Arguably the most iconic superhero in the history of DC is Batman, who is right up there at the top together with Superman. In that regard, we can never discount Batman’s appeal in the world of comic books and fiction, especially when you consider just how big of an impact he has had on popular culture. And he is so iconic that he has had a lot of different live-action movies and shows.
Of course, the actors that played Batman on screen were able to enjoy the popularity that comes with the character. But at the same time, they were under strict scrutiny because a character as iconic as Batman would have to be played by an actor who knows what to do to perfect his role. So, with that said, let’s rank all of the different actors that have ever played Batman.
How many different actors played Batman?
When we look at the world of superheroes, Batman is one of the characters we often see getting live-action versions due to his popularity as an icon. And because of his popularity, Batman has seen his fair share of different actors as he has the greatest number of live-action versions in the history of comic book characters.
Ever since the first live-action Batman was released in the 40s, Batman has seen 13 actors portraying his character on-screen. While those who’ve only seen the movies would say that he has only seven actors, let’s not forget that some actors played him before Adam West did. And we also know that Batman has made small appearances in the DC shows that have been popping up in recent years.
Who played Batman the most?
Out of all the 13 actors that played Batman, no one has put more hours into his work than Adam West. That’s because he was the iconic character that played Batman during the time when the character was the star of a hit TV show that ran for a few years during the 60s. The fact that this series enjoyed 120 episodes spread across three seasons means that no one has ever had to wear the cowl and cape more than Adam West.
All actors that played Batman, ranked from worst to best
Now, with that out of the way, let’s rank all Batman actors from worst to best.
13. David Miller – ‘Gotham Knights’ (2023)
Yes, ‘Gotham Knights,’ the subpar CW DC project, had its own version of Bruce Wayne. Of course, the series focuses more on the members of the Bat Family as they are trying to step up to the plate after the mysterious murder of Bruce Wayne, who they didn’t know was actually Batman.
In that, someone had to portray Bruce just to push the plot forward, and David Miller was given the unenviable task of playing the role of Mr. Wayne just to show that he was killed. And the fact that he didn’t do too much in a series that’s more about teenage drama and was simply placed there to show that Bruce died makes David Miller the worst Batman of all time.
12. Mikhail Mudrik – ‘Gotham’ (2014 – 2019)
There are many things to love about the ‘Gotham’ series that premiered in 2014 as it switched the focus point of the Gotham side of things to Jim Gordon’s rise as a star cop who wanted to make sure that the streets of his city were safe. While we did see a young Bruce Wayne in the form of David Mazous, we also saw an older version of himself played by Mikhail Mudrik in an uncredited role.
In the season finale of the ‘Gotham’ series, we saw how Bruce grew into his own person as we eventually saw Batman, who Mudrik played. And while we love Gotham, we didn’t get to see what Batman was capable of in this series, and that’s why this actor is ranked as low as he is.
11. Robert Lowery – ‘Batman and Robin’ (1949)
Yes, there was a ‘Batman and Robin’ film during the 40s, and this film kind of got lost in the mix due to how Adam West became the face of Batman for decades. Nevertheless, in 1949, a follow-up movie to the original ‘Batman’ film was released as Robert Lowery played the role of the Caped Crusader in this film. This was kind of an absurd version of Batman, as there were wacky scenes that made him look like a comedy character. One such scene, including pulling an entire torch out of his utility belt, and such a scene doesn’t really make Lowery’s Batman worthy of a higher spot on this list.
10. Lewis Wilson – ‘Batman’ (1943)
While a lot of people often say that Adam West is the first person to ever portray the live-action version of Batman, the thing is that Lewis Wilson did it before anyone else ever did. He starred in the first live-action ‘Batman’ film in 1943. This movie, again, got lost in the mix due to the events that were transpiring in the world at that time.
Of course, there’s a patriotic touch to Lewis Wilson’s Batman because the main enemy in the movie was a Japanese scientist named Dr. Daka, who was spreading havoc in Gotham City. And let’s not even talk about how racist the movie was because it was simply a product of its era.
9. Iain Glen – ‘Titans’ (2018 – 2023)
The ‘Titans’ television show is a sleeper hit that actually gives the Teen Titans a good look due to how they are portrayed as more mature versions of themselves. This series stars Dick Grayson as an adult Robin that had decided to move on from his days as a sidekick due to some misunderstandings with Batman, who Iain Glen portrays. However, Glen never wore the cowl in this series, as he mostly portrayed the role of Bruce Wayne.
Glen played an older Bruce in this series and did a remarkable job portraying a suave and smooth old man who has already gotten tired of his days as a masked hero. Nevertheless, he didn’t live up to the hype since Glen was far too serious as Bruce Wayne and just couldn’t shake off his native accent.
8. George Clooney – ‘Batman & Robin’ (1997)
After spending some time on the obscure 1940s versions of Batman and the roles played by a few actors in the smaller DC-based shows, let’s now get to a more modern version of Batman played by George Clooney in the ‘Batman & Robin’ film released in 1997. This era saw three different actors playing the role of Batman, as the Caped Crusader was incredibly popular during that decade. But the thing is that this Batman movie just didn’t live up to the hype because it wasn’t really a good movie, even though it had a stellar cast of great actors that were easily noticeable.
George Clooney didn’t do a bad job as Batman because he carried the suave persona that Bruce Wayne was always known for. But the thing is that he just wasn’t a very charismatic version of Batman and was a product of the poor writing and production value of this film. And he had some of the worst lines a Batman actor could ever have, and we can’t blame Clooney because he was simply working on whatever was given to him.
7. Ben Affleck – DCEU (2016 – 2023)
A few years after the world saw one of the most masterful performances a Batman actor could ever have, Ben Affleck stepped into the cape of the Caped Crusader to become the DCEU’s version of Batman in the ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ movie that featured the rivalry between Batman and Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel. The thing, however, is that Affleck actually did a good job in terms of portraying Bruce Wayne as a rich guy with teenage angst. But the problem was that it didn’t seem like the people behind the DCEU at that time were entirely familiar with who Batman was.
That’s because Affleck’s Batman was more emotional than logical, as he didn’t even think twice about trying to kill Superman before using his logic to decide whether or not the Man of Steel was truly a threat. On top of that, this version of Batman didn’t have the calculating appeal that Bruce Wayne was always known for. The worst part was that Affleck’s Batman used guns and wasn’t afraid to kill. So, while Affleck did play his role well, he was another actor who became a product of poor writing on the part of the people behind the film.
6. Val Kilmer – ‘Batman Forever’ (1995)
Val Kilmer said himself that ‘Batman Forever’ is a bad film, and we don’t disagree with him because this was a mediocre Batman movie compared to the one that came before it. Nevertheless, Kilmer was actually a good choice for the role because he did a great job in similar roles in his previous works. And that’s why he may have been almost perfect for the role of the playboy that secretly works as a masked vigilante.
The movie itself wasn’t good, but Kilmer made the most out of it when it was clear that he had good chemistry with Nicole Kidman’s character. He also did well in portraying the two-dimensional aspect of Bruce Wayne’s character as a billionaire playboy during the day and a vengeful vigilante at night. And while he resented his role in that film, let’s not take away the fact that he could have been better if the movie had done better.
5. Kevin Conroy – ‘Animated Batman’ (1992 – 2022), Arrowverse (2019)
Kevin Conroy is the most iconic man to ever play Batman because his voice is unmistakably perfect. Of course, Conroy rose to prominence in the animated Batman shows that featured him as the voice of Bruce Wayne from 1992. He reprised his role several times since then and had a final role in 2022 before his untimely death. Due to how iconic his work was as Batman’s voice, no other voice actor has ever come close to him.
Even though Conroy only voiced Bruce Wayne for around three decades, he finally got his big break as an actual live-action Batman in the CW’s Arrowverse when he appeared during the ‘Crisis on Infinite Earths’ storyline as a variant of Batman from another universe. However, he was a villainous Batman in this series, as fans thought that CW wasted Conroy’s only opportunity to play the role of Batman in a live-action production. Still, there’s no denying that his voice will always be synonymous with the Caped Crusader.
4. Adam West – ‘Batman’ (1966 – 68)
The man who took the Batman role to the next level was Adam West, who had played the role for decades since he appeared in the 1966 ‘Batman’ TV show. Even though his show lasted for only three seasons, he became synonymous with Batman for decades because he made a few more appearances as the character in subsequent productions. And no one has come close to the number of hours he put in as the Caped Crusader.
The thing about Adam West’s Batman is that it was more of a campy version instead of the serious crime-fighting vigilante. His character was made to be friendly to TV audiences worldwide as West understood his assignment and played it to the best of his acting abilities. As such, his role as Batman became a comedy legend in the 60s because it was entertaining to see him and Robin doing many comedic things in the TV show during a time when TV networks were looking to find ways to get Americans glued to their television screens.
3. Michael Keaton – ‘Batman’ (1989), ‘Batman Returns’ (1992), ‘The Flash’ (2023)
More than two decades after Adam West played a comedic and less-than-serious version of Batman on television, Michael Keaton proudly wore the suit in Tim Burton’s version of ‘Batman’ in 1989. This took a quick departure from the comedic Batman that West played because Keaton played a darker and more serious version of the character in what was a classic showcase of Tim Burton’s ability to make dark things very entertaining. As such, Keaton’s work with Burton is still being talked about by fans today.
Michael Keaton carried a strong personality and a somewhat unhinged Batman in the films that he played as he could show the darker side of Bruce Wayne in a world that requires his darkness due to how dark the streets of Gotham can be. He played his role to perfection in two movies and is set to return as an older version of the character in the 2023 ‘The Flash’ movie. And we can expect to see the same flawed yet willful Bruce Wayne that we loved in the original Keaton-helmed Batman movies.
2. Robert Pattinson – ‘The Batman’ (2022)
When Robert Pattinson was given the role of Bruce Wayne in the 2022 version of ‘The Batman,’ there were people that were quite apprehensive about what he could do as the Caped Crusader due to the fact that there are still some people who criticize his role in the mediocre ‘Twilight’ movies released years ago. Nevertheless, Pattinson quickly proved his doubters wrong when he owned the role of a younger and vengeful Batman in this movie.
This was the first time since Michael Keaton that a Batman actor could portray a freaky and angsty side of Batman in a manner that fans wanted. Pattinson showcased his acting chops when he made Bruce look like an angry version of himself, considering that he was still quite young and still learning to play the role of a masked vigilante perfectly. And we are only excited about what’s to come, especially if Pattinson were to carry his role to James Gunn-helmed DCU.
1. Christian Bale – ‘The Dark Knight’ Trilogy (2005 – 2012)
Arguably the greatest man to ever play the role of Batman is Christian Bale, who has a trilogy of movies to prove just how great of an actor he is. While Bale’s ‘The Dark Knight’ Trilogy version of the character is a product of the excellent writing behind the films, let’s not forget that Bale personified both Bruce Wayne and Batman in his films because we saw two sides of the same character in this trilogy. During the day, he was a suave and charismatic playboy that was somewhat spoiled and flawed in his own way. But at night, he was the dark vigilante that Gotham deserved because he was the only person that could get the job done when it came to cleaning up the streets of the city.
Bale’s Batman is also the most realistic version because the film has no supernatural elements. The tech that was incorporated into Batman’s character was also quite realistic. That means this is also the most relatable Batman we’ve seen. And let’s not forget that the movie also explored many dark themes that reflect the nature of society and the different people that run entire cities and countries.
Who do you think was the best Batman actor? Let us know in the comments below!