Tim Burton’s Batman was 20 Years Ago

I make jokes all the time about how old I am, but in truth, I don’t think I’m all that old.  Then, the other day, it was pointed out that, Tim Burton’s Batman came out on June 23, 1989.

Yes, that’s 2 decades back.

Batman was the first movie that I remember becoming devoted to.  I loved Star Wars, like everyone, but I was too young to remember when the first one came out.  I was 3 months old in fact.  And while I’m sure I was a smart baby (and cute as hell), I didn’t make it to the cineplex for that one.  But Batman?  That’s a movie I remember.

It came out in the heyday of my first comic book epoch.  I was 12, and just old enough to start wanting more from my media.  I was very into comics at the time, and had been reading the seminal works, like Dark Knight Returns, and Batman: Year One, perhaps not understanding them as fully as one could.  I had no love at all for the campy Batman, and wanted to feel like an adult who liked things mature minds liked.  This new dark Batman appealed to me greatly.  There’s so much left of that kid who craved to be taken seriously, and to like serious things, and the Batman movie was the first time that manifested itself.

Back then, I spent a lot of time at Downeast Comics.  They’d arranged a special screening for the local comic folks on the Friday afternoon when the movie opened.  I think this was the coolest thing ever.  I felt so special, because they opened the movie theater (Cook’s Corner Cinemas 4, in Brunswick, ME) just for us.  We got to see the movie early.  We didn’t have to travel to another city, or win a radio contest.  We just have to be in the know.  And I was in the know.  These days, I have, somehow, gotten to know many people in comics, and been privy to company and conversations I’ve felt very lucky to be part of, but nothing beats that movie I got to see a few hours before anyone else did.

The thing is, I don’t remember anything else about the experience, other than the movie itself.  I didn’t have any friends who read comics, so I think I went to the movie by myself ostensibly.  I know that I saw it 2 more times that weekend, making it my first of very few triple-theater-viewing films, a class shared with such heaps of shit as Episodes I and II from Crazy-Neck Lucas. 

But I remember the movie.  I remember every line of that movie.  I remember every moment.  I remember how strange the Prince music was, but that I justified it being there.  I remember wondering what the Corto-Maltese was.  I remember Knox’s terrible jokes.  I remember the “I bought it in Japan” joke.  I remember wondering if The Joker’s skin was white with flesh makeup, or vice-versa.  I remember being confused (and still am) about why the line from the trailer “Where does he get those wonderful toys?!” was redacted in the theatrical release to “-et those wonderful toys!” feeling strangely cut off, and it was never fixed!  I remember feeling cheated about the action figures, where there were only three available, and one was Bob the Goon, a minor part at best.  I remember noticing that the movie logo’s tail had two extra points, and wasn’t quite as cool.  But mostly, I remember, “What are you?” “I’m Batman,” a movie moment that I might never beat.   It turned out that, and I knew it, the doubts about Michael Keaton were unfounded.

How many more great lines are there? 

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in this room.”

“I’m relieved you’re home sir.”

“Think about the future, Jack!”

“I didn’t ask.”

“That you sugarbumps?”

“You wanna get nuts?!  LET’S GET NUTS!”

“You ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?”

I didn’t have to look up a single one of those.  They’re in my brain for the duration.

I talk a lot now about things I like.  It’s my job in fact.  This is not a new development.  I can’t imagine the patience my poor family of women must have had to endure the months of my garrulous 12 year old self waxing philosophical about the brilliance of Batman all that summer.  God, I should call and apologize for it again, right now.

That also started the summer of overdoing it on Batman.  I had shirts.  Man, did I have shirts.  For one thing, they were finally available to me.  I had the Bolland Joker head (although, I didn’t know it was Bolland at the time), and I had the full Batman figure half in the dark with his cape over his shoulders standing tall and grim.  I had the plain black t-shirt with a basic Batman logo.  I have a black coffee mug with the same classic logo, and I drank from it this morning.

Then there were the shoes.  If I happen to see any of the folks who were my friends in those days, an admitted rarity, I guarantee that within one hour, someone would bring up the shoes.  I can’t imagine why I thought that being a doughy awkward 12 year old who looked about 8  and had a puffy blond mullet might be better served in his goal of getting to know any girls by wearing Converse All-Star hi-tops adorned with all sorts of tiny Batman logos, but I wore them nonetheless.  And I loved them, without a touch of irony.  I dearly miss the purity of that time, and my complete lack of self-awareness, a condition developed later that will haunt me straight into my grave, I’m sure.

I’ve written many times that I’m not a very nostalgic person, but I can go stick my Batman DVD in right now, and keep pace with the actors’ dialog straight through the movie.  And I think it still holds up for the most part, which is pretty amazing.  Since Burton chose to do a sort of neo-retro setting, the film doesn’t reek of the 80’s and we’re saved from being constantly distracted by giant shirts or crimped hair.  And maybe the movie was just a marketing extravaganza and I fell right for it, but seriously, what a great movie!

It was 20 years ago.  But what a mark it made.

Comments

  1. My oldometer just broke.  GET OFF MY LAWN!!!

  2. I dunno about it holding up very well. My wife had (gasp!) never seen it, so we watched it a few years ago. We kept wondering where Batman was, why he was moving so slowly when he actually was on screen, and various other acts of silliness.

    I can appreciate the art design, music, and Jack’s Joker, and the fact that we probably wouldn’t have ever gotten Batman: TAS without it, but I’m glad we’ve moved past it.

  3. I’m suddenly feeling old too.  I’m getting ready to go insult some Asians and maybe let one have my car, which is okay, since I’m also Asian.

    I know exactly what you’re feeling, Josh.  I came THIS CLOSE to buying a Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon collection because it had Space Ghost and The Herculoids on it.  I talked myself out of it because I knew that I was having a fit of nostalgia and that watching the cartoons wouldn’t be half as satisfying as I remember.

    Instead, I bought Ghostbusters on BluRay.

  4. I wasnt even born yet when this movie was released. just a couple months later then i would be born! 10/31/89!

  5. Great article!  That’s one of the first movies I remember going to without parents (20 years ago!) and i haven’t seen it since, i don’t think.  I really need to revisit it.

  6. I was 3 or maybe 4 when the movie came out and it was one I got to see over and over on VHS all through out my early years.

    The tape starts with a Bugs/Daffy cartoon about movie preparedness, or something. I rmemeber Daffy going over a checklist that included popcorn.

    I remember a commerical for coca cola that ended with a shot of a can of soda that had a batman cape.

    This is still my favorite batman movie, I think. Wonderful piece, Josh.

  7. I love this movie. I really do. Flawed? Yes. But so good. Such great lines, a Batman who doesn’t have a sore throat and probably one of my favorite Jack Nicholson performances. "Gentlemen, let’s broaden our minds." "This town needs an enema!" Batman, Batman Returns and Batman Forever are my favorite movie ventures of Batman.

  8. Both my dad and uncle gave me their pairs of those shoes when I was in middle school.  I grew out of the larger pair about 5 years ago and they’ve been collecting dust in a closet.  I smell an heirloom…

  9. Saw this in the theaters myself. Talk about Batman being everywhere that summer, people would even shave the symbol into the back of their heads. Does anyone remember the main batmobile toy. Awesome Batmobile, awesome toy, but that clicking sound it made when the wheels tuned, why! There was no reason. But I agree with you Josh, with all its flaws, its still holds up, great movie.

    I weigh a little more than 108.

  10. Seeing how young people were when this flick came out is making me feel old.  I was 18 when it came out and wasn’t feeling great when I went to go see it and then halfway through the flick my not feeling great turned into a flat out fever and chills disgusting flu.  I fell asleep and missed the last 20 minutes of the flick… that’s how sick I was.  At no point did my brother ask me if I wanted to leave.

    I loved the flick I just got VERY sick while watching it. I also remember getting home and watching Pete Townsend be amazing on Letterman while I was under a mountain of blankets and getting even sicker.

  11. Does anyone know the line that Bruce yells in Vicki’s apt when he breaks the vase with the poker, I have only ever been able to catch, "?????? with his lights out!" You can probably tell with a DVD & captions, but to this day I have never known.

  12. I’m going home and watching batman, i get off in 57 mins

  13. I don’t think I have ever been as excited over the release of a film as I was over Batman. I was grounded (for what, I don’t remember) when it premiered so my parents refused to allow me to go see it. I snuck out of the house after everyone went to bed and rode my bike up to the mall to catch a midnight screening… wearing one of those Batman t-shirts that every guy seemed to have at the time. My parents eventually found out and were furious, but it was totally worth it. From then on, I was a huge fan of both Batman and comics in general… and Mom and Dad still tell that story, with a little smile.

  14. Awesome article Josh. What made it better for me is just this morning I read that it’s been 20 years so been thinking about watching it tonight. My only problem with watching it, is like u I can’t watch it without quoting every line and it’s very annoying to other people in the room.

  15. THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN YOUTUBE

    Beginning to the VHS I remember!! AHHH 😀

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XU4OiA0Nk4g 

     haha. I love this thing. 

  16. wow…  this piece definitely brought back memories.  what a great movie-going experience.  that was the summer that i cemented my life-long love affair with the world of comics and the film had a lot to do with it – up until then, i read and collected but not with any sort of regularity.  this film changed that.

    i lived an hour away from the closest first-run movie theater – the one in my town getting the "new" films a few months later.  i begged and begged to see this, but my parents were in no way driving me an hour to see a movie, second to the fact that even if they were, they certainly didn’t have the money to pay for it.  just wait til it comes to our local theater, they would say.  

    ugh!  

    that’s when fate kicked in.  i must have done something karmically right, because one weekend it all fell into place.  my family travelled to my aunt and uncle’s house for the weekend.  my cousins were away at camp or something, so the adults decided to send me to a movie.  Batman was showing!  

    As the opening moments of the film unspooled before me, i learned then and there the profound effect a "silly little summer comic book movie" could have on a kid – an experience that could, quite possibly, last a lifetime.

    This article is proof that I’m not alone.

    Great job, Josh! 

  17. Hey broderboy what happens while you watch Batman is your own business!!!!  😉

  18. But c’mon…it’s an action figure based on Tracey Walter’s likeness!

    I was in my late teens when this came out. Went on opening night with a bunch of like-minded misfits and Batfans with spiky hair. Afterwards we went to an all-night diner, sat in the smoking section, ordered french fries and coffee, and forgot to tip our waitress.

  19. Meh, the only good theatrically released Batman movie Pre-Nolan, was Mask of the Phantasm. The rest are meh-to-shit.

  20. @miyamotofreak What’s that? I couldn’t hear you with that frog in your Batman’s throat. :-p

  21. @miyamotofreak: This is America… and I will die for your right to make outrageous claims.

  22. Totally agreed on this movie. I love it! And I am gonna be honest…I am not ashamed by that. It holds so many good memories, like Josh said.  And even though it is not a perfect film by any means…it will always be remembered fondly by me.  Good stuff.

  23. I was only 2 months old when this came out originally…..*shudders*

    Being a kid, I believe the third Batman film really got my interest. Being so young and naive, I thought that was first and the original two films were the sequels. Either way watching the old Batman films are a blast….well except for the vomit inducing ‘Batman and Robin’. Burton’s Batman, for it’s time, was like no other superhero film. It kept (mostly) the tone of the comic books and even if they did botch up the Joker’s origin….it didnt matter. Jack Nicholson as Joker is really one of the highlights of my childhood.

    Although I do agree with josh to an extent that because it’s not really a period film and it was more of a gritty noir then action film….Some aspects of this film clearly is dated or is really close to camp. I still love this film, but if I would pair this up with Batman Begins (not Dark Knight, the two first films together) then Begins will always be better.

    Now I need to find those Bat-shoes. They are slick.

  24. It should be noted that I didn’t really like any of the movies that came after, including Batman Returns.  I hated Batman Forever, and walked out of the 4th one.

  25. A story I told once, 20 years ago: In line waiting to see Batman. The person directly in front of me is Ally Sheedy (War Games, Breakfast Club). She is with Alec Baldwin (Beetlejuice). We get inside the theatre and it’s packed. There’s only a few random single seats available. Alec sat in back. Me and Ally got seats way up front. Imagine that: You’re sitting in a crowded, dank, mall movie theater and a movie star, all alone, sits down next to you.

    "This town needs an enema"

     

     

  26. @ hbkhumanity – I believe, IIRC, the line you’re thinking of is "You wanna get nuts!? Let’s get nuts!"

  27. You want to talk about a seismic event in my life then let’s talk about 1989 and the release of BATMAN.

    I was 12 years old. I owned at leat 20 Batman shirts. I owned the shoes that Josh shows above (I wish I had had the foresight to have bought a pair in a bigger size so I could have them now to wear), when the trailer hit I saw DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS twice in one day just so I could see it again, and I saw BATMAN at least nine times that summer. I had it memorized. I can still vividly remember the breathless sense of anticipation that I felt, on opening weekend, when the movie opened and the camera swung through the logo. Noting was the same after seeing BATMAN, and no matter how far into terrible the franchise ended up going, BATMAN is as much responsible for the current state of high quality comic book media adaptations than anything. It directly led to the BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES which led to the entire Timmverse which led to the DC Animated Films we have today. It birthed the serious super hero films we have now, as studios talked about getting back to the tone of the original Burton film and away from the goofy sequels.

    We owe so very much to this movie.

    And it also absolutely still holds up. Great film.

  28. @josh: Batman Forever is a bad film. But it’s a good, bad film (if that makes sense)

    It’s does everything wrong; especially when it comes to Riddler’s and Two-Face’s origins. Seriously, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face might be one of the worst preformances of all time. But it just made me love Riddler (even if it’s wrong) and there is so much camp to it I have to love it.

    Batman Returns was not bad though, it was a good sequel.

  29. If you say so.

  30. @flakbait Exactly, but right when he breaks the glass, before he says that, what’s the first part of that line. Perhaps only Keaton knows for sure, or your undertaker.

    @josh @TNC I enjoy Returns as well, I think technically its a much improved film, Max Shreck’s hair alone is awesome. But the next two, no thank you.

  31. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Josh, that was a great piece of writing there.  Well done.

    BATMAN was my first PG-13 film and I remember it very fondly.  I’m a few years younger than you, so I had to wait to see it on VHS so my parents could decide if it was proper for an 8 year-old.  It was and I loved it.  I even had that Bob the Goon action figure too.  Man, that thing sucked.

    Quick story: my older brother convinced me to reinact the movie’s ending by dropping my Joker action figure down a two-story stairwell onto a pillow.  Needless to say, Joker missed the pillow and snapped his arm off.  I’ll never forgive me for that.

  32. @TNC I love Batman Forever despite it’s many flaws. Quite frankly, it’s really the big, ole Tommy Lee Jones flaw. I really enjoyed Carey as Riddler, especially, years later, finding out he based his performance on the Frank Gorshin Riddler from the Batman TV-Show. (Now that is the best Batman villain performance in any of the non-comics media. Wel, except for the two episodes he was played by John "Gomez Adams" Astin.) I loved Kilmer as Bruce Wayne. The Robin story was decent, and better than the originally pitched Batman Returns Robin storyline. (They even made a Robin action figure in the returns line that was darker skinned and wearing a flat top hair-cut as a weird Hybrid between the Time Drake Robin and the one propose for the film.)

    BTW, I just saw Batman 1989 is on instant play on Netflix!

  33. @Prax: Carrey’s preformance as Riddler and the ‘Holy Twisted Metal’ line makes me love the film.

  34. Wow, I forgot all about this… A complete set of "Batman" trading cards w/box. They still smell like gum!

  35. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    @chase: I collected those cards too.  That gum was horrible.  I’m sure 20 years has only made them grow into teeth crunching little sticks.

  36. I still have the majority of my batman forever mugs. why? screw you, that’s why. 

  37. My girlfriend insisted Batman Forever was the best of the Burton-Schumacher era, and I finally gave up fighting her on it and just rented it. Within the first five minutes, she ate her words.

    Batman itself holds up pretty well, but I don’t think it’s as timeless as you think. Remember the soundtrack and Vicki Vale’s hair?

  38. BAT-DAAANNCCEE, vi-vi-vicki vale. 

  39. Oh, think this was the second movie I ever went to see (the first was Mack and Me for my fifth birthday) and I remember it really well.  The line hellishly long but they had little chocolate chip bat-shaped cookies and trivia contest and posters and t-shirts and lots of other sorts of swag.  I talked all through the movie and my family kept telling me to hush and some greasy haired hippy leaned over and said "Let her talk".  Good times man, good times.

  40. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Still haven’t seen this and I have no idea why.  

  41. @TNC – the movie gets some points for the ending. The whole "I know who Batman is… I am" Riddler stuff. works better than pale moonlight Joker stuff.

  42. the sequal, batman returns, grabbed my five year old brain and wouldnt let go.  despite there being alot of contradictory batman moments (machine guns on the batplane…still pisses me off…and batman doesnt kill! EVER!!!!) its still a great movie, from Nicholson as the joker, to danny elfman’s amazing score.  i still hum it to myself sometimes. and lets not forget, without this movie, we never would have gotten the animated series.

  43. Batman was the first film I remember seeing (was two when it came out). And after Batman Begins, this film oddly went from being "Good, of it’s time, but good" to "What a joke!? It’s to over the top!"

    I stand by it, I love this movie, yeah Batman kills, yeah Prince music feels very of it’s time. But still, love LOVE this movie.

    "You wanna get nuts! COME ON! Let’s get nuts!" 

  44. Batman killed people in the Golden Age. Folks tend to forget that.

  45. OK fine, but Captain America doesn’t carry a gun!

    Excuse me.

    He- what? Really?

    Sorry.

  46. @conor. Oh I know and I don’t care that he does it in the movie, just pointing out some of the criticism I’ve heard on the movie, never phases me, hell I even have the prince soundtrack and Danny Elfman one. Love this movie

  47. My Favorite line of the movie.

    "Ever Dance With the Devil In the Pale Moon Light?"

     

  48. I love this movie. Flaws and all.

    When asked once in an interview what made the Beetles great, their producer said that they were of their time. This film was of its time, and it’s all the better for it. The soundtrack, the poor minature work on the Batplane that makes the last few set pieces in "Temple of Doom" look realistic, the over the top dialogue… nothing beats it.

    I remember going to see this film with my dad, also a life-long Batman fan of the comics, when I was a kid. There’s nothing better than that. And afterward he took us to the local comic shop that was up the street from the theatre where he bought me and my brothers all the action figures.

    I still have them to this day on my computer desk at home.

    -J.

  49. god damn that was a good movie. If i hadn’t seen that i doubt i would be reading comics now

    so i would never have had the chance to known TNC. i hope that blew your mind

  50. Damn, I’m old! I was 17 when this fil was released. I like the movie but Nicholson as the Joker was disappointing. One of the comic book magazines ran an article about the movie and they printed a 2 page spread that showed Ray Liotta and Willem Dafoe. Seeing Dafoe next to Bolland’s Joker from The Killing Joke blew my mind. If only…

  51. Nicholson has become a sticking point for people. But fact of the matter is, that movie wouldn’t have been made without Nicholson, it wasn’t until Nicholson signed on that WB started to take the movie seriously and work to get it made. So if you like this movie but not Nicholson, realize that without him that there might have eventually been a Batman movie sure, but not the one we got and love.

  52. Nicholson was great as The Joker!

  53. Yeah man I can not agree more.  I watched this flick a few months ago because I realised it was 20 years old.  Still holds up. I love, love, love it.

    I remember thinking though how it was so new there was nothing like it that had been made before (although, I personally was 7 at the time), but when I rewatched it, I noticed it had these looooong intro credits (which you rarely see anymore, save for maybe the Spider-Man flicks?) and they were all written in Times New Roman. 

  54. This was the first movie I ever saw at a drive in theatre. I was (does calculations on a piece of paper) 7 and my uncle took my brother and my two cousins to see it. I was aware of Batman but I can’t really ay how.

    It blew my mind. I loved every minute of it. Even the bits I didn’t get. It is one of my favourite films of all time.

  55. I’m starting a petition to bar Paul from writing anything else for this site until he sees Batman.  I mean, seriously, they’ll take away your comic credentials for that! 

     In other news.. who bought the soundtrack and was like…uh what?  I was 12 and it was pretty much my first exposure to Prince.  I was not ready for the Batdance. 

  56. I’m 28 and I’m still not ready for the Batdance.

  57. @reg5000  … then you’re definitely not ready for the Bat-tussi?? 

    …and I didn’t need a molded plastic suit to improve my physique …

  58. Does it actually tell you how to Batdance in Batdance or are we suppose to just default on the Bat-tusi? 

  59. Great post.  The first things I thought about when I clicked on the link were the shoes and the Bob action figure so it was great scrolling through the post and seeing them in there.  I was turning 7 when Batman came out and my uncle bought me the Bob action figure and I had the Joker shoes.  The anticipation for this and No Holds Barred was unbearable for 7 year old me.

  60. @JoeFX OH man No Holds Barred!…sadly doesn’t hold up as well at Batman.

  61. I remember when this film came out and I was in love with it. But upon watching it again (back in the early 2000’s), I realized what a horrible movie it really was. 

    I do praise it for one thing though. The fact that WB let Tim Burton make a dark Batman film. Something lots of people wanted but very few thought would ever be profitable.  

  62. as someone born in 1990, my father recorded this on our vcr and I would watch until I had it memorized. I remember watching with a friend of mine when I was 5, and rewinding the part when Batamn says to the Joker "You Killed my parents" and then very excitedly pointing out to my friend that the Joker killed Batman’s parents, as if I had solved some mystery. Rewinding that part over and over again with the volume at some obscene level to hear Batman whisper "you killed my parents"

     

    Awww, memories

  63. the first two burton movies and the two (so far) Nolan movies both have their merits, are very different movies, and both have a place on my shelf.  if star trek taught us anything, its that alternate realities exist.

  64. @chlop: Oh man I forgot about that ending! Carrey did such a great job delievering that line…and him dancing about in his cell with his straightjacket was hilarious.

    You wanna talk about Batman soundtracks? I have ‘Kiss by a Rose’ by Seal on my ipod….and it’s in my top five in terms of most played songs on there. I dont care if it’s such a bad song…it’s a Batman song!!

  65. @TheNextChampion Dude! That’s not a bad song…

  66. @conor AMAZING. Truly, TRULY amazing. Weirdly enough very much in keeping with the tone of Schumacher’s Batman and Robin. Lots of smoke, lot severe lighting…

    @TNC the Batman Forever soundtrack was RIDICULOUS. There was also that ‘Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me’ that ZOO TV era U2. I looked it up because I vaguely recalled it having a flaming lips song on there too. YOu know, when the Riddler returns home after mind zapping his boss (it’s Bad Days, by the by…) BUT, it also has songs by Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and 90s make out jam maker Mazzy Star.  Put that in your grim and gritty pipe and smoke it, Nolan. 

  67. Wow, I am shocked a lot of people are defending ‘Kiss by a Rose’. Even back then I dont think people liked that song. But it’s such a good song, it really is. It might be a weird choice for a Batman film but it’s just a catchy tune overall.

    Imagine if we got those soundtracks for the Nolan films and not the Hans Zimmer/James Newton Howard score? People would flip! lol

  68. I remember the hype leading up to that movie and it totally being justified.  I still love it.

     

  69. @PaulM:  Maybe it’s not my place to suggest, but you could do an article where you watch BATMAN for the first time and talk about it from a completely modern perspective.  It would be a nice piece to go along with Josh’s.  And, if you don’t own the movie, I hear that you can get a free two week trial of Netflix at http://www.netflix.com/ifanboy.   🙂

  70. I think Prince was the best Joker. Nicholson? Ledger? Prince.

  71. I had that Bob the Goon action figure, as well as Batman and Joker. Batman had this sweet-ass rope thingy that came out of his utility belt. Joker could shoot water out of the flower on his lapel if you hooked it up to a mini-water tank thingamabob. I miss them.

  72. Batman 1989 is my second favorite batman movie, only second to batman 1966. Then would be Batman Returns followed by Batman Begins. The others didnt do anything for me. Hated Dark Knight, exit Batman replace with Bruce Willis and you got die hard. WEAK. Dont know why the hype bout Heath, Nicholson was way better as the Joker. Alot of great actors in Dark Knight but it dont make up for the horrible story trying to squezze every genre into the movie. Tim Burton created a Gotham that was dark, surreal, and fantastic. Quick one shot. well use of his medum

  73. I actually don’t like the whole "Dance with the Devil in the pale moonlight" thing. it always sounded corny to me. My favorite line is "We’ll be beauty and the beast. but if any one else calls you beast, I’ll rip their lungs out" or something similar to that. And this movie can NOT be TWENTY YEARS OLD. My God, am i really THAT old? 

  74. I think they should have had "Sexy Mother Fucker" and "Pussy Control" on the soundtrack, lol.  That would’ve went over like a led balloon.  I think Jack’s joker was one of the better interpretations of the character and it was done very well.  I just like the more evil and brooding Joker that Ledger played.  I loves me some well-acted sociopaths. 

    I just can’t enjoy this movie anymore.  I’ve tried multiple times and it no longer fulfills me.  UHF with Weird Al was my favorite comedy growing up, but if I watched it now I’d probably throw the TV out the window.  It’s amazing how our tastes evolve and change as we age.  If you would have shown me any Wes Anderson flick in high school, I would have waved it off as artsy-fartsy bull shit.  But now, he’s one of my favorite directors.  Good article Josh.  Brought back some fond memories of the summer before 5th grade. 

  75. *sigh* I was already out of college and about to start my first teaching job.  Do I win? 

    I love the movie but I wish I could have seen it through a child’s eye like most of you did — they way I did as a 12 year old seeing Star Wars the first time.

  76. After clicking on Coner’s link I have discovered, to my eternal shame, that I still know every single lyric to "Batdance".

  77. @MikeFarley Feel no shame, Prince rules. Yeah I said it, rules.

  78. @TNC, et al. The Forever soundtrack also features the Offspring covering "Smash Up" by the Damned. It’s really a very confused soundtrack. 

  79. i was born 13 months to the day after this was released so my first batman theater experince was batman forever and i had everything from that movie the weird glowing batmobile all the action figures i even had the movie poster in my room i loved batman and batman returns i couldnt get enough of forever then i saw batman and robin and actually went on a hiatus from comics pickin up one or two off the spinner rack at harris teeter then the fist x-men movie came out and now i go to my local shop religously and you know what the first trade i bought was batman the long halloween because i still loved the charcter form the early movies and the animated series (i own all the seasons btw)

  80. I’ll always love this movie because it’s one of the few that my dad took me to see when I was young. I remember seeing a group of people being interviewed by the local news for their reaction to the movie. For some reason, I just thought that was weird.

    Anyway, like many others I had the Batman shoes. But did anyone else have a pair of the Joker shoes, too? They were PURPLE and had little Joker heads all over them instead of symbols.

    My gosh, they were ugly. 

  81. I suppose I wasnt old enough to see the film in theaters but what I’ll never forget about that summer was that at the time I lived in on a third floor of an apartment building and whenever I went on the balcony you know what I saw?  A HUGE AS BILLBOARD WITH THE BATMAN EMBLEM. That will always be cemented into my head about how huge this film was. Of course I never actually saw the film until a few years later when I was around 9 but it really did change my life in some ways, I began entering comic book stores for the first time so the very reason Im on this website can perhaps be traced to this film.

    It is a shame that now in the light of the Nolan films many are now of a mindset that Nolans Batman is the best and everything before sucked, but I’ll take this film anyday over Batman Begins(though Dark Knight is definitely the winner of all Bat films). By the way, I liked Batman Returns, sure it was a highly inferior film but Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman? come on!

  82. I just want everyone to stop saying how old they were when Batman came out… it’s making me feel as old as one of the those goldbricking mother fuckers who spent all day lying in bed in ‘Willy Wonka’.

  83. @bearnhart: My mom had the Joker shoes.

  84. I can stomach ‘Batman Returns’ but the Schumacher flicks cause me pain…

  85. Why all the hate for Batman Returns? It’s a million times better then the Schumacher films and DeVito as The Penguin was perfect casting.

  86. That does it, this article was so moving about the film that I cant resist but to pop in the DVD now

  87. i remember seeing this movie for the first time in the late 90s and could not believe that the guy that was in the utter shittiest movie i have ever seen (Jack Frost) was trying to be batman.  i know its unfair but i could just never believe he was a legit batman.  I’ve watched some of the special features on the disc and Burton reveals that his reasoning in casting Keaton was that he felt anybody dressing up as a bat to scare people must be doing so because they have some physical shortcoming (i.e. no muscles) i think thats b.s.  I know you keation lovers will be angry but let me ask you this would you ever believe that someone of keaton’s size could play superman?

     tdk.

  88. His physical size was irrelevant, he had the pathos to properly portray Bruce.

  89. That movie didn’t age all that well. I watched it first as a kid, liked it, but didn’t think much of it. Then I saw it just before Batman Begins came out and kept searching for the ‘dark’ portrayal of Batman.

  90. Connors mum wore Joker shoes.  God, I hope that’s true.  it’s awesome.

    I was 23 when Batman came out and, embarrassing as it might be now, I wore exactly the same wardrobe as Josh.  Except for the shoes, damn it.  Couldn’t ever find a pair in my size.

    I wore so many pins it looked like I’d had some sort of strange falling accident in a novelty shop.

    I also went to a viewing with everyone from my comic shop.

    And, most surprising of all, I had a girlfriend who eventually married me.  How the hell did that happen? 

  91. "I thought I was a Pisces!  C’mon, let’s make up!"

     Oh Josh!  You and I are very similar about our devotion to Batman.  I was so happy that something i loved was EVERYWHERE.  I was totally convinced that through the miracle of the universe that they were making it just for me.  I remember seeing the TV spots and my heart just skipping a beat.  A ‘real’ Batman movie.  And no Shark-reppellent?  You don’t say!

    I bought ALL the Topps Trading cards.  Both series and chewed up every piece of hard assed gum.  I bought the Topps Souvenier magazine, which had some GREAT production drawing of Gotham City, (which, I may add, is my favorite depiction of the city). 

    I remember going to the movie the first time, but, not really remember it that much.  It was the shock of maybe seeing the COOLEST thing I saw at the time.  Multiple viewings were a must.  Thank heavens my friends didn’t all go see it at once, and therefore providing an alibi to cover up my Bat-session. 

     I leave you with one of MY favorite quotes, because I just think it’s so corny, it works.

    "Hey don’t worry about it.  You’re drinking, I’m flying."

  92. On another note.  My step dad at the time did the coolest thing for my birthday the December following the opening.  He bought me my own Batman VHS (which I still own, complete with Coke commercial and Bugs and Daffy telling us to buy a mag) and a model kit of the Batmobile.  Ahhh…what an effin’ machine.  It even had the machine guns you could mount on it.

     My FAVORITE version of the Batmobile.  As cool as the Tumbler was, there’s NO Batmobile that can top that one!

  93. @PRAX JARVIN  That toy was based on the Robin that was going to be acted by Damon Wayans.  No joke.  You can look it up!

  94. My dad had the Bolland Joker shirt, I should go to my parents house and try to find it. Great movie. I think I’m going to go buy this on DVD today.

  95. This film has the distinction of being the first movie I ever went to.  I was 4 and my stepdad took me to go see it.  I only remember bits and pieces of the movie, but it’s one of the reasons that I’m a Batman fan.  Can’t believe it’s been 20 years.

    I may get burned at the stake for this, but I think Keaton was a better Batman/Bruce Wayne than Christian Bale.

    One of my favorite lines..

    Joker: "Bruce…Wayne, n’est-ce pas?"

    Bruce: "Most of the Time"

  96. @brattyben OH man! I have that DVD too. I remember the coke commercial and bugs and Daffy…I should probably but that on DVD or something cause how often will you have bugs and daffy endorsing a batman movie available.  

  97. This was the first Tim Burton movie I didn’t like. I was a senior in h.s. and went with my friends who were not all comics readers. Strangely, they all liked it and I was vaguely bummed out. Not that it was bad, just disappointing. I probably expected too much.

  98. KING OF THE WICKER PEOPLE!

    🙂 

  99. Does anyone else remember the Batman ride at Great America (north of Chicago) that this film inspired? I believe it was introduced into several Six Flags theme parks, as well. It actually wasn’t too painful to stand in line because the queue area was decorated with various props that made you feel like you proceeded from Gotham streets then up some stairs to the Batcave. The whole time you’d hear various sound effects and Prince music piped through speakers. It was pretty cool, and the ride itself (an overhead-rail roller coaster) was probably the most fun in the entire park.

  100. I was 5 when it came out, and apparently just had to have the Batmobile for Christmas.  I loved that movie as a kid and I still think it’s great.

  101. @Paradiddle – Yes! That was a good ride. The graffiti’ed streets of Gotham look.

  102. This was great article and brought me back to when I first saw this movie. It’s still one of my favorite movies of all time and made me a lifelong Tim Burton fan, not to mention the late Anton Furst who’s set designs I poured over when trying to find and absorb everything I could about this wondrous thing of celluloid that had unfolded before my eyes. I remember going to see this movie five times in the theater which would make it one of two movies I’ve paid for five times to see. The other one being, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. I have the movie on the original crappy cardboard DVD package as well as the remastered version with the Prince videos on it.

    I’m also a huge Prince fan so I loved the soundtrack and that Burton was ballsy enough to get that to happen. I loved Michael Keaton in the role, though now I wish they had given him the bulletproof BMX ninja suit that Bale had in the Dark Knight so that he could move better. I also remember getting the Batman issue of Cinefex and reading the interview with Burton and clicking with his philosophy of the good guy being this tortured, dark soul cloaked in black while the villain was this bright, shiny outgoing cartoon character. Complete, polar opposites.

    Good stuff. Makes me want to go pull out my Batman Soundtrack now. 

  103. @TheNextChampion I completely agree with you about Batman Returns. I thought in some ways, it did things better than the first movie. The design of the film was cleaner, sleeker, more polished. The Penguin was just as creepy as he should have been. When he bites the guy’s nose in his campaign office. That was classic! And this one had Michelle Pfeiffer as, next to Eartha Kitt, the definitive Catwoman. How could your 14 year old self not love the catsuit and whip?

  104. I remember being in a 4 car pile-up right outside the cinema. I had whiplash and was lucky not to be killed but still felt like sobbing as I realised I wasn’t going to see Batman on opening day.

    When I finally got to see it the audience was the best I had ever been in, particularly at the cinema which I mainly knew for getting up to shennanigans with a girlfriend and wondering if the sticky carpet was purely due to spilled pop and popcorn.When Keaton declares who he is on the rooftop the whole place went crazy and my heart jumped into my skull.

    He had the eyes, the delivery and the intensity. Who cared if he moved with the martial grace of a mannequin?

    I adored the film and saw it over and over again.

     

    Watching it a few years ago it really is a mess of a film. The last 20 minutes they were making up the script as they went along (I remember the comic book adaptation being different to the film and not knowing why for quite some time).

     

    Still it did have a profound influence on the mainstream image of Batman and only some crazy person (I’m looking at you Shi…I mean Shumacher) would have taken the 60s version as the iconic visual look for Batman. If only for making Batman: TAS possible it was worthwhile.

    I have many fond memories of the film but if I had to sit through Burton’s Batman or Mask of The Phantasm I’d go with Kevin Conroy’s voice over Keaton’s every day.

  105. I was about 3 months from being born when this came out. It’s too bad too, I would’ve liked to been apart of all the hype.

  106. I was only a year old when it came out in theaters. But luckily I was old enough when it came out on VHS. I still remember getting EXTREMELY excited at the begining title sequence, rocking back in forth in a recliner chair. I too still love that movie, and it is still great.

  107. Even with the machineguns in the batmovile and that the Joker crashed down the Batplane with that pistol…BATMAN 1989 is one of my favorites.

  108. @muddi900 When the only Batman on TV and most people’s exposure of Batman was from the goofy 60’s tv show, Batman was very "dark" and is why people say "finally Batman was protrayed dark".

    @conor thanks for the batdance video that was awesome, Prince kicks ass.

  109. I’m afraid of this comment; it could turn into an article of its own. My experience was eerily similar to Josh’s, and Conor’s, and every third comment above, except I only wished for the merchandise that so many of you had. I wanted that Bolland shirt so bad, but I wasn’t a working man yet,

    Will fashion, logo design, and hype ever intersect again in a way that ends with people shaving a movie’s symbol into their hair? (Not that I ever saw anyone do this without a TV camera present.)

    This was the first time I remember the local theater showing a movie on more than one screen. How impressive two hourly showings seemed then, before there were 16 screens and 9 of them were showing a Shrek movie.

    I would punch any one of you in the face for those shoes right now. Some of you two or three times. For the shoes and a potable case of Crystal Pepsi, I would cut you up.

    The only thing I remember about this that hasn’t been echoed ad infinitum is that Ghostbusters 2 had come out the previous week and I had been aaalmost as excited to see that. Until I did. That DVD, I cannot quote from memory.

  110. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    Man, Crystal Pepsi is a major party of the Jimski mythology. 

  111. That was the nectar of my freshman year of college! My neighbors had Zima, and I had the weird translucent vending machine in the dorm lobby.

    I meant to add that, while they day-glo Batman Forever is not a movie I want to see again, I have a weird attraction/compulsion for the soundtrack. Maybe it’s because my brain decided 1995 was the last year music was getting in, but I’ll bet half that disc has snuck onto my iPod over the years. That U2 song will get wedged in my head for days at a time.

  112. I remember that summer fondly.  Outside of school, my daily routine consisted of riding my bike around town.  My summer outfit consisted of biker shorts, Batman t-shirts, and the Batman painter cap, which worn with the bill flipped up, had Batman in black text over neon green.  I think I may have had Panama Jack sunglasses too.  Come to think of it, I could probably still rock that outfit in some circles.

  113. Ohhhhh, now I feel so old.

    This is the movie that started me reading comics on a regular basis. And I would kill for those Converse sneakers! Hah!

    And @DavidB hah, I think *everyone* had that outfit back then (girls included). I don’t think I had a t-shirt that didn’t have Batman on it.

  114. *Sighs* I was, most unfortunately, born in 1992, so missed the original release. I grew up watching Batman: TAS and then moved onto Batman. If I recall correctly, not only did it drag me further into my love of Batman but also sucked me into Tim Burton’s films.  

    I was lucky enough, at the start of last year, to catch a showing of what I understood to be an original print at the cinema. There was something… quite amazing… watching the film in the cinema. It felt more right than any other time I’d watched it and I remember drooling in awe as I realised I wasn’t just watching Batman in a cinema, I was watching a Batman print had been around longer than I had! That only added to the awesomeness of the experience.

    I dragged one of my friends along, someone who wasn’t too clued up on the world of Batman, and it was fun seeing his reaction (Upon leaving the cinema, he decided to start collecting Batman comics… From issue 1. I think I broke his heart when I told him they were well into the 600’s and that he’d need a fair bit of money. He quit.).