Batman (1989) with Micheal Keaton

02 March 2023
The release of the first Batman movie in 1989, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton as Batman, was a highly anticipated event for fans of the Caped Crusader. However, there were also many reservations about the choice of Keaton as the lead. Fans were concerned that he was not physically imposing enough and that he did not have the gravitas to play the character. 

Nevertheless, the movie was a huge success, grossing over $400 million worldwide.

The production of the film was a massive undertaking, with a budget of $35 million. The special effects were groundbreaking for their time, and the sets and costumes were elaborate and detailed. One of the most notable aspects of the production was the casting of Jack Nicholson as The Joker. Nicholson famously negotiated a deal that gave him a percentage of the gross, which ended up earning him over $60 million.

The plot of the movie revolved around Batman's battle with The Joker for control of Gotham City. Keaton's portrayal of Batman was darker and more brooding than previous incarnations, and his chemistry with Nicholson's Joker was electric. 

The direction by Tim Burton was also a standout feature of the movie, with his signature gothic style and flair for the dramatic on full display.

batman keaton 1989

In addition to Keaton and Nicholson, the supporting cast was also strong. Kim Basinger played Vicki Vale, a journalist who becomes romantically involved with Bruce Wayne/Batman, and her chemistry with Keaton was palpable. The rest of the cast included notable actors such as Robert Wuhl, Pat Hingle, and Billy Dee Williams (Return of the Jedi), who all gave solid performances.

The critical reception of the movie was mixed, with some critics praising Burton's direction and the performances of Keaton and Nicholson, while others criticized the film's dark tone and lack of humor.

Despite this, the movie was a huge commercial success and helped to establish Batman as a major player in the world of cinema. It also set the stage for a series of sequels, although none were able to match the success of the original.

Billy Dee Williams played the character of Harvey Dent, who was portrayed as the charismatic and idealistic district attorney of Gotham City. Dent was shown as an ally to Batman and a key figure in the fight against crime in the city.

However, fans of the Batman comics were aware of Dent's fate in the source material. In the comics, Harvey Dent eventually becomes the villain Two-Face after half of his face is scarred in an acid attack, leading him to adopt a split personality and become obsessed with the number two.

The inclusion of Dent in the first movie was seen as a setup for his eventual transformation into Two-Face in future sequels, this sadly did not eventuate as the sequel, Batman Returns focused on Max Shreck, Catwoman and The Penguin.

ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight
Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

Here are ten quotes from the 1989 Batman movie:

"I'm Batman." - Bruce Wayne/Batman (Michael Keaton) says this line to a group of thugs in an alley, after saving Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger) from their attack.
"Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?" - The Joker (Jack Nicholson) says this line to Bruce Wayne/Batman during their first encounter, before shooting him.

"Never rub another man's rhubarb." - The Joker says this to his henchmen during a meeting, as a way of warning them not to cross him.

"You wanna get nuts? Let's get nuts!" - Bruce Wayne/Batman says this to The Joker, after The Joker threatens to kill Vicki Vale.

"I'm not exactly sure what happened. Sometimes I remember it one way, sometimes another." - The Joker says this to a group of his henchmen, as he reflects on his own twisted memories.

"You weigh a little more than 108." - The Joker says this to Vicki Vale, after she lies about her weight during a date with Bruce Wayne.

"I've been dead once already. It's very liberating. You should think of it as, uh, therapy." - The Joker says this to Vicki Vale, after revealing his plan to poison Gotham City with Smilex gas.

"This town needs an enema!" - The Joker says this to his henchmen, as he prepares to launch an attack on Gotham City.

"You're my number one...guy!" - The Joker says this to his right-hand man, Bob the Goon (Tracey Walter), during a confrontation with Batman.

"I don't know if it's art, but I like it." - The Joker says this to Vicki Vale, as he admires his own handiwork in a museum exhibit.

These quotes capture some of the most memorable moments from the movie, from Batman's iconic introduction to The Joker's twisted sense of humor. Each quote gives us a glimpse into the personality of the character who speaks it and adds to the overall tone of the film.

Here are facts and trivia about the 1989 Batman film:

  • Michael Keaton was cast as Batman after Tim Burton directed him in Beetlejuice.
  • Nicholson's Joker makeup was designed to be a cross between a clown and a corpse.
  • The film was shot on location in London and on sets at Pinewood Studios.
  • The Batmobile was designed by Anton Furst, who won an Oscar for his work on the movie.
  • The movie's budget was $35 million, but it ended up grossing over $400 million worldwide.
  • Tim Burton originally wanted to cast Sammy Davis Jr. as the Joker.
  • Prince contributed several songs to the movie's soundtrack, including "Batdance" and "Partyman."
  • Kim Basinger was cast as reporter Vicki Vale after Sean Young  (Blade Runner) was injured in a horse-riding accident.
  • The Joker's line "This town needs an enema!" was improvised by Jack Nicholson.
  • Michael Keaton's Batman costume was made of foam latex and had to be sprayed with cooling mist between takes.
  • The film's production design was inspired by the Batman comics of the 1940s and '50s.
  • Batman's grappling gun was designed to resemble a Colt 1911 pistol.
  • The Batwing was designed to resemble a bat's wingspan, and was operated by remote control.
  • The Joker's lair was a set built on the stage of the old Rolls-Royce factory in London.
  • The movie was the first to be released under the new Warner Bros. logo, which featured a CGI animation of the studio's iconic shield.
  • Tim Burton was inspired to cast Michael Gough as Alfred the Butler after seeing him in the movie The Boys from Brazil. Gough did all four Batman films from that era. 
  • The film's score was composed by Danny Elfman, who also wrote the iconic Batman theme.
  • The movie was originally rated R, but was later re-edited to receive a PG-13 rating.
  • The Batcave set was built on the stage at Pinewood Studios where the James Bond movies were made.
  • The Joker's "smilex" gas was made from a combination of water, food coloring, and corn syrup.
  • The Batmobile's turbine engine was powered by a Chevy V8 engine.
  • Michael Keaton had to learn how to drive the Batmobile for some of the movie's driving scenes.
  • The movie's working title was "The Batman."
  • The scene where the Joker smashes a vase and says "Oops, better luck next time" was inspired by a similar scene in the Marx Brothers movie Duck Soup.
  • The film's success helped kickstart the superhero movie genre, leading to the release of several other comic book adaptations in the years that followed.


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My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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