Joker (The Dark Knight)
The Joker is a fictional character who appears in Christopher Nolan's 2008 superhero film The Dark Knight, based upon the DC Comics character and supervillain of the same name. He was played by Australian actor Heath Ledger. A psychopathic criminal mastermind and mass murderer with a warped, sadistic sense of humor, the Joker is hired by Gotham City's mob bosses to kill the vigilante Batman (Christian Bale), and also comes into conflict with Batman's allies, Gotham police officer James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and district attorney Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart). The character embodies themes of chaos, anarchy and obsession: throughout the film, he expresses a desire to upset the social order in Gotham through crime, and defines himself by his conflict with Batman.
|The Dark Knight character|
Heath Ledger as the Joker in The Dark Knight
|First appearance||The Dark Knight (2008)|
|Last appearance||The Dark Knight (2008)|
|Portrayed by||Heath Ledger|
Ledger's interpretation of the character is specifically influenced by the graphic novels Batman: The Killing Joke and Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth. In the film, he wears the character's traditional purple and green color palette, while his facial appearance includes clown makeup that covers facial scars of a Glasgow smile, and green hair. The character also explores techniques found in Ledger's previous performances, including his clown act in Terry Gilliam's fantasy film The Brothers Grimm, while also referencing paintings by artist Francis Bacon, Anthony Burgess' novel A Clockwork Orange and various punk rock musicians. Ledger's casting as the Joker was initially controversial.
The Joker is considered Ledger's finest performance, and Ledger himself regarded it as his most enjoyable. When the film was released in July 2008, six months after the actor had died from an accidental prescription drug overdose, the performance caused a sensation, receiving widespread acclaim and numerous posthumous accolades, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The character is indirectly referenced at the end of Batman Begins, when Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman) describes to Batman (Christian Bale) a suspect wanted in connection with an armed robbery and double homicide. Gordon shows Batman a joker playing card left at the crime scene.
The Joker first appears in person at the beginning of The Dark Knight, as part of a six-member gang wearing clown masks who rob a mob-owned bank. He tricks four of them into killing each other, then kills the last one himself and escapes with the money. Interrupting a videoconference between mob bosses Sal Maroni (Eric Roberts), the Chechen (Ritchie Coster) and Gambol (Michael Jai White) with their accountant Lau (Chin Han), he offers to kill Batman for half of the mob's money. Gambol refuses the offer and puts a bounty on the "clown". Later, the Joker kills Gambol and takes over his gang.
After learning that Batman has captured Lau, Maroni and the Chechen accept the Joker's offer. The Joker announces that people will die each day until Batman reveals his true identity, and makes good on his threat by assassinating Gotham Police Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb (Colin McFarlane) and mob trial Judge Janet Surillo (Nydia Rodriguez Terracina). When Gotham's district attorney, Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), attempts to draw him out by identifying himself as Batman, the Joker tries to kidnap him, only to be arrested and interrogated by Batman after Dent goes missing. The Joker reveals that Dent's girlfriend (and Bruce Wayne's childhood sweetheart) Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal) has also gone missing and divulges their separate locations, both rigged with time bombs, but lies about which location each hostage is held at. Batman saves Dent, who is disfigured in the explosion, but Rachel is killed. The Joker then escapes the police station with Lau.
The Joker kills Lau and the Chechen, burns his half of the mob's money and takes over the Chechen's gang. To prevent Wayne Enterprises M&A law accountant Coleman Reese (Joshua Harto) from revealing Batman's secret identity on TV, the Joker announces that he will blow up a hospital if Reese is not dead within 60 minutes. During the ensuing panic, the Joker sneaks into Gotham General Hospital disguised as a nurse to meet with Dent and persuades him to take revenge on the people he holds responsible for Rachel's death. He then blows up the hospital and takes a busload of hostages. The Joker rigs explosives on two ferries leaving the Gotham bay, one containing citizens and the other transporting criminals, and tells the passengers that he will destroy both boats unless one blows up the other by midnight. While Batman fights the Joker, the ferry passengers choose not to blow each other up. Batman subsequently apprehends the Joker, who states that he believes that they are meant to fight each other forever. The Joker gloats that he has won "the battle for Gotham's soul", as the city's inhabitants will lose hope once Dent's rampage as the murderous vigilante "Two-Face" becomes known. The Joker then laughs hysterically as he is taken into custody. Batman ultimately foils the Joker's plan by taking the blame for Dent's crimes.
The Joker is not mentioned in The Dark Knight Rises, the 2012 sequel to The Dark Knight, out of respect for Ledger's memory. However, the novelization of the film makes an ambiguous reference to the character while describing Blackgate Prison:
Now that the Dent Act had made it all but impossible to cop an insanity plea, it had replaced Arkham Asylum as the preferred location for imprisoning both convicted and suspected felons. The worst of the worst were sent here, except for the Joker, who, rumor had it, was locked away as Arkham’s sole remaining inmate. Or perhaps he had escaped. Nobody was really sure.
—Heath Ledger on why he preferred playing the super-villain.
As a starting actor, Heath Ledger did not attach himself seriously to the roles he was playing. This changed, however, when at age 22 he started to watch some of his films. Realizing that they were movies he himself might not actually have wanted to see, it made him more cautious and respectful towards his professional choices. The 2005 fantasy film The Brothers Grimm marked a turning point for the actor as director Terry Gilliam gave Ledger (and his co-star, Matt Damon) opportunities to create characters they had not been given before. Gilliam helped Ledger put on a clown act for that film, an experience the actor later acknowledged as an influence for his performance as the Joker.
Director Christopher Nolan had met with Ledger over the years for different roles. While meeting for the part of Batman in Batman Begins, Ledger explained that he was not interested in working on such a film. The actor reflected on his problems with portraying superheroes, saying; "I would just feel stupid and silly. I couldn't pull it off and there are other people who can perfectly, but I just couldn't take myself seriously." However, later impressed with Batman Begins, Ledger sought the part of the Joker from Nolan. Impressed with Ledger's determination, Nolan cast him in the part. "Heath was just ready to do it, he was ready to do something that big." Casting director John Papsidera reflected on the casting choice, saying the filmmakers knew they needed somebody courageous to play the part. Heath Ledger was cast before there was a script.
Heath Ledger described the Joker as a "psychopathic, mass murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero empathy". Highlighting the opportunity for freshness, the actor aimed for a new and different interpretation of the character, separate from previous film incarnations.
Ledger and Christopher Nolan both explained seeing eye-to-eye on the Joker's appearance in the film, sharing common reference points for who the character was going to be. Based on philosophical ideas of anarchy and chaos, they looked at art by Francis Bacon for visual reference and they talked about Malcolm McDowell's performance as Alex in Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange, and who Alex is in Anthony Burgess' novel of the same name. Ledger was given Alan Moore's graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke for preparation for the role, as well as Grant Morrison's graphic novel Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, which the actor "really tried to read and put it down". In an interview with MTV, Ledger said he regarded the experience playing the Joker as the most fun he ever had, "and probably will ever have".
—Christopher Nolan on Ledger's performance.
Wearing the character's traditional color palette, the Joker is dressed in a thin tie and green waistcoat, topped by a purple overcoat, stylistic choices that hearken back to the era of New Romanticism. His shoes have an upward swoop at the toe, reminiscent of clown shoes. He carries no identification of any kind and offers no clear details about his true name or background; when he is arrested by the Gotham City police, they find only knives and lint in his pockets.
The Joker's hair is stringy, unkempt, and dyed green. His face is covered in a cracked and runny layer of white clown makeup, with his sunken eyes thickly rimmed in black. A sloppy red grin is painted on the Glasgow smile beneath the makeup, extending from the mouth to the cheeks. Film critic Peter Travers wrote about the Joker as having "the grungy hair and the yellowing teeth of a hound fresh out of hell".
The character's mannerisms carry a quality of unpredictability. His voice frequently shifts in pitch, so that he speaks his dialogue hitting higher notes, followed by an immediate lower voice capable of landing two octaves below. Nolan acknowledges this unpredictability to be part of the character's slinky physical movements as well, saying that Ledger's performance "[is] always a surprise". About the Joker's physical appearance, Geoff Boucher wrote for the Los Angeles Times that the character probes the facial scars with his tongue and "walks with shoulders bowed and his chin out and down, like a hyena".
Steve Alexander, Heath Ledger's agent, said the actor had a "pay-or-play" deal on The Dark Knight, "so he felt free to do whatever he wanted to do as the Joker, no matter how crazy." According to The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus cinematographer Nicola Pecorini, Ledger had talked with him about Johnny Depp's off-kilter portrayal of Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl in relation to The Dark Knight, aiming to make a performance that would be "so far out he'd be fired". As Ledger was cast early in pre-production, Nolan explained that the actor had "months and months" to prepare for the role.
– Scrawlings from Heath Ledger's Joker diary
During a span of six weeks, Ledger "locked" himself away in a hotel room, forming a character diary and experimenting with voices. "It's a combination of reading all the comic books I could that were relevant to the script and then just closing my eyes and meditating on it", he said about his process. The diary contains scrawling and cuttings inside. Christopher Hooton, writing for The Independent, said that the 'Joker journal' had several stills from Stanley Kubrick's film A Clockwork Orange, joker cards, photos of hyenas, unhinged clown makeup and the word "chaos" highlighted in green. Furthermore, it contains a list of things the Joker would find funny, such as AIDS, landmines, and geniuses suffering brain damage. It was revealed that Ledger had read Grant Morrison's writing of The Clown at Midnight (Batman #663) and based the list upon the Batman writer's prose.
Ledger highlighted the importance of finding an iconic voice and laugh for the character, relating the voice as "the key to the demented killer". Nolan explained Ledger's early and "peculiar" ambition for the voice of the character, saying that the actor had studied the way ventriloquist dummies talk. The filmmaker also acknowledged that the voice performance was based on the Alexander technique.
Ledger developed the Joker's voice and mannerisms slowly over time and during camera tests. "Don't act, just read it", Nolan had told Ledger for a test screening. In hair and makeup tests, Ledger would start exploring the movements of the character. While test recording without sound, he shared his take on the Joker's voice and physicality, and "in that way he sort of sneaked upon it".
The actor developed the physical appearance of the character, being "very involved" with the painting of his face, says prosthetic supervisor Conor O'Sullivan. O'Sullivan acknowledged how Ledger, Nolan, and makeup artist John Caglione all gravitated towards a Francis Bacon painting Nolan was referring to. Ledger also got to choose the Joker's weapon among different rubber knives, and he worked closely with costume designer Lindy Hemming on deciding the look for the character.
Nolan noted, "We gave a Francis Bacon spin to [his face]. This corruption, this decay in the texture of the look itself. It's grubby. You can almost imagine what he smells like." With costume designer Lindy Hemming picking inspiration for the "chaotic" look from such countercultural pop culture artists as Iggy Pop, Johnny Rotten, and Sid Vicious. She gave the image for the Joker of someone who is "very sweaty" and who "probably doesn't have a proper home". She tried to present a backstory for the character "that he really doesn't look after himself".
Application of Heath Ledger's makeup was done with the actor scrunching special facial expressions. Caglione called the application work "a dance". This technique created facial textures for white paint. As Ledger closed his eyes tight, Caglione put on the black makeup. Then, water was sprayed over the eyes and the actor would squeeze his eyes and shake his head to create imperfections in the makeup.
To get in character for filming, Ledger used his Joker diary which he carried with him on set. Between takes, Ledger would stay in costume and makeup just being himself. The actor would goof around, skateboarding while in his Joker costume on set, and smoking cigarettes. John Caglione described Ledger as helping others around to relax, never letting "the intense nature of the roles overwhelm him".
The first sequence shot was the film's IMAX opening, the "prologue". As the Joker wears a mask through the scene with minimal dialogue, Nolan set the prologue first in the schedule because he wanted to put off performance worries, allowing Ledger to enjoy that relief.
The interrogation scene between Batman and the Joker was the first scene shot with Ledger really showing the full performance altogether. The director and his leading actors all liked the idea of shooting the key scene early on. During rehearsals, the actors kept things loose and improvisational, saving for the actual shoot. Bale confirmed that Ledger did not perform the Joker's voice during rehearsals, waiting to get in character when the cameras rolled. Nolan later acknowledged the scene to be his favorite in the film, saying "I had never seen anybody sell a punch the way Heath was able to do with Christian."
Ledger was allowed to shoot and direct the threat videos the Joker sends out as warnings. Each take Ledger made was different from the last. Nolan was impressed enough with the first video shoot that he chose to not be present when Ledger shot the video with a kidnapped reporter (Anthony Michael Hall).
Heath Ledger always showed up early onset. The first thing he would do, according to Caglione, was to give bear hugs to cast and crew members around the set. "And no matter how banged-up or bruised Heath was after a long day, after we'd take off the last drop of makeup, he'd just hug everybody in the trailer before he left". At the end of shooting, on his Joker diary's final page, Ledger wrote "BYE BYE".
Effects of Heath Ledger's deathEdit
On 22 January 2008, after he had completed filming The Dark Knight, Ledger died, aged 28, of an accidental prescription drug overdose, leading to intense press attention and memorial tributes. "It was tremendously emotional, right when he passed, having to go back in and look at him every day [during editing]", Nolan recalled. "But the truth is, I feel very lucky to have something productive to do, to have a performance that he was very, very proud of, and that he had entrusted to me to finish." All of Ledger's scenes appear as he completed them in the filming; in editing the film, Nolan added no digital effects to alter Ledger's actual performance posthumously. Nolan has dedicated the film in part to Ledger's memory.
Ledger's death affected the marketing campaign for The Dark Knight and also both the production and marketing of Terry Gilliam's film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus; both Nolan and Gilliam celebrated and paid tribute to Ledger's work in these films.
Reception and legacyEdit
Announcement and early responseEdit
On 31 July 2006, The Dark Knight was officially announced by Warner Bros with the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker. The casting decision surprised some and was seen as a controversial move at the time, receiving notable negative reactions on the Internet. Nolan remembered the cynicism he endured surrounding Ledger's casting, saying that "the whole world turned around and said 'What are you doing?' You know, Heath Ledger, Joker, didn't make any sense to people at all." In his 2016 book The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture, NPR contributor Glen Weldon recalled that fans were outraged over the choice of Ledger, due to his past roles in films such as Brokeback Mountain (2005).
However, with the first trailer released in 2007, the film and its portrayal of the Joker received very positive response from audiences and entertainment industry professionals alike. Mexican filmmaker Guillermo del Toro gushed of his impression for Ledger's performance, finding it "really, really edgy and scary". American Batman writers Paul Dini and Jeph Loeb both chimed with the positive reactions. Loeb, who had been critical of Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker in 1989's Batman, expressed his excitement for Ledger's interpretation, saying the casting felt "just about right. I eagerly anticipate more!"
Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker received critical acclaim, winning numerous posthumous awards for his performance, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role, the Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor, a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role, and a Best Actor International Award at the 2008 Australian Film Institute Awards.
"I can only speak superlatives of Ledger, who is mad-crazy-brilliant as the Joker", wrote Peter Travers of Rolling Stone, stating that the film is deeper than its predecessor, with a "deft" script that refuses to scrutinize the Joker with popular psychology. Travers praised the cast, saying each brings his or her "'A' game" to the film. Travers said Ledger moves the Joker away from Jack Nicholson's interpretation into darker territory, and expressed his support for any potential campaign to have Ledger nominated for an Academy Award.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times stated that Heath Ledger's portrayal is a "key performance" and pondered whether he would become the first posthumous Academy Award-winning actor since Peter Finch in 1976.
Mark Dinning from Empire magazine called Ledger's performance "monumental" and wrote "The Dark Knight is Ledger's movie. It is a towering performance. ... A force of nature". Kevin Smith commented on Ledger, calling his "incredible" performance among "the most frightening, smart and well-played villains ever. Ever." Mark Lee, writing for The Daily Telegraph, commented that Ledger accomplished "a genuinely unsettling, brilliant nuanced portrait of evil". Tim Teeman commented for The Times that "Ledger is so terrifying and unpredictable that his very presence on screen makes you nervous." Total Film reviewed that Ledger is "burning brightly as he embodies an icon. ... This is the definitive Joker", calling the performance "a masterpiece". For The Hollywood Reporter, Kirk Honeycutt called Ledger's performance "a beauty". Entertainment Weekly put the film on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "Every great hero needs a great villain. And in 2008, Christian Bale's Batman found his in Heath Ledger's demented dervish, the Joker." Emanuel Levy wrote Ledger "throws himself completely" into the role. David Denby of The New Yorker, otherwise critical of the film, praised Ledger's "sinister and frightening" performance, which he says is the film's one element of success. Denby called Ledger "mesmerising" and said, "His performance is a heroic, unsettling final act: this young actor looked into the abyss." "It's just one of the most iconic movie performances of modern times", declared chief film critic of Variety Scott Foundas.
Film critics, co-stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and Michael Caine, and many of Ledger's colleagues in the film community joined Bale in calling for and predicting a nomination for the 2008 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in recognition of Ledger's performance in The Dark Knight.
- Khouri, Andy (26 July 2012). ""The Dark Knight Rises" Novelization Hints at Joker's Fate"". Comics Alliance.
- Collura, Scott (7 November 2006). "The Dark Knight: Heath Ledger Talks Joker". IGN. San Francisco, California: J2Global. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Neumaier, Joe (16 November 2006). "A look at how Heath Ledger viewed his career'". New York Daily News. New York City: Tronc. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Otto, Jeff (22 August 2005). "Interview: Matt Damon and Heath Ledger". IGN. San Francisco, California: J2Global. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of the Dark Knight Trilogy (Blu-Ray DVD)
|url=(help) (Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, NTSC). Heath Ledger. Burbank, California: Warner Bros. 2013. Event occurs at 00:51:20.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Calautti, Katie (3 December 2012). "Christopher Nolan Reflects on His Batman Trilogy, Heath Ledger & More". Comic Book Resources. Montreal, Quebec, Canada: Valnet, Inc. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Jolin, Dan (December 2009). "The Making of Heath Ledger's Joker". Empire. London, England: Bauer Media. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of the Dark Knight Trilogy (Blu-Ray DVD) (Closed-captioned, Color, DVD, NTSC). John Papsidera, Scott Foundas. Burbank, California: Warner Bros. 2013. Event occurs at 00:50:50-00:64:00.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Mattina, Eric (29 November 2012). "Christopher Nolan Spends the 'Knight' at Lincoln Center: 5 Things Learned About Batman and Beyond". Indiewire. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved 5 October 2015.
- Lyall, Sarah (4 November 2007). "Movies: In Stetson or Wig, He's Hard to Pin Down". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. Retrieved 28 January 2013.
- The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of the Dark Knight Trilogy, 2013. Warner Bros., Blu-Ray DVD. Time: 00:51:20. Director Christopher Nolan talks about his conversations with Heath Ledger about the Joker. English, USA.
- Lesnick, Silas (10 November 2007). "IESB Exclusive: Heath Ledger Talks the Joker!". The Movie Reporter. IESB.net. Archived from the original on 15 February 2009. Retrieved 12 November 2007.
- Horowitz, Josh (12 November 2007). "Heath Ledger Discusses Delving into Dylan For I'm Not There and Channeling Sid Vicious for the Dark Knight". MTV News. New York City: Viacom. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Murray, Rebecca (1 March 2017). "Writer/Director Christopher Nolan Talks About 'The Dark Knight'". thoughtco.com. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
- "Dressing the Joker". IGN. San Francisco, California: J2 Global. 25 February 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
- "The Dark Knight Set Visit: Lindy Hemming". moviehole.net. 8 July 2008. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Travers, Peter (18 July 2008). "The Dark Knight". Rolling Stone. New York City: Wenner Media LLC. Retrieved 25 September 2015.
- Schuchman, Matthew (4 December 2012). "Interview: Christopher Nolan". Verbicide Magazine. New Haven, Connecticut: Scissor Press. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
- Boucher, Geoff (6 July 2008). "Christopher Nolan's Knight Vision". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California: Tronc. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Biskind, Peter (August 2009). "The Last of Heath". Vanity Fair. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Hooton, Christopher (10 August 2015). "A look inside Heath Ledger's sinister Joker journal". The Independent. London, England: Independent Print Ltd. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Richards, Olly (28 November 2007). "World Exclusive: The Joker Speaks". Empire. London, England: Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- Vineyard, Jennifer (4 August 2008). "Arkham Asylum Scribe Grant Morrison Opens Up on Heath Ledger's Joker Diary". MTV.com. New York City: Viacom. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Bowles, Scott (17 July 2008). "Giving Voice to the Villain Presents Quite the Acting Challenge". USA Today. McLean, Virginia: Gannett Company. Retrieved 27 May 2018 – via abcbnews.go.com.
- Murray, Rebecca. "Writer/Director Christopher Nolan Talks About 'The Dark Knight' And Heath Ledger's Incredible Performance". thoughtco.com. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- James, David (14 January 2008). "Indy, Batman, Narnia All Return in 2008". Today.com. Retrieved 16 January 2008.
- "Dressing the Joker". IGN. 25 February 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2008.
- Couch, Aaron (5 August 2016). "Making the Joker: Heath Ledger and Jared Leto's Makeup Artists on the Job of a Lifetime". The Hollywood Reporter. Los Angeles, California: Eldridge Industries. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
- Van Luling, Todd (4 April 2015). "5 Stories You've Never Heard Before About Heath Ledger As The Joker". Huffington Post. New York City: Huffington Post Media Group. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Boucher, Geoff (28 October 2008). "Christopher Nolan revisits his favorite scene in Dark Knight". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California: Tronc. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- "Merrick" (pseudonym) (5 December 2008). "Nolan Talks DARK KNIGHT Blu-Ray, a 100,000 Person Screening of the Film (Featuring Live Q & A w/ Nolan), TDK Sequel, and More!!". Ain't It Cool News. Archived from the original on 21 March 2011. Retrieved 6 December 2008.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). .
- Oscar Nominated Make-Up Artist. Movie Geeks Unite. 5 February 2009. Event occurs at 53:00. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Hall, Ellie (31 May 2013). "Heath Ledger's Creepy Joker Diary Revealed". Buzzfeed. New York City: Buzzfeed Entertainment Group. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Carroll, Larry (18 March 2008). "'Dark Knight' Stars, Director Want Film To 'Celebrate' Heath Ledger's Work". MTV. New York City: Viacom. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
- Brown, Scott (24 June 2008). "Dark Knight Director Shuns Digital Effects for the Real Thing". Wired. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved 24 June 2008.
- "Dark Knight Dedicated to Ledger". London, England: BBC News. 27 June 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2008.
- Jolin, Dan (July 2008). "The Dark Knight". Empire. 228. London, England: Bauer Media Group. pp. 92–100.
- Halbfinger, David M. (9 March 2008). "Batman's Burden: A Director Confronts Darkness and Death". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company. Retrieved 10 March 2008.
- Kilpatrick, Christine (24 January 2008). "Production Suspended on Heath Ledger's Latest Movie". People. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 24 January 2008.
- "Ledger's Death Puts Last Films in a Bind". CNN. Atlanta, Georgia: Turner Broadcasting Systems. 24 January 2008. Retrieved 30 January 2008.
- "Batman sequel title announced". IGN. San Francisco, California: J2Global. 31 July 2006. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Jolin, Dan (December 2009). "The Making of the Joker". Empire. London, England: Bauer Media Group. Archived from the original on 26 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Finamore, Brian (15 August 2014). "Robin Williams' Batman Near Misses! The Riddler? The Joker? Hugo Stange?". moviepilot.com. Archived from the original on 30 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Beall, Mark (11 October 2006). "Nolan Defends Heath Ledger Casting". moviefone.com. Archived from the original on 30 September 2015. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Acuna, Kirsten (23 August 2013). "Everyone Was Also Furious with the Initial Casting of Heath Ledger As The Joker". Business Insider. New York City: Axel Springer SE. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
- Christopher Nolan (director) (2013). The Fire Rises: The Creation and Impact of the Dark Knight Trilogy (Blu-Ray DVD)
|url=(help). Los Angeles, California: Warner Bros.
- Weldon, Glen (2016). The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture. New York City: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4767-5669-1.
- Billington, Alex (21 December 2007). "Del Toro's, Dini's and Loeb's Reaction to Heath Ledger's Joker". firstshowing.net. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
- Corliss, Richard (9 July 2008). "Batman Is Back". Time. New York City: Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Neumaier, Joe (23 February 2009). "Slumdog Millionaire wins Oscar for Best Picture; the late Heath Ledger is Best Supporting Actor". New York Daily News. New York City: Tronc. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Elseworth, Catherine (12 January 2009). "Golden Globes 2009: Heath Ledger wins best supporting actor for The Dark Knight". Daily Telegraph. Sydney, Australia: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 28 September 2009.
- "Winslet wins best actress Bafta". BBC News. 8 February 2009. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Kilday, Gregg (24 June 2009). "Dark Knight tops Saturn Awards". London, England. Reuters. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Brown, Lane (26 January 2009). "PGA and SAG Bow to Peer Pressure, Name Slumdog Millionaire Best Picture". Vulture. New York City: New York Media. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- "Heath Ledger honoured by Australian film industry". Telegraph. Sydney, Australia: Telegraph Media Group. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Travers, Peter (18 July 2008). "Dark Knight". Rolling Stone. New York City: Wenner Media LLC. Archived from the original on 9 July 2008. Retrieved 9 July 2008. (Postdated)
- Ebert, Roger (16 July 2008). "The Dark Knight". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago, Illinois: Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved 19 July 2008 – via rogerebert.com.
- Dinning, Mark (25 July 2008). "The Dark Knight". Empire. London, England: Bauer Media Group. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Smith, Kevin (6 July 2008). "Kevin's Review: The Dark Knight". firstshowing.net. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
- Davies, Rebecca (16 July 2008). "The critics' verdict on Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight". The Telegraph. Sydney, Australia: Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 27 May 2018.
- Geier, Thom; Jensen, Jeff; Jordan, Tina; Lyons, Margaret; Markovitz, Adam; Nashawaty, Chris; Pastorek, Whitney; Rice, Lynette; Rottenberg, Josh; Schwartz, Missy; Slezak, Michael; Snierson, Dan; Stack, Tim; Stroup, Kate; Tucker, Ken; Vary, Adam B.; Vozick-Levinson, Simon; Ward, Kate (11 December 2009). "The 100 Greatest Movies, TV Shows, Albums, Books, Characters, Scenes, Episodes, Songs, Dresses, Music Videos, and Trends that Entertained Us Over the Past 10 Years". Entertainment Weekly. New York City: Meredith Corporation. pp. 74–84.
- Levy, Emanuel (n.d.). "Movie Review: Dark Knight, The: A". emanuellevy.com. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2008.
- Denby, David (21 July 2008). "Past Shock". The New Yorker. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved 16 July 2008. (Postdated)
- Hämmerling Smith, Nina (28 July 2008). "Movie News: Ledger's Knight Costars Call for Posthumous Oscar". TV Guide. Portland, Oregon: CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on 12 December 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2008.