Batman (1989 movie)
Batman was released in U.S. theaters on June 23, 1989 by Warner Bros. and soon became the highest grossing movie of the year. It was directed by Tim Burton and starred Jack Nicholson as a rather psychotic Joker, Michael Keaton as Batman, and Kim Basinger as reporter Vicky Vale . Although Keaton played the nominal hero of the film, Nicholson received top billing.
This movie ushered a return to the "dark" roots of the Batman of the comics and away from the campy 1960s Batman television series and cartoon Super Friends. Like many film versions of comic book heroes, the Batman movie told its own version of his origin, and how The Joker figured in that origin.
The main story in the movie is that of Jack Napier, a mob hitman who's double crossed by his crime boss, and ends up falling into a vat of chemicals, which ingrain him with a permanent 'smile'. Naming himself the Joker, he tracks down and kills his own boss and takes over the criminal gang. The violent takeover attracts the attention of both Batman and a newspaper reporter named Vicki Vale. The rest of the story involves Batman fighting to stop the Joker and his henchmen from terrorizing the city with shootouts, assassinations, and a deadly chemical named Smilex.
The minor-key score was written by Danny Elfman, with songs by Prince. This film spun off two animated series, Batman: The Animated Series and The Adventures of Batman and Robin , as well as four theatrical films, Batman Returns, Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (itself a spin-off of the animated television series), Batman Forever, and Batman and Robin.