Yesterday I published a post taking a look at the various different running orders for the live-action Superman movies. Today it’s the turn of Batman!

You’ll be pleased to know that the live-action Batman movies are far easier to navigate around than the Superman films.

So, if you’ve ever asked the question, ‘in what order should I watch the Batman movies?’, here is the answer!

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The Adam West movie

Image: ©20th Century Fox

This first viewing order is very simple and includes just one movie – Batman: The Movie (1966).

The film stars Adam West as Batman, alongside Burt Ward as Robin. The movie is a big screen spin-off from the 1960s Batman TV show and features the villains, the Joker, Catwoman, Penguin and the Riddler.

The viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman: The Movie (1966) + (if you wish) Seasons One to Three of Batman.

And should you want to remain firmly in this era of Batman then you may wish to watch the movie, Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt (2003). This is a TV movie about the making of the Batman TV show and once again, Adam West and Burt Ward star.

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The Batman Anthology

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

For this second viewing order we go dark (and then light) with a collection of four films, kicking off with Batman (1989) and running through Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997). This series tells the origin of Batman, before moving on to more high camp adventures featuring Robin.

The viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)

Across the course of the four movies, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer and George Clooney play the part of Batman, with Chris O’Donnell as Robin. It should be noted that while these movie are very different in tone, they are all set within the same continuity.

And should you LOVE these Batman movies, then you may wish to hunt down the OnStar commercials which took inspiration from this Bat-series. You can usually view them on YouTube.

The commercials are NOT movies (they’re 30-second) ads, but they are fun little videos which feel very much a part of this era of Batman. Plus, Michael Gough (aka Alfred) features in the commercials.

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The Batman Anthology + 1

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

This viewing order is a discretionary viewing order only and there’s a reason for this – it’s the same viewing order as the one above, but with the inclusion of an extra film that doesn’t feature Batman!

That extra film is of course, Catwoman – the 2004 super hero movie which stared Halle Berry as Patience Phillips/Catwoman. While the movie does not feature the Caped Crusader and therefore is not a Batman movie, it does feature a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reference to Selina Kyle/Catwoman from Batman Returns.

Is Catwoman set in the same universe then? Well, that’s entirely up to you to decide.

The viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • Catwoman (2004)
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The Christopher Nolan trilogy 

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

The reset button gets set with this collection of movies, with director Christopher Nolan taking Batman back to basics for another origin story. Christian Bale takes on the role of the Dark Knight.

This viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

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The Ben Affleck Batman movies

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

Another collection of Bat-movies, this time as part of DC’s interconnected series of films. Ben Affleck takes on the role of Batman for the DC Extended Universe.

The viewing order is as follows:

  • Man of Steel (2013)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)**
  • Suicide Squad (2016)**
  • Wonder Woman (2017)
  • Justice League (2017)
  • Aquaman (2018)
  • Shazam! (2019)
  • Birds of Prey (2020)
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)

All of the films listed above are set within the DC Extended Universe, where Ben Affleck plays the role of Batman. However, Batman does not appear in every film on this list, only: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League.

**It should be noted that two cuts of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad exist. Each cut is longer than the theatrical release.

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Joker

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

In 2019, Batman’s long-running adversary, the Joker was given his own solo movie. The film – simply titled, Joker – placed Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role for this origin story.

As this film is not connected to previous Batman movies, the viewing order for this is very simple:

  • Joker (2019)
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Robert Pattinson Batman

In 2021, Robert Pattinson dons the cape and cowl for The Batman. The movie is a standalone tale featuring the Dark Knight.

  • The Batman (2021)

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Production order

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

And finally, should you simply want to watch all of the live-action Batman movies in order of their release, including the DC Extended Universe titles, here are the details you’re after.

The viewing order is as follows:

  • Batman: The Movie (1966)
  • Batman (1989)
  • Batman Returns (1992)
  • Batman Forever (1995)
  • Batman & Robin (1997)
  • Catwoman (2004)
  • Batman Begins (2005)
  • The Dark Knight (2008)
  • The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
  • Man of Steel (2013)
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
  • Suicide Squad (2016)
  • Wonder Woman (2017)
  • Justice League (2017)
  • Aquaman (2018)
  • Shazam! (2019)
  • Joker (2019)
  • Birds of Prey (2020)
  • Wonder Woman 1984 (2020)
  • The Batman (2021)

That’s a lot of films.

Should you want to start playing catch up, Warner Bros. (Fox in the case of Batman: The Movie) has released pretty much all of them on digital and Blu-ray/DVD. The releases include the Batman – The Motion Picture Anthology, which includes the Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher directed Bat-films and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

I own a copy of this 4-disc boxset and it is fantastic for fans of the four ’80s/’90s movies. Alongside HD copies of the movies, each disc includes a wealth of bonus material including featurettes, music videos, production information and director commentaries.

The highlight of the collection is a six-part documentary which runs across the four discs (three parts on Batman, one part on each of the other three films). The documentary tells the story of the Batman Anthology from start to finish and includes input from most of the key players, including Jack Nicholson and Joel Schumacher.

If you want to catch up on the other Batman movies, then you will need to buy them individually – with the exception of the Christopher Nolan trilogy, which is also available as a boxset.

And if you want to know more about the Batman movie series, then head on over to my blog, I’ll Get Drive-Thru – a blog dedicated to the Batman movies! I’ll Get Drive-Thru takes a look at all the films that feature the Dark Knight, including live-action and animated.

Bats all, folks! Happy viewing.

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Disclaimer: I earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.

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