I previously 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 will 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?’, I have answer!

In this post, I am offering up a run-through of all the live-action Batman films – from the Adam West-era of the 1960s, through to the Michael Keaton movies of the 1980s/1990s, the Christian Bale-era of the ’00s/’10s and more. This post also covers the likes of Catwoman (2004), and Joker (2019) amongst others – so please dive in and make the most of the information!

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The Adam West Batman movie

Image: ©20th Century Fox
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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.

Batman: The Movie is a big screen spin-off from the 1960s Batman TV show. You don’t have to know anything about the ‘60s show to enjoy the movie – but if you like one then you are likely to be a fan of the other.

Batman: The Movie features four villains, the Joker, Catwoman, Penguin and the Riddler. The film is bright, colourful, very camp… and a lot of fun.

Taking into account the TV series, the viewing order for this one is as follows:

  • Batman: The Movie (1966) + (if you wish) Seasons One to Three of Batman ’66 (the original television series).
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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.

I would recommend The Misadventures of Adam and Burt for fans of the TV series ONLY. It is a daft picture that is only really for those who want to explore this particular Bat-era.

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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 Bat-films, kicking off with Batman (1989) and running through Batman Returns (1992), Batman Forever (1995) and Batman & Robin (1997).

This series – referred to as the Batman Anthology – tells the origin of Batman, before moving on to Gothic, action-packed and high camp adventures featuring Robin. These four films were hugely successful in the 1980s/1990s and brought Batman to a whole new audience.

The viewing order for the Batman Anthology 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 joining as Robin in the latter two movies. Other big names in the series include Jack Nicholson as the Joker, Jim Carrey as the Riddler, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze.

It should be noted that while these films are very different in tone to each other (some are dark, some are light), they are all set within the same continuity – so should be watched one after the other.

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Should you want to start playing catch up with these movies, Warner Bros. has released all four on digital and Blu-ray/DVD.

The Batman – The Motion Picture Anthology Blu-ray set is my favourite of these releases and includes all four Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher directed Bat-films. It is available from various retailers including 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 films, each disc includes a wealth of bonus material including featurettes, music videos, production information and director commentaries.

The highlight of the Blu-ray 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.

So, if you really want to know the story behind these movies, you need to pick up the home video release!

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And on a side note, if you LOVE these four Batman movies, then you may wish to hunt down the OnStar commercials which took inspiration from this Bat-series. You can usually view these commercials on YouTube – and they are well-worth a watch.

The commercials are NOT movies (they are 30-second adverts), but they are fun little videos which feel very much a part of this particular era of Batman.

Michael Gough (aka Alfred) features in the commercials, and the overall tone aesthetic is lifted from the Burton/Schumacher films. They were basically created as a nod to the four films.

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The Batman Anthology + 1

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment
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This viewing order – which I have dubbed the Batman Anthology +1 – is a discretionary viewing order only, and there’s a reason for this. This viewing order is the same as the one above, but with the inclusion of just one 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, but you could argue that it is.

The viewing order for the Batman Anthology +1 is as follows:

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

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

For this run of films, the reset button gets activated with a trio of movies from director Christopher Nolan. In these movies, Nolan takes Batman back to basics for another origin story of epic proportions.

Christian Bale takes on the role of the Dark Knight, opposite the likes of Liam Neeson (Ra’s al Ghul), Heath Ledger (Joker), Tom Hardy (Bane) and Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow). The three films tell one long story, with Bale in the lead role throughout.

These films are superb and are must-watch movies for everyone, regardless of whether you’re a huge Bat-fan or not.

This viewing order for the Christopher Nolan/Dark Knight trilogy is as follows:

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

Should you want to watch these films, all three are widely available on digital, DVD, Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray in a sleek boxset.

The Dark Knight trilogy 4K Blu-ray boxset is loaded with extras, including behind the scenes information, documentaries, a look at all the Bat-gadgets and more.

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The Ben Affleck/DCEU 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 – a universe NOT connected to any of the previous movies in this post.

The viewing order for the Ben Affleck/DCEU movies 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, BUT Batman does not appear in every film on this list. The Caped Crusader only appears in: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, and Justice League.

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**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, so you may wish to seek these out if you want more from these movies. Both are available on Blu-ray from Amazon UK.

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Joker movies

Image: ©Warner Bros. Pictures/DC Entertainment

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

As this film is not connected to previous Batman movies, the viewing order for this is very simple – it’s just one film:

  • Joker (2019)
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Robert Pattinson Batman movies

In 2022, Robert Pattinson dons the cape and cowl for another reboot of the series – The Batman. The movie is a standalone tale featuring the Dark Knight, and features a cast that includes Zoë Kravitz as Catwoman, Paul Dano as the Riddler, Colin Farrell as the Penguin, and John Turturro as Carmine Falcone.

If you wish to watch the Robert Pattinson film, then seek out:

  • The Batman (2022)
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Batman movies 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 (Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman etc), then you should watch the movies in production order.

The viewing order for all of the Batman movies 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 (2022)

Wow! That’s a lot of films, isn’t it?

It is, but this is a film series which is well worth investing your time in. The Batman movies are action-packed, thrill-rides which are highly entertaining and have developed a loyal following.

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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, and is a great resource for all Bat-fans.

My Bat-blog also includes focus features on comics too. So, if you want to brush up on some of the iconic comic book stories, I’ll Get Drive-Thru is the place to be.

OK, I think that pretty much covers everything. A few recommended reads are set out below, but for now, happy viewing.

Bats all, folks!

Read more:

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

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