Batman — our favorite caped vigilante — first appeared on the big screen in 1966. Since then, the role has been played by many actors, some more beloved than others.
Some fans, like some, prefer Batman: The Animated SeriesFeatured Kevin Conroy’s memorable voice.
Keep scrolling to find out how to watch all the Batman movies — in order.
The Caped Crusader’s Many Iterations
For other big franchises, especially the Marvel and Star Wars Universe, it’s easy to watch the movies in chronological order — the order of in-universe events, not the release date.
Batman movies have been told so many times that the events of one series are not related to those in another.
The Adam West Era
Comparable to Christian Bale’s gravelly voice in The Dark Knight, Adam West’s take on Batman was much more personable.
Bale, the man in tights, will always have the first big-screen Batman adaptation. Interestingly, Bale claims that West’s version is one of his favorites. “I love watching Adam West,” he told Entertainment Tonight March 2016.
In the 1960s, West starred as Batman in the popular television series. A campy version of Robin and Batman was played by West. Burt WardAlways prevailed.
Batman: The Movie (1966)
In between the TV show’s first and second seasons, West earned the cinematic treatment with a feature-length film.
The movie included many of Batman’s most popular enemies from the television series, including the Joker, the Riddler and the Penguin. West’s version gave the iconic Batman theme song, which is still featured in various DC animated series and amusement park rides.
The Michael Keaton Era
Batman was absent for a few decades between the 1960s and the 1980s. In 1989, he finally returned to the big screen with Michael KeatonBehind the mask Tim Burton in the director’s chair.
To be true to any Burton movie, Batman upped the ante on the source material’s craziness. Keaton chose a serious, slightly neurotic version of Bruce Wayne. But perhaps the most important addition to this movie was Jack Nicholson’s Joker.
The clown’s origin story left a serious mark on the superhero franchise, something that many films since have referred to or expanded on. BatmanThe film was a success at the box office and won an Academy Award for Art Direction.
Batman Returns (1992)
Burton and Keaton returned to the sequel Batman Returns. The film took a darker turn with more violence and action sequences.
Batman ReturnsAlso, the introduction of Michelle Pfeiffer’s take on Catwoman and Danny DeVito’s version of Penguin.
Despite the movie’s success at the box office Warner Bros. decided to change its direction for the next movie. Batman Forever.
The Val Kilmer Era
A recast Val Kilmer stepped into Batman’s shoes for the next film and Joel Schumacher took over behind the camera. Steering away from Burton’s signature style, this take on Gotham City’s best (and worst) had more mainstream appeal.
Batman Forever (1995)
Kilmer’s Bruce Wayne was sexy and subdued, but the actor said it was a disappointing experience for him overall, because of the Batsuit. In a documentary about his life, Val, Kilmer said in July 2021, “Yes, every boy wants to be Batman. They actually want to be him … not necessarily play him in a movie.”
Memorable additions to this cast include Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Tommy LeeJones as Harvey Two-Face.
The George Clooney Era
Kilmer famously refused to see another Batman movie. The cape was passed to the next iteration. George ClooneyWith Chris O’DonnellRobin is Clooney’s role. Clooney donned that iconic cowl only once, when he was facing off against Arnold Schwarzenegger’s villainous Mr. Freeze.
Batman and Robin (1997)
Known for the infamous Bat Nipples — Clooney’s Batsuit inexplicably included nipples on its chest — this movie received mostly negative reviews at the time of its release.
However, the years have seen a lot of changes. Batman & RobinThis is a cult-classic, especially when it comes to Uma Thurman’s take on Poison Ivy. Alicia SilverstoneBatgirl rounded out the cast.
The Christian Bale Era
Although Batman was played by three different actors each of the previous films were part the same continuity era. Clooney ended the film and put an end to the franchise for a few more years.
Christopher NolanThe task of restoring Bruce Wayne to life was then taken up. Dark Knight trilogy.
Batman Begins (2005)
While other Batman films included some dark notes, the trend of the valiant Batman didn’t really start until Bale’s turn in Batman Begins.
This is the first film in the most successful Batman Trilogy. Batman BeginsIt was a maturer version of Gotham City. It featured Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul, Cillian MurphyThe Scarecrow Michael CaineAlfred Pennyworth, Gary OldmanJim Gordon
The Dark Knight (2008)
Few movies — let alone superhero movies — have had as big an impact as The Dark Knight. The popular sequel was highly praised for its twists, turns, and performances. Heath Ledger’s take on the Joker remains one of the most watched versions ever, earning Ledger an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
With the momentum of The Dark Knight, the final film in Nolan’s trilogy was a huge box office success — the highest-earning Batman movie ever. Tom Hardy and Anne HathawayAs Catwoman and Bane, respectively, she joined the cast. John Blake was also added by Joseph Gordon Levit.
The Ben Affleck Era
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
Ben Affleck’s first appearance as Bruce Wayne arrived in 2016 after 2013’s Superman origin story, Man of Steel. Based on a comic book rivalry. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of JusticeWith Henry CavillAffleck stars opposite.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2017)
Responding to DCEU’s The Avengers, Justice LeagueA super-sized reunion of DC heroes came to the screen, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman.
In 2021 Zack Snyder — the original director before Joss Whedon took over — released his version of the movie, deemed The Snyder CutHBO Max.
The Robert Pattinson Era
The Batman (2022)
Directed By Matt Reeves, Robert PattinsonHe is a bit more emo, and a lot less skilled in crime-fighting. Featured Paul DanoAs The Riddler Colin FarrellThe movie, titled The Penguin, was praised for its cinematic tribute to Batman comics. Zoë KravitzAlso, her performance as Selina Kyle (also known as Catwoman) received rave reviews.
The BatmanReeves was a financial success with the film, and he signed on to make another movie.