Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

The Dark Knight (2008)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

The Dark Knight (2008)

In director Christopher Nolan's violence and action-packed superhero, comic-book film - it was a sequel following Batman Begins (2005), and became the middle film in the Dark Knight Trilogy, followed by The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

The superhero film followed the efforts of vigilante Batman (Christian Bale) (Bruce Wayne in disguise), Police Lt. James Gordon (Gary Oldman), and Gotham's DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), to fight organized crime in the city, by seizing mob-run banks and flushing out its dirty money with marked bills. Their main opponents were The Joker (Heath Ledger), mob bosses, and a scary drug-dealing character known as the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy):

  • in the exciting opening sequence - a mob-owned, Gotham City bank robbery in a high-rise office building, the leader of the clown-faced thieving criminals - the Joker (Oscar-winning Heath Ledger), masterminded the crime so that all of his fellow robbers would kill each other - leaving him with all the shares; the Joker revealed himself with a painted clown face (with a grinning red scar-smile) when he removed his mask in front of the bank manager (William Fichtner) on the floor after killing off all of his accomplices: ("What do you believe in? Huh, what do you believe in? I believe whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you... stranger")
  • while Wayne Manor was being rebuilt, Bruce Wayne lived in a city penthouse and centered his operations in an underground Batbunker; with his butler Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine), the two discussed the city's new DA Harvey Dent: "I need to know if he can be trusted"; Dent was dating Bruce's childhood friend and assistant DA Rachel Dawes (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and in court prosecuting the new head of the Falcone crime family, Salvatore Maroni (Eric Roberts); convinced that Dent was sincere about fighting crime, Bruce decided to host a fundraiser for him in the future
  • meanwhile, the Joker interrupted an underground kitchen meeting of underworld mob bosses, including Salvatore Maroni, The Chechan (Ritchie Coster), and Gambol (Michael Jai White), an African-American gang leader; they were coordinating efforts to combat increased police opposition, and prosecution of US banks with mobster money; the Joker demonstrated his lethal pencil trick when he slammed the head (of one of Gambol's henchmen) into the upright writing utensil: ("How about a magic trick? I'm gonna make this pencil disappear. Ta-daaaa! It's gone!")
  • the Joker then negotiated with the mob bosses, who had been emasculated by Batman, that he would offer to "Kill the Batman" for them, in exchange for half of the bank robbery money: ("Let's wind the clocks back a year. These cops and lawyers wouldn't dare cross any of you. I mean, what happened? Did your balls drop off? Hmm? You see a guy like me....A guy like me. Look, listen. I know why you choose to have your little group therapy sessions in broad daylight. I know why you're afraid to go out at night. The Batman. You see, Batman has shown Gotham your true colors, unfortunately...It's simple. We, uh, kill the Batman"
  • incensed by the clown, Gambol challenged him with a bounty: "Five hundred grand for this clown dead"; shortly later in a pool hall, the Joker explained to Gambol the origin of his facial scars from his abusive father (and his perpetual smile) before killing Gambol and taking over his operation
  • Chinese accountant Lau (Ng Chin Han) of Lau Security Investments (LSI) had already moved all of his mob deposits to his secure investment firm in Hong Kong, far away from Dent's jurisdiction and the crackdown by Lt. Gordon; with help from Wayne Enterprises CEO and inventor Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman), Batman traveled to Hong Kong, and during an exciting action sequence, he captured Lau and extradited him back to Gotham City for prosecution; during his testimony in court, Lau identified all of his mob clients who had pooled their money, resulting in the arrests of 500 mobsters who were charged with multiple counts of extortion, racketeering, fraud, conspiracy murder, and obstruction of justice
  • to retaliate against the crackdown, the mobsters hired the "clown" Joker to eliminate Lau, the judge and the commissioner, and to reveal Batman's identity; during Bruce Wayne's fundraiser in his penthouse, the Joker first intimidated and threatened Wayne's childhood friend Rachel Dawes, and threatened her with a knife - again describing how he had received his facial scars (with a different version): ("Well, hello beautiful! You must be Harvey's squeeze! And you are beautiful. Well, you look nervous. Is it the scars? You want to know how I got 'em?"); he 'let her go' from the side of the skyscraper, forcing Batman to swoop down and rescue her; as a result, the Joker's targeting of Harvey Dent, also at the fundraiser, was postponed
  • during the Joker's crime spree, the public demanded that Batman reveal himself; in a press conference, Dent advocated that Batman's identity must be kept secret: "Should we give in to this terrorist's demands?", but then he sacrificially admitted: "I am the Batman" before he was arrested - to serve as bait to draw the Joker out
  • in an exciting action sequence, the police convoy escorting Dent to the County Jail in a SWAT van was ambushed by the Joker, driving a 16-wheeler; the frenetic chase scene culminated with a face-off battle between the Joker in the 16-wheeler and Batman's Batpod - with the spectacular sight of the Joker's 16-wheeler somersaulting or flipping end over end (the Bat-pod did its own wall flip); as the Joker crawled out of the wreckage, Lt. Gordon put a gun to the Joker's head and arrested him: ("We gotcha, ya son-of-a-bitch!"); as a reward, the Mayor appointed Gordon as the new Police Commissioner
  • later that night, during a police escort of Dent and Dawes, the two disappeared; in a police interrogation room, Batman confronted the Joker, who laughingly told Batman that he had no intention of killing him: ("I don't want to kill you. What would I do without you?...You complete me"); Batman learned that the two hostages, Dent and Dawes, were held in separate warehouses and tied to explosives set to explode in 5 minutes - and only one could be saved: ("Choose between one life or the other. Your friend the district attorney, or his blushing bride-to-be"); Batman chose to rescue Rachel, but was fooled (the Joker had lied and reversed locations), and found himself with DA Dent
Batman Confronting the Joker in an Interrogation Room
  • Dent had struggled to escape, and his face was half-covered with diesel fuel; the exploding bomb caused the left side of his face to be hideously burned (and he soon adopted the name Harvey "Two Face"); however, Rachel perished from the detonated bomb when Lt. Gordon arrived too late to save her
  • after escaping custody, during the Joker's continuing crime spree, he burned Lau on the top of his burning money pyre, and also killed the mobster Chechen
  • to prevent Wayne Enterprises accountant Coleman Reese (Joshua Harto) from exposing Batman's identity, as part of the Joker's evil scheming, he threatened to blow up the Gotham General Hospital where Dent was being treated; Lt. Gordon struggled to keep Reese alive, and evacuated the city's hospitals
  • meanwhile, the Joker entered the Gotham General hospital disguised as a nurse (with a nametag reading Matilda, the name of Ledger's real-life daughter), to visit the disillusioned Dent in his room; the Joker was able to convince Dent to seek revenge against various "schemers" in his life, including those responsible for Rachel's death; Dent decided the fates of potential victims by flipping his two-headed coin; when it came up heads, he spared shooting the Joker in the head; as the Joker departed from the hospital, he remotely detonated bombs in the hospital and drove off with a school bus full of evacuated hospital patients
  • after recovering and being released, crazed DA Dent (aka Two-Face, with a disfigured face) vengefully sought out all of his enemies, including those he felt responsible for Rachel's death; he was now corrupted and vengeful (and lured to the dark side by the Joker), and often used a coin toss to terrorize selected victims about their fate
  • another of the Joker's ploys was to threaten Gotham City, causing a massive evacuation; due to various bomb threats aimed at bridges and tunnels, many fearful evacuees opted to take a ferry; then, the Joker taunted Batman about again choosing which evacuation ferry to save, since both had remote-controlled explosives - The Liberty packed with released convicts in orange uniforms ("Harvey Dent's most-wanted scumbag collection"), or The Spirit, with "sweet and innocent" civilians; Batman viciously fought against the Joker past the midnight deadline, with neither ferry blowing up the other
  • the Joker was thrown off and held suspended on the side of the building by Batman - but kept alive; the Joker stated his feelings about the battle for Gotham's soul: ("You just couldn't let me go, could you?...You truly are incorruptible, aren't you? Huh? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won't kill you because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever..."); Batman left the Joker hanging there and went to locate Dent
  • Lt. Gordon (and shortly later Batman) found the crazed Dent in the 52nd Street warehouse, holding the lieutenant's family members hostage to avenge Rachel, and tossing a coin to determine guilt or innocence; Batman came to the rescue of Gordon's son by hurling himself at Dent and tackling him off the side of the building, where he fell to his death
  • Police Lt. James Gordon and Batman both realized how Batman had to purposely take the blame and that Dent should be lauded as a hero, because the citizenry of Gotham would lose hope if they knew how Dent's heroic goodness had been brought down by the Joker: ("They must never know what he did...the Joker cannot win"); Batman explained how he must sacrifice himself: ("Gotham needs its true hero....You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. I can do those things because I'm not a hero, not like Dent. I killed those people. That's what I can be....I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be")
  • in the film's epilogue, Lt. James Gordon delivered a eulogy praising Harvey Dent, concealing the truth and calling him a hero: ("Nothing less than a knight, shining"). As Lt. Gordon smashed the Bat-Signal with an axe, Batman escaped and commented about how he was a hunted fugitive: "You'll hunt me. You'll condemn me. Set the dogs on me. Because that's what needs to happen. Because sometimes the truth isn't good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded"
Lt. Gordon's Praising Eulogy for Harvey Dent
Batman's Concluding Flight - Regarded by Lt. Gordon as "A Dark Knight"
  • Lt. Gordon delivered a final voice-over regarding Batman's fate, when he watched (with his son) as Batman fled and disappeared into the darkness on his Bat-pod, to escape from a massive manhunt-police sweep with dogs: ("Because we have to chase him"); although Batman "didn't do anything wrong," he would rise another day: ("Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him because he can take it. Because he's not our hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight")

The Joker Asking the Bank Manager During the Opening Bank Robbery: "What do you believe in?"

The Joker: "I'm gonna make this pencil disappear"
The Joker with Mob Bosses Before Performing His Pencil Magic Trick

The Joker: "It's, it's gone"

In a Pool Hall, The Joker With Gambol (Michael Jai White)

The Joker's Intimidation of Rachel During a Fundraiser at Bruce Wayne's Penthouse

Frenetic Chase Scene - Semi-Trailer Somersaulting on a NYC Street

The Joker (Dressed as a Nurse) after Bombing Hospital Where Dent Was a Patient

The Joker Hanging Upside-Down and Threatened by Batman

Harvey Dent (Two-Face) and His Coin Toss


Greatest Scenes: Intro | What Makes a Great Scene? | Scenes: Quiz
Scenes: Film Titles A - H | Scenes: Film Titles I - R | Scenes: Film Titles S - Z