The Dark Knight
Directed by
Christopher Nolan
Produced by
Christopher Nolan
Charles Roven
Emma Thomas
Written by
Christopher Nolan
David S. Goyer
Jonathan Nolan
Bob Kane, Bill Finger
Warner Bros.
Legendary Pictures
DC Comics
Syncopy Film
Release Date
July 18th, 2008
Proceded by
Followed by

The Dark Knight is the 2008 sequel to the 2005 release, Batman Begins, which rebooted the Batman franchise after an eight-year hiatus. Christopher Nolan, director of Batman Begins, continues as the director of the sequel, which stars Christian Bale again as Batman and the late Heath Ledger as the Joker. The Dark Knight was released July 18, 2008 in the United States.


Taking place roughly 9 months after the first film, The film begins with the disguised Joker and various clown masked henchmen robbing a mob-owned bank, and systematically double crossing each other. Eventually the only survivor is the disguised Joker, who reveals himself to the bank manager and then takes the money for himself and drives away in a school bus (As well as shoving and detonating a smoke grenade into the bank manager's mouth). That night, multiple Batman impersonators, armed with guns, interrupt a drug deal/meeting between the Chechen and his gangsters and the Scarecrow. The real Batman shows up and manages to subdue everyone. However, he is hit multiple times and is brutally bitten in weak spots of his armor by Rottweiler dogs. Sustaining such injuries suffered during the confrontation force him to make the decision of acquiring a new, more versatile suit of armor.

With the rise of Gotham's criminal underworld, D.A. Harvey Dent begins to place more and more criminals behind bars, even defending himself successfully against an assassination attempt from mob boss Maroni during the crime lord's trial. Batman and Lieutenant James Gordon contemplate bringing Dent in on their plan to eradicate the mob, and the possibility that Dent will become the hero to the people that Batman cannot be. Harvey is nicknamed the ‘White Knight of Gotham’ and the Police have their own nickname for him (revealed later in the story). At the same time, Bruce Wayne and Harvey are both competing for the love of Rachel Dawes; however, Dawes and Dent are romantically involved in a relationship.

The Joker threatens Rachel Dawes.The mob bosses see the combined effort of Harvey Dent, Batman and Gordon as a threat and decide to meet to discuss how to handle it. Their Chinese accountant, Lau, informs that he has secretly relocated the mob's money to prevent the police and the district attorney from seizing it in an imminent bank raid. The Joker arrives and proposes to kill Batman for half their money, and also tries to convince them that Lau will give them all up to the police if he is caught. Joker insults one of the mob leaders named Gambol, who offers $500,000 for the Joker dead and $1,000,000 alive so he can "teach him some manners." The mob bosses don't take Joker’s offer, who leaves his ‘card’ behind for them to contact him.

Realizing the threat and the need of taking down Lau and finding the mob bosses money, Wayne is given highly more adjustable and maneuverable equipment for his suit by Lucius Fox. Also included in Batman’s new armor is a new designed helmet, allowing Wayne to turn his head and arm gauntlets that are able to project the defense spikes. Meanwhile at Gambol's headquarters, three men arrive telling they killed the Joker, laying a corpse wrapped in garbage bags on the pool table. The ruse works and the Joker emerges alive from the bags, inserting a knife in Gambol's mouth and kills him. Taking the suit with him, Fox then travels with Mr. Wayne to Hong Kong and gives Wayne a sonar-device that can lock onto cell phones and emit a visual image of the phone’s surroundings. That night Batman, donning his new suit, manages to infiltrate Lau’s office, take out the protection and escape with Lau.

After Batman successfully returns to Gotham he delivers Lau to the Gotham City police. Lau makes a deal with the D.A. and Rachel Dawes to give the name of all of his clients in return for being placed on county watch. The mob bosses are all placed under arrest. However, a few mobsters manage to evade the prison system and agree to pay the Joker half of their money in return for helping them. The Joker broadcasts a message to all of Gotham stating that if the Batman does not turn himself in to the police, then he will kill innocent people every day. The Joker gives various clues as to who he plans to kill next and murders Commissioner Loeb, Judge Surillo and Harvey Dent. He succeeds in killing Loeb (via acid) and Surillo (via a car bomb) and then he goes after Dent.

At a fund raising party thrown for Dent by Wayne, Harvey asks Rachel, in a private area, if she will marry him. Before she can give a full answer Harvey is locked in a secure room by Bruce just as the Joker interrupts the party, demanding to know where Harvey Dent is. When the Joker cannot find Dent he goes to Rachel and assumes she is Dent's romantic interest (right after threatening a guest that, according to him, resembles his hated father), Batman eventually arrives and takes on the Joker and his henchmen. The confrontation eventually ends with the Joker escaping by dropping Rachel out the building while Batman saves her life.

The next day, at a public service memorial for the late Commissioner, the Joker, disguised as an police honor guardsman (The Joker and his henchmen stripped the actual Ceremonial arms of their uniforms, as well as tied them up, blindfolded and gagged them in Melvin White's apartment prior to the funeral), shoots at the mayor of the city. At the last moment Jim Gordon jumps in front of and is shot in the chest, saving the mayor. Dent manages to capture and interrogate a thug working for the Joker whose name is Thomas Schiff. Meanwhile Sal Maroni was captured in a club and interrogated by Batman for the Joker's location. As Batman held him off the side of a building on a fire escape landing, Maroni arrogantly pointed out the fall would be non-fatal. Batman simply replied "I'm counting on it" and dropped him, injuring Maroni's legs. Maroni claims not to know the Joker's location, and that no one will cross him for Batman (because the Joker has no rules where as Batman will not kill), he tells Batman that the only way he'll find the Joker is if he gives in to his demands and lets him come find him.

Meanwhile Dent, after seeing the thug's name tag which read "OFFICER RACHEL DAWES", calls Rachel and tells her that the Joker has named her "next", and to go to anyone she can trust, which turns out to be Bruce. However, his interrogation is interrupted by Batman. Realizing what is happening, Wayne, disguised as Batman, states to Dent that he needs to reveal who he truly is in order to save Gotham and stop the killings. At a press conference the next day, held by Dent, Wayne is about to step forth but before he can do so, Dent publicly claims to be "the Batman" to draw the Joker out of hiding. Rachel is upset with Bruce not interfering and admitting that Harvey is not Batman and that he is. She leaves Alfred a note to give to Bruce ‘when the time is right’.

Arrested and in route to re-location, Harvey’s transport is ambushed by a garbage truck and a semi tractor driven by the Joker and his henchmen and thugs. But Batman arrives in the Batmobile, crashing the trash truck and driving to the rescue. The Joker attempts to kill Dent during transport, and using an RPG, hits the approaching Batmobile causing it to crash with irrepairable damage. Here, Batman takes on his ‘secondary’ transportation, the Batpod which bursts out the front of the self-destructing Batmobile. Batman successfully causes the Joker's truck to stop by flipping it over with cables. But as the Joker stands in the middle of the road yelling "HIT ME" at the fast approaching Batpod, Batman is forced to crash in order to avoid killing the Joker (honoring his no kill policy) and lays wounded on the ground. Suddenly, Gordon, who faked his death and had been driving Dent's transportation van, sneaks up behind the Joker and arrests him.

The Joker along with other criminals in the MCU.Harvey Dent is released and applauded by the press for his bravery before driven home by Detective Wuertz. Gordon is promoted to commissioner by Mayor Garcia for his efforts. With the Joker in custody, everything seems to be safe. Unfortunately, a bit later, it is revealed that Harvey Dent never made it home. When questioned as to what he did to him, the Joker hints that Detective Wuertz was the one responsible for Dent's predicament (which later turns out to be true.); then Gordon, desperate to save Dent, leaves the Joker in Batman's hands. Batman then interrogates the Joker in a brutal fashion until the Joker intentionally reveals that Rachel and Dent have been taken to opposite sides of the city, far-enough apart that Batman does not have time to save both of them. Batman speeds off to save Rachel, while Gordon and the police head after Dent.

Unknown to them, the Joker has switched the locations, sending Batman after Dent and Gordon after Rachel. Realizing the situation, Rachel and Harvey, tied to chairs, are able to communicate through a phone. The two reassure each other that everything will be okay as Dent attempts to escape he falls getting his left side immersed in oil. The Joker provokes a police-officer to attack him and manages to hold him as a hostage and walk out of the room and into the main lobby. Then, with the help of a pre-planted phone bomb, the Joker escapes with Lau in tow. Rachel tells Harvey that she will marry him just as Batman arrives at the location that was supposed to be Rachel’s location and rescues Dent. Then both buildings explode; the left side of Dent's face is burned during the explosion.

Gordon does not reach Rachel in time; she dies in the explosion. Alfred reads the letter Rachel left which says that she was going to marry Harvey and couldn't wait anymore for Bruce. He was going to give it to Bruce but seeing him in grief he decides not to. Bruce feels guilty for the death of Rachel and for what has happened to Dent stating he is "Gotham's true hero" and Alfred tells him that Gotham will have to make do with Batman; Bruce also states he knew Rachel would have waited for him to stop being Batman and they would have been together. In Gotham general hospital, Dent is driven to madness over the loss of Rachel, which he blames on Batman, Gordon and the Joker. When Gordon asks if he knew who took him captive he asks him why would he listen to him now and then demands the nickname the cops gave him which Gordon reveals to be Harvey "Two face", Harvey then replies "Why should I hide who I am?".

The Joker publicly states that he no longer cares about killing the Batman because he is ‘too much fun’ and that if the Wayne employee, Mr. Reese, who supposedly knows who Batman really is, is not killed to prevent the secret from slipping, then he will blow up a hospital. All hospitals begin immediate evacuation. At Gotham General, Joker arrives disguised as a Nurse to corrupt Harvey Dent. Harvey, unable to move due to bed restraints, is convinced by the Joker to exact revenge on the cops, mobsters, Gordon and Batman for killing his love (Also, Harvey decides the Joker's fate with his half scarred double head coin. While not shown in the movie, it's implied that Joker got the clean side of the coin). Harvey leaves and the Joker blows up the hospital while kidnapping a bus of hospital patients.

The Joker corrupts Harvey Dent.While "Harvey Two-Face" confronts the corrupt cops and the mobsters one by one, flipping his coin to decide their fates, the Joker burns Lau at the top of the clown's share of mob money and double-crosses the mob telling them "this city deserves a better class of criminal and I'm gonna give it to to them". The Joker then declares on T.V that he will rule the streets and that anyone left in Gotham at nightfall will be subject to his rule. Eventually the city attempts to leave, although, all road ways and bridges have been cut off due to the Joker's threat. However, two ferries remain and each one becomes full. One carries criminals that worked for the mob and the other, regular citizens.

At Wayne Enterprises, Fox discovers that Batman has expanded on the sonar technology and developed an advanced surveillance system that can listen in and track the movement of anyone from the thousands of cell phones in the city; Fox agrees to help by monitoring the sonar, but says he will resign if the machine is not destroyed after the Joker is gone since this essentially contradicts what Wayne believes in.

The Joker plants explosives on the two ferries of evacuees and gives the passengers on board the chance to destroy the opposing vessel, in order to save their own lives but warns them that unless a decision is made, he will blow up both ferries at midnight. With his ‘sonar-vision’, Batman tracks the Joker to an uncompleted skyscraper. The building is called the Prewitt building. Elsewhere Dent forces Detective Ramirez into getting Gordon's Family out of their home and lead them to him, Dent phones and tells Gordon of the situation. When Gordon asks where his family is Dent replies "Where my family died".

At the Joker's hideout the SWAT team move in to take out the Joker's henchmen and save the hostages, but the Joker has ironically disguised his henchmen as the hostages and the hostages as the henchmen (which Batman discovers). While Batman takes down the real criminals, he is forced to temporarily take down the SWAT team from harming the real hostages. Batman succeeds and moves to face the Joker.

The Joker and Batman have one final confrontation. The Joker sends Rottweiler dogs at Batman, who manages to get rid of them. However, Batman is repeatedly hit by the Joker, who uses a steel pipe. The Joker manages to subdue Batman under a column and forces him to watch as midnight approaches but nothing happens as neither the citizens or the convicts are willing to kill the other. The Joker looks on in confusion as Batman says him "What were you trying to prove, that deep down, everyone’s as ugly as you? You’re alone." The Joker is unphased by this remark and pulls out a dentonator preparing to blow up both ships. However, he is caught off guard when Batman projects the steel spikes from his gauntlet at the Joker causing him to release his grip on Batman and the detonator. Batman then throws the cackling man off the building but, to the Joker's annoyance, Batman refuses to kill him, instead grabbing him with his grapple gun and leaves him hanging upside down. With this act, the Joker acknowledges that Batman really is incorruptible but that Dent is no longer the "White Knight"; he's unleashed the scarred man on the city. Batman leaves to find Harvey while the swat team moves in and arrests the Joker.

As Gordon arrives at the place where Rachel died Two Face beats down Gordon and Dent is angry to see cops outside the building, Gordon tells him that they only know their is a situation and know nothing about what is happening. Dent then decides to kill Gordon's son and stands at the edge of the building. Batman finds Dent, along with Gordon's family, at the building where Rachel died. He tells Dent not to hurt the boy so Dent judges those people he believes are responsible for Rachel's death who were Batman, Gordon and Dent himself. Two-Face proceeds to judge Batman, himself, and Gordon's son through the chance of a coin flip, which he sees as the only fairness left in the world and seeing it as that everyone will have a 50/50 chance just like Rachel. Two-Face flips for (The Bad side) and Batman shoots Batman in the stomach. He flips the coin again to decide his own fate (The Good side), but before he can determine the boy's fate, Batman tackles him (survived Dent's shot due to his body armor) over the side of the building, saving Gordon's son.

As Dent lies dead from a broken neck, Batman and Gordon decide that the Joker would win if anyone found out about Dent's corruption and madness because people would lose hope. Batman convinces Gordon to tell Gotham that himself not Dent committed the murders in order to preserve Dent's image as Gotham’s ‘White Knight’ and to give the city hope, Gordon is reluctant to do so, but Batman explains he's what ever Gotham needs him to be while future events show: Gordon destroys the Bat-Signal in-front of the police and the press, a manhunt is issued for Batman; Alfred burns the note Rachel left knowing that Bruce will be heartbroken if he reads it; while Lucius (unknowingly but pleased) destroys the 'sonar vision' using a self-destruct code as told by Batman: and Gotham has a funeral for the "White Knight". Batman takes off into the night but Gordon’s son does not understand the reasoning for why Batman must be hunted. But Gordon explains "because he can take it. He's a watchful protector; a silent guardian; a Dark Knight."