Who Has Portrayed the Best Bruce Wayne

Who is the best Batman? Are you a Tim Burton/Michael Keaton fan or a Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale convert? Or perhaps your’re an Adam West traditionalist?

The Dark Knight Rises will be storming across movie screens this summer, and from viewing the eye catching and frenetic trailers that have been released, it looks to be a riveting conclusion to the Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale incarnation of the Batman franchise.

Already talk has begun about who will be the next actor to play Batman. How about taking a look at the previous thespians to play the role?

Here is a rundown of who has played the best Bruce Wayne.

5. Adam West


If you are looking for dignified and serious portrayal of Batman, then the “Batman” television series and movie from the 1960s starring Adam West probably is not for you. However, if you are looking for a humorous portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne as well some kitschy fun, then the 1960s rendition may be good for you. Adam West’s Batman character is probably most famous for its costume choices, with the skin tight leotards, wrinkled cape, and painted-on eyebrows.

4. George Clooney


With all of the artsy and critically acclaimed roles that George Clooney has done in recent years, it is amazing to think that he choose to don the suit and cape. Having said that, the movie “Batman and Robin” does feed off quite nicely from Clooney’s natural charm and affability, and the all black suit is fairly striking. The same can’t be said of the supporting characters, such as Robin, Mister Freeze, and Poison Ivy.

3. Val Kilmer


Val Kilmer took things up a notch with his plethora of fight moves in “Batman Forever.” However, that is not saying much when going up against a skinny Jim Carrey and an aging Tommy Lee Jones. The costume is not bad, with its segmented panels.

2. Michael Keaton


Michael Keaton did a decent job of filling the shoes of Bruce Wayne. The strength of his portrayal was in the intellectualism and emotional depth that he gave to the character. While the costume is a step above the 1960s Adam West Batman, it still has a “cheesiness” element with the plastic muscles and a belt that looks like it was bought at a toy store.

1. Christian Bale


The best of the bunch by a long shot is Christian Bale. Like many action movies in recent years, Batman Begins and The Dark Knight takes a more gritty and realistic approach to movie making. Christian Bale gives a believable and riveting portrayal of the Batman/Bruce Wayne character in these movies with an ominous and serious tone. The costumes and gadgets are great, and the special effects are even better.

Written by Holly Winthrop.

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Editor of Top 10 Films, Dan Stephens is usually found pondering his next list. An unhealthy love of 1980s Hollywood sees most of his top 10s involving a time-travelling DeLorean and an adventurous archaeologist going by the name Indiana.

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  1. Rodney Reply

    Agreed. Bale by a wide margin.

  2. le0pard13 Reply

    Nailed it, Holly. This would be my order, too. Although, I would have liked to have seen Clooney as Bruce in a better film and director (the franchise was just about ruined by Joel Schumacher).

  3. Pete Reply

    Yeah I agree. While I suspect Bale is total prick, I love hios and Nolan’s version of the Batman. I love the way he disguises his voice by growling and I loved the setting up of the character that was done in Batman Begins. Still got a lot of time for both Keaton and West too though.

  4. TJ Weaver Reply

    Christian Bale. Not a fan of him personally — a bit too cocky for my taste, but you have to admit, the man makes one hell of a Batman/Bruce Wayne. First time noticing this, but is Nolan’s design for the bat suit the first that allowed him to turn his head without turning his entire body?!?

  5. mark Reply

    Ok, so we all agree on Mr Bale (although I concur with the above observation about Clooney … only seen his installment once, but he struck me at the time of being somewhat sentimental). Anyway, the next pressing question is: when will Bale become the new mayor of Quahog?

  6. Novroz Reply

    I agree with your list Holly :)
    But I would make it only top 3 as Clooney failed BADLY as Batman!!

  7. Diana Reply

    The best batman for me is Michael Keaton. I think he was very good in ‘Batman Returns’. I cannot picture any other face. I know that Bale looks perfect in the role, but unfortunately, while watching his take on it, I find it difficult to differentiate him from other film characters he played (and frankly I do not think he is that charming to fill the role that perfectly). I think the worst is definitely George Clooney.

  8. Scott Lawlor Reply

    Oh god I had forgotten about the nipples on the costume……

    Adam West for the WIN!! HAHAH

  9. Louise Reply

    I prefer Bale’s Bruce Wayne to Batman – his voice seems to go all gravelly and mumbly for some unknown reason. And I get the impression that Bale is a bit of a pillock so that always puts me off.

    Adam West rocks and Nolan should really think about adding a few “kapows” to his work :-)

  10. Alex Withrow Reply

    My order exactly. Nice work.

  11. Castor Reply

    Duh! Christian Bale rocks them all :D And he should be at his best in TDKR… Only a couple more months, I… CAN’T… WAIT.

  12. Jaina Reply

    Hells yes. He’s made the role his own and put a heck of a lot into it.

    TDKR can’t get here soon enough.

  13. ruth Reply

    Well miss Holly, it’s no competition that it’s Bale hands down! Kapow! :D

  14. Jack Deth Reply

    Hi, Holly and company:

    Interesting question!

    Best physical/overall portrayal of Batman/Bruce Wayne?

    Physical: Christian Bale.

    Overall: Kevin Conroy’s superb vocal talents optimized in Warner Brothers ‘Batman: The Animated Series’.

  15. mark Reply

    Never a Batman fan, and I don’t go to the movies like I used to, but, in my idle time I decided to Google the big question (Who will be the next BM?) and looked at two sites – Hitfix and Huffington Post.

    Combined they threw up a bunch of names that were obvious (Ryan Gosling, Jake Gyllenhall, Josh Harnett) and not so obvious (Idris Elba, Joe Mangenlello and Armie Harner).

    Missing were two possible ones … Josh Brolin and (don’t laff) Ethan Hawke.

    Brolin – having George W and a younger Two-Face playing BM would be kinda funny; Hawke – he’s still got it it.

  16. sati Reply

    Bruce Wayne? Bale. Batman? Keaton. Only because I can’t stop laughing when I hear Bale’s voice in those scenes.

  17. Fitz Reply

    I don’t know if I could place Bale that much above Keaton. The costume isn’t his fault and he never got the material that Bale did. Part of me wants a Dark Knight Returns adaptation with Keaton returning as Batman.

  18. CK Reply

    Sorry, but id put Keaton first. He always looked more intimidating than Bale’s Batman.The way he slowly puts Napier down to the ground & with saying Nice Outfit to Batman, Wow, it was just that look. And in the Batcave with his back turned in the dark to Vicki Vale as shes talkin to him. Id have Bale 2nd with Kilmer 3RD.

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