Since his first appearance in the pages of comic books in 1939, Batman has become one of the most ubiquitous and beloved characters in all of pop culture, with countless iterations of the Caped Crusader appearing across every type of visual media. And even though he's been around for over 80 years, the appetite amongst fans for more Batman stories seems to only grow and grow.
Robert Pattinson, who dons the cape and cowl in The Batman, marks the seventh actor to play Batman across 13 live-action movies. Upon its release in theaters in March, the nearly three-hour epic became the highest-grossing film of 2022 and ushered in a new era for the Dark Knight. Now, the movie is streaming on HBO Max for repeat viewing.
Below, find out where you can watch The Batman, as well as a handy guide to all of the previous Batman movies and his most memorable animated appearances.
Between the first and second season of the camp classic Batman TV series, 20th Century Fox released a live action movie that continued the adventures of the small screen's new superhero sensation. As on the series, Adam West starred as Batman, and nearly the entire supporting cast accompanied him, with the exception of Lee Meriwether replacing Julie Newmar in the role of Catwoman.
This first major Batman movie is perhaps most fondly remembered for the opening scene, in which Batman defeats a shark attacking his leg by using his trusty Bat-shark-repellent. Never leave the cave without it!
On the 50th anniversary of Batman's first comic book appearance — in 1939's Detective Comics #27 — director Tim Burton unleashed his take on the Caped Crusader. By the time the dust settled, Batman wasn't just the box office champ of 1989, but one of the five highest-grossing films in history.
Michael Keaton overcame his controversial-at-the-time casting to provide a fan-favorite incarnation of the character, while Jack Nicholson proved to be an iconic Joker and Burton's shadowy, gothic take on the character — which won an Oscar for production design — returned Batman to his original roots as a dark stalker of the night.
Tim Burton and Michael Keaton returned for this sequel, which doubled up on the original film's villainy by pitting Batman against both Danny DeVito's Penguin and Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman. The violence, the camp and the sexual tension were also all cranked up from the original, earning Oscar nominations for both the visual effects team and the makeup artists.
Many fans still consider Batman: The Animated Series (which ran from 1992 to 1995) to be the greatest screen adaptation of the character, and this feature-length spinoff helped solidify the DC Animated Universe. DC Comics legends Paul Dini and Bruce Timm helped create the film, while Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill reprised their voice work from the TV series as Batman and the Joker, respectively.
When Tim Burton opted out of another Batman movie, director Joel Schumacher was given a crack at the franchise, ushering in a flamboyant new era for the not-so-Dark Knight. Val Kilmer took over as Batman, with Chris O'Donnell as Robin, Nicole Kidman as love interest Dr. Chase Meridian, and a rouges gallery that featured Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carrey as the Riddler.
When Batman Forever proved a hit with audiences, Joel Schumacher and Chris O'Donnell returned for Batman & Robin, with George Clooney assuming the role of Batman. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Uma Thurman joined the cast as villains Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy, respectively, and Alicia Silverstone was introduced as Batgirl.
Batman & Robin is perhaps most fondly (and less fondly by some) remembered for the prominent nipples featured on Batman and Robin's costumes, the first and last time that particular stylistic flourish was used on the Batsuit.
After an eight-year absence from the big screen, writer-director Christopher Nolan rebooted the Batman franchise with a gritty origin story that drew inspiration from two of the most acclaimed Batman comic book stories ever: "Year One" and "The Long Halloween."
Christian Bale starred as the vigilante, with an all-star cast that included Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Katie Holmes as Rachel Dawes, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Cillian Murphy as Scarecrow, and Liam Neeson as Ra's al Ghul.
Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale went even darker for the second installment in The Dark Knight Trilogy, pitting Bale's Batman against his most iconic foe, Joker. Aaron Eckhart also made his franchise debut as Harvey Dent (aka Two-Face) and Maggie Gyllenhaal assumed the love interest role as Rachel Dawes.
The Dark Knight reclaimed Batman's title as undisputed box office champ, not only becoming the highest-grossing movie of 2008, but the fourth-highest-grossing movie ever (at the time). Equally historic was Heath Ledger's performance as the Clown Prince of Crime, for which he posthumously became the first actor to ever win an Oscar for portraying a comic book character.
The conclusion of Christopher Nolan trilogy saw a now-retired Bruce Wayne (played for a third and final time by Christian Bale) donning his cape and cowl one last time to save Gotham City, a story loosely inspired by the classic comic book saga "No Man's Land."
Michael Caine, Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman as Lucious Fox also returned, joined by Inception stars Marion Cotillard as Talia al Ghul, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake and Tom Hardy as the film's principal villain, Bane. Anne Hathaway, meanwhile, played Selina Kyle aka Catwoman as the ultimate femme fatale.
The sequel to Zack Snyder's 2013 Superman reboot introduced a new incarnation of Batman played by Ben Affleck. Inspired by Frank Miller's classic comic run, "The Dark Knight Returns," Batman v Superman sees Affleck's Bruce Wayne pitted against Henry Cavill's Clark Kent in a plot set in motion by Lex Luthor (manically portrayed by Jesse Eisenberg). Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane all reprised their Man of Steel roles, while Gal Gadot makes their DC Universe film debuts as Wonder Woman.
Ben Affleck's Batman made a cameo appearance in Dayid Ayer's Suicide Squad, about a team of incarcerated supervillains who are forced to team up to save the world. The titular squad includes Will Smith, Cara Delevingne and Jai Courtney, with Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn proving to be the breakout star of the movie.
First introduced by Paul Dini and Bruce Timm in the '90s Batman: the Animated Series, Harley's onscreen backstory involves Jared Leto's Joker and a run-in with Batman, which is where Affleck comes into play.
After 2014's The Lego Movie became a critical and commercial hit (including an Oscar nomination for "Everything Is Awesome"), the franchise continued with this Batman-centric installment. Will Arnett's Batman was a highlight of the first movie, albeit in a supporting role, but here, his comically over-grizzled Caped Crusader is front and center.
The cast voice also includes Zach Galifianakis as Joker, Michael Cera as Robin, Rosario Dawson as Batgirl, Ralph Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth, and Channing Tatum as Superman. If you've ever wanted to know the password to log in to the Batcave's computer system, this is the movie for you.
In addition to pairing Batman and Superman on the big screen for the first time, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduced several other classic DC heroes into the cinematic universe, including Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller's Flash, Jason Momoa's Aquaman and Ray Fisher's Cyborg.
The Justice League assembled for their first official outing in Zack Snyder's film of the same name, although Snyder was forced to step away from the movie before he could deliver his cut due to a family emergency and Joss Whedon was brought in to finish the film. Which brings us to...
Where to Watch: HBO Max
With much of Zack Snyder's original vision for Justice League left on the cutting room floor, a fan campaign called on Warner Bros. to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Four years after the movie's initial release, HBO Max finally unveiled the director's four-hour magnum opus on their streamer. Zack Snyder's Justice League became a hit and served as a final victory lap for Ben Affleck's incarnation of Batman before Robert Pattinson took over. (Affleck will reprise the role one final time in 2023's The Flash.)
Where to Watch: HBO Max
When Ben Affleck decided to hang up his cape and cowl, filmmaker Matt Reeves was hired to reboot the Bat once again, this time with a focus on his comic origins as the World's Greatest Detective. Reeves cast Robert Pattinson in the title role on his darkest and grittiest case yet, with Zoë Kravitz as Selina Kyle, John Turturro as crime boss Carmine Falcone and Paul Dano as Riddler.
Colin Farrell makes his debut as Oswald Cobblepot aka Penguin, who will soon get an HBO Max streaming series of his own. Wherever there's crime in Gotham, Batman is never far away, so don't be surprised if you see Pattinson's Batman pop up on the small screen next.