Batman is a 1989 American action film directed by Tim Burton and produced by Jon Peters. It was based on the famous DC Comics character of the same name. The film was produced by PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and distributed by Warner Bros., and went into release on June 23, 1989. The film was followed by three sequels, Batman Returns on June 19, 1992, Batman Forever on June 16, 1995, and Batman & Robin on June 20, 1997.
Two muggers are attacked and apprehended by a masked vigilante in an alley. After authorities find the two, the muggers describe the vigilante as resembling a large bat. However, police officer Lt. Eckhardt dismisses the claim. Reporter Alexander Knox, on the other hand, believes the claim and has been tracking down the mysterious attacks, but is disbelieved by Eckhardt. Meanwhile, the Mayor of Gotham City introduces Harvey Dent, the new district attorney, who vows to rid Gotham City of crime. Later on, Knox meets fellow reporter Vicki Vale, who expresses her interest in the identity of the vigilante known as Batman.
Knox, knowing that Commissioner Gordon has a file on the vigilante, attempts to get into a charity benefit at millionaire Bruce Wayne's mansion, which Gordon will be attending. Meanwhile, crime boss Carl Grissom suspects that Harvey may find out about his connection to the Axis Chemical Plants. One of his henchmen, Jack Napier, suggests stealing the files that could incriminate him, and is sent off to do so. Knox fails to get any information from Gordon at the charity benefit. Bruce Wayne and his butler Alfred find out about the Axis Chemical Plants predicament, and Wayne, in fact Batman, heads out to stop Napier.
Napier and his men are ambushed by authorities at the chemical plant. Napier kills Eckhardt and flees, but is attacked by Batman. In the ensuing struggle, Napier falls into a vat of chemicals while Batman flees the scene. Napier's disappearance is ruled as a suicide, though Knox believes the Batman to have been responsible. Vicki, however, refuses to help him investigate further. Meanwhile, Jack Napier has survived, but finds his face to have been bleached white, his fair bleached green, and his face stuck in a permanent smile. Blaming Grissom, Jack Napier kills his former boss and accepts his new persona as the Joker.
The Joker announces to the other crime bosses as having usurped Grissom's empire, and makes a point by killing one of the bosses. Meanwhile, Vicki grows curious about Bruce and follows him, witnessing him place two roses on an alley. Afterwards, a crime boss holds a press conference and claims to be in control of Grissom's empire, but is murdered by the Joker. One of the Joker's minions, Bob, also gets pictures of the people at the conference, including Vicki, whom the Joker becomes smitten with. The Joker also creates a chemical called Smilex, which causes victims to die of laughter.
Vicki is asked by Bruce to meet her at the Gotham Museum of Art. However, once there, it is revealed the Joker sent the invitation request and knocks out the other guests at the museum before vandalizing the building. Batman arrives and rescues Vicki from the Joker. After a battle with the Joker's goons, Batman and Vicki arrive at the Batcave, where Batman reveals he has discovered the source of the Smilex drug, and asks Vicki to take the information to the press. Vicki blanks out and awakens in her apartment, and is visited by Bruce. However, the Joker breaks in and shoots him before leaving. Bruce, however, survives, as he was wearing a silver serving tray.
Knox reveals to Vicki that Bruce's parents were murdered by an unknown mugger as a child. The Joker reveals to the public that he will hold a party and give millions of cash to the citizens. Meanwhile, Bruce, remembering a line from the Joker before he was shot, remembers a similar line from the mugger that killed his parents and realizes that the Joker was the mugger responsible for his parents' murder. Vicki then appears in the Batcave, having found out Bruce's identity as Batman. Batman later on destroys the Axis Chemicals Plant facility.
That night, the Joker arrives on the streets on a giant float and gives away money to the citizens. As Batman arrives to confront him, the Joker releases Smilex gash, killing several citizens. Batman gets rid of the Smilex gas and returns to battle the Joker in his Batwing air craft, but the Batwing is shot down. The Batwing crashes and Vicki is abducted by the Joker and taken to the top of a cathedral. Batman and the police arrive at the cathedral, but the police are unable to reach the top of the cathedral due to the Joker destroying the stairway.
Batman defeats the Joker's minions and confronts the Joker on the tower. The two battle, with Batman easily overpowering the Joker. However, Batman and Vicki are pulled off the balcony by the Joker and left dangling from the tower. As the Joker attempts to flee in a helicopter, Batman uses a grappling hook to tie the Joker's leg to a stone gargoyle. The weight of the sculpture causes the Joker to fall to his death. The Joker's goons are captured by authorities, and Batman sends a bat signal to authorities to use to call him whenever they need assistance.
- Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne/Batman.
- Jack Nicholson as Jack Napier/Joker.
- Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale.
- Robert Wuhl as Alexander Knox.
- Pat Hingle as James Gordon.
- Billy Dee Williams as Harvey Dent.
- Michael Gough as Alfred Pennyworth.
- Jack Palance as Carl Grissom.
- Jerry Hall as Alicia Hunt.
- Tracey Walter as Bob the Goon.
- Lee Wallace as the Mayor.
- William Hootkins as Lt. Eckhardt.