carefree production” he had ever worked on. Regardless, the actor refused to participate in the Warner Bros.-sanctioned documentary, The Making of Batman, according to the 5 Feb 1989 NYT article.
       Although Sean Young was cast as “Vicki Vale,” as announced in an 18 Sep 1988 LAT news item, the actress was replaced by Kim Basinger after suffering a horseback riding injury. According to a 12 Aug 1991 People item, Young’s injury took place during a rehearsal for Batman, and she later lobbied to audition for “Catwoman” in the Burton-directed sequel, Batman Returns (1992, see entry). However, Young was not considered for the role, even after she went to the Warner Bros. lot dressed as the character.
       Production designer Anton Furst combined different periods, ranging from the 1930s to present, for Gotham City’s architecture, and modeled the church after Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi’s work. His design of the twenty-foot-long “Batmobile” was inspired by 1930s Bonneville Salt Flats racers, 1950s and 1960s Corvettes and Stingrays, and modern-day fighter airplanes, as noted in an 18 Jun 1989 NYT article. At a cost of $250,000, two Batmobiles were constructed using two 1968 Chevrolet Impalas, and parts from Harrier fighter jets and Rolls-Royce Olympus Speys, as noted in a 12 Jun 1989 LAT article. The vehicle’s black exterior was made of Kevlar, and Batman’s suit was fashioned from sculpted latex. According to the 5 Feb 1989 NYT, costume designer Bob Ringwood designed twenty different bodies, along with twenty-five “cape ‘looks’” and six separate heads for Batman. Keaton described the costumes as very uncomfortable and reportedly sweated through two Batsuits each day.
       Principal photography began 3 Oct 1988 in London, England, according to 21 Sep 1988 Var production charts. Shooting took place at Pinewood Studios, where thirty-five major sets were constructed, some fifty-feet high; in total, eight blocks of Gotham City were built, as stated in 12 Jun 1989 LAT and 18 Jun 1989 NYT articles. According to production notes, a “75,000-square-foot abandoned power station” served as the location for Axis Chemical Co., and two historic homes, Hatfield House and Knebworth, stood in for Bruce Wayne’s mansion. Filming was completed the week of 23 Jan 1989, as reported in a 30 Jan 1989 DV news brief.
       The 5 Feb 1989 NYT referred to Batman as “the biggest Warner Brothers film of 1989.” According to a 31 May 1989 Var article, the picture cost $35 million; however, a 29 Jun 1989 HR item listed the cost as $60 million, with a prints and advertising budget of $20-25 million. Various contemporary sources, including the 18 Jun 1989 issues of LAT and NYT, cited production budget figures ranging from $40 to $57 million, and a 21 Mar 1991 LAT article stated that prints ultimately cost $9 million, while $62.4 million was spent on advertising and publicity.
       According to the 18 Jun 1989 LAT, public awareness of the film prior to its release exceeded any picture in Warner Bros. history. A thirty-second trailer for Batman began screening on Christmas Day 1988, while commercials, film clips, and interviews aired heavily on television. According to an 18 Jun 1989 LAT article, nearly 130 licensees created merchandise for the film, from T-shirts to coffee table books, and fast food restaurant chain Taco Bell offered promotional tie-ins, as stated in a 17 Jun 1996 DV item. The 19 Jun 1989 premiere at Los Angeles, CA’s Bruin and Mann Village Theaters drew a crowd of 8,000 onlookers, as reported in a 20 Jun 1989 LAT article.
       Critical reception was mixed, although consistent praise went to Jack Nicholson’s performance and Anton Furst’s production design. Along with set decorator Peter Young, Furst won an Academy Award for Art Direction. For his “Batman Theme,” composer Danny Elfman won a GRAMMY award for Best Instrumental Composition, while Jack Nicholson received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
       A 19 Dec 1989 DV item reported the film’s domestic box-office gross, after 174 days of release, as $251,188,924. To the time, only 1982’s E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and 1983’s Return of the Jedi (see entries) had grossed higher amounts on their initial releases. According to a 30 Nov 1989 LAT item, Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) paid $20 million for television broadcast rights to the film, while Batman’s box-office success also helped bolster reruns of the Batman television series, which gained twenty-seven markets around the time of the theatrical release, as reported in a 13 Jul 1989 HR brief.
       The song “Batman,” by Prince, included in Batman’s soundtrack, reached the number one spot on Billboard magazine’s chart after only three weeks, according to a 14 Jul 1989 LAT brief.
       A 22 Oct 1993 DV item stated that Michael E. Uslan and Benjamin Melnicker sued Guber-Peters Company, Polygram Pictures, and Warner Bros. for withholding their thirteen-percent share of net profits. At the time, Warner Bros. contended that the film still had a deficit of $20 million. Guber-Peters Company was dropped from the suit and, on 25 Jan 1994, HR announced that all charges against Warner Bros. and Polygram had been dismissed after Los Angeles Superior Court judge David Yaffe found no evidence to support Melnicker and Uslan’s claims. Despite earning $300 million, the film was still not profitable, partly due to gross profit participations. Polygram made $4 million from gross profit points, while producers Peter Guber and Jon Peters earned $16 million. According to the 21 Mar 1991 LAT, Jack Nicholson’s deal guaranteed him fifteen percent of gross profits until the film earned a certain amount, at which point the actor’s take increased to twenty percent. Nicholson’s earnings on the film reportedly exceeded $50 million. Although Judge Yaffe found Polygram guilty of failing to consult with Melnicker and Uslan during production and illegally replacing their producer titles with executive producer titles, no money was awarded to the plaintiffs, who had asked for “40% of whatever their ‘partners’ got…net or gross.”
       In another lawsuit, magician David Copperfield sued collector Michael Eisenberg and auctioneers Butterfield & Butterfield for $1 million after buying a Batmobile at auction for $189,500, then discovering that the vehicle had been used for publicity purposes only and had not appeared onscreen, as reported in a 9 Apr 1996 LAT news brief. The lawsuit was settled, according to a 10 Aug 1996 LAT item, and the same Batmobile was later purchased by the Words & Pictures Museum of Fine Sequential Art in Northampton, MA.
       In anticipation of a sequel, two different endings were shot, including one in which the Joker survived, as noted in a 2 Apr 1989 LAT item. Plans for the sequel, Batman Returns (1992, see entry), were announced in a 25 Feb 1991 DV article, which stated that Batman had become the “fifth-highest grossing domestic pic of all time” and Warner Bros.’ most successful film to date. Michael Keaton reprised his role in Batman Returns, which was also directed by Burton. Two more films were produced in the series: Batman Forever (1995, see entry), and Batman & Robin (1997, see entry). While Burton stayed on as producer, Joel Schumacher replaced him as director of Batman Forever, in which Val Kilmer starred in the titular role, and Batman & Robin, which featured George Clooney as Batman.

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   7 Nov 1988.   
Daily Variety   30 Jan 1989.   
Daily Variety   13 Jun 1989   p. 2, 15.
Daily Variety   19 Dec 1989.   
Daily Variety   25 Feb 1991   p. 1, 22.
Daily Variety   22 Oct 1993.   
Hollywood Reporter   16 Oct 1977   p. 1, 13.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Nov 1980   p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter   7 Oct 1988.   
Hollywood Reporter   13 Jun 1989.   
Hollywood Reporter   15 Jun 1989   p. 4.
Hollywood Reporter   29 Jun 1989.   
Hollywood Reporter   13 Jul 1989.   
Hollywood Reporter   25 Jan 1994   p. 1, 41.
Long Beach, CA, Press-Telegram   29 Oct 1988.   
LAHExam   10 Jun 1981.   
LAHExam   29 Dec 1982   Section A, p. 2.
LAHExam   30 Jun 1988.   
Los Angeles Times   11 Sep 1988   Section K, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times   18 Sep 1988.   
Los Angeles Times   2 Apr 1989   p. 27.
Los Angeles Times   12 Jun 1989   Section D, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   18 Jun 1989.   
Los Angeles Times   18 Jun 1989   Calendar, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times   20 Jun 1989   p. 3.
Los Angeles Times   23 Jun 1989   p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   14 Jul 1989   Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times   30 Nov 1989   Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times   21 Mar 1991   Calendar, p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   9 Apr 1996   Calendar, p. 2.
Los Angeles Times   10 Aug 1996   Calendar, p. 2.
New York Times   5 Feb 1989   Section A, p. 11.
New York Times   18 Jun 1989   Section A, p. 1.
New York Times   23 Jun 1989   p. 12.
People   12 Aug 1991.   
Variety   21 Sep 1988.   
Variety   14 Jun 1989   p. 7.
Variety   31 May 1989   p. 5.
Variety   17 Jun 1996.   

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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