Batman: The Movie (1966)

batman the movie poster 1966 adam west
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Over the top nature of the film, fun cast

Story works for the movie but it really is pretty incidental

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Batman:  The Movie

Studio:   William Dozier Productions

Genre(s):   Comic Book/Comedy/Action/Adventure

Release Date(s):   July 30, 1966

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

batman the movie shark attack adam west

Sometimes you get the shark and sometimes the shark gets you

Batman (Adam West) and Robin (Burt Ward) are in big trouble when four of their greatest villains team-up in an attempt to beat them while stealing the yacht of Commodore Schmidlapp (Reginald Denny).  The Penguin (Burgess Meredith), the Joker (Cesar Romero), the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), and Catwoman (Lee Meriwether) have bigger plans for the Caped Crusader and the Boy Wonder however and a new weapon called the dehydrator could mean their doom!

Directed by Leslie H. Martinson, Batman:  The Movie is the first feature length film of the DC Comics character (previous big screen outings were serialized stories).  The film spun off the popular TV series and was released between the first and second seasons.

The ’66 Batman was just pure fun (fun does not always mean good…nor does it have to).  The TV series was tongue-in-cheek and goofy and didn’t take itself seriously at all…this turned it into a smash hit.  With a hit on their hands and a relatively cheap budget, Batman:  The Movie was a logical step despite the idea of turning a TV show into a movie while it was still airing.

batman the movie joker shocks penguin riddler frank gorshin burgess meredith cesar romero

Add another villain? Shocking!

The movie continues the joy of the TV series.  Though there are a few deaths (people did die on the show as well on rare occasions), the movie is rather lighthearted.  You get an over-the-top plot which smartly works in goofy moments like Batman battling a shark and trying to find a safe place for a cartoonish bomb to explode.  The movie has a subplot between Bruce Wayne and Ms. Kitka (the Catwoman in disguise), and it does continue to make you question his title of “World’s Greatest Detective”.  It is not gripping but you do not really expect it to be.

Batman owes a lot to its actors.  They hammed it up completely and with such gusto.  Adam West wanted more Bruce Wayne time as part of the script (so he got the Kitka storyline) and    barely appeared as Dick Grayson and is almost always Robin.  Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, and Cesar Romero all eat up the scenes as the Penguin, the Riddler, and the Joker, but Julie Newmar was replaced by Lee Meriwether in the show as Catwoman (Newmar hadn’t heard the plans to make a film and had an engagement already).

batman the movie bomb scene nuns adam west

Batman in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

The Batman series had a real look and style and it carries on to the movie.  It is loaded with bright colors and cameras shooting scenes at Dutch angles.  It is garish but it works for the film and the style of the film…could you imagine dropping Christian Bale in this script?

Batman was at a different point when the Batman series was released.  Comics were just having a resurgence with Marvel leading the way, and DC struggling a little to find its place.  Batman:  The Movie represents the complete opposite of the current “Dark Knight”, and it is a nice silly break…but it is obvious from attempts to emulate the movie in films like Batman and Robin, 1966 Batman was a strange, odd twist that never can really be recreated.

Related Links:

Batman—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Batman—Season 3 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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