The Dark Knight (movie)

2008 film directed by Christopher Nolan

The Dark Knight is a 2008 British-American superhero movie. It was directed, produced, and co-written by Christopher Nolan. Based on the DC Comics character Batman, the movie is the second installment of Nolan's The Dark Knight Trilogy and a sequel to 2005's Batman Begins. It stars Christian Bale and supported by Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Morgan Freeman. In the movie, Bruce Wayne / Batman (Bale), Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Oldman) and District Attorney Harvey Dent (Eckhart) form an alliance to take down 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 anarchy.

The Dark Knight
Directed byChristopher Nolan
Screenplay byChristopher Nolan
Jonathan Nolan
Story byChristopher Nolan
David S. Goyer
Based onCharacters appearing in comic books published
by DC Comics
Produced byChristopher Nolan
Charles Roven
Emma Thomas
StarringChristian Bale
Michael Caine
Heath Ledger
Gary Oldman
Aaron Eckhart
Maggie Gyllenhaal
Morgan Freeman
CinematographyWally Pfister
Edited byLee Smith
Music byHans Zimmer
James Newton Howard
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
Release dates
July 14, 2008 (New York City)
July 18, 2008 (United States)
July 25, 2008 (United Kingdom)
Running time
152 minutes
CountriesUnited States
United Kingdom
Budget$185 million[1]
Box office$1.006 billion[1]

The movie begins with the Joker and his gang of clowns robbing a mob bank. The other clowns shoot each other so that there are fewer people so they can get more money per person. The manager of the bank takes out his shotgun and shoots one of them. The Joker takes off his mask and kills the last clown, leaving all the money for himself. He then drives away in a school bus.

The crime mob in the city is very mad at the Joker for robbing the bank. The Joker comes to them and says he wants to kill Batman. Meanwhile, Gotham City's District Attorney Harvey Dent tries to shut the mob down by tracking down the money. A businessman named Lau finds out about this and takes the money out beforehand and goes to Hong Kong so that he cannot be caught. Batman, whose real name is Bruce Wayne, flies down there himself, kidnaps him, and takes him back to Gotham City.

The Joker says he wants Batman to take his mask off and show the world who he is, and that if he does not, people will die. Commissioner Loeb dies from drinking acid in his drink and the judge that was at the mob trials is killed. The Joker then hires some men to kidnap police officers and take their uniforms. At Loeb's funeral, Joker's men attempt to shoot the mayor. Police officer James Gordon tackles the mayor and is shot and apparently killed.

Dent then calls a press conference to ask the people there if he should reveal Batman. After they say yes, Dent says that he is Batman and has the police arrest him. They put him on a truck to send him to jail. The Joker and his men drive a truck that badly damages the truck Dent is riding in. The real Batman comes in and attempts to save Dent but wrecks his motorcycle-like Batpod when the Joker stands there, since Batman has a rule that he will not kill anyone. Gordon, who is revealed to have faked his death, arrests the Joker.

In jail, Batman questions the Joker. The Joker eventually reveals that his men captured Rachel Dawes, Batman's old childhood friend and Dent's girlfriend, and Dent. He has put them in warehouses far away so that Batman cannot save both of them himself. They are near bombs that will go off and kill them. The Joker tells Batman where each person is. Batman goes to save Dawes while Gordon and his men go to rescue Dent. However, when Batman gets to Rachel's location, he only sees Dent, because the Joker switched the addresses. Batman gets Dent out, but the bomb goes off and Dent scars half of his face. Gordon is too late to save Dawes.

The Joker gets out of jail. He gets his phone call and dials a cell phone that is wired to a bomb, which blows up the police station. Afterwards, he visits the hospital where Dent is staying. Dent is driven crazy because of Dawes' death. The Joker frees Dent and tells him to take revenge. Dent goes around flipping coins and decides whether he will kill them or keep them alive. He starts going after the various police people who leaked information to the Joker to make it possible for him to kidnap and kill Dawes.

The Joker then announces that the city is his. The people in charge load up two ferries with people to get them out of the city. The Joker has wired both boats with explosives and has given each boat the detonator to the other one, saying that he will blow up both boats at midnight if one boat does not blow up the other.

Batman finds the Joker in an abandoned building. He uses a sonar system (created by Lucius Fox) to defeat the Joker's men and stops him from destroying both ferries. He then leaves the Joker hanging. The Joker is very impressed, stating that Batman cannot be corrupted into breaking his own rule. A SWAT team then captures the Joker.

At the end of the movie, Batman finds that Dent has kidnapped Gordon's family. When Batman arrives, Dent flips his coin to decide their fates. Before he can see the result of his next coin flip, Batman tackles Dent off the edge of the building, letting the vigilante plummet to his death. With Dent dead, Gordon says that if word gets out that Dent killed all these people, all the work he did will have been lost. Batman offers to take the blame for all the murders. Gordon, who is originally against it, agrees. He destroys the Bat-Signal and orders the police to hunt Batman down. Batman takes off into the night while Gordon's son does not understand the reasoning for why Batman must be hunted. But Gordon explains "because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian; a watchful protector; a Dark Knight."

Ledger died from a drug-overdose before the movie was released in July 2008.
The cast and crew at the European premiere, July 2008



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 movie's release from a toxic combination of prescription drugs, leading to strong attention from the press and movie-going public.



The movie was the first mainstream feature to partially utilize IMAX 70 mm cameras, with Nolan using them for 28 minutes of the movie, including the Joker's first appearance.



The movie was filmed in Chicago and in Hong Kong. Some scenes were shot in London. During the filming in Chicago, Nolan decided to blow-up an abandoned Brach's candy factory (which was Gotham Hospital in the movie).[2]


Nolan's inspiration for the movie 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 movie is known as one of the best movies of its decade and one of the best superhero movies of all time. It got critical praise for its screenplay, visual effects, musical score, themes, performances (particularly Ledger's), cinematography, action sequences and direction. The movie also set numerous records during its theatrical run.



The Dark Knight appeared on 287 critics' top-ten lists, more than any other movie of 2009 with the exception of WALL-E, and more critics (77) named The Dark Knight the best movie released that year. With over $1 billion in revenue worldwide, it became the fourth-highest-grossing movie at the time, and highest-grossing movie of 2009; 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 movie had eight nominations. It won the award for Best Sound Editing and Ledger was posthumously awarded Best Supporting Actor.[3] The Dark Knight Rises, the final movie in the trilogy, was released on July 20, 2013.

Many people were upset that it was not nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.[4][5] At the time, only five movies could have been nominated for the category.[5] Since many were upset about this, the Academy changed the number of movies that could be nominated for Best Picture from five to ten.[5][4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "The Dark Knight (2009)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved September 30, 2023.
  2. "Brach's Candy Factory". American Urbex. August 29, 2008. Retrieved August 8, 2014.
  3. "The 81st Academy Awards (2009) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved January 15, 2024.
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Changed Movies, And The Oscars, Forever". Variety. July 17, 2018. Archived from the original on May 27, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Rogers, Nathaniel (July 18, 2018). "How A Dark Knight Best Picture Snub Forced The Oscars To Change". Polygon. Archived from the original on May 26, 2022. Retrieved April 30, 2022.

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Preceded by
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Box office number-one movies of 2008 (USA)
July 20, 2008 – August 10, 2008
Succeeded by
Tropic Thunder