If you are new to this blog, or you have stumbled across this post through a quick Google search, then you are probably wondering what the Batman movies are. Either you want to know what constitutes a Batman movie or you simply want a list of all the Batman films.

Whatever your reason for landing on this post, I can provide you with an answer – so thanks for stopping by!

In this post I am going to provide a list of every live-action Batman movie. I will first list the movies in production/release order and then break them down into subcategories for ‘best viewing order’.

But before I get started, what is a Batman movie?

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Defining the Batman movies

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

For the purpose of this post I am defining a Batman movie as a feature film which either includes Batman or is connected to a character who is considered a Batman-related character (i.e. a villain). For example, I am classing Justice League as a Batman movie because Batman is one of the core characters, but I am not classing Man of Steel as a Batman movie as it does not feature Batman or a Batman-related character.

Superman – the star of Man of Steel – regularly appears in Batman stories, but he is not a character that originated in Batman comics. However, someone like the Joker (who has his own movie) did originate in Batman comics, so is classed as a Batman-related character.

OK, so hopefully that makes things a little clearer. Now let me run through a list of all the Batman movies, beginning with the first feature film, Batman: The Movie (1966).

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The Batman movie order

Image: ©20th Century Fox/DC Entertainment

Following a couple of black and white Batman serials (which were not feature films), Batman: The Movie (1966) was released as the first Batman movie to arrive on the big screen. The film starred Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin, and was a spin-off of the 1960s Batman TV show.

The next Batman movie was the 1989 Tim Burton-directed Batman (also referred to as Batman ’89). This film starred Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as the Joker.

Batman Returns (1992) was a sequel to Batman ’89 and featured Danny DeVito as the Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. Michael Keaton played the role of Batman for this film.

In 1995, the next Batman movie arrived in the shape of the Joel Schumacher-directed Batman Forever. Val Kilmer took on the role of Batman, with Jim Carrey as the Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face.

Batman & Robin – a sequel to Batman Forever – followed in 1997. This movie starred George Clooney as Batman, Chris O’Donnell as Robin, Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and Jeep Swenson as Bane.

Collectively, the four Batman movies, Batman ’89, Batman Returns, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, form a series known as the Batman Anthology.

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2004’s Catwoman is the next Batman movie. The film does not feature Batman, but it does focus on the anti-hero, Catwoman who originated in Batman comics.

Batman Begins (2005) is the next Batman movie. The film – directed by Christopher Nolan – starred Christian Bale as Batman, with Liam Neeson as Ra’s al Ghul and Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow.

Batman Begins was followed by the sequel, The Dark Knight (2008). Christian Bale returned to the role of Batman, with Heath Ledger as the Joker and Aaron Eckhart as Two-Face.

In 2012, The Dark Knight was followed by The Dark Knight Rises. Christian Bale played the role of Batman for the final time, opposite Tom Hardy as Bane, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, and Marion Cotillard as Talia al Ghul.

Batman Begins, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises are collectively known as The Dark Knight trilogy.

The next Batman film is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – a sequel to Man of Steel (2013). Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice starred Ben Affleck as Batman.

Batman made his next onscreen appearance in Suicide Squad opposite Jared Leto as the Joker, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn, Will Smith as Deadshot, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller. Ben Affleck played the role of Batman.

In 2017, Ben Affleck played the role of Batman one final time for the movie, Justice League (2017). In this film Batman joined forces with Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League are all part of a larger series of films called the DC Extended Universe. Birds of Prey (2020 and The Suicide Squad (2021) are set in the same universe and contain Batman-related characters.

In 2019, Joaquin Phoenix took on the title role in the origin movie, Joker. The film was not connected to any of the above movies.

In 2021, Robert Pattinson dons the cape and cowl to play Batman in a new series of movies.

OK, so that’s a brief explanation of each movie, now for ease of use here is a list of the Batman movies in production order:

  • Batman: The Movie (1966)
  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • Catwoman (2004)
  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Suicide Squad (2016)
  • Justice League (2017)
  • The Joker (2019)
  • Birds of Prey (2020)
  • The Suicide Squad (2021)
  • The Batman (2021)

Now I know what you are thinking, do these movies need to be watched in the above order?

In truth, no.

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The movies are listed by production date and while they can be watched in this order, they can easily be mixed and matched as you see fit. My best advice is to group the films together by the following subcategories:

The 60s-era of Batman

  • Batman: The Movie (1966)

The Batman Anthology

  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)

Catwoman

  • Catwoman (2004)

The Dark Knight trilogy

  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

DC Extended Universe*

  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Suicide Squad (2016)
  • Justice League (2017)
  • Birds of Prey (2020)

*The Batman films in the DC Extended Universe are part of a wider cinematic universe which also includes Man of Steel (2013), Wonder Woman (2017), Aquaman (2018), Shazam (2019), and Wonder Woman 84 (2020).

If you want to watch the films in their timeline order, then view them as follows: Wonder Woman (2017), Wonder Woman 84 (2020), Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), Justice League (2017), Aquaman (2018), Shazam (2019) and Birds of Prey (2020).

Joker

  • Joker (2019)

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I do hope the above information has been useful to you. If you would like more details on Batman movies, please take a look around this blog, where you will find posts listing all of the live-action Batman movie villains or a rundown of all the actors who have played Batman.

Should you wish to know more about the Batman Anthology (the Batman movies released between 1989 and 1997), then it is worth checking out my post: The Batman The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray boxset review.

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