In comics, the Joker is given page after page to display the depths of his depravity and in movies it is no different, with countless feature-length tales dedicating hours to the character. But of all the Joker movies out there (and there are quite a few), which one’s are the best?
Below are six of the best Joker films. From live-action to animated features, these are the Joker movies you need to watch if you really want to spend some quality time with the Clown Prince of Crime.
First up is Joker – director Todd Phillips’ brutal origin story about a man who becomes a clown. Joaquin Phoenix plays the role of Joker/Arthur Fleck, a troubled individual who takes a dark path towards villainy.
Joker presents a fascinating journey into the mind of DC Comics’ most iconic clown. It doesn’t pull any punches and is easily the most Joker-filled Joker movie on this list.
Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)
You want more warped, deranged Joker action? You got it!
Adapted from the best-selling story by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland, The Killing Joke is a macabre tale not for the faint hearted. The film once again focuses on the Joker’s origin, while at the same time sees the Clown Prince of Crime go to great lengths to drive Commissioner Gordon to the brink of insanity.
How does he attempt this? By shooting the Commissioner’s daughter (aka Batgirl), then torturing him.
Mark Hamill takes on the part of the Joker – a role he has proved time-and-time-again that he was born to play. Speaking of which…
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
Hamill plays the Joker once more in Batman: Mask of the Phantasm – a fantastic movie with some great Joker scenes.
The Joker isn’t the main villain of the film, but every time he is on screen he manages to completely derails the lives of everyone he encounters, in a way that only the Joker can – with a smile on his face.
Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
Mark Hamill makes his third and final appearance on this list (he’s that good in the role of the Joker) in Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker. For this entry he plays an older, wiser adversary, and one who is always a step ahead of the Caped Crusader.
How does he do it? You will have to watch to find out – but trust me, you will not be disappointed. Return of the Joker is one of the best Joker tales committed to film, and one that sees Batman and the Joker duke it out for the final time.
While the Caped Crusader’s name might be up there in the title, Tim Burton’s Batman is most certainly a Joker movie. Not only does the character appear with regularity throughout the film, but Joker actor Jack Nicholson received top billing on all of the picture’s promotional material!
Not bad, right?
Heck, the Joker’s presence in this movie is more than ‘not bad’, it is simply mesmerising. Jack Nicholson plays the character to perfection, ensuring he is a larger than life character who is more than a match for Batman.
The Dark Knight (2008)
And finally, no list of best Joker movies would be complete without The Dark Knight – the second entry in director Christopher Nolan’s epic Dark Knight trilogy. In this movie, the Joker is played by Heath Ledger in a scene-grabbing turn that won him a posthumous Academy Award.
Ledger not only steals the show throughout the film, he also helped Warner Bros. Pictures achieve its first ever billion-dollar Batman movie. The Dark Knight is a superb film in every respect, with the Joker being the crowning glory.
The six best Joker movies are:
- Joker (2019)
- Batman: The Killing Joke (2016)
- Batman (1989)
- Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)
- Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker (2000)
- The Dark Knight (2008)
Should these six movies not quite quench your thirst for all things Joker, then check out these additional recommendations:
- Under the Red Hood (2011)
- The Dark Knight Returns – Part 1 (2012)
- The Dark Knight Returns – Part 2 (2013)
- The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
I do hope these Joker movie recommendations are useful to you and thank you for stopping by I’ll Get Drive-Thru. Should you want further information about all of the Joker’s movie appearances, I strongly recommend you check out my post: What is the best order for the Joker movies?
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