The Top 10 Batman ’89 Quotes
While the Dark Knight has appeared in numerous films over the years, for many moviegoers its hard to top his first big-screen appearance in Tim Burton’s now legendary Batman (often simply referred to as Batman ’89 by fans).
The film, however, wasn’t without its controversy when it was first released, with many comic readers initially outraged over the casting of Michael Keaton (an actor better known for his comedic roles at the time). Critics also blasted Burton’s overly dark and violent portrayal of Gotham, earning the film a PG-13 rating.
Yet 30 years later, Batman ’89 has since become a key part of the comic book history. It spawned a popular sequel, inspired a new generation of storytelling, and helped to establish the Hollywood super hero blockbuster.
More recently, the movie has been resurrected in the form of a new DC comic book series entitled Batman ’89 , written by Sam Hamm with art by Joe Quinones. What’s more, Michael Keaton will once again don his spandex cowl and reprise the role in the upcoming film The Flash (slated for release June 16).
In honor of the triumphant return of the original cinematic Caped Crusader, we’re digging into … the 10 best Batman ’89 quotes.
10. “I’m Batman.” – Bruce Wayne/Batman
Simple and understated, this two-word line was featured heavily in the original trailer back in 1989 and perfectly captures the tone of the film. In fact, it’s so iconic that Michael Keaton even repurposes the line in the upcoming 2023 film The Flash.
Notably, Michael Keaton actually ad libbed this line. The original dialogue in the script read, “I am the night” but Keaton had forgotten it during the take and went with this version instead.
9. “Have you you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” – The Joker
A key part of the enduring legacy of Batman ’89 is undoubtedly the groundbreaking performance of Jack Nicholson as The Joker, with the Oscar-winning actor bringing a fresh take to the homicidal Clown Prince of Crime.
And while The Joker steals pretty much every scene he’s in, one of the most memorable lines is his now famous “dance with the devil” remark, which appears several times in the film and later even spawned its own song.
8. “Where does he get those wonderful toys?” – The Joker
One of the greatest aspects of Batman ’89 is the inclusion of the many gadgets and vehicles that have long been a hallmark of the Caped Crusader. In particular, the film’s portrayal of both the Batwing and Batmobile were legendary, and would both later reappear in Batman: The Animated Series.
It’s worth noting that the popularity of Batman ’89 would itself spawn a ton of absolutely epic Batman toys that are still being produced even today.
7. “You wanna get nuts? Come on! Let’s get nuts!” – Bruce Wayne/Batman
While some fans were initially critical of Tim Burton’s casting of Michael Keaton (who was better known at the time for his comedic roles in films like Mr. Mom and Beetlejuice), the actor would bring a surprising range and depth to the dual roles of Bruce Wayne and Batman.
In the portrayals following Keaton, many actors have opted for more of a brooding presence to the Dark Knight. However, Keaton brought a manic energy to the film which is perfectly captured in this bizarre and oft-quoted line.
6. “Wait’ll they get a load of me!” – The Joker
An actor known for his versatility, Jack Nicholson brought an incredible range to the character, walking a tightrope between hilarity and homicide. In one scene he’s ruthlessly murdering someone, the next he’s dancing along to a Prince song. It’s a duality that would go on to influence Heath Ledger’s own dynamic take on the Clown Prince of Crime.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in this memorable quote, showing the true darkness that lurks beneath the villain’s smile.
5. “You can call me Joker. And as you can see, I’m a lot happier.” – The Joker
Another bizarre and unforgettable Joker line that perfectly captures the tone of the character and helped to establish The Joker within the larger Batman mythos.
One interesting bit of trivia is that Nicholson almost turned down the role, with Robin Williams being offered the character instead. Nicholson eventually changed his mind and the rest, as they say, is pop culture history.
4. “I made you, you made me first.” – Bruce Wayne/Batman
One of the more interesting, and perhaps somewhat controversial, directions the film took was in tying together the hero and villain’s backstory. Spoiler alert: It was The Joker who killed Bruce Wayne’s parents, back when he was a two-bit thug named Jack Napier. Later, while chasing down Napier, Batman knocks him into a vat of acid transforming him into The Joker.
While it’s a little bit heavy handed now, the concept of Batman and The Joker both feeding on one another’s obsessions has always been explored in the comics. In fact, director Tim Burton would later explain that “the whole film and mythology of the character is a complete duel of the freaks. It’s a fight between two disturbed people.”
3. “If you gotta go, go with a smile.” – The Joker
At the time (and arguably to this day), Batman ’89 was unusual among super hero films because it dealt with some pretty dark themes, including death and suicide.
Interestingly, that darkness applies not only to the themes, but also to the lighting used on the film. In fact, when Batman ’89 was eventually released on video it was noticeably brightened, as cinema audiences had complained that certain scenes were so dark it was difficult to see what was happening.
2. “This town needs an enema!” – The Joker
One of the most bizarre, hilarious ,and oft-quoted lines from all of Batman ’89, this classic bit of dialogue is something that only Jack Nicholson’s Joker could have possibly pulled off.
Reportedly, Nicholson wasn’t exactly the easiest actor to work with, often showing up late, falling asleep in his makeup chair, and occasionally butting heads with director Tim Burton. Still, his work speaks for itself, and over 30 years later, his big-screen rendition of The Joker holds up.
1. “I am the world’s first fully functioning homicidal artist.” – The Joker
It’s really no surprise that in breaking out the best quotes from Batman ’89, virtually all of the best lines belong to The Joker. And that’s definitely the case with this bit of inspired dialogue. It’s a brief but spot-on description of the Clown of Prince of Crime that still stands the test of time.
What’s your favorite Batman ’89 quote? Keep the conversation going over at side.show/geekgroup, and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!
Wondering where you can get those wonderful toys? Sideshow’s Batcave is stocked with the latest Batman collectibles, including a new Batman ’89 Sixth Scale Figure from Hot Toys.