Batman made his first appearance in Detective Comics #27, an issue that eventually became one of the most significant and valuable comic books in history. Since then, the Caped Crusader has been the star of numerous TV series and movies, both live action and animated, as well as a boatload of video games. While we’re huge fans of Batman: The Animated Series and think the Arkham video games have been outstanding, today we’d like to pay homage to Batman by highlighting his greatest movies, both animated and live-action.
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of Tim Burton’s Batman, join us as we rank all 25 Batman movies (live-action and animated), from our least favorite to very best. Enjoy!
25. Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman (2003)
Synopsis: As if the Penguin wasn’t enough to contend with, a female vigilante has surfaced in Gotham City and her strong-arm tactics give Batman cause for concern.
Cast: Kelly Ripa, Kimberly Brooks, Elisa Gabrielli, David Ogden Stiers, Kevin Michal Richardson, Robert Costanzo, Tim Dang, Bob Hastings, Eli Marienthal, Tara Strong, John Vernon, Efrem Zimbalist, Kevin Conroy, Kyra Sedgwick, and Héctor Elizondo,
Directed by: Curt Geda
24. Batman and Harley Quinn (2017)
Synopsis: Batman and Nightwing join forces with Harley Quinn to stop a global threat brought about by Poison Ivy and the Plant Master.
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Melissa Rauch, Loren Lester, Paget Brewster, John DiMaggio, Eric Bauza, Robin Atkins Downes, Trevor Devall, Rob Paulsen, Mindy Sterling, and Kevin Michael Richardson
Directed by: Sam Liu
23. Batman Forever (1995)
Synopsis: Batman (Val Kilmer) faces off against two foes: the schizophrenic, horribly scarred former District Attorney Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones), and the Riddler (Jim Carrey), a disgruntled ex-Wayne Enterprises inventor seeking revenge against his former employer by unleashing his brain-sucking weapon on Gotham City’s residents. As the caped crusader also deals with tortured memories of his parents’ murder, he has a new romance, with psychologist Chase Meridian (Nicole Kidman).
Cast: Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, Chris O’Donnell, Nocle Kidman, Tommy Lee Jones, Michael Gough, Drew Barrymore, Debi Mazar, and Pat Hingle
Directed by: Joel Schumacher
22. Son of Batman (2014)
Synopsis: Batman must battle Deathstroke and the might of the League of Assassins upon learning that he has a violent and unruly son with Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter, Talia.
Cast: Stuart Allan, Jason O’Mara, Thomas Gibson, Morena Baccarin, Sean Maher, David McCallum, Giancarlo Esposito, Xander Berkeley, Diane Michelle, Fred Tatasciore, Bruce Thomas, Kari Wahlgren, Dee Bradley Baker, and Andrea Romano
Directed by: Ethan Spaulding
21. Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010)
Synopsis: Superman (Tim Daly) and Batman (Kevin Conroy) join forces to save a Kryptonian visitor from the evil Darkseid (Andre Braugher).
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Tim Daly, Summer Glau, Andre Braugher, Susan Eisenberg, Julianna Grossman, Edward Asner, Rachel Quaintance, Salli Saffioti, Andrea Romano, Jim Ward, Dave B. Mitchell, Greg Alan Williams, John Cygan, April Winchell, and Tara Strong
Directed by: Lauren Montgomery
20. Batman vs. Two-Face (2017)
Synopsis: Former Gotham City District Attorney Harvey Dent, whose face has been scarred by acid, goes on a crime spree based on the flip of a defaced, two-headed silver dollar.
Cast: Adam West, Burt Ward, William Shatner, Julie Newman, Jim Ward, Thomas Lennon, Lynne Marie Stewart, Jeff Bergman, Wally Wingert, William Salyers, Sirena Irwin, and Lee Meriwether
Directed by: Rick Morales
19. Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero (1998)
Synopsis: Mr Freeze kidnaps Barbara Gordon to use her plasma to rejuvenate his dying wife. Leaving Batman and Robin to race against time to save Barbara and stop Freeze’s desperate scheme.
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Michael Ansara, Loren Lester, Mary Kay Bergman, Rahi Azizi, Robert Costanzo, Mari Devon, George Dzundza, Bob Hastings, Marilu Henner, Dean Jones, Liane Schirmer, Frank Welker, and Efrem Zimbalist
Directed by: Boyd Kirkland
18. Batman: Bad Blood (2016)
Synopsis: Bruce Wayne is missing. Alfred covers for him while Nightwing and Robin patrol Gotham City in his stead. And a new player, Batwoman, investigates Batman’s disappearance.
Cast: Jason O’Mara, Yvonne Strahovski, Stuart Allan, Sean Maher, Gaius Charles, Morena Baccarin, Ernie Hudson, Steve Blum, John DiMaggio, Travis Willingham, Robin Atkin Downes, Vanessa Marshall, Richar McGonagle, Matthew Mercer, and Geoff Pierson
Directed by: Jay Olivia
17. Batman: Gotham Knight (2008)
Synopsis: A collection of key events mark Bruce Wayne’s life, as he journeys from a beginner to the Dark Knight.
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Jim Meskimen, Corey Burton, David McCallum, Jason Marsden, Rob Paulsen, Alanna Ubach, Gary Dourdan, Ana Ortiz, Kevin Michael Richardson, George Newbern, Scott Menville, Crystal Scales, and Frank Welker
Directed by: Shoujirou Nishimi, Futoshi Higashide, Hiroshi Morioka, Yasuhiro Aoki, Toshiyuki Kubooka, Andrea Romano, and Jong-Sik Nam
16. The Batman Superman Movie: World’s Finest (1997)
Synopsis: Batman and Superman team up to fight the Joker and Lex Luthor, while Bruce Wayne begins dating Lois Lane.
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Clancy Brown, Tim Daly, Tim Daly, Mark Hamill, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., Joseph Bologna, Corey Burton, Bob Hastings, Lauren Tom, Lisa Edelstein, Robert Costanzo, and Brad Garrett
Directed by: Toshihiko Masuda
15. Batman: The Movie (1966)
Synopsis: Kaaapowie! Holy feature film, Batman … one based on the tongue-in-cheek, campy 1960’s television series. Watch Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) battle sharks, Catwoman, The Joker, and The Riddler on the big screen. Can they try to prevent the bad guys from taking over the world? With a wham! and a pow! and a zip! … our heroes just might win.
Cast: Adam West, Burt Ward, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton, Madge Blake, Stafford Repp
Directed by: Leslie H. Martinson
14. Batman vs. Robin (2015)
Synopsis: Damian Wayne has a hard time accepting his father’s no-killing rule, and soon starts to believe his destiny lies within a secret society.
Cast: Jason O’Mara, Kevin Conroy, Stuart Allan, Sean Maher, ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, David McCallum, Jeremy Sisto, Grey DeLisle, Robin Atkin Downes, and Peter Onorati
Directed by: Jay Oliva
13. Batman: Year One (2011)
Synopsis: Following the origin story of Batman, a young Bruce Wayne and James Gordon move to Gotham City and quickly become acquainted with the violence and corruption of the city. Wayne transforms into Batman and begins his fight against crime and evil.
Cast: Ben McKenzie, Bryan Cranston, Eliza Dushku, Katee Sackhoff, Alex Rocco, Jon Polito, Grey DeLisle, Jeff Bennett, and Robin Atkin Downes
Directed by: Sam Liu & Lauren Montgomery
12. The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Synopsis: There are big changes brewing in Gotham, but if Batman (Will Arnett) wants to save the city from the Joker’s (Zach Galifianakis) hostile takeover, he may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up. Maybe his superhero sidekick Robin (Michael Cera) and loyal butler Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) can show him a thing or two.
Cast: Will Arnett, Mariah Carey, Chris McKay, Conan O’Brien, Michael Cera, Channing Tatum, Ellie Kemper, Rosario Dawson, Jenny Slate, Zoë Kravitz, Ralph Fiennes, Adam DeVine, Zach Galifianakis, Jason Mantzoukas, Jonah Hill, Susan Bennett, Billy Dee Williams, Jemaine Clement, Eddie Izzard, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindhome, and Seth Green
Directed by: Chris McKay
11. Batman: Assault on Arkham (2014)
Synopsis: Batman (Kevin Conroy) must prevent the Joker (Troy Baker) from destroying Gotham City, while battling a new batch of villains called the Suicide Squad.
Cast: Kevin Conroy, Troy Baker, Matthew Gray Gubler, Neal McDonough, Giancarlo Esposito, Hynden Walch, C. C. H. Pounder, John DiMaggio, Greg Ellis, Jennifer Hale, Nolan North, Martin Jarvis, and Eric Bauza
Directed by: Jay Oliva & Ethan Spaulding
10. Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
Synopsis: In the Gotham City of the future, an older Bruce Wayne (Kevin Conroy) trains a college student, Terry McGinnis (Will Friedle), to replace him as Batman. Meanwhile, the Joker (Mark Hamill) has re-emerged as the leader of the Jokerz, a gang inspired by their evil hero, who was previously thought to be dead. Terry tries to stop the theft of communications gear by the Jokerz, but the Joker narrowly escapes. The truth about the Joker’s life and death slowly emerges through violent confrontations.
Cast: Bruce Timm, Will Friedle, Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, Tara Strong, Henry Rollins, Angie Harmon, Lauren Tom, Melissa Joan Hart, Rachael Leigh Cook, Teri Garr, Michael Rosenbaum, Frank Welker, Dean Stockwell, Mathew Valencia, Arleen Sorkin, Don Harvey, and Vernee Watson-Johnson
Directed by: Curt Geda
9. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
Synopsis: In this animated feature set in the 1940s, the troubled yet heroic Batman (Kevin Conroy) is pitted against a mysterious figure who is rubbing out Gotham City’s most dangerous criminals, and who many believe is the caped crusader himself. Batman’s alter ego, millionaire Bruce Wayne is about to get married to the lovely Andrea Beaumont (Dana Delany), who helps him recover from his need to avenge his parents’ murder — meaning that his crime-fighting days may be numbered.
Cast: Mark Hamill, Kevin Conroy, Dana Delany, Stacy Keach, Hart Bochner, Abe Vigoda, Dick Miller, Efrem Zimbalist Jr., John P. Ryan, Bob Hastings, and Robert Costanzo
Directed by: Bruce Timm & Eric Radomski
8. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 (2013)
Synopsis: Batman and his new sidekick, Robin, deal with the Joker’s newest plot, while Superman brings a global catastrophe to Gotham City.
Cast: Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, Michael Emerson, David Selby, Bruce Timm, Michael McKean, Mark Valley, Conan O’Brien, Maria Canals-Barrera, Paget Brewster, Grey DeLisle, Dee Bradley Baker, Robin Atkin Downes, Carlos Alazraqui, Gary Anthony Williams, and Yuri Lowenthal
Directed by: Jay Oliva
7. Batman: Under the Red Hood (2010)
Synopsis: Batman faces a vigilante who aims to clean up Gotham City but does not follow his moral code.
Cast: Bruce Timm, Jensen Ackles, Bruce Greenwood, Neil Patrick Harris, John DiMaggio, Jason Isaacs, Wade Williams, Vincent Martella, Andrea Romano, Jim Piddock, Gary Cole, Carlos Alazraqui, and Alexander Martella
Directed by: Brandon Vietti
6. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 (2012)
Synopsis: Batman comes out of retirement and gets help from a teenage sidekick. He faces off against the Joker and Two-Face before a battle to the death begins against Superman.
Cast: Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, Michael Emerson, David Selby, Bruce Timm, Michael McKean, Grey DeLisle, Dee Bradley Baker, Carlos Alazraqui, Gary Anthony Williams, and Yuri Lowenthal
Directed by: Jay Oliva
5. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Synopsis: It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night. Assuming responsibility for the death of Harvey Dent, Batman sacrificed everything for what he and Gordon hoped would be the greater good. However, the arrival of a cunning cat burglar (Anne Hathaway) and a merciless terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy) force Batman out of exile and into a battle he may not be able to win.
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, Cillian Murphy, Juno Temple, Matthew Modine, Nestor Carbonell, Joey King, Josh Pence, Ben Mendelsohn, and Burn Gorman
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
4. Batman Returns (1992)
Synopsis: The monstrous Penguin (Danny DeVito), who lives in the sewers beneath Gotham, joins up with wicked shock-headed businessman Max Shreck (Christopher Walken) to topple the Batman (Michael Keaton) once and for all. But when Shreck’s timid assistant, Selina Kyle (Michelle Pfeiffer), finds out, and Shreck tries to kill her, she is transformed into the sexy Catwoman. She teams up with the Penguin and Shreck to destroy Batman, but sparks fly unexpectedly when she confronts the caped crusader.
Cast: Michael Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Danny DeVito, Michael Gough, Christopher Walken, Pat Hingle, Cristi Conaway, Michael Murphy, and Paul Reubens
Directed by: Tim Burton
3. Batman Begins (2005)
Synopsis: A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he’s trained in the martial arts by Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), a member of the mysterious League of Shadows. When Ducard reveals the League’s true purpose — the complete destruction of Gotham City — Wayne returns to Gotham intent on cleaning up the city without resorting to murder. With the help of Alfred (Michael Caine), his loyal butler, and Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), a tech expert at Wayne Enterprises, Batman is born.
Cast: Christian Bale, Cillian Murphy, Katie Holmes, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Ken Watanabe, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, Mark Boone Junior, Linus Roache, Tim Booth, and Jack Gleeson
Directed by: Christopher Nolan
2. Batman (1989)
Synopsis: Having witnessed his parents’ brutal murder as a child, millionaire philanthropist Bruce Wayne (Michael Keaton) fights crime in Gotham City disguised as Batman, a costumed hero who strikes fear into the hearts of villains. But when a deformed madman who calls himself “The Joker” (Jack Nicholson) seizes control of Gotham’s criminal underworld, Batman must face his most ruthless nemesis ever while protecting both his identity and his love interest, reporter Vicki Vale (Kim Basinger).
Cast: Michael Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Kim Basinger, Michael Gough, Billy Dee Williams, Pat Hingle, Jack Palance, Robert Wuhl, and Jerry Hall
Directed by: Tim Burton
1. The Dark Knight (2008)
Synopsis: With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has been able to keep a tight lid on crime in Gotham City. But when a vile young criminal calling himself the Joker (Heath Ledger) suddenly throws the town into chaos, the Caped Crusader begins to tread a fine line between heroism and vigilantism.
Cast: Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Cillian Murphy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Nestor Carbonell, Eric Roberts, Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Jai White, David Dastmalchian, and Ng Chin Han