Batman

Batman

Synopsis of Movie

“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

In a dark, dirty and crime-ridden Gotham City, it’s sometimes hard to tell the good guys from the bad. Taking its cue from Bob Kane’s original Batman comics of the 1930’s and 40’s, director Tim Burton’s Batman was considerably gloomier than the campy 1960’s TV series and the jokey cowled crusader of the cartoon world. With the help of production designer Anton Furst (who won an Oscar for his work), Burton turned Batman into a visual treat, complete with oppressive cityscapes, a Gothic mansion and of course, “those wonderful toys.”

The Batman story remains mostly unchanged in the film version: As a boy, Bruce Wayne watched his parents get gunned down by a thug in a dark alley. Putting his inherited fortune to use, Bruce devoted his life to fighting crime as the masked, caped Batman. Striking in the night, Batman uses his arsenal of gadgets (utility belt, bat-a-rangs, the armor-plated Batmobile, etc.) to cast fear into the hearts of evildoers everywhere. And they are everywhere… Gotham is so overrun with hoodlums that the city’s 200th Anniversary celebrations are in danger of being cancelled. Police Commissioner Gordon is powerless against the forces of crime boss Carl Grissom, but Grissom has troubles of his own, mostly coming from his treacherous right-hand man, Jack Napier.

Meanwhile, ace photographer Vicki Vale has arrived in town, and she’s intrigued by the stories of a vigilante “bat.” She and reporter Alexander Knox meet millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne at a benefit, but Bruce is soon called away by butler Alfred (the only man who knows his double identity). Grissom has set Napier up for a fall, alerting the cops to Napier’s presence in a chemical factory, and Batman joins the hunt. During the ensuing shootout, Napier falls into a chemical vat, seemingly dead. He does survive, but his skin has been bleached, his hair turned green, and his face frozen into a permanent evil grin. Taking the name The Joker, Napier sets out to become “the world’s first fully functional homicidal artist.”

The Joker’s plots, which include sabotaging the city’s beauty products with a deadly chemical called “Smilex,” brings him in contact with both Vicki (whom he instantly adores) and Batman (whom he instantly despises). A series of battles, kidnappings and escapes leads to a dizzying finale atop a skyscraping church, a duel to the death between Gotham’s two social misfits.

The pre-release hype for Batman was enormous, including a merchandising blitz that put that familiar black-on-yellow bat logo onto nearly every tee shirt in the country. Bat-fans both young and old were whipped up into a frenzy, and when the film was finally released, they responded with enthusiasm.

Arriving in a summer that included both an Indiana Jones film (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and a Ghostbusters sequel, Batman easily became the biggest U.S. hit of the year, and one of the highest-grossing films of all time. Both Danny Elfman’s score and Prince’s song soundtrack became hit albums. The merchandising machine continued, scoring hits in the toy, video game and fashion worlds. In a single summer, a new superhero film franchise was born, leading to three feature sequels (so far), several hit cartoons and a wave of Batman fever that continues today.

Movie Release History

1989 - Batman
1992 - Batman Returns
1995 - Batman Forever
1997 - Batman & Robin

Movie Sub Categories

live-action
sci-fi/fantasy
action/adventure

Movie Studio

Warner Bros.

Cast

Marty McFly Michael J. Fox
Dr. Emmett L. "Doc" Brown Christopher Lloyd
Lorraine Baines / McFly Lea Thompson
George McFly Crispin Glover
Biff Tannen  Thomas F. Wilson
Jennifer Parker  Claudia Wells
Dave McFly Marc McClure
Linda McFly Wendie Jo Sperber
Sam Baines George DiCenzo
Stella Baines Frances Lee McCain
Mr. Strickland  James Tolkan
Skinhead Jeffrey Jay Cohen
3-D Casey Siemaszko
Match Billy Zane
Marvin Berry Harry Waters Jr.
Goldie Wilson Donald Fullilove
Babs Lisa Freeman
Betty Cristen Kauffman
Clocktower Lady  Elsa Raven
Pa Peabody Will Hare
Ma Peabody Ivy Bethune
Sherman Peabody Jason Marin
Peabody Daughter Katherine Britton
Milton Baines Jason Hervey
Sally Baines Maia Brewton
Dixon Courtney Gains
Terrorist Richard L. Duran
Terrorist Van Driver Jeff O'Haco
Scooter Kid #1 Johnny Green
Scooter Kid #2  Jamie Abbott
Lou Caruthers Norman Alden
Cop  Reed Morgan
Bystander #1  Sachi Parker
Bystander #2 Robert Krantz
Guy #1 Gary Riley
Girl #1 Karen Petrasek
Red  George 'Buck' Flower
Starlighter  Tommy Thomas
Starlighter Granville 'Danny' Young
Starlighter  David Harold Brown
Starlighter  Lloyd L. Tolbert
Pinhead Paul Hansen
Pinhead  Lee Brownfield
Pinhead  Robert DeLapp
Newscaster Deborah Harmon
High School Band Judge Huey Lewis

Other Movie Links