Movie Reviews

20 Most Memorable Quotes From The Dark Knight Trilogy

Summary

  • Batman trilogy boasts highly quotable dialogue, with memorable lines from characters like Bruce Wayne, the Joker, and more.
  • Christian Bale’s portrayal of Batman sets the Dark Knight trilogy apart, solidifying its place in film history.
  • Villains like the Joker and Bane bring new life to the Batman franchise with their memorable quotes and performances.

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Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies are ranked among some of the greatest films ever made – DC or otherwise. They all appear on IMDb’s Top 250 list, with Batman Begins taking the number 128 spot, The Dark Knight Rises taking the number 70 spot, and The Dark Knight ranking very highly at the number three spot. One of the reasons that the films have remained as popular as they are is the highly quotable dialogue. Some of the best Dark Knight quotes are some of the most famous lines of movie dialogue from the past 20 years.

There is so much incredible writing between all three films that it is difficult to limit the very best Dark Knight quotes to a definitive ranking. Christian Bale’s performance as Bruce Wayne/Batman helped to set the Dark Knight trilogy apart from the numerous other blockbuster Batman movies that had come before, and villains like the Joker (Heath Ledger) and Bane (Tom Hardy) were given new life after both already appearing in live-action movies also. It feels like almost every character gets a memorable quote in the Dark Knight trilogy, but some shine brighter than the others.

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20 “I’m Batman.”

Bruce Wayne/Batman (Batman Begins)

For a film with “Batman” in the title, Batman Begins spends a lot of time with Bruce Wayne before the Caped Crusader appears. That is not a bad thing, however, and it made this iconic Batman quote hit all the harder when it finally showed up in the movie. When Batman lands on the car and pulls out Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson), it is a chilling moment assisted by a horror-like atmosphere to the scene. This is an unforgettable Batman moment that solidified Christian Bale’s new reign as the character.

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The simplicity of the line, paired with its common use in Batman media, is a testament to the character’s enduring legacy. “I am Batman” is incredibly simple, yet it’s enough to strike terror into the most stoic of criminal hearts. Batman has a reputation, and his simple utterance a powerful example of it. Moreover, the line has weight as it’s not just a tool for intimidation but a self-affirmation for Bruce as well, who often sees himself as Batman before anything else.

19 “The Night Is Darkest Right Before The Dawn. And I Promise You, The Dawn Is Coming.”

Harvey Dent (The Dark Knight)

Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart) is a crucial character for the themes of The Dark Knight as well as the plans of the Joker. A white knight turned bad, the best of humanity made into something rotten, Dent is the source of some of the best Dark Knight quotes, including this one which he gives in a speech to Gotham. Like Batman, Dent is a symbol of hope and goodness in Gotham, and this is a Dark Knight quote that’s rousing even when taken out of its original context.

Though some viewers may have preferred to see more of Dent in his actual Two-Face form, Nolan brilliantly understood that the power of the character rests in who he is before his fall. Batman has no shortage of violent, mentally unstable criminals in his rogues gallery, but few started off as such fine citizens as Dent (at least in this interpretation). This line perfectly summarizes that dichotomy and, with it, Dent’s character arc overall.

18 “The Training Is Nothing. The Will Is Everything. The Will To Act.”

Henri Ducard (Batman Begins)

Batman Begins is fast-paced in its establishing of Bruce Wayne and his backstory, but the movie makes the most out of his training with Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson) and the League of Shadows. There is a lot of wisdom imparted to Wayne by the secret Ra’s Al Guhl, including this tidbit about will. Will is a prominent part of the Batman character throughout the trilogy. While Ducard meant it in a more evil way, Bruce’s constant will to act, to do good, and to protect Gotham by being whatever Gotham needs him to be is a defining aspect of the character.

This moment is also an interesting insight into one of Batman’s more thought-inducing cinematic villains. There’s little doubt that what Ra’s wants to do with Gotham – burn it to the ground and start over – is wrong, but given how deeply corrupt and vile it is, he’s not coming from a place too dissimilar to Bruce. Batman, after all, is vengeance, and this scene lays the groundwork for the subtly of that philosophy that separates it from inhumanity.

17 “A-Ta-Ta-Ta-Ta, Let’s Not Blow This Out Of Proportion.”

The Joker (The Dark Knight)

The entire scene where the Joker confronts the various crime bosses of Gotham is hugely entertaining and produces some of the best Dark Knight quotes. The Joker’s pun while threatening to blow the crime bosses up with an improvised bomb vest highlights not just his twisted nature but also how he is one of the smartest characters in The Dark Knight trilogy. The scene also has two more of the franchise’s most memorable quotes in “If you’re good at something, never do it for free,” and “Do you wanna see a magic trick?

This isn’t Joker’s first scene in The Dark Knight, but it’s arguably his proper introduction as the Joker. The twisted confidence he shows while interacting with some of the most dangerous people in Gotham is a great example of show-don’t-tell storytelling. Of course, Heath Ledger’s delivery and body language elevate the line beyond what it otherwise may have been.

16 “You Always Fear What You Don’t Understand.”

Carmine Falcone (Batman Begins)

Carmine Falcone, head of the Falcone crime family, only appears in Batman Begins, but he plays a crucial role and gives fans a fantastic scene with a younger Bruce Wayne. Fear is the main theme of Batman Begins, and it is integral to Bruce’s transformation into Batman and the image that the criminals of Gotham see. Falcone is one of the more underrated and underutilized villains of the Dark Knight trilogy, but quotes like this show that he does get his moments to shine.

Without Bruce’s interaction with Falcone, he may never have adopted the Batman persona at all. While the criminals of Gotham may rely on secrets and fright to maintain their control, they aren’t immune to it themselves. Of course, this line becomes ironic later in the film when Batman corners a terrified Falcone and flips the script.

15 “I Had This Fantasy, That I Would Look Across The Tables And I’d See You There, With A Wife And Maybe A Couple Of Kids.”

Alfred (The Dark Knight Rises)

The relationship between Alfred (Michael Caine) and Bruce in the Dark Knight trilogy is a big part of the emotional core of each film. The ending of The Dark Knight Rises at the café, which pays off on this Dark Knight Rises quote, is not beloved by every fan of the films, but it is still an undeniably touching moment between Alfred and Bruce. Alfred deserved some peace and happiness, and he got that in the knowledge that Bruce lived the life Alfred always wanted for him.

14 “I Believe What Doesn’t Kill You Simply Makes You… Stranger.”

The Joker (The Dark Knight)

Christopher Nolan has a serious knack for opening scenes, from Inception to Tenet, and The Dark Knight has one of his best so far. The heist sequence at the beginning of the film all leads to this chilling quote from Heath Ledger’s Joker. Joker has a variety of excellent Dark Knight quotes, but as this one is accompanied by the reveal of his warpaint makeup and facial scars, it stands out above many others.

What makes the quote so interesting is that it reveals the subtle but important difference between Joker and less “principled” villains. A more violent thug would have simply killed the bank manager because he could. However, Joker is out to prove a message – one that random killings don’t accomplish. Death is a tool in his repertoire without doubt, but senseless killing doesn’t move his agenda forward.

13 “He’s The Hero Gotham Deserves But Not The One It Needs Right Now.”

Commissioner Gordon (The Dark Knight)

Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) delivers the closing lines of The Dark Knight, and they contain what are by far some of the most memorable quotes from the trilogy. As Batman is forced to flee from the police, taking the blame for Harvey Dent’s death, Commissioner Gordon reassures his young son by trying to explain the contradictory aspects of Batman’s very nature. Gordon sums the difficult situation up best with this iconic Dark Knight quote.

This quote is one of many that have gone on to find life outside The Dark Knight and the rest of Nolan’s franchise. Whether as an overly-dramatic joke or a legitimate comment, the quote adorns many an online forum and social media post to describe people doing the hard thing that needs to be done. Finding lessons greater than the stories that contain them is the ultimate goal of fiction, and as such, it’s hard to argue The Dark Knight’s merits.

12 “Let The Games Begin!”

Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)

Tom Hardy had a lot to live up to as the next main villain in the Dark Knight trilogy following Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning performance in The Dark Knight, but he made Bane a captivating presence throughout The Dark Knight Rises with his own distinctly maniacal personality through quotes like this. Bane says this just before detonating a series of explosives at a football game, beginning his plan to seize control of Gotham city. It’s a dark moment in the film, but this highly memorable villain quote from the Dark Knight trilogy gives it just the right amount of levity for what is still a superhero movie.

Moreover, the scene acts to differentiate Bane and the Joker. While the Joker prefers more personal violence to prove his philosophical musings right, Bane isn’t above mass killings and collateral to gain control via shock-and-awe. Bane may have a reputation as a muscle-bound bruiser, but he really prefers to use his mind and reputation over his brawn.

11 “Swear To Me!”

Batman (Batman Begins)

This Batman quote from Batman Begins is one of Christian Bale’s most iconic moments as the Caped Crusader. He says it as he dangles corrupt Gotham PD cop Arnold Flass (Mark Boone Junior) from the top of a building in order to interrogate him. Flass swears to God that he’s speaking the truth, which sets Batman up perfectly from one of the most memorable Dark Knight trilogy quotes.

It’s a line that stands out so much that it clearly left itself open to parody and imitation, and it’s become somewhat like Michael Keaton’s famous “Let’s get nuts” line from the original Tim Burton Batman movie. The line is, of course, silly, but it’s the conviction with which it’s delivered by Bale that makes it work. The scene overall is a great example of Batman’s willingness to use fear against anyone and everyone and the degree to which it can be more effective than raw violence.

10 “And Why Do We Fall, Bruce? So That We Can Learn To Pick Ourselves Up.”

Thomas Wayne (Batman Begins)

After Bruce fall down a well at the beginning of Batman Begins and has his frightening first encounter with the bats that live beneath Wayne Manor, his father, Thomas Wayne (Linus Roache) lifts him to safety and delivers this very memorable Dark Knight trilogy quote. Bruce Wayne has many obstacles on his road to redeeming Gotham City, and he’s often on the brink of giving up, but these words echo throughout the trilogy and form a part of Batman’s essential tenacity in the face of insurmountable odds.

9 “Madness, As You Know, Is A Lot Like Gravity. All It Takes Is A Little Push.”

The Joker (The Dark Knight)

The Joker says this Dark Knight quote to Batman near the end of the movie, once Batman thinks he has finally defeated the Joker and has him hanging from the edge of a building. Joker lets Batman know that his real master plan was to break Gotham’s spirit by corrupting Harvey Dent, which he’d already accomplished. It’s a dark twist to the ending of The Dark Knight, which goes against the conventions of most superhero movies, and it shows just how deeply disturbed the Joker is, as it leads him into one of his characteristic laughing fits that ultimately makes him sound like he’s in distress.

Joker comes remarkably close to being right, too. He even remains right in part. While the citizens of Gotham ultimately pass his “test,” Harvey is indeed irreparably corrupted by Joker killing Rachel and the perceived unfairness of the world that seems to be to blame.

8 “It’s Not Who I Am Underneath But What I Do That Defines Me.”

Bruce Wayne/Batman (Batman Begins)

This memorable Dark Knight trilogy quote comes up a couple of times in Batman Begins. Firstly, Rachel Dawes (Katie Holmes) says to Bruce, “It’s not who you are underneath but what you do that defines you.” Then later, after Batman saves her, Rachel asks to know his name.

Rather than surrender that information, he simply says: “It’s not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.” Rachel is then able to realize that it’s been Bruce underneath the mask all along. It’s an interesting method for revealing this information that’s in keeping with Batman’s character and Bruce does a similar thing in The Dark Knight Rises to let Commissioner Gordon finally know his real identity.

7 “You Either Die A Hero Or Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain.”

Harvey Dent/Two-Face (The Dark Knight)

The downfall of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight is both thrilling and tragic to watch. He starts as an upstanding District Attorney who fights for good and is a hero in the eyes of the public, but after he gets corrupted by the Joker and becomes Two-Face, it’s not long before he’s just another sinister villain bent on creating chaos in Gotham. Dent foreshadows his own fall from grace while he’s at dinner with Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes with this unforgettable Dark Knight quote.

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The quote isn’t true, but it’s easy to see why it seems that way in Gotham. The quotation is less an overall condemnation of the forces of good and more a comment on Gotham’s incredible corruption levels. While Harvey befalls this fate, the people of Gotham prove resilient and willing to stand up to Joker’s attempted streak of terror.

6 “Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn.”

Alfred (The Dark Knight)

Alfred says this iconic Dark Knight quote in reference to the Joker after telling Bruce a story about an experience he once had in Burma, where he encountered a bandit who had been raiding caravans, only to discard the precious stones that they had stolen as if they were worthless, suggesting, as Alfred points out, that they committed horrible acts of violence for sport. Alfred doesn’t believe that the Joker can be reasoned with because he has no real goals, and it’s an astute reading of his character. Dark Knight quotes like these show why Michael Caine’s take on Alfred is remembered as one of the very best ever.

5 “As A Man, I’m Flesh And Blood; I Can Be Ignored, I Can Be Destroyed. But As A Symbol… As A Symbol, I Can Be Incorruptible. I Can Be Everlasting.”

Bruce Wayne/Batman (Batman Begins)

Throughout the entire Dark Knight trilogy, Bruce Wayne is continuously trying to do good for the people of the city of Gotham. He wants to give them a feeling of hope to help them save themselves from the sea of crime and chaos that has befallen the city. As this great Dark Knight trilogy quote highlights, Bruce learns from his time with the League of Shadows that he cannot merely be a mortal man to accomplish this, but something more that will last long after he is unable to protect the city. He ultimately accomplishes this, though at great personal cost.

4 “Oh, So You Think Darkness Is Your Ally?”

Bane (The Dark Knight Rises)

Bane is one of Batman’s most formidable opponents in both the Dark Knight trilogy and the comics, both for his brain and his brawn. The villain’s intelligence was one aspect of his character that wasn’t represented in his first live-action appearance in Batman & Robin and quotes like this from The Dark Knight Rises demonstrate how different Tom Hardy’s version of the character is. During their first fight in the movie, Batman gets into trouble very early and tries to hide in the darkness, but Bane reminds him that he’s also no stranger to the shadows: “Oh, so you think darkness is your ally? You merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it. I didn’t see the light until I was already a man, and by then, it was nothing to me but blinding!”

3 “And You’ll Never Have To.”

Bruce Wayne/Batman (Batman Begins)

Batman couldn’t accomplish what he does in Gotham City throughout the Dark Knight trilogy without the help of Jim Gordon, even though it’s a big leap of faith for Gordon to trust a masked vigilante. At the end of Batman Begins, once they’ve settled into their classic roles and Batman meets Gordon atop the GCPD building by the newly installed Bat-signal, Gordon remarks that he never thanked Batman for all he’d down so far, prompting this memorable Dark Knight trilogy quote. They’re two characters defined by their sense of duty, and the Dark Knight trilogy depicts that aspect of them very clearly.

2 “A Hero Can Be Anyone, Even Someone Doing Something As Simple And Reassuring As Putting A Coat Around A Little Boy’s Shoulders To Let Him Know The World Hadn’t Ended.”

Bruce Wayne/Batman (The Dark Knight Rises)

In order to protect Batman’s true identity, Bruce Wayne has to play the persona of an eccentric billionaire, throwing everyone off his scent, including Commissioner Gordon, a man he cares about deeply. This final exchange between the two in The Dark Knight Rises is a heartbreaking moment that calls back to both Gordon and Bruce Wayne’s first meeting and the way that Batman revealed his identity to Rachel in Batman Begins. It lets Gordon know who Batman is just as he’s flying away for the last time, giving a bittersweet end to their partnership.

1 “Why So Serious?”

The Joker (The Dark Knight)

Of all the many, many memorable Dark Knight quotes, the Joker’s “Why so serious?” monologue stands above the rest as the most famous of them all. The line itself was used heavily in promotional materials for the movie, and it helped to generate the hype that propelled The Dark Knight to billion-dollar box office success. The monologue is one of two in the movie that recounts the story of how the Joker got his facial scars, though the audience can ultimately trust neither of them. Heath Ledger was terrifying in the role, and his intense delivery of this Dark Knight quote remains chill-inducing to this day.

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