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The Dark Knight

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This page is dedicated to the late Heath Ledger (1979 – 2008), who never got to see it.

Heath Ledger.jpg
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This film has been preserved in the National Film Registry in 2020.

The Dark Knight
You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.
Genre: Superhero
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Produced By: Emma Thomas
Charles Roven
Christopher Nolan
Written By: Jonathan Nolan
Christopher Nolan
Based On: Batman
Starring: Christian Bale
Michael Caine
Heath Ledger
Gary Oldman
Aaron Eckhart
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Morgan Freeman
Cinematography: Wally Pfister
Distributed By: Warner Bros.
Release Date: July 14, 2008 (New York City)
July 18, 2008 (United States)
July 25, 2008 (United Kingdom)
Runtime: 152 minutes
Country: United Kingdom
United States
Language: English
Budget: $185 million
Box Office: $1.005 billion
Franchise: The Dark Knight Trilogy
Prequel: Batman Begins
The Prestige
Sequel: Inception
The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed, co-produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the film is the second installment of Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins, starring Christian Bale and supported by Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Morgan Freeman. In the film, Bruce Wayne / Batman (Bale), Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart) form an alliance to dismantle organized crime in Gotham City, but are menaced by an anarchistic mastermind known as the Joker (Ledger), who seeks to undermine Batman's influence and throw the city into chaos.

Considered one of the best films of its decade and one of the greatest and most influential films of all time, the film received critical acclaim for its screenplay, visual style, musical score, stunts, mature themes, performances (particularly Ledger's), cinematography, action sequences and direction. The film also set numerous records during its theatrical run. The Dark Knight appeared on 287 critics' top-ten lists, more than any other film of 2008 with the exception of WALL-E, and more critics (77) named The Dark Knight the best film released that year. With over $1 billion in revenue worldwide, it became the fourth-highest-grossing film at the time, and highest-grossing film of 2008; it also set the record for highest-grossing domestic opening with $158 million, a record it held for three years. At the 81st Academy Awards, the film received eight nominations; it won the award for Best Sound Editing and Ledger was posthumously awarded Best Supporting Actor. In 2020, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", becoming the second superhero film after Superman (1978) to earn the honor. The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in the trilogy, was released in 2012.

On December 14, 2020, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.


Ever since Batman began his vigilante activities in Gotham city, criminals have become too scared to commit crimes. With Harvey Dent, the new security deputy, passing laws that give police officers more power to prosecute criminals as well as him working alongside Batman to capture them, the crime lords are becoming more and more desperate.

At the same time, a mysterious clown calling himself "The Joker" appears and launches a series of terrorist attacks against Gotham and is always one step head of Batman. Batman and Joker become deadly rivals, as Joker continues to put more pressure against the Batman to surrender otherwise he'll keep launching more attacks and killing more citizens. Commissioner Gordon also seems to die during one of the attacks.

Unable to stop the Joker, Bruce Wayne considers giving up on the Batman and letting Harvey Dent be his successor as the figure of justice against the wrong doers of Gotham, also remembering that Rachel cannot be with Bruce as long as Batman exists. However Harvey Dent turns himself in claiming to be the Batman much to Bruce's surprise.

The Joker attempts to assassinate Dent, giving Batman the chance to defeat the Joker and Gordon, who had faked his death, captures him. Unfortunately however, Dent and Rachel are captured, and the Joker had planned to let himself get captured. Joker sets up a trap where Rachel dies and half of Dent's face is horribly burnt. Joker then corrupts Dent into taking revenge against everyone who led to Rachel's death, Harvey goes insane and becomes the vigilante "Two-Face". Two-Face murders multiple authority figures while Joker continues to cause more chaos.

Joker launches one more attack where he'll blow up two ships full of citizens and criminals, but this time Batman is able to get ahead of the Joker's plans and captures him once and for all. His victory is short-lived however, as Joker's ultimate plan was to turn Harvey Dent into Two-Face and prove that even the most noble of people can become evil scum.

Two-Face takes Gordon's family hostage and has him at gun point. Batman tries to reason with Harvey but Two-Face refuses to listen, forcing Batman to knock Two-Face off a ledge to his death. Gordon fears that once the public finds out of all the crimes Harvey committed they'll lose hope, but Batman takes the blame for all those murders so that Dent can be a martyr of justice. Gordon reluctantly agrees, with that Batman is labeled public enemy Number 1 of Gotham City.

Why It's So Serious

  1. It's often considered the greatest comic-book movie of all time.
  2. One of the most successful attempts to make a superhero movie appear realistic.
    • While a majority of blockbusters fail to stand the test of time for a number of reasons, one thing that makes this film timeless is that things were dark in 2008 for America, with two tough wars (Afghanistan and Iraq) and natural disasters (9/11 and hurricane Katrina) on people's minds and a massive economic collapse just a few short months away. And while movies that directly addressed the issues and it's effects usually bomb at the box office, the people still had some serious psychological issues to collectively vent. This film's able to address several serious topics like organized crime, corruption of politicians, vigilantism, terrorists, and even the heroes losing without having to get too serious, as it's masked as a Batman superhero movie (who in general tends to reflect with the mood of the times) to appeal to common audiences.
  3. The Major Highlight: Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker is arguably the best and greatest incarnation of the Joker character to date. Ledger made an outstanding job portraying the Joker as insane and unpredictable yet utterly terrifying and menacing through his impeccable method acting skills. All of the scenes featuring him (Like the monologues about his scars or when he talks to Harvey Dent at the hospital) are extremely tense and keep you at the edge of your seat, not to mention that nearly all of his dialogue is memorable and quotable. He got a very deserved Oscar for the role, becoming the first comic-book movie actor to do so.
    • And one of the things that make him stand out the most in comparison to other comic book movie villains is that he actually succeeds in his plan: The Joker manages to drive Gotham city into complete panic and paranoia by killing several politicians and federals as well as turning their one only morally good leader (Harvey Dent) into a split-personality murderer. This ultimately leads to Batman's decision to take the blame for everything since he knows that if the city finds out that their only decent politician was corrupted, they will have lost faith.
  4. Great scenery.
  5. Great editing.
  6. Awesome dialogue.
  7. Amazing cinematography.
  8. Excellent fight scenes.
  9. The film's dark and gritty tone was done right.
  10. Fantastic direction from Christopher Nolan; this has become his most iconic movie.
  11. Memorable and now iconic scenes, some of them include: The opening bank robbery, the Joker's pencil trick, the truck chase, Batman interrogating the Joker, the hospital explosion, etc.
  12. It updates the batsuit to closer resemble the logo symbol and the batarang itself. They even explain this in the film by having Bruce ask Lucius for a more flexible suit.
  13. Rachel's death was an unexpected moment that majorly affects Batman for the rest of the trilogy.
  14. All of the action sequences are very exciting and fun to watch.
  15. Excellent score composed by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard.
  16. The acting is great all around; and while Ledger is the one who stands out the most, the truth is that everyone in this movie is absolutely fantastic. From Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Caine and Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  17. Two-Face is also a great and intimidating villain that is driven by revenge instead of his split-personality disorder getting worst after his face is burned.
  18. These quotes:
    • I believe, whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you...stranger!
    • It's simple, we kill the Batman!
    • And i thought my jokes were bad.
    • How about a magic trick?
    • I'm a man of my word. HA HA HA HA HA!
    • Enough from the clown!
    • Some men just want to watch the world burn.
    • Sometimes the truth isn't good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded.
    • Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!
    • See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve.
    • Now I'm always smiling!
    • It's not about money... its about sending a message.
    • This city deserves a better class of criminal. And I'm gonna give it to them!
    • Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.
    • Why So Serious?!

Bad Qualities

  1. The lack of blood in the scenes when the Joker shoves a man into a pencil and when Batman punches Joker during the interrogation, which are clearly continuity errors.
  2. Two-Face's death was rather anti-climactic when he uses his coin to whether Gordon's son will live or die, but the wounded Batman stopped him and had Two-Face fall to his death.
  3. The infamous and unintentionally hilarious scene when Harvey Dent doesn't recognize the Joker dressed as a nurse until the Joker removes his surgical mask, even if his white and black make-up were still perfectly visible.


The Dark Knight was met with universal acclaim and many people consider it to be better than its predecessor and one of the best superhero films of all time who received critical praise for its screenplay, visual effects, musical score, themes, performances (particularly Bale and Ledger), cinematography, action sequences, and direction. On aggregating review website Rotten Tomatoes, The Dark Knight has an approval rating of 94%, based on 341 reviews, with an average score of 8.6/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Dark, complex and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.". Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating based on reviews from top mainstream critics, calculated an average score of 84 out of 100, based on 39 critics, indicating "universal acclaim." CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers gave the film was "A" on an A+ to F scale; audiences skewed slightly male and older.

Seven weeks after its worldwide opening, the film became the fourth ever to cross the billion dollar mark in total box office receipts worldwide.



  • Katie Holmes was planning to reprise her role as Rachel, but chose instead to star in Mad Money with Diane Keaton and Queen Lafitah.

Legendary Pictures


Batman Begins - Superman Returns - Lady in the Water - The Ant Bully - Beerfest - We Are Marshall - 300 - Trick 'r Treat - 10,000 BC - The Dark Knight - Watchmen - Observe and Report - The Hangover - Where the Wild Things Are - Ninja Assassin


Clash of the Titans - Jonah Hex - Inception - The Town - Due Date - Sucker Punch - The Hangover Part II - Wrath of the Titans - The Dark Knight Rises - Jack the Giant Slayer - 42 - The Hangover Part III - Man of Steel - Pacific Rim - 300: Rise of an Empire - Godzilla - As Above, So Below - Dracula Untold - Interstellar - Unbroken - Blackhat - Seventh Son - Jurassic World - Straight Outta Compton - Steve Jobs - Crimson Peak - Krampus - Warcraft - The Great Wall - Kong: Skull Island - Pacific Rim Uprising - Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom - Skyscraper - Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again - BlacKkKlansman - Little - Pokémon Detective Pikachu - Godzilla: King of the Monsters


Enola Holmes - Godzilla vs. Kong - ⊃∪∩⪽

Christopher Nolan
Movies: Following - Memento - Insomnia - Batman Begins - The Prestige - The Dark Knight - Inception - The Dark Knight Rises - Interstellar - Dunkirk - Tenet

External Links


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