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Films to See Before You Die: #6 Batman


Batman (1989)

Director: Tim Burton

Cast: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Pat Hingle, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Palance

Synopsis: The criminals of Gotham City are in a panic because of rumours of a 6-foot bat terrorizing the crooks and gangsters of the city. No one believes these rumours to be true except a reporter named Knox and photographer Vicky Vale (Kim Basinger) who has arrived in Gotham specifically to cover the giant bat story.  The new District Attorney Harvey Dent (Billy Dee Williams), is desperately trying to get crime boss Carl Grissom (Jack Palance), brought up on numerous charges and incarcerated before the city’s 200th anniversary. The only thing linking Grissom to any kind of wrong doing are files at the Axis Chemical Plant, where he has his number one man Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson) to destroy the files. Napier has been having an affair with Grissom’s girl making this the prime opportunity to set him up, Grissom sends members of the police force he has bought to go and kill Napier. Commissioner Gordon (Pat Hingle) gets wind of this and heads to Axis Chemicals to stop Grissom’s men and apprehend Napier who is vital in pinning Grissom to these crimes. A gunfight ensues and Napier is confronted by the new protector of Gotham, Batman (Michael Keaton), who after a struggle accidentally drops Napier into a vat of toxic chemicals where he is presumed dead. Napier somehow survives but is horribly disfigured then goes to a surgeon who leaves him with a paleface and a permanent grin. He pays a visit to Grissom and kills him for setting him up and reveals himself to be The Joker. Now taking over all of Grissom’s operations the Joker does not let on that he is dead and begins killing anyone who won’t join him. Batman’s alter-ego Bruce Wayne begins to date Vale at the behest of Knox and Vake does a back ground check revealing that Bruce witnessed the murder of his parent’s at a very young age. When Vale becomes an object of the Joker’s affection Batman must save her and the city while confronting a demon from his past.

Trivia: Michael Keaton being cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman caused a controversy amongst comic book fans, with 50,000 protest letters sent to Warner Bros. offices. Bob Kane, Sam Hamm and Michael E. Uslan also heavily questioned the casting. When the production design team arrived at Pinewood Studios in England to build the sets, they discovered the atmosphere processor set from Aliens in one of the sound stages, with most of the Aliens’ nest and eggs still intact.

Why I think you should see this: I have been watching this movie since I was 3 definitely have seen it over 100 times and I have always loved Batman even before it was cool to like him. I have always enjoyed Tim Burton’s work but this is my favourite along with Batman Returns which makes the perfect companion piece don’t waste your time on the other 2 by Joel Schumacher they are just garbage. It is funny that people protested Michael Keaton as Batman and now I consider him to be the best Batman yet. Jack Nicholson is just amazing as the Joker and Kim Basinger is pretty great as Vicky Vale. This is a great film that launched the career of one of the most imaginative directors in film history so check it out sometime.


About Trevor

Hi my name is Trevor and this is my blog! Films are a passion of mine. I am a total film geek. I own over 700 films and the collection is ever growing. I studied Film Studies and Scriptwriting in College. What I have learned about films is mostly self taught.

7 responses to “Films to See Before You Die: #6 Batman

  1. A bit surprised to see this one rank so high, to be honest. Very interested to see the top five…

    • Trevor

      This was my favourite film until I was 16 and holds a very special place in my heart was ranked even higher when I was first making up my list. Thanks for your interest in my blog

      • Oh, I can absolutely relate to films held near and dear…

        You’re quite welcome – I find your posts to be really enlightening. I could never rank films in such a way, I’m too indecisive

      • Trevor

        Ya it is definitely hard to rank films and besides #1 which is my favourite film I am just doing the best I can because I love all these movies.

  2. Ah I had forgotten Tim Burton directed this, which is why it is the best of the franchise.

  3. noa834 ⋅

    I knew this would be in your top 10, I just didn’t know where it would rank. I remember with fear that you were obsessed with this movie as a little tike. It seemed so dark for a 3 year old. You were lucky to be the youngest and have tired out parents who didn’t stop you the way we would have with your older brother!

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