Batman is one of the most popular comic book characters of all time. He has appeared in various media such as film, TV animation, and gaming, so finding someone who’s completely unfamiliar with the character is a rare occurrence.
Considering how popular Batman is, it’s worth looking at what aspects of his character appeal to so many people. While his actions certainly play a major part, his thoughts and sayings also say a lot about him, resulting in a few memorable Batman quotes and Batman one-liners.
Updated on May 15, 2023, by Scoot Allan:Fans are ready for the former live-action Dark Knights to appear in The Flash movie, despite the recent release of a new cinematic take on the character in The Batman. Lines from The Batman joined a few of the best Batman quotes from the character’s many appearances in comics TV, movies, and video games.
30 “Ladies. Gentlemen. You Have Eaten Well.”
Batman #405 (March 1987) by Frank Miller and Dave Mazzucchelli
Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s iconic Batman: Year One is one of the best Batman comics ever made. It has been used as source material for more than one live-action adaptation. It’s filled with memorable Batman quotes that cut to the root of his mission and highlight his usual tactics of intimidation. He used this skill to let Gotham’s criminal underworld know their time was up.
“You’ve eaten Gotham’s wealth… Its spirit. Your feast is nearly over. From this moment on… None of you are safe.” Gotham City now belonged to Batman, and anyone who threatened it heard their first and only warning. It’s a perfect look at Batman’s larger-than-life presence, which helped to create his legend in Gotham City.
29 “I’m Batman.”
While fans had already seen a more light-hearted live-action version of Batman, Tim Burton reintroduced the Dark Knight in 1989’s Batman. Michael Keaton starred as a much darker Bruce Wayne, bringing Batman to life in a new way that was more true to the comics’ portrayal of the character in the ’80s.
A pair of criminals held up a family walking home from the theater in Gotham City during Batman‘s opening moments. The titular hero arrived on the rooftop to stop them, announcing himself with one of the character’s simplest but most iconic lines. Keaton repeated the line in the first trailer for The Flash, hyping up fans for his cinematic return as Batman.
28 “I Think We Can Take Them. Do You Think We Can Take Them?”
Superman/Batman #3 (December 2003) by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness
Batman may be best known for his dark and brooding personality, but he has also shown the capacity for a lighter tone. This is especially true when he’s working alongside his closest ally, Superman. In Superman/Batman #3, the two faced off with a few supervillains looking to collect a huge bounty. Superman’s closest friend delivered an iconic Batman one-liner just before the fight.
Surrounded by some of Superman’s most iconic villains, Batman asked the Man of Steel a mostly rhetorical question about their chances after he stated “they can take them.” Superman replied that Batman always thought they could take them, highlighting both their comfortable friendship as well as the confidence the Dark Knight has in their abilities.
27 “I’m Still Here”
Batman #20 (June 2017) by Tom King and David Finch
During Tom King’s third story arc on Batman, the Dark Knight dealt with his old enemy Bane, who returned to Gotham as one of the first parts of his master plan. As the fight between them came to a climax in Arkham Asylum, Bane started to give the same type of villainous speech that’s been a trope in comics for decades.
Batman told Bane that he’d heard different versions of the same speech almost every night since he first put on the cowl. After all that time and all those speeches, he was still alive and had triumphed over every obstacle. Despite being relatively short compared to the Dark Knight’s other memorable quotes, it reinforces the idea of what Batman can accomplish.
26 “I’m The Goddamn Batman”
All-Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder #2 (October 2005) by Frank Miller and Jim Lee
Frank Miller has written some of the most iconic interpretations of Batman to date. One of his more infamous stories is All-Star Batman and Robin. However controversial this story or interpretation may be, “I’m the goddamn Batman” remains one of the most iconic Batman quotes yet.
This quote comes from an alternate version of Batman who’s cruel and borderline abusive. After a few delays and other issues with production, the All-Star Batman and Robin series never concluded. While it may not be in the best taste for some, the quote remains popular and spawned a viral meme.
25 “If You Are Good, The Shadow’s Wings Are A Welcome, Protective Blanket.”
Batman/Poison Ivy: Cast Shadows (April 2004) by Ann Nocenti and John Van Fleet
“If you are bad, you know its touch as a black splinter of fear.” Ann Nocenti and John Van Fleet teamed up in 2004 for Batman/Poison Ivy: Cast Shadows, which saw Batman musing on how he kept Gotham City safe. He posited that both the city and the crime fighter affected the citizens that lived under the long shadow cast by the Dark Knight.
This Batman quote really highlighted a sometimes-underused aspect of the character: his reliance on fear as a tactic. Batman uses a force most often associated with villainy, but this fantastic one-liner epitomized his more benevolent use of fear.
24 “I Wear A Mask. And That Mask, It’s Not To Hide Who I Am, But To Create What I Am.”
Batman #624 (April 2004) by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso
There is an ongoing debate among some fans as to whether Bruce Wayne is the real face of Batman or the real mask. Brian Azzarello and Eduardo Risso’s “Broken City” storyline from Batman looked at his mask from a different perspective. It followed the Dark Knight as he worked on a case that mirrored the tragic loss of his own parents.
He didn’t just wear Batman’s cowl to hide his secret identity. It also helped him create the persona he needed to become the Dark Knight of Gotham City. The case he was working on during “Broken City” caused him to struggle emotionally. He had to reinforce his vigilante persona to continue being an effective crime-fighter.
23 “I’ve Put Out A Few Fires, Yes. Won A Few Battles. But The War Goes On, Alfred… On And On…”
Batman: The Animated Series, Season 2, Episode 21, “I am the Night”
“I’m tired, Alfred. A weary body can be dealt with. But a weary spirit? That’s something else. Sometimes, old friend, I wonder if I’m really doing any good out there.” Batman’s mission wasn’t always easy on Bruce Wayne, and he often questioned whether or not he was making a difference.
Batman usually vented his frustrations to his closest confidante, Alfred Pennyworth. He worried he wasn’t making a big enough difference, and the near-fatal shooting of Commissioner Gordon further shattered his usually steely resolve. Bruce Wayne almost quit, but he regained his confidence and helped save Gordon’s life. And the war went on and on.
22 “The Idea Was To Be A Symbol. Batman Could Be Anybody, That Was The Point.”
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Christopher Nolan brought his cinematic Batman trilogy to an end in 2012 with The Dark Knight Rises. Bruce Wayne’s last battle for Gotham City saw him face off against Bane and his Waynetech-equipped League of Shadows.
Batman found a new ally in a cop named John Blake, who’d also deduced the Dark Knight’s secret identity as Bruce Wayne. This Batman quote lines up with the movie’s focus on legacy, as Bruce Wayne began preparing John to potentially take over as the new Dark Knight after he retired.
21 “Maybe That’s What Batman Is About. Not Winning. But Failing, And Getting Back Up.”
Batman #32 (August 2014) by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo
“Zero Year” was a storyline during the New 52 era that re-established certain details of Batman’s origin. Near the end of the arc, Batman wondered to Alfred about the kind of example he could set going forward. He told Alfred that he’d “fail, fail a thousand times, but still won’t give up.” This has defined the character and his drive for years.
It’s interesting to see how Batman came about as a symbol in Gotham with Bruce also acknowledging his own humanity in the process. While The Batman isn’t a direct adaptation of this story, it definitely takes inspiration. The climactic monologue in The Batman echoed this iconic quote and highlighted the importance of hope over vengeance.
20 “You Can Never Escape Me. Bullets Don’t Harm Me. Nothing Harms Me. But I Know Pain.”
Batman #407 (May 1987) by Frank Miller and Dave Mazzucchelli
Batman is one of the most intimidating heroes in the DC universe, which is impressive considering the fact that he doesn’t have powers. It’s also not something he hides, as he’s quick to point out to villains that he’s dealt with pain, unlike anything they could imagine. “I KNOW pain. Sometimes I share it. With someone like you.”
This scene took place in Miller and Mazzucchelli’s Batman: Year One. Batman used his influence to convince criminals to turn themselves in while he cleaned up the police force. This bit of Batman dialogue worked wonders, and his target quickly divulged information about Gotham City’s corrupt cops. Batman may not be DC’s most likable hero, but he gets the job done.
19 “The Voice Kept Calling Me Bruce. In My Mind, That’s Not What I Call Myself.”
Batman Beyond, Season 1, Episode 7, “Shriek”
A retired Bruce Wayne passed on the mantle of the bat to the youthful Terry McGinnis in the fan-favorite Batman Beyond animated series. Wayne still coached his successor from the relative safety of the Batcave. However, he was still an occasional target due to his public role as the head of Wayne Enterprises.
A villain named Shriek attempted to first assassinate Bruce Wayne and then drive him mad using his advanced sound technology. Bruce Wayne started to hear voices, though he quickly reasoned that the voices weren’t coming from his own head. Even though he passed on the mantle, he is and will always be Batman.
18 “No Miracles. No Mercy. No Redemption. No Heaven. No Hell.”
Batman: Absolution (November 2002) by J.M. DeMatteis and Brian Ashmore
“No higher power. Just life. Just… Us.” While it may be a lesser-known story, Batman: Absolution by J.M. DeMatteis still features one of the best Batman quotes ever. Set ten years after the destruction of Wayne Tower, Batman finally tracked down the culprit who was responsible for the attack.
Once on the other side of the world, Batman started a spiritual and mental journey unlike any other, leading to one of the more interesting takes on the character. Despite being a more obscure story, Batman: Absolution is definitely worth a read for any fan of The Dark Knight.
17 “You Either Die A Hero Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain.”
The Dark Knight (2008)
This quote from Christopher Nolan’s hit 2008 sequel The Dark Knight was originally said by Harvey Dent at a dinner with Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes. However, Batman later repeated it to Commissioner Gordon after Dent’s transformation into Two-Face.
Harvey Dent’s disfigurement, combined with the loss of Rachel Dawes, broke the former district attorney. His dark mission of revenge ultimately to his death. This iconic bit of Batman dialogue reinforced the pressure Batman faces to stay true to his morals without succumbing to the darkness of Gotham City like Harvey Dent.
16 “If I Allow Myself To Go Down Into That Place… I’ll Never Come Back.”
Batman #650 (April 2006) by Judd Winick and Eric Battle
Batman‘s “Under The Hood” was an incredibly emotional journey focused on Jason Todd’s return in his new role as Red Hood. He was the second Robin who died at The Joker’s hands years before. As the arc approached its conclusion, the former team met up and fought it out. During the fight, Jason Todd repeatedly questioned Batman about why Joker was still alive.
Batman explained his reasoning, which offered a unique insight into his moral code. Despite doing some very dark things over the years, Batman restricted himself from killing due to the fear that he wouldn’t be able to stop. This examination of Batman’s No-Kill rule was just one of the reasons “Under the Hood” became so popular with fans.
15 “All Men Have Limits … I Ignore Mine”
Detective Comics #663 (July 1993) by Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan
Before Bane broke the Batman, the Dark Knight foreshadowed the extremes that he would push his body to during his first battle with Bane. He knew where his limits were, but he chose to ignore them. From “Knightfall” all the way to “KnightsEnd,” Bruce Wayne was put through one of the most grueling physical tests of his life as he faced a gauntlet of Batman’s most iconic villains.
When Jean-Paul Valley proved to be a devastatingly brutal Batman, Bruce had no other option but to take back the mantle. Although Batman said this quote before Bane’s physical attack, it remained relevant throughout the event and proved both Batman’s strength and his determination.
14 “Batman Punches People In The Face.”
Batman #53 (October 2018) by Tom King and Lee Weeks
One of the funnier Batman sayings doesn’t actually come from Batman himself, but rather from Bruce Wayne. Through this self-analysis, Bruce pointed out his own flaws as Batman during a court trial where he sat on the jury. He was able to influence the opinion of the jury while also changing readers’ perspectives on the Dark Knight.
On the surface, this quote seems hilariously accurate. However, within the context of the story, it’s actually a very clever dive into Batman’s own psyche and Bruce Wayne’s feelings of failure in his self-appointed role. He started to realize that Batman needs to do more and be more than just some guy who punches people in the face if he wanted to carry out real change in Gotham City.
13 “Death Is Powerless Against You If You Leave A Legacy Of Good Behind.”
JLA #72 (November 2002) by Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke
Batman and the rest of the Justice League faced certain death during JLA‘s “The Obsidian Age” storyline. A roster of the Justice League’s most experienced members traveled back in time to stop an ancient threat. Batman suffered the most from the journey, and he entered into a fevered state during his recovery. He delivered a prophetic rambling about dealing with death in his own way.
Bruce Wayne used the lessons he learned from his father’s work as a surgeon. It helped fuel his own ability to cope with the deaths Batman faced on the job, as well as the risk of his own. Like so many great Batman quotes, it combines his fascination with death with a hopeful view of the future.
12 “I Chose This Life. I Know What I’m Doing.”
Identity Crisis #4 (November 2004) by Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales
Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales’s divisive Identity Crisis series explored the notion of secret identities while dealing with a series of tragedies. As Batman investigated the crimes, he pondered about his own choices and determination to fight crime as a costumed vigilante. He also explored the question from the perspective of his fellow heroes and why they think he does what he does.
He has a unique understanding of his motivations, regardless of what some of Batman’s closest friends believe. “People think it’s an obsession. A compulsion. As if there were an irresistible impulse to act. It’s never been like that. He also revealed that “…on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today, however, isn’t that day. And tomorrow won’t be either.”
11 “Criminals Are A Cowardly And Superstitious Lot.”
Detective Comics #33 (November 1939) by Bill Finger, Gardner Fox, and Bob Kane
Bruce Wayne spoke these words during his origin story, though more recently in the Batman: Hush storyline. This quote reflects Batman’s unique approach to his enemies. It’s part of what sets him apart from other characters such as Superman. The Man of Steel has a unique respect for his villains, while Batman generalized all of Gotham’s villains as cowards.
This quote not only reflected Batman’s unique viewpoint but also showed why he uses fear as a primary weapon in his war on crime. As one of the people responsible for the criminal’s fear, it certainly makes sense why Batman would have said this quote more than once over the years.
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