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16 Batman Quotes From the Page and Screen

Bruce Wayne and his masked alter ego, Batman, first appeared in the 27th issue of Detective Comics in 1939. Since then, the Caped Crusader has become one of the most popular superheroes of all time, evolving and taking on various guises in comics, TV series, and movies. Initially, Batman was a ruthless vigilante. Then came the 1960s TV show, in which the Defender of Gotham (played by Adam West) was portrayed as a colorful, camp crime fighter who would happily fight off a rubber shark while dangling from a helicopter. The films, meanwhile, have ranged from Tim Burton's quirky Batman in 1989 (starring Michael Keaton in the title role) to Christopher Nolan's critically acclaimed Dark Knight Trilogy in the 2000s (featuring Christian Bale). Even more recently, Robert Pattinson played the character in 2022's gritty psychological thriller The Batman.

Despite the shifting portrayals of Batman, key elements of his character and backstory have remained largely consistent. First and foremost, Batman has no superpowers, and instead relies on his intellect, fighting skills, physical and mental fortitude, and financial wealth, the latter of which comes from Bruce Wayne's significant inheritance. Secondly, Wayne's fate was changed forever when, as a child, he witnessed his parents' murder — an event that ultimately became the driving force behind his identity as Batman. Frank Miller, creator of Batman comics including The Dark Knight Returns and Batman: Year One, put it this way: "He wants the world to be a better place, where a young Bruce Wayne would not be a victim… In a way, he's out to make himself unnecessary. Batman is a hero who wishes he didn't have to exist."

Criminals are a superstitious cowardly lot. So my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts. I must be a creature of the night, black, terrible… a… a… a bat! That's it! It's an omen. I shall become a bat!
— "Detective Comics" #33 (1939)

Experience teaches slowly, Robin. And at a cost of many mistakes.
— "Batman" TV series (1966)

All men have limits. They learn what they are and then learn not to exceed them. I ignore mine.
— "Detective Comics" #663 (1993)

Vengeance isn't power. Anyone can take a life. But to give life… that's true power.
— "Batman & Robin" (1997)

You can't fight fate, and you can't survive alone… I can't help but notice that almost seems like a definition of who I am… A person who's trying to do both.
— "Batman" #594 (2001)

Death is powerless against you if you leave a legacy of good behind.
— "JLA" (Volume 1) #72 (2002)

I wear a mask. And that mask, it's not to hide who I am, but to create what I am.
— "Batman" #624 (2004)

I knew that one day, I wouldn't have to do this anymore. One day, I could stop fighting. Because one day… I would win. One day, there will be no pain, no loss, no crime. Because of me, because I fight. For you. One day, I will win.
— "Batman" #625 (2004)

People need dramatic examples to shake them out of apathy, and I can't do that as Bruce Wayne. As a man, I'm flesh and blood, I can be ignored, I can be destroyed; but as a symbol… as a symbol I can be incorruptible, I can be everlasting.
— "Batman Begins" (2005)

It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.
— "Batman Begins" (2005)

Sometimes the truth isn't good enough, sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded…
— "The Dark Knight" (2008)

A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy's shoulders to let him know that the world hadn't ended.
— "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012)

Maybe that's what Batman is about. Not winning. But failing, and getting back up. Knowing he'll fail, fail a thousand times, but still won't give up.
— "Batman: Zero Year" #32 (2014)

Men are still good. We fight. We kill. We betray one another. But we can rebuild. We can do better. We will. We have to.
— "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" (2016)

Vengeance won't change the past, mine or anyone else's. I have to become more. People need hope. To know someone's out there for them.
— "The Batman" (2022)

Our scars can destroy us, even after the physical wounds have healed. But if we survive them, they can transform us. They can give us the power to endure, and the strength to fight.
— "The Batman" (2022)

Photo credit: ScreenProd / Photononstop/ Alamy Stock Photo

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About the Author
Tony Dunnell
Tony is an English writer of non-fiction and fiction living on the edge of the Amazon jungle.
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