The character of Batman has been played by some of the most notable actors around and it's been going on for 80 years.
Lewis Wilson (1943)
Lewis Wilson was the first live-action Batman all the way back in 1943. It was in a 15-part theatrical serial with each episode ranging from 15-30 minutes. The “movie” had World War II vibes with the arch enemy being a Japanese scientist, Dr. Daka.
Robert Lowery (1949)
Six years later, Robert Lowery would take the role of the Caped Crusader in 1949s Batman and Robin. This was also in serial form, and once again spanning 15 episodes. Here they took on The Wizard and the overall tone of the production started taking the Batman character much more seriously.
Adam West (1966-1968)
When it comes to Batman and Bruce Wayne, Adam West is the OG of the role, taking on the character in the 1966 with Batman: The Movie and then the series which ran for 120 episodes over three seasons. Now mostly seen as a tongue-in-cheek, campy portrayal the character did a ton to establish superheroes on the small screen.
Michael Keaton (1989 - 2023)
Michael Keaton brought the character to the “real” big screen in 1989 with Tim Burton’s Batman and then again in 1992 with Batman Returns. At the time, this was a dark imagining of Batman and it played amazingly with audiences, at least at first when the first movie earned almost $500 million at the box office. Keaton is set to reprise the role in The Flash.
Val Kilmer (1995)
Val Kilmer took over the role from Michael Keaton in 1995s Batman Forever. It was a slightly different take from a vibes perspective, but ultimately this movie’s lasting roles really went more to Jim Carrey’s Riddler and Tommy Lee Jones’s Two-Face. Kilmer would only last one movie in the role.
George Clooney (1997)
George Clooney freed the Batman nipple when he took the role in 1997s Batman & Robin. The flick was an overly campy mess with issues in nearly every facet of the movie-making process. The movie struggled at the box office and did arguably even worse with critics.
Kevin Conroy (1993-2019)
Kevin Conroy took on the voice acting duties for the character starting in 1992 with Batman: The Animated Series. It can be argued that from a performance perspective, Conroy’s interpretation of both Batman and Bruce Wayne over many productions is the Caped Crusader’s perfect version. Conroy would play Bruce Wayne in the Arrowverse as well. He tragically passed away in 2022.
Christian Bale (2005-2012)
Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan took the character in a new direction starting with Batman Begins and ultimately rounding out the Dark Knight trilogy before it was all said and done. Taking a much more realistic approach to the comic book adaptation was a massive win and this is considered one of the best portrayals of Bruce Wayne we have seen.
David Mazouz (2014-2019)
Technically speaking David Mazouz is more Bruce Wayne than Batman, taking on the in Gotham. The series was much more about Ben McKenzie’s James Gordon but Mazouz was introduced as a younger version of Wayne early on. He doesn’t fully realize his Batman destiny until the show’s final episode.
Will Arnett (2014-2019)
Easily the funniest version of Batman and it isn’t even close. Will Arnett first appeared as the character in The Lego Movie and then would reprise it in his own vehicle, The Lego Batman Movie. Here Batman is brooding and serious in all the most hilarious ways.
Ben Affleck (2016-2023)
Should Ben Affleck have taken on the Batman role? He would probably say, “No.” But that’s the nature of the business and playing iconic characters in massive productions and franchises can have a certain siren song. Ultimately, it really didn’t go as plan though he did at least offer a somewhat different take on Wayne/ Batman than we’d seen in the past.
Iain Glen (2019)
With Iain Glen we got a much older version of Bruce Wayne in Titans. He’s a seasoned vet at this point, clearly in the twilight of his crimefighting career. Because the series was focused on the next group of DC characters, Glen’s portrayal is more as patriarch than actually getting into the suit and mixing it up.
Robert Pattinson (2022-2025)
In The Batman Robert Pattinson and Matt Reeves made the Dark Knight trilogy look almost light and fluffy by comparison. This movie was the darkest we’ve seen yet when it comes to Gotham and the first movie trended more horror than comic book. It was a solid effort and there is more to comes from this franchise.
David Miller (2023)
Of all the Batman portrayals, David Miller’s is the shortest. That’s because his character turns up dead in the first episode of Gotham Knights. The show then embarks on a mystery to find out who did the deed and why certain people are being framed for the crime.