Actors Who Have Played Batman in Movies

Batman, a fictional character, has been portrayed by various actors on television, in animation, and the movies. In the following article, we will discuss actors who have played Batman in movies...

Who is Batman? DC Comic writer Bill Finger and artist Bob Kane are to be credited for bringing Batman to life. This superhero is often called The Caped Crusader and The Dark Knight, and has been transformed from comic books to live-action movies, television series, and animation. Batman, as we all know him, is the alter ego or secret identity of multi-millionaire Bruce Wayne. This comic book superhero has been recreated by famous Hollywood actors time and again. With each movie, Batman became more and more dark and showed very little remorse toward villains. In this article, we are going to shed some light on this hero and the Hollywood stars who have played Batman in movies.

A Brief History

One night in Gotham City, as a child, Bruce Wayne was witness to his parents' brutal death. Since that night, he channeled that anger towards wiping criminals from the city and making it a haven for its residents. Although he doesn't possess any superpowers, he relies on his amazing intelligence, physical strength via training, advanced gadgets, and fighting techniques that he developed over the years.

The live-action movies portraying The Caped Crusader have made quite an impact on how we perceive the superhero. With directors bringing in their own, unique knowledge and expertise on who Batman really is, the movies have been depicted so. And now, we move on to taking a closer look at the actors who've given their best for the 'role of a lifetime'.

* The following list is composed of actors who've been in full length live-action films; as of June, 2012.

List of Actors
  1. Adam West
    • Batman (1966)
  2. Michael Keaton
    • Batman (1989)
    • Batman Returns (1992)
  3. Val Kilmer
    • Batman Forever (1995)
  4. George Clooney
    • Batman & Robin (1997)
  5. Christian Bale
    • Batman Begins (2005)
    • The Dark Knight (2008)
    • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Adam West

Adam West was the first television actor who received the coveted movie role of Batman. At the time, he was playing the superhero on television. The series was called Batman. The movie was directed by Leslie H. Martinson. West was Batman on the television series of the same name from the year 1966 to 1968. The movie had all the original cast from the series along with Burt Ward playing his sidekick, Robin. The movie was made after the series' 1st season finale.
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Michael Keaton

After over 2 decades, Tim Burton brought forth a new Caped Crusader amongst us - Michael Keaton. Not only did the actor stay true to Bruce Wayne's dark past and tough exterior, he gave the character depth and personality. Keaton gave a fantastic performance which earned him acclamation from not just Batman fans, but critics as well. Taking the superhero film genre to the next level, making the characters (not just the bad guys) darker and more primal in nature, Tim Burton and Michael Keaton made such a fantastic team, that the duo released another movie, a sequel, Batman Returns, in 1992. Keeping the character true to its name, Keaton reprised his role and made a huge impact for Batman movies and in his career. After tasting success of 2 movies, a third sequel was supposed to be made. However, after Tim Burton was let go from the series, Keaton also opted to leave the project.
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Val Kilmer

Next in line is none other than the handsome, dashing, Val Kilmer. After exits from Tim Burton and Michael Keaton, in came Joel Schumacher as director and Val Kilmer as Batman in Batman Forever. Although Burton was not directing the third installment, he was committed to the project as a producer. Now first of all, Val Kilmer is a good actor who did amazing work in various genres and movies. However, selecting him as Batman was a risky choice which unfortunately, didn't do all that for the franchise. The pout was excellent (in the mask) and the thought of him showing a darker side was intoxicating; but that didn't really transpire well with the audience. Somewhere the diehard fans weren't too happy with Kilmer's costume as well; the embellishments weren't well-received. And the fact that Schumacher commented on Kilmer as 'childish and impossible' doesn't really boast well too. Well, the movie didn't do so well and soon Kilmer as Batman was nothing but a part of history.
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George Clooney

With frustration looming on the sets, Schumacher had decided to replace Kilmer with George Clooney and give Batman a new spin in Batman & Robin. With an amazing cast (not just the 2 superheroes), the new film looked quite promising. However, George Clooney was the lowest-ranking Dark Knight till date. Not only did the movie get a negative reception, but Schumacher kept the nipple-engrafted costumes for Batman and Robin (not a great look for superheroes). The point is, it wasn't working well and George Clooney somewhere failed to channel the darkness of Batman in front of the audience. Finally, the not-so-reassuring words from Clooney were that the franchise must've taken a hit by this series and was a waste of money. Well, after that, what else can we say?!
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Christian Bale

Last, but certainly not the least, Christian Bale was the replacement to try to resurrect the falling image of Batman. With not just 1 but 3 Batman movies under his belt, Bale has finally proved that he is the true Caped Crusader. Not only did he put life back into the franchise and series, he also gave Batman a new purpose. With Christopher Nolan in the director's seat, he and Bale first released Batman Begins in 2005. The franchise got an immense reboot, Batman was back in the action-packed avatar, and the audience were loving every second of it. In 2008, the dynamic duo was back with The Dark Knight; a true title for the worthy. However, Bale wasn't the only one making rounds for accolades. Joining him, or should I say going a step ahead, was Heath Ledger with his amazing performance as the Joker. And now, the world is waiting for the 3rd installment with Bale-Nolan back doing what they do best. The Dark Knight Rises is set to release July 20, 2012 and we just can't wait any longer. Only time will tell if Bale can give another fantastic performance and keep the legend of Batman alive.


Batman is one character, not just a superhero, that audience can relate to. For someone who doesn't possess any supernatural powers, he has developed himself into a crime-fighting machine where his wits, intelligence, strength, and desire to fight crime has dominated everything else in his life. Apart from retribution for his parents' deaths, he has sworn to make Gotham City a safe place for its residents. And if the cops can't seem to handle it, he will take matters into his own hands.

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