Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki
Advertisement
Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki


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.

Nolan's inspiration for the film was the Joker's comic book debut in 1940, the 1988 graphic novel The Killing Joke, and the 1996 series The Long Halloween, which retold Harvey Dent's origin. The "Dark Knight" nickname was first applied to Batman in Batman #1 (1940), in a story written by Bill Finger. The Dark Knight was filmed primarily in Chicago, as well as in several other locations in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Hong Kong. The film was the first mainstream feature to partially utilize IMAX 70 mm cameras, with Nolan using them for 28 minutes of the film, including the Joker's first appearance. Warner Bros. initially created a viral marketing campaign for The Dark Knight, developing promotional websites and trailers highlighting screenshots of Ledger as the Joker. Ledger died on January 22, 2008, some months after he completed filming and six months before the film's release from a toxic combination of prescription drugs, leading to intense attention from the press and movie-going public.

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.

Plot

A gang of criminals rob a Gotham City mob bank; the Joker manipulates them into murdering each other for a higher share until only he remains and escapes with the money. Batman, District Attorney Harvey Dent and Lieutenant Jim Gordon form an alliance to rid Gotham of organized crime. Bruce Wayne is impressed with Dent's idealism and offers to support his career; he believes that, with Dent as Gotham's protector, he can give up being Batman and lead a normal life with Rachel Dawes—even though she and Dent are dating.

Mob bosses Sal Maroni, Gambol, and the Chechen hold a videoconference with their corrupt accountant, Lau, who has hidden their funds for safekeeping and fled to Hong Kong. The Joker warns them that Batman is unhindered by the law, and offers to kill him in exchange for half their money. After Joker kills Gambol and takes over his gang, the mob accepts his offer.

Batman finds Lau and brings him back to Gotham to testify, allowing Dent to apprehend the entire mob. The Joker threatens a string of murders unless Batman reveals his identity, and starts by killing Police Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb and Judge Surrillo. He targets the mayor but Gordon sacrifices himself to stop the assassination. Rachel is the next target.

Bruce plans to reveal his identity to stop the murders but Dent, refusing to allow him to do so, announces that he is Batman instead. Dent is taken into custody and the Joker attacks the convoy. Batman and Gordon, who faked his death, rescue Dent and apprehend the Joker. Rachel and Dent are kidnapped and the Joker reveals that they are in separate locations rigged with explosives. Batman races to save Rachel while Gordon attempts to rescue Dent. Batman realizes too late that the Joker sent him to Dent's location instead. Both buildings explode, killing Rachel and disfiguring half of Dent's face. The Joker escapes with Lau, whom he kills along with the Chechen.

Coleman Reese, an accountant at Wayne Enterprises, deduces that Bruce is Batman and tries to go public with the information. Not wanting Reese's revelation to interfere with his plans, the Joker threatens to destroy a hospital unless Reese is killed within the hour. The Joker convinces a disillusioned Dent to seek revenge for Rachel's death, then destroys the hospital. Dent goes on a killing spree as the vigilante Two-Face, targeting those he holds responsible for Rachel's death.

After announcing Gotham will be subject to his rule come nightfall, the Joker rigs two ferries with explosives, one containing civilians and the other prisoners. He threatens to blow them both up but will let one ferry live if its passengers blow up the other. Batman finds the Joker by exploiting the sonar capabilities of all the phones in the city. The civilians and the prisoners refuse to kill each other, proving that Gotham still has hope in good. As SWAT takes the Joker into custody, he gloats that Gotham's citizens will lose hope once the admired Dent's rampage becomes public knowledge.

Gordon and Batman encounter Two-Face, who has held Gordon's family as hostages. Two-Face shoots Batman and threatens to kill Gordon's son, claiming that Gordon's negligence is responsible for Rachel's death. Batman tackles Two-Face off the building to his death. He persuades Gordon to hold him responsible for Dent's killing spree to preserve Dent's heroic image, believing Dent is the hero Gotham needs right now. Dent is hailed as a hero and the police launch a manhunt for Batman, with Gordon unwillingly destroying the Bat-signal.

Cast

  • Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne / Batman:
A billionaire socialite who, after witnessing his parents' death in a mugging at age 8, travels the world for seven years before returning home to operate as a bat-masked vigilante hailed as Gotham City's "Dark Knight", using fear against the city's criminal underworld at night. Bale said he was confident in his choice to return in the role because of the positive response to his portrayal in Batman Begins. He continued training in the Keysi Fighting Method and performed many of his own stunts, but did not gain as much muscle as in the previous film because the new Batsuit allowed him to move with greater agility. Bale described Batman's dilemma as whether "[his crusade is] something that has an end. Can he quit and have an ordinary life? The kind of manic intensity someone has to have to maintain the passion and the anger that they felt as a child, takes an effort after a while, to keep doing that. At some point, you have to exorcise your demons." He added, "Now you have not just a young man in pain attempting to find some kind of an answer, you have somebody who actually has power, who is burdened by that power, and is having to recognize the difference between attaining that power and holding on to it." Bale felt Batman's personality had been strongly established in the first film, so it was unlikely his character would be overshadowed by the villains, stating: "I have no problem with competing with someone else. And that's going to make a better movie."
  • Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth:
Bruce's trusted butler and confidant, who supplies useful advice to Bruce and likeness as a father figure, leading him to be labeled "Batman's batman".
  • Heath Ledger as the Joker:
A psychopathic illegalist mastermind portraying himself as an "agent of chaos", who rises from the criminal underworld by thrusting Gotham into anarchy and drawing Batman ever closer to crossing the fine line between heroism and vigilantism. Before Ledger was cast in July 2006, Paul Bettany, Lachy Hulme, Adrien Brody, Steve Carell, and Robin Williams publicly expressed interest in it. However, Nolan had wanted to work with Ledger on a number of projects in the past (including unsuccessfully approaching Ledger for the role of Batman in Batman Begins) and was agreeable to Ledger's chaotic interpretation of the character. When Ledger saw Batman Begins, he had realized a way to make the character work that was consistent with the film's tone: he described his Joker as a "psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy". In the film, the Joker has a Glasgow smile, and his trademark chalk-white skin and red lips are makeup rather than the result of chemical bleaching, as in the traditional portrayal of the character. Throughout the film, the Joker states his desire to upset social order through crime, and comes to define himself by his conflict with Batman. To prepare for the role, Ledger lived alone in a hotel room for a month, formulating the character's posture, voice, and personality, and kept a diary, in which he recorded the Joker's thoughts and feelings. While he initially found it difficult, Ledger eventually generated a voice unlike Jack Nicholson's character in Tim Burton's 1989 Batman film. He was also given Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, which he "really tried to read and put it down". Ledger also cited A Clockwork Orange and Sid Vicious as "a very early starting point for Christian [Bale] and I. But we kind of flew far away from that pretty quickly and into another world altogether." "There's a bit of everything in him. There's nothing that consistent", Ledger said, and added, "There are a few more surprises to him." Ledger was allowed to shoot and mostly direct the videos the Joker sends out as warnings. Each take Ledger made was different from the last. Nolan was impressed enough with the first video shoot that he chose to not be present when Ledger shot the video with a kidnapped reporter (Anthony Michael Hall). On January 22, 2008, after he had completed filming The Dark Knight, Ledger died of an accidental prescription drug overdose, leading to intense press attention and memorial tributes. "It was tremendously emotional, right when he passed, having to go back in and look at him every day [during editing]", Nolan recalled. "But the truth is, I feel very lucky to have something productive to do, to have a performance that he was very, very proud of, and that he had entrusted to me to finish." All of Ledger's scenes appear as he completed them in the filming; in editing the film, Nolan added no "digital effects" to alter Ledger's actual performance posthumously. Nolan dedicated the film in part to Ledger's memory.
  • Gary Oldman as James Gordon:
A lieutenant in the Gotham City Police Department and one of the city's few honest police officers, who forms a tenuous, unofficial alliance with Batman and Dent and is given the position of Police Commissioner by the city's mayor following the recent commissioner's assassination. Oldman described his character as "incorruptible, virtuous, strong, heroic, but understated". Nolan explained, "The Long Halloween has a great, triangular relationship between Harvey Dent and Gordon and Batman, and that's something we very much drew from." Oldman added that "Gordon has a great deal of admiration for him at the end, but [Batman] is more than ever now the dark knight, the outsider. I'm intrigued now to see: If there is a third one, what he's going to do?" On the possibility of another sequel, he said that "returning to [the role] is not dependent on whether the role was bigger than the one before".
  • Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent / Two-Face:
The district attorney hailed as Gotham's "White Knight", whose campaign against the criminal underworld leaves half of his face disfigured, turning him into a murderer with a split-personality bent on revenge. Nolan and David S. Goyer had originally considered using Dent in Batman Begins, but they replaced him with the new character Rachel Dawes when they realized they "couldn't do him justice". Before Eckhart was cast in February 2007, Liev Schreiber, Josh Lucas, and Ryan Phillippe had expressed interest in the role, while Mark Ruffalo auditioned. Matt Damon stated that he was considered for the role, but could not accept due to scheduling conflicts. Hugh Jackman was also considered for the part. Nolan chose Eckhart, whom he had considered for the lead role in Memento, citing his "extraordinary" ability as an actor, his embodiment of "that kind of chiselled, American hero quality" projected by Robert Redford, and his subtextual "edge". Eckhart was "interested in good guys gone wrong", and had played corrupt men in films such as The Black Dahlia, Thank You for Smoking, and In the Company of Men. Whereas Dent is depicted as a crime boss in most characterizations, Nolan chose to portray him as a twisted vigilante to emphasize his role as Batman's counterpart. Eckhart explained, "[He] is still true to himself. He's a crime fighter, he's not killing good people. He's not a bad guy, not purely." For Dent, Eckhart "kept on thinking about the Kennedys", particularly Robert F. Kennedy, who was "idealistic, held a grudge and took on the Mob". He had his hair lightened and styled to make him appear more dashing. Nolan told Eckhart to not make Dent's criminal persona "jokey with slurping sounds or ticks".
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes:
Gotham City's assistant district attorney and Bruce's childhood friend, who is one of the few people who knows Batman's true identity. Gyllenhaal took over the role from Katie Holmes, who played the part in Batman Begins. In August 2005, Holmes was reportedly planning to reprise the role, but she eventually turned it down to film Mad Money with Diane Keaton and Queen Latifah. By March 2007, Gyllenhaal was in "final talks" for the part. Gyllenhaal has acknowledged her character is a damsel in distress to an extent, but says Nolan sought ways to empower her character, so "Rachel's really clear about what's important to her and unwilling to compromise her morals, which made a nice change" from the many conflicted characters whom she has previously portrayed.
  • Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox:
The recently promoted CEO of Wayne Enterprises who, now fully aware of his employer's double life, serves more directly as Bruce's armorer for the Batsuit in addition to his corporate duties.

Monique Gabriela Curnen and Ron Dean portray Anna Ramirez and Michael Wuertz respectively, corrupt detectives in Gordon's unit. Nestor Carbonell appears as Anthony Garcia, the mayor of Gotham. Chin Han portrays Lau, a corrupt Chinese LSI Holdings accountant Triad boss. Eric Roberts plays Sal Maroni, an Italian mafia boss who takes over Carmine Falcone's mob, and Ritchie Coster portrays the Chechen, a Chechen mafia boss in charge of drug-trafficking for the mob. Anthony Michael Hall appears as Mike Engel, a Gotham Cable News reporter, and Keith Szarabajka portrays Gerard Stephens, a detective in Gordon's unit. Joshua Harto plays Coleman Reese, an M&A law accountant at Wayne Enterprises who deduces Bruce's persona of Batman from Fox and plans to reveal it to Gotham. Melinda McGraw appears as Barbara Gordon, Gordon's wife, while Nathan Gamble appears as James Gordon Jr., Gordon's ten-year-old son. Michael Jai White portrays Gambol, an African American mafia boss in charge of illegal gambling and extortion for the mob. Colin McFarlane reprises his role as Gillian B. Loeb, the Police Commissioner of Gotham.

The film's supporting cast includes Nydia Rodriguez Terracina as Judge Janet Surrillo, and Tom "Tiny" Lister Jr. as a prison inmate on one of the bomb-rigged ferries. Vincenzo Nicoli played a crime boss in the meeting that had been held by the Joker and Lau. William Fichtner played the Gotham National Bank manager, and Cillian Murphy returns in a cameo as Jonathan Crane / Scarecrow, who is apprehended early on in the film by Batman.

Musician Dwight Yoakam was approached for the roles of either the manager or a corrupt cop, but he chose instead to focus on his album Dwight Sings Buck. United States Senator Patrick Leahy—a fan of Batman comics who was previously an extra in the 1997 film Batman & Robin and also was a guest voice actor on Batman: The Animated Series—appears as a guest at Bruce Wayne's party. Matt Skiba, co-lead vocalist and guitarist of the bands Alkaline Trio and Blink-182, made a small appearance in the film. David Dastmalchian appears as Thomas Schiff, a paranoid schizophrenic from Arkham Asylum who joins the Joker's gang, but gets captured and held at gunpoint by Dent after posing as an Honor Guard at Loeb's funeral alongside the Joker himself.

Production

Development

Before the release of Batman Begins, screenwriter David S. Goyer wrote a treatment for two sequels which introduced the Joker and Harvey Dent. His original intent was for the Joker to scar Dent during the Joker's trial in the third film, turning Dent into the supervillain Two-Face. Goyer, who penned the first draft of the film, cited the DC Comics 13-issue comic book limited series Batman: The Long Halloween as the major influence on his storyline. According to veteran Batman artist Neal Adams, he met with David Goyer in Los Angeles, and the story would eventually look to Adams and writer Denny O'Neil's 1971 story "The Joker's Five-Way Revenge" that appeared in Batman #251, in which O'Neil and Adams re-introduced the Joker. While initially uncertain of whether or not he would return to direct the sequel, Nolan did want to reinterpret the Joker on screen. On July 31, 2006, Warner Bros. officially announced initiation of production for the sequel to Batman Begins titled The Dark Knight; it is the first live-action Batman film without the word "Batman" in its title, which Bale noted as signaling that "this take on Batman of mine and Chris' is very different from any of the others".

After much research, Nolan's brother and co-writer, Jonathan Nolan, suggested the Joker's first two appearances, published in the first issue of Batman (1940), as the crucial influences. Christopher had Jonathan watch Fritz Lang's 1933 crime film The Testament of Dr. Mabuse prior to writing the Joker, with the Joker resembling Mabuse's characteristics. Christopher Nolan referred to Lang's film as "essential research for anyone attempting to write a supervillain". Jerry Robinson, one of the Joker's co-creators, was consulted on the character's portrayal. Nolan decided to avoid divulging an in-depth origin story for the Joker, and instead portray his rise to power so as to not diminish the threat he poses, explaining to MTV News, "the Joker we meet in The Dark Knight is fully formed ... To me, the Joker is an absolute. There are no shades of gray to him—maybe shades of purple. He's unbelievably dark. He bursts in just as he did in the comics." Nolan reiterated to IGN, "We never wanted to do an origin story for the Joker in this film", because "the arc of the story is much more Harvey Dent's; the Joker is presented as an absolute. It's a very thrilling element in the film, and a very important element, but we wanted to deal with the rise of the Joker, not the origin of the Joker." Nolan suggested Batman: The Killing Joke influenced a section of the Joker's dialogue in the film, in which he says that anyone can become like him given the right circumstances. Nolan also cited Heat as "sort of an inspiration" for his aim "to tell a very large, city story or the story of a city": "If you want to take on Gotham, you want to give Gotham a kind of weight and breadth and depth in there. So you wind up dealing with the political figures, the media figures. That's part of the whole fabric of how a city is bound together."

According to Nolan, an important theme of the sequel is "escalation", extending the ending of Batman Begins, noting "things having to get worse before they get better". While indicating The Dark Knight would continue the themes of Batman Begins, including justice vs. revenge and Bruce Wayne's issues with his father, Nolan emphasized the sequel would also portray Wayne more as a detective, an aspect of his character not fully developed in Batman Begins. Nolan described the friendly rivalry between Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent as the "backbone" of the film. He also chose to compress the overall storyline, allowing him to develop Dent into a criminal in The Dark Knight, thus giving the film an emotional arc the unsympathetic Joker could not offer. Nolan acknowledged the title was not only a reference to Batman, but also the fallen "white knight" Harvey Dent.

During rehearsals, Nolan and cast members were mesmerised by Heath Ledger's interpretation of the Joker. Aaron Eckhart recalled, "Chris looked at me and he said, 'Heath is doing something special.' And we all felt that way... When you have Gary Oldman, who's one of our greatest actors, and he's in awe of what Heath was doing, it showed what a performance Heath was giving."

Filming

While scouting for shooting locations in October 2006, location manager Robin Higgs visited Liverpool, concentrating mainly along the city's waterfront. Other candidates included Yorkshire, Glasgow, and parts of London. In August 2006, one of the film's producers, Charles Roven, stated that its principal photography would begin in March 2007, but filming was pushed back to April. For its release in IMAX theaters, Nolan shot four major sequences in that format, including the Joker's opening bank robbery and the car chase midway through the film, which marked the first time that a feature film had been even partially shot in the format. Additionally, it was also the first Batman film to use 70 mm film stock. The cameras used for non-IMAX 35 mm scenes were Panavision's Panaflex Millennium XL and Platinum.

For fifteen years Nolan had wanted to shoot in the IMAX format, and he also used it for "quiet scenes which pictorially we thought would be interesting". The use of IMAX cameras provided many new challenges for the filmmakers: the cameras were much larger and heavier than standard cameras, and produced noise which made recording dialogue difficult. In addition, the cameras had short film loads ranging from 30 seconds to two minutes and the cost of the film stock was much greater than standard 35 mm film. Nevertheless, Nolan said that he wished that it were possible to shoot the entire film in IMAX: "if you could take an IMAX camera to Mount Everest or outer space, you could use it in a feature movie." In addition, Nolan chose to edit some of the IMAX sequences using the original camera negative, which by eliminating generation loss, raised the film resolution of those sequences up to 18,000 lines.

Warner Bros. chose to film in Chicago for 13 weeks, because Nolan had a "truly remarkable experience" filming part of Batman Begins there. Instead of using the Chicago Board of Trade Building as the location for the headquarters of Wayne Enterprises, as Batman Begins did, The Dark Knight shows Wayne Enterprises as being headquartered in the Richard J. Daley Center. While filming in Chicago, the film was given the false title Rory's First Kiss to lower the visibility of production, but the local media eventually uncovered the ruse. Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times commented on the absurdity of the technique, "Is there a Bat-fan in the world that doesn't know Rory's First Kiss is actually The Dark Knight, which has been filming in Chicago for weeks?" Production of The Dark Knight in Chicago generated $45 million in the city's economy and created thousands of jobs. For the film's prologue involving the Joker, the crew shot in Chicago from April 18, 2007, to April 24, 2007. They returned to shoot from June 9, 2007, to early September. Noticeably, unlike Batman Begins, less CGI was used to disguise Chicago. Many recognizable locations were used in the film, like the Sears Tower, Navy Pier, 330 North Wabash, the James R. Thompson Center, Trump International Hotel and Tower (which was still incomplete at the time of the film's release), LaSalle Street, The Berghoff, Randolph Street Station, and Hotel 71. An old Brach's factory was used as Gotham Hospital. The defunct Van Buren Street post office doubles as Gotham National Bank for the opening bank robbery. Several sequences, including one car chase, were shot on the lower level of Wacker Drive. The Marina City towers also appear in the background throughout the movie.

Pinewood Studios, near London, was the primary studio space used for the production. While planning a stunt with the Batmobile in a special effects facility near Chertsey, England, in September 2007, technician Conway Wickliffe was killed when his car crashed. The film is dedicated to both Ledger and Wickliffe. The restaurant scene was filmed at the Criterion Restaurant in Piccadilly Circus, London.

The following month in London at the defunct Battersea Power Station, a rigged 200-foot fireball was filmed, reportedly for an opening sequence, prompting calls from local residents who feared a terrorist attack on the station. A similar incident occurred during the filming in Chicago, when an abandoned Brach's candy factory (which was Gotham Hospital in the film) was demolished.

Filming took place in Hong Kong from November 6 to 11, 2007, at various locations in Central, including Hong Kong's tallest building at the time, the International Finance Centre, for the scene where Batman captures Lau. Filming also took place on the Central to Mid-Levels covered escalator. The shoot hired helicopters and C-130 aircraft. Officials expressed concern over possible noise pollution and traffic. In response, letters sent to the city's residents promised that the sound level would approximate noise decibels made by buses. Environmentalists also criticized the filmmakers' request to tenants of the waterfront skyscrapers to keep their lights on all night to enhance the cinematography, describing it as a waste of energy. Cinematographer Wally Pfister found the Chinese government officials —who wanted to limit helicopter activity over the city— a "nightmare", and ultimately Nolan had to create Batman's jump from a skyscraper digitally.

Design

Effects

The film introduces the Batpod, which is a recreation of the Batcycle. Production designer Nathan Crowley, who designed the Tumbler for Batman Begins, designed six models (built by special effects supervisor Chris Corbould) for use in the film's production, because of necessary crash scenes and possible accidents. Crowley built a prototype in Nolan's garage, before six months of safety tests were conducted. The Batpod is steered by shoulder instead of hand, and the rider's arms are protected by sleeve-like shields. The bike has 508-millimeter (20-inch) front and rear tires, and is made to appear as if it is armed with grappling hooks, cannons, and machine guns. The engines are located in the hubs of the wheels, which are set 3½ feet (1,067 mm) apart on either side of the tank. The rider lies belly down on the tank, which can move up and down to dodge any incoming gunfire that Batman may encounter. Stuntman Jean-Pierre Goy doubled for Christian Bale during the riding sequences in The Dark Knight. The Batpod was highly unstable for riding, and Goy was the only stuntman who could manage to balance the bike, even commenting that he had to "nearly un-learn how to ride a motorcycle" to manage riding the Batpod. Bale did insist on doing shots on the Batpod himself, but was prohibited by the team fearing his safety.

Nolan designed Dent's scarred appearance in the film as one of the least disturbing, explaining, "When we looked at less extreme versions of it, they were too real and more horrifying. When you look at a film like Pirates of the Caribbean—something like that, there's something about a very fanciful, very detailed visual effect, that I think is more powerful and less repulsive." Framestore created 120 computer-generated shots of Dent's visage. Nolan felt using make-up would look unrealistic, as it adds to the face, unlike real burn victims. Framestore acknowledged they rearranged the positions of bones, muscles and joints to make the character look more dramatic. For each shot, three 720-pixel HD cameras were set up at different angles on set to fully capture Aaron Eckhart's performance. Eckhart wore markers on his face and a prosthetic skullcap, which acted as a lighting reference. A few shots of the skullcap were kept in the film. Framestore also integrated shots of Bale and Eckhart into that of the exploding building where Dent is burned. It was difficult simulating fire on Eckhart because it is inherently unrealistic for only half of something to burn.

Costumes

Costume designer Lindy Hemming described the Joker's look as reflecting his personality, in that "he doesn't care about himself at all"; she avoided designing him as a vagrant, but still made him appear to be "scruffier, grungier", so that "when you see him move, he's slightly twitchier or edgy". Nolan noted, "We gave a Francis Bacon spin to [his face]. This corruption, this decay in the texture of the look itself. It's grubby. You can almost imagine what he smells like." In creating the "anarchical" look of the Joker, Hemming drew inspiration from such countercultural pop culture artists as Pete Doherty, Iggy Pop, and Johnny Rotten. Ledger described his "clown" mask, made up of three pieces of stamped silicone, as a "new technology", taking less than an hour for the make-up artists to apply, much faster than more-conventional prosthetics usually requires. Ledger also said that he felt he was barely wearing any make-up.

Hemming and Ledger's Joker design has had an impact in popular and political culture in the form of the Barack Obama "Joker" poster, and has since become a meme in its own right.

Designers improved on the design of the Batsuit from Batman Begins, adding wide elastic banding to help bind the costume to Bale, and suggest more sophisticated technology. It was constructed from 200 individual pieces of rubber, fiberglass, metallic mesh, and nylon. The new cowl was modeled after a motorcycle helmet and separated from the neck piece, allowing Bale to turn his head left and right and nod up and down. The cowl is equipped to show white lenses over the eyes when the character turns on his sonar detection, which gives Batman the white-eyed look from the comics and animation. The gauntlets have retractable razors which can be fired. Though the new costume is eight pounds heavier, Bale found it more comfortable and not as hot to wear. The depiction of Gotham City is less gritty than in Batman Begins. "I've tried to unclutter the Gotham we created on the last film", said production designer Nathan Crowley. "Gotham is in chaos. We keep blowing up stuff, so we can keep our images clean."

Music

Batman Begins composers Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard returned to score the sequel. Composition began before shooting, and during filming Nolan received an iPod with ten hours of recordings. Their nine-minute suite for the Joker, "Why So Serious?", is based around two notes. Zimmer compared its style to that of Kraftwerk, a band from his native Germany, as well as bands like the Damned. When Ledger died, Zimmer felt like scrapping and composing a new theme, but decided that he could not be sentimental and compromise the "evil [Ledger's performance] projects". Howard composed Dent's "elegant and beautiful" themes, which are brass-focused.

As Zimmer clarified, the main theme of the film (just like Batman Begins and later The Dark Knight Rises) consists in just two notes repeated, representing Batman's pain and guilt. Many times is also reprised in small parts "Molossus", Batman's main action theme in the trilogy.

Marketing

In May 2007, 42 Entertainment began a viral marketing campaign utilizing the film's "Why So Serious?" tagline with the launch of a website featuring the fictional political campaign of Harvey Dent, with the caption, "I Believe in Harvey Dent". The site aimed to interest fans by having them try to earn what they wanted to see and, on behalf of Warner Bros., 42 Entertainment also established a "vandalized" version of I Believe in Harvey Dent, called "I believe in Harvey Dent too", where e-mails sent by fans slowly removed pixels, revealing the first official image of the Joker; it was ultimately replaced with many "Haha"s and a hidden message that said "see you in December".

During the 2007 San Diego Comic-Con International, 42 Entertainment launched WhySoSerious.com, sending fans on a scavenger hunt to unlock a teaser trailer and a new photo of the Joker. On October 31, 2007, the film's website morphed into another scavenger hunt with hidden messages, instructing fans to uncover clues at certain locations in major cities throughout the United States, and to take photographs of their discoveries. The clues combined to reveal a new photograph of the Joker and an audio clip of him from the film saying "And tonight, you're gonna break your one rule." Completing the scavenger hunt also led to another website called Rory's Death Kiss (referencing the false working title of Rory's First Kiss), where fans could submit photographs of themselves costumed as the Joker. Those who sent photos were mailed a copy of a fictional newspaper called The Gotham Times, whose electronic version led to the discovery of numerous other websites.

The Dark Knight's opening sequence (showing a bank raid by the Joker), and closing montage of other scenes from the film, was screened with selected IMAX screenings of I Am Legend, which was released on December 14, 2007. A theatrical teaser was also released with non-IMAX showings of I Am Legend, and also on the official website. The sequence was released on the Blu-ray Disc edition of Batman Begins on July 8, 2008. Also on July 8, 2008, the studio released Batman: Gotham Knight, a direct-to-DVD animated film, set between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight and featuring six original stories, directed by Bruce Timm, co-creator and producer of Batman: The Animated Series, and starring veteran Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy. Each of these segments, written by Josh Olson, David S. Goyer, Brian Azzarello, Greg Rucka, Jordan Goldberg, and Alan Burnett, presents its own distinctive artistic style, paralleling numerous artists collaborating in the same DC Universe.

After the death of Heath Ledger on January 22, 2008, Warner Bros. adjusted its promotional focus on the Joker, revising some of its websites dedicated to promoting the film and posting a memorial tribute to Ledger on the film's official website and overlaying a black memorial ribbon on the photo collage in WhySoSerious.com. On February 29, 2008, I Believe in Harvey Dent was updated to enable fans to send their e-mail addresses and phone numbers. In March 2008, Harvey Dent's fictional campaign informed fans that actual campaign buses nicknamed "Dentmobiles" would tour various cities to promote Dent's candidacy for district attorney.

On May 15, 2008, Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Great Adventure theme parks opened The Dark Knight Coaster roller coaster, which cost US$7.5 million to develop and which simulates being stalked by the Joker. Mattel produced toys and games for The Dark Knight, action figures, role-play costumes, board games, puzzles, and a special-edition UNO card game, which began commercial distribution in June 2008.

Warner Bros. devoted six months to an anti-infringement strategy that involved tracking the people who had a pre-release copy of the film at any one time. Shipping and delivery schedules were also staggered and spot checks were carried out both domestically and overseas to ensure illegal copying of the film was not taking place in cinemas. An unlicensed copy was released on the web about 38 hours after the film's release. BitTorrent search engine The Pirate Bay taunted the movie industry over its ability to provide the movie free, replacing its logo with a taunting message.

Pandemic Studios was developing a tie-in video game adaptation, Batman: The Dark Knight. However, its development faced a series of disruptions and was canceled before completion.

Gallery

WARNER BROS. WIKI LOGO.png
Warner Bros. Entertainment Wiki has a collection of images and media related to The Dark Knight.

Trivia

References

External Links


v - e - d
DC Comics logo.png
Media
Animated series: Batman: The Animated SeriesSuperman: The Animated SeriesThe New Batman AdventuresThe New Batman/Superman AdventuresBatman BeyondStatic ShockThe Zeta ProjectJustice LeagueJustice League UnlimitedTeen TitansThe BatmanKrypto the SuperdogLegion of Super HeroesBatman: The Brave and the BoldYoung JusticeGreen Lantern: The Animated SeriesDC Nation ShortsTeen Titans Go!Beware the BatmanJustice League: Gods and Monsters ChroniclesVixenJustice League ActionFreedom Fighters: The RayConstantine: City of DemonsDC Super Hero GirlsHarley Quinn

Live-action series: The FlashHuman TargetLois & Clark: The New Adventures of SupermanSmallvilleBirds of PreyHuman TargetConstantinePowerlessArrowGothamThe FlashiZombieSupergirlLegends of TomorrowLuciferPreacherBlack LightningKryptonTitansThe BoysPennyworthDoom PatrolSwamp ThingStargirlWatchmen
Animated films: The Batman vs. DraculaSuperman: Brainiac AttacksTeen Titans: Trouble in TokyoJLA Adventures: Trapped in TimeScooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the BoldBatman NinjaTeen Titans Go! To the MoviesBatman: Mask of the PhantasmBatman & Mr. Freeze: SubZeroThe Batman/Superman Movie: World's FinestBatman Beyond: Return of the JokerBatman: Mystery of the BatwomanBatman and Harley QuinnSuperman: DoomsdayJustice League: The New FrontierBatman: Gotham KnightWonder WomanGreen Lantern: First FlightJustice League: Crisis on Two EarthsBatman: Under the Red HoodAll-Star SupermanGreen Lantern: Emerald KnightsBatman: Year OneJustice League: DoomSuperman vs. The EliteBatman: The Dark Knight ReturnsSuperman: UnboundBatman: Assault on ArkhamJustice League: Gods and MonstersBatman: The Killing JokeBatman: Gotham by GaslightSuperman/Batman: Public EnemiesSuperman/Batman: ApocalypseJustice League: The Flashpoint ParadoxJustice League: WarSon of BatmanJustice League: Throne of AtlantisBatman vs. RobinBatman: Bad BloodJustice League vs. Teen TitansJustice League DarkTeen Titans: The Judas ContractSuicide Squad: Hell to PayThe Death of SupermanReign of the SupermenThe SpectreJonah HexGreen ArrowSuperman/Shazam!: The Return of Black AdamCatwomanBatman: Return of the Caped CrusadersBatman vs. Two-FaceBatman UnlimitedBatman Unlimited: Animal InstinctsBatman Unlimited: Monster MayhemBatman Unlimited: Mechs vs. Mutants
Live-action films: SupermanSuperman II • (The Richard Donner Cut) • Superman IIISupergirlSuperman IV: The Quest for PeaceBatmanBatman ReturnsBatman ForeverBatmanSteelCatwomanConstantineBatman BeginsV for Vendetta (film)Superman ReturnsWatchmenThe LosersJonah HexGreen LanternMan of SteelBatman v Superman: Dawn of JusticeSuicide SquadJustice LeagueAquamanShazam!JokerBirds of Prey
Serials:
Books:
Comic Books:
Soundtracks:
Video games:
Universes: DC Comics logo.pngDc animated universe logo.pngDCU Movies.jpgDCAMU logo.pngDC Extended Universe logo.pngDC UniverseDC Universe OnlineDC Universe: LegaciesDC Universe Online: Legends • DC Universe Classics • DC Universe (toyline) • Arrowverse

Characters
Heroes: SupermanBatman (Bruce Wayne/Terry McGinnis) • Supergirl (Kara Zor-El/Matrix/Linda Danvers/Cir-El/Power Girl/Ariella Kent) • Robin (Dick Grayson/Jason Todd/Damian Wayne/Tim Drake) • Nightwing (Dick Grayson/Chris Kent) • Green Lantern Corps (Hal Jordan/Alan Scott/Guy Gardner/John Stewart/Kyle Rayner/Jade/Simon Baz/Jessica Cruz) • BatwomanBatgirlHuntressRed RobinRed HoodFlamebirdBatwingBluebirdStarfireStar HuntersCyborgRavenBeast BoyAqualadArgentBumblebeeBushidoGnarrkHeraldKid FlashThe FlashJerichoKoleMás y MenosPanthaRed StarSpeedyThunder and LightningTerraGreen ArrowWonder WomanAquamanBlack CanaryMartian ManhunterHawkwomanHawkgirlWonder Girl • Blue Beetle (Dan Garret/Ted Kord/Jaime Reyes)

Villains: The JokerCatwomanLex LuthorSinestroHarvey Two-FaceThe RiddlerLaurel HedareGeorge HedareThe PenguinBaneClayfaceHarley QuinnKiller CrocMad HatterMan-BatScarecrowMr. FreezePoison IvyVentriloquistRa's al GhulCalendar ManCatmanCluemasterDeadshotDeathstrokeFireflyHugo StrangeHushKiller MothMaxie ZeusTweedledum and TweedledeeVictor ZsaszJinxThe Batman Who LaughsStarroDark Kahn
Other characters:

Weapons/Objects
Vehicles
Skull ShipBatmobileThe BatBatboat
Organizations/Groups
H.I.V.E.Regime Soldiers
Locations


v - e - d
Warner Bros. Pictures 2019.png
1910s
1916: Robinson Crusoe

1918: My Four Years in Germany · Kaiser's Finish
1919: Open Your Eyes · Beware! · Speed

1920s
1920: The Tiger Band · The Lost City · Parted Curtains

1921: Miracles of the Jungle · School Days · Why Girls Leave Home · Ashamed of Parents
1922: Your Best Friend · Rags to Riches · A Dangerous Adventure · The Beautiful and Damned · Heroes of the Street
1923: Brass · The Tie That Binds · Little Church Around the Corner · Main Street · Where the North Begins · Little Johnny Jones · The Printer's Devil · The Gold Diggers · The Country Kid · Lucretia Lombard · Tiger Rose
1924: Conductor 1492 · George Washington Jr. · Daddies · The Marriage Circle · Beau Brummel · How to Educate a Wife · Broadway After Dark · Babbitt · Being Respectable · Her Marriage Vow · Cornered · Lover's Lane · The Tenth Woman · Find Your Man · Three Women · This Woman · The Age of Innocence · The Lover of Camille · The Dark Swan · The Lighthouse by the Sea · A Lost Lady
1925: The Bridge of Sighs · The Narrow Street · On Thin Ice · A Broadway Butterfly · Recompense · My Wife and I · The Man Without a Conscience · Eve's Lover · Tracked in the Snow Country · How Baxter Butted In · Kiss Me Again · The Woman Hater · The Limited Mail · The Wife Who Wasn't Wanted · His Majesty, Bunker Bean · Below the Line · The Man on the Box · Compromise · Bobbed Hair · Red Hot Tires · Seven Sinners · Satan in Sables · Rose of the World · The Clash of the Wolves · Three Weeks in Paris · Hogan's Alley · Pleasure Buyers · Lady Windermere's Fan
1926: The Fighting Edge · His Jazz Bride · The Sea Beast · The Man Upstairs · The Golden Cocoon · The Caveman · The Love Toy · Bride of the Storm · The Night Cry · Why Girls Go Back Home · The Little Irish Girl · Oh! What a Nurse! · The Gilded Highway · Other Women's Husbands · The Sap · Hell-Bent for Heaven · Silken Shackles · The Social Highwayman · Footloose Widows · The Passionate Quest · A Hero of the Big Snows · So This Is Paris · Don Juan · Broken Hearts of Hollywood · The Honeymoon Express · Millionaires · Across the Pacific · My Official Wife · The Better 'Ole · Private Izzy Murphy · While London Sleeps · The Third Degree
1927: Finger Prints · Wolf's Clothing · The Fortune Hunter · Don't Tell the Wife · Hills of Kentucky · The Gay Old Bird · White Flannels · What Every Girl Should Know · Matinee Ladies · Bitter Apples · The Brute · Tracked by the Police · The Climbers · Irish Hearts · The Missing Link · A Million Bid · Simple Sis · The Black Diamond Express · Dearie · What Happened to Father? · The Heart of Maryland · The Bush Leaguer · When a Man Loves · The Desired Woman · Slightly Used · Old San Francisco · Jaws of Steel · One-Round Hogan · The First Auto · A Sailor's Sweetheart · The Jazz Singer · Sailor Izzy Murphy · The College Widow · A Reno Divorce · A Dog of the Regiment · Good Time Charley · The Silver Slave · The Girl from Chicago · Ginsberg the Great · Brass Knuckles · If I Were Single · Ham and Eggs at the Front · Husbands for Rent
1928: Beware of Married Men · A Race for Life · The Little Snob · Across the Atlantic · Powder My Back · Tenderloin · Domestic Troubles · The Crimson City · Rinty of the Desert · Glorious Betsy · Pay as You Enter · The Lion And The Mouse · Five and Ten Cent Annie · Lights of New York · Women They Talk About · Caught in the Fog · State Street Sadie · The Midnight Taxi · The Terror · Night Watch · Waterfront · The Singing Fool · Show Girl · Do Your Duty · Land of the Silver Fox · Lilac Time · Beware of Bachelors · Noah's Ark · The Home Towners · The Haunted House · Outcast · On Trial · Adoration · The Little Wildcat · The Barker · My Man · Conquest · The Ware Case
1929: Synthetic Sin · Cheyenne · Scarlet Seas · Fancy Baggage · Seven Footprints to Satan · Stark Mad · His Captive Woman · The Greyhound Limited · The Million Dollar Collar · Weary River · The Redeeming Sin · The Lawless Legion · The Royal Rider · Stolen Kisses · Why Be Good? · Children of the Ritz · Saturday's Children · One Stolen Night · Kid Gloves · Queen of the Night Clubs · Love and the Devil · Hardboiled Rose · The Divine Lady · No Defense · The Desert Song · Sonny Boy · Frozen River · From Headquarters · House of Horror · Glad Rag Doll · Hot Stuff · The Squall · Two Weeks Off · Prisoners · The Flying Scotsman · Careers · Madonna of Avenue A · The Girl in the Glass Cage · The Gamblers · Broadway Babies · The Man and the Moment · The Time, The Place And The Girl · On with the Show · Twin Beds · Drag · Smiling Irish Eyes · Hard to Get · The Hottentot · Dark Streets · The Argyle Case · Say It with Songs · Her Private Life · Gold Diggers of Broadway · Honky Tonk · In the Headlines · Fast Life · Skin Deep · Hearts in Exile · The Careless Age · The Great Divide · A Most Immoral Lady · The Isle of Lost Ships · So Long Letty · Is Everybody Happy? · Young Nowheres · The Girl from Woolworth's · Disraeli · Paris · Footlights and Fools · The Sap · The Forward Pass · Little Johnny Jones · The Sacred Flame · The Painted Angel · Evidence · The Love Racket · The Aviator · Tiger Rose · The Show of Shows · Wedding Rings

1930s
1931: The Maltese Falcon

1935: Captain Blood
1938: Angels with Dirty Faces · The Adventures of Robin Hood
1939: Dark Victory

1940s
1940:

1941: The Maltese Falcon
1942: The Man Who Came to Dinner · Yankee Doodle Dandy · Casablanca
1943:
1944: Arsenic and Old Lace · To Have and Have Not · Meet Me in St. Louis
1945:
1946: The Big Sleep
1947: Dark Passage
1948: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre · Key Largo
1949: White Heat · The Fountainhead

1950s
1951: A Streetcar Named Desire

1952:
1953:
1954:
1955: Rebel Without a Cause
1956:
1957:
1958:
1959:

1960s
1964: The Incredible Mr. Limpet · My Fair Lady
1970s
1970: The Priest's Wife

1974: Blazing Saddles
1977: The Late Show · Brothers · Viva Knievel! · Exorcist II: The Heretic · One on One · Greased Lightning · Outlaw Blues · Oh, God! · A Piece of the Action · Starship Invasions · The Pack · The Goodbye Girl · The Gauntlet
1978: Superman
1979: The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie

1980s
1980: Just Tell Me What You Want · Simon · The Ninth Configuration · When Time Ran Out · Tom Horn · Gilda Live · Die Laughing · Heart Beat · The Shining · Up the Academy · Bronco Billy · No Nukes · Honeysuckle Rose · Caddyshack · The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu · The Big Brawl · AC/DC: Let There Be Rock · Divine Madness · The First Deadly Sin · One Trick Pony · Oh, God! Book II · Private Benjamin · The Awakening · Any Which Way You Can · First Family · Altered States

1981: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow · Sphinx · Back Roads · Eyes of a Stranger · This Is Elvis · Excalibur · The Hand · Outland · Superman II · Arthur · Wolfen · Under the Rainbow · Prince of the City · Body Heat · So Fine · Chariots of Fire · Looker · The Looney Looney Looney Bugs Bunny Movie · Rollover · Sharky's Machine
1982: Bugs Bunny's 3rd Movie: 1001 Rabbit Tales · Best Friends · Creepshow
1983: The Man with Two Brains · Stroker Ace · National Lampoon's Vacation · Cujo · Daffy Duck's Fantastic Island
1984: Lassiter · Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes · Swing Shift · Finders Keepers · Once Upon a Time in America · Gremlins · Cannonball Run II · The NeverEnding Story · Purple Rain · Grandview, U.S.A. · Tightrope · Cal · Windy City · Irreconcilable Differences · The Ninja Mission · The Little Drummer Girl · American Dreamer · The Killing Fields · Oh, God! You Devil · Razorback · City Heat · Protocol
1985: The Goonies · National Lampoon's European Vacation
1986: The Clan of the Cave Bear · One Crazy Summer
1987: Lethal Weapon
1988: Daffy Duck's Quackbusters
1989: Lethal Weapon 2 · National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation · Tango & Cash

1990s
1990: Gremlins 2: The New Batch

1991: The NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter
1992: Lethal Weapon 3
1998: Lethal Weapon 4 · Jack Frost
1999: Pokémon - The First Movie

2000s
2000: Pokémon - The Movie 2000 · Pokémon 3: The Movie
2010s
2020s
Upcoming
Advertisement