Batman movies come in all shapes, sizes and styles, from light films featuring the Caped Crusader to sombre tales showcasing the Dark Knight. As such, while some movies are appropriate for all audiences, some Batman films are not suitable for younger members of the family.

In previous posts I’ve looked at the best Batman movies for kids, for teenagers, and for the family, to highlight suitable viewing material for different age groups, but in this post, I’m going to look at how Batman movies are rated for everybody. I’ll be looking at movie classifications of each film, with specific regard to live-action Batman motion pictures beginning with Batman: The Movie.

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I will list the movies with their appropriate ratings for audiences in the UK and for those in the US. For the UK I will be referring to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), while for the US I will refer to the ratings set out by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

For ease of use, here is the BBFC’s film ratings system:

  • U – Suitable for all
  • PG – Parental guidance
  • 12A – Cinema release suitable for 12 years and over
  • 12 – Video release suitable for 12 years and over
  • 15 – Suitable only for 15 years and over
  • 18 – Suitable only for adults

And the MPAA’s ratings system:

  • G – General audiences
  • PG – Parental guidance suggested
  • PG-13 – Parents strongly cautioned
  • R – Restricted
  • NC-17 – No one 17 and under

What you will notice from the list below is that when it comes to Batman movies, the ratings vary considerably in the UK. However, in the US Batman movie certificates are pretty much consistent.

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Batman: The Movie (1966)

Image: ©20th Century Fox/DC Entertainment

Directed by Leslie H. Martinson, Batman: The Movie 1966 is the first feature-length Batman movie. The film stars Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin respectively, with Cesar Romero as the Joker, Lee Meriweather as Catwoman, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin, and Frank Gorshin as the Riddler.

  • In the UK, Batman: The Movie 1966 is a certificate U, making it suitable for all.
  • In the US, Batman: The Movie 1966 has a PG rating, meaning parental guidance is suggested.
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Batman (1989)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Tim Burton, Batman 1989 is the first entry in the Batman Anthology. The film stars Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson as Batman and the Joker respectively, with Kim Basinger as Vicki Vale.

  • In the UK, Batman 1989 is a certificate 15, making it suitable only for people who are 15 years and over.
  • In the US, Batman 1989 has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.

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Batman Returns (1992)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Tim Burton, Batman Returns 1992 is the second entry in the Batman Anthology (a sequel to Batman 1989). The film stars Michael Keaton as Batman, with Danny DeVito as the Penguin, Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Christopher Walken as Max Shreck.

  • In the UK, Batman Returns 1992 is a certificate 15, making it suitable only for people who are 15 years and over.
  • In the US, Batman Returns 1992 has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.
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Batman Forever (1995)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Joel Schumacher, Batman Forever 1995 is the third entry in the Batman Anthology (a sequel to Batman Returns 1992). The film stars Val Kilmer and Chris O’Donnell as Batman and Robin respectively, with Jim Carrey as the Riddler, Tommy Lee Jones as Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent, and Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian.

  • In the UK, Batman Forever 1995 is a certificate 12, making it suitable only for people who are 12 years and over.
  • In the US, Batman Forever 1995 has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.
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Batman & Robin (1997)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Joel Schumacher, Batman & Robin 1997 is the fourth and final entry in the Batman Anthology (a sequel to Batman Forever). The film stars George Clooney and Chris O’Donnell as Batman and Robin respectively, with Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze, Uma Thurman as Poison Ivy, and Jeep Swenson as Bane.

  • In the UK, Batman & Robin 1997 is a certificate PG, meaning parental guidance is suggested.
  • In the US, Batman & Robin has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.

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Catwoman (2004)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Pitoff, Catwoman 2004 is a standalone Catwoman movie. The film stars Halle Berry as Patience Phillips/Catwoman, with Sharon Stone as Laurel Hedare, and Benjamin Bratt as Detective Tom Lone.

  • In the UK, Catwoman 2004 is a certificate 12, making it suitable only for people who are 12 years and over.
  • In the US, Catwoman 2004 has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.
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Batman Begins (2005)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins 2005 is the first entry in The Dark Knight trilogy. The film stars Christian Bale as Batman, with Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, Liam Neeson as Ras al Ghul, and Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow.

  • In the UK, Batman Begins 2005 is a certificate 12, making it suitable only for people who are 12 years and over.
  • In the US, Batman Begins has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.
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The Dark Knight (2008)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight 2008is the second entry in The Dark Knight trilogy (a sequel to Batman Begins). The film stars Christian Bale as Batman, with Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes, Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow, Heath Ledger as the Joker and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey ‘Two-Face’ Dent.

  • In the UK, The Dark Knight 2008 is a certificate 12, making it suitable only for people who are 12 years and over.
  • In the US, The Dark Knight 2008 has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.
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The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises 2012 is the third and final entry in The Dark Knight trilogy (a sequel to The Dark Knight). The film stars Christian Bale as Batman, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, Cillian Murphy as the Scarecrow, Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Tom Hardy as Bane, and Marion Cotillard as Talia al Ghul.

  • In the UK, The Dark Knight Rises 2012 is a certificate 12, making it suitable only for people who are 12 years and over.
  • In the US, The Dark Knight Rises 2012 has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Zack Snyder, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016is a sequel to Man of Steel (2013) and also an entry in the DC Extended Universe collection of films. The film stars Ben Affleck as Batman and Henry Cavill as Superman, with Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and Jessie Eisenberg as Lex Luthor.

  • In the UK, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016 is a certificate 12, making it suitable only for people who are 12 years and over.
  • In the US, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice 2016 has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.
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Suicide Squad (2016)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by David Ayer, Suicide Squad 2016 is an entry in the DC Extended Universe film collection (a follow-on from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). The film stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn and Jared Leto as the Joker, with Will Smith as Deadshot, Cara Delevingne as Enchantress, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Killer Croc, Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang, Jay Hernandez as El Diablo, and Viola Davis as Amanda Waller.

  • In the UK, Suicide Squad 2016 is a certificate 15, making it suitable only for people who are 15 years and over.
  • In the US, Suicide Squad 2016 has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.
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Justice League (2017)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Zack Snyder (with Joss Whedon as an uncredited director), Justice League 2017 is an entry within the DC Extended Universe film collection (a follow-on from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad). The film stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, with Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf.

  • In the UK, Justice League 2017 is a certificate 12, making it suitable only for people who are 12 years and over.
  • In the US, Justice League 2017 has a PG-13 rating, which means parents are strongly cautioned.

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Joker (2019)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Todd Phillips, Joker is an origin story for Batman’s greatest adversary. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck/Joker, alongside Zazie Beetz, Robert De Niro and Frances Conroy.

  • In the UK, Joker 2019 is rated 15, making it suitable only for people who are 15 years and over.
  • In the US, Joker 2019 has an R rating, which means restricted viewing.
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Birds of Prey (2020)

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Directed by Cathy Yan, Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) is an action adventure movie, which brings together a group of iconic DC heroines, led by Harley Quinn. The film stars Margot Robbie, alongside a cast that includes Rosie Perez and Ewan Mcgregor.

  • In the UK, Birds of Prey is rated 15, making it suitable only for people who are 15 years and over.
  • In the US, Birds of Prey has an R rating, which means restricted viewing.
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Batman movie certification recap:

  • Batman: The Movie – UK (U) / US (PG)
  • Batman ’89 – UK (15) / US (PG-13)
  • Batman Returns – UK (15) / US (PG-13)
  • Batman Forever – UK (12) / US (PG-13)
  • Batman & Robin – UK (PG) / US (PG-13)
  • Catwoman – UK (12) / US (PG-13)
  • Batman Begins – UK (12) / US (PG-13)
  • The Dark Knight – UK (12) / US (PG-13)
  • The Dark Knight Rises – UK (12) / US (PG-13)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – UK (12) / US (PG-13)
  • Suicide Squad – UK (15) / US (PG-13)
  • Justice League – UK (12) / US (PG-13)
  • Joker – UK (15) / US (R)
  • Birds of Prey – UK (15) / US (R)

I do hope the above information is useful. There are many great live-action Batman movies to watch, and hopefully this quick guide will steer you in the right direction as to which are most suitable for you and your family.

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