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DC's best Batman actors, ranked

Robert Pattinson, Michael Keaton, Adam West, Kevin Conroy, and more - Who is the best actor to ever play the infamous Dark Knight, DC's Batman?

Christian Bale as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

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DC's Batman has enjoyed a long string of success on both the big and small screen going all the way back to 1943, which has resulted in some incredible actors portraying the Dark Knight over the years. More than 25 actors have lent their faces – or voices – to the Dark Knight, so sorting through all of them is a tall order.

This list of every Batman actor will only consist of those who have played Batman in live-action or animation – we won’t be including video games simply to try to keep the list manageable. We’re also going to be ranking their performance as Batman rather than their films or shows as a whole. That is a whole other list to tackle.

Every Batman actor from TV and film, ranked

27. Lewis G. Wilson

Lewis G. Wilson as Batman
Image credit: Columbia Pictures

You could call Lewis G. Wilson the OG Batman actor since he did it first, but he certainly wasn’t the best. Wilson played the Caped Crusader in a 1943 serial that was best left to the history books. Contemporary critics said that he was “thick about the middle” and a bit young to play the part.

26. David Mazouz

David Mazouz as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros. Television

Gotham is one of those shows that took a long time to find its footing and, even then, was average at best. We would have left David Mazouz off this list entirely if we could. He spends most of the series playing a young Bruce Wayne. And he wasn’t bad as Bruce. However, they throw an ill-fitting, awkward cape and cowl on him in the final episode of the show. It is absolutely terrible and if we have to remember it then so do you.

25. Robert Lowery

Robert Lowery as Batman
Image credit: Columbia Pictures

The follow-up to Lewis’ somewhat disastrous take on Batman was 1949’s Batman and Robin serial. Lowery is undeniably better as Batman. He is older and has a more classically heroic physique. Notably, Lowery was the first person to portray Batman on-screen with Superman when he appeared in an episode of The Adventures of Superman with George Reeves.

24. Nat Wolff

Nat Wolff as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

The first voice actor on this list is Nat Wolff, who played Batman in part one of the Justice League and RWBY crossover films. While Wolff doesn’t do a bad job playing the hero in the film, he is clearly overshadowed by the more experienced Troy Baker who takes over in the second part.

23. Jimmy Kimmel

Jimmy Kimmel as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

No, we’re not happy about Jimmy Kimmel making this list but it is what it is. Kimmel played Batman in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, which is a fantastic animated movie. However, we can’t get over the fact that Kimmel is just playing himself the whole time. He’s not so much acting as he is collecting an easy check from Warner Bros.

22. Anson Mount

Anson Mount as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

We’ve only seen Anson Mount play Batman once, in 2021’s Injustice animated film. The movie’s plot is utter nonsense and is overstuffed with characters from start to finish, which doesn’t give Mount much of a chance to shine as Batman. What he delivers is best summed up as “all right” but certainly not memorable.

21. Peter Weller

Peter Weller as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Yes, they got RoboCop to play Batman in The Dark Knight Returns animated films. While the actual movies are alright, Weller’s lackluster performance makes them more forgettable than they need to be. Sometimes you can tell film actors don’t want to be in the booth and that’s how we felt about Weller as Batman.

20. Keanu Reeves

Keanu Reeves as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

If it seems odd that Internet Darling Keanu Reeves is so low on this list, it is simply because he hasn’t played Batman enough to really dig into the part. His role in DC League of Super-Pets is largely played for laughs and doesn’t feel like a real Batman part. It is a shame because we do not doubt that Reeves could nail Batman if given a chance. The man embodies broodiness like no one else.

19. Keith Ferguson

Keith Ferguson as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Speaking of playing for laughs, we loved Keith Ferguson’s portrayal of Batman in Teen Titans Go! & DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem in the Multiverse. He understood that the role needed him to go full dark and gravelly and delivered. He’s just a bit part so we don’t put him any higher on the list but we’d be up for a return.

18. George Clooney

Batman & Robin Screenshot
Image credit: Warner Bros.

It can be argued that a lot was going against Batman & Robin even before you factored in George Clooney’s underwhelming performance as Batman. It is difficult to see past the Bat-Nipples and Bat-Credit Card that mar the film, but, if you do, you’ll see a very bored and uninterested Clooney phoning it in as Batman. It certainly feels like he knows what movie he’s in and isn’t impressed.

17. Kevin Michael Richardson

Kevin Michael Richardson as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Sometimes animators draw Batman as having a chest the size of a large building. That’s when you need an actor with a voice to match. Kevin Michael Richardson delivers on that regard. He’s only played Batman twice, in two animated shorts from 2012 and 2013, so it is hard to say if he’d rank higher if he had more opportunity. However, there is no denying that his voice is wonderful to listen to.

16. Ben McKenzie

Ben McKenzie as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Yes, we’re talking about Gotham again, but not the character you think. In fact, Ben McKenzie starred in Batman: Year One several years before he portrayed Jim Gordon in the live-action prequel series. He does a decent job as Batman, though the movie is largely forgettable. We don’t think we’ll get another turn under the cowl, but we would be up for McKenzie playing Gordon and Batman in the same film.

15. Jason O’Mara

James O'Mara as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

For several years, Jason O’Mara was the de facto voice of Batman in animated films from DC. Unfortunately, his portrayal lacks a sense of energy and urgency. Too often, he leans into the “always in control” aspect of Batman which is very cool but not very fun to watch. While he isn’t the best person to voice Batman, he is still better than some of the live-action performances.

14. Val Kilmer

Val Kilmer as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Val Kilmer probably shouldn’t have been Batman, but he definitely makes an effort to do the cape and cowl justice. Unfortunately, he gets outshone by Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones chewing the scenery like teething toddlers to one-up each other, leaving Kilmer playing second fiddle as Batman in Batman Forever.

13. Roger Craig Smith

Roger Craig Smith as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

One of the most prolific voice actors out there at the moment, it isn’t surprising that Roger Craig Smith has played Batman several times over the years. Generally in the Batman Unlimited series of films, Smith’s portrayal always feels like an imitation of someone else playing Batman. It is a good imitation, don’t get us wrong, but it never feels like his version of the character.

12. Troy Baker

Troy Baker as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Though he is probably best known for playing Joel in The Last of Us games, Troy Baker has put his time in as Batman. His commanding voice has given his performances in several animated films legitimacy. While most of his work has been in the realm of video games, Baker has played Batman in enough animated films to earn his place on this list.

11. Bruce Greenwood

Bruce Greenwood as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

Batman rarely plays second fiddle to Robin in a show, but that is how things played out in Young Justice. The “teen drama with capes” show allowed Batman to take a backseat, which Bruce Greenwood did admirably. His Batman is aloof and serious, with none of the camp that you’d expect from a teen superhero show, but he fills the role well.

10. Jensen Ackles

Jensen Ackles as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

We bet you didn’t expect to see one of the Winchester boys on this list, but here he is. Before he played Soldier Boy in The Boys, Jensen Ackles was playing Batman in several DC animated films. From The Long Halloween, Hush, and Crisis on Infinite Earths, Ackles has put a lot of hours under the cowl and has definitely found his groove in the character. He’s dark and brooding when he needs to be but also has a sense of playfulness that simply works for Batman.

9. Christian Bale

Christian Bale as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Nolan films helped draw Batman out of the campy pace he had been living for decades and Christian Bale seriously grounded the character back in reality. Bale was probably the first live-action actor to play both Batman and Bruce Wayne well, which gives him an edge on this list. Like Michael Keaton, he is lifted up by some great performances by his villains, giving him plenty to play with. We’re just not sure who told him to say all of his Batman lines with a mouthful of gravel.

8. Robert Pattinson

Robert Pattinson as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Hot take – of all the things wrong with The Batman, Pattinson wasn’t one of them. Sure, we would have preferred him to portray Dick Greyson/Nightwing rather than Batman, but he gets the brooding loner thing down perfectly. There is an anger to Robert Pattinson’s performance that few other Batman get – it is raw and vulnerable while also being suitably badass.

7. Ben Affleck

Ben Affleck as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Ben Affleck’s Batman was one of the better things about the Snyderverse. Affleck brought a sense of gravitas and experience to Batman, even if the scripts he worked with weren’t exactly stellar. He would rank higher on this list if he’d gotten his own film so we could focus on what made his Dark Knight different from what came before.

6. Adam West

Adam West as Batman
Image credit: 20th Century-Fox Television

We know it is controversial today, but it is important to remember that the 1966 Batman series was not only instrumental to keeping comic books and Batman in the public eye for decades, but Adam West’s somewhat goofy, campy portrayal isn’t far from how comic books were at the time. The show itself hasn’t aged terribly well, but West’s portrayal remains iconic.

5. Olan Soule

Olan Soule as Batman
Image credit: Hanna-Barbera Productions

Speaking of camp, no one played a campier Batman than Olan Soule. Starting in 1968 with The Batman/Superman Hour, Soule provided the voice of the Caped Crusader well into the 1980s in shows like Super Friends and Scooby-Doo. For most people over the age of forty, Soule’s voice is probably the first they heard come from Batman’s mouth.

4. Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

We’re going to disregard Keaton’s return as Batman in The Flash because the less we think about that movie the happier we’ll be and focus on the fact that he led the revival of Batman as a dark figure stalking the criminals of Gotham. While the Batsuit itself is awkward and bulky, there is a hint of his desperation for connection to other people even as he pushes them away. Keaton was probably better suited to be Bruce Wayne than Batman but he remains one of our favorites. It is helped that he had the best actors imaginable playing his villains, of course.

3. Diedrich Bader

Diedrich Bader as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros.

If you’ve heard Batman in a recent animated film or series like Harley Quinn, you’ve heard the incredible work of Diedrich Bader. He’s actually been voicing Batman since 2008’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold, but he’s built a solid body of work as the Caped Crusader over the years. His performances tend to lean toward the comedic but he can play the serious side of Batman when given the chance.

2. Will Arnett

Will Arnett as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

Yes, that guy from Arrested Development is Batman in The LEGO Movie and The LEGO Batman Movie, but what a lot of people don’t realize is this – he does a really good job in the role. Very few people have managed to give a great comedic performance while still touching on the darkness that lies at the heart of the Dark Knight, but Arnett nails it. He is shockingly good as Batman and we’re prepared to fight for his place near the top of this list.

1. Kevin Conroy

Kevin Conroy as Batman
Image credit: Warner Bros. Animation

Kevin Conroy played Batman starting in the iconic Batman The Animated Series in 1992 and continued playing him until his death in 2022. For thirty years, Conroy was the voice of Batman that we all grew up with, but it isn’t just his incredible body of work that earns him the top spot here. No one else played both Bruce Wayne and Batman quite as well and no one else changed the way the character was portrayed in all media. From now until the end of human civilization, anyone who dons the cowl will be compared not to Keaton or Clooney but to Kevin Conroy. He is, undeniably, Batman.

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