Christopher Nolan's take on Batman makes it very clear that Batman has a set of rules, or at least 1 rule that he follows and in The Dark Knight (2008), it's addressed several times. That one rule is that he refuses to kill anyone.

Do the previous Batman movies take this into account as well? I most curious about the very first Batman (1989), because in the final scenes in the belfry, Batman kicks a henchman down the the bell tower. We don't see the henchman fall to his death, but one can assume that is what happens, and this is a direct violation of Batman's rule of not killing anyone. Not to mention the Joker died as a direct result of Batmans actions.

Edit: By "Previous Batman movies" I mean all of the non animated Batman movies (Tim Burton/Joel Schumacher) and this would also include the Zack Snyder versions as well.

  • Since there's no continuity between the various sets of Batman movies (the ones from the 90's, Nolan's, and now the DCEU) we shouldn't assume they all share the same rules. Feb 23, 2018 at 22:26
  • @Phlegon_of_Tralles it's not a matter of Nolan's version has rules and the others dont. Batman as a character has a set of rules and the one I'm referring to is the no killing rule. Feb 23, 2018 at 23:02
  • well it is artistic choice. after all, batman is seen killing bunch of bad guys in Batman V Superman. Feb 23, 2018 at 23:41
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    Interesting video: youtube.com/watch?v=psVIG7YvdjM Feb 23, 2018 at 23:48
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    @Phlegon_of_Tralles from my research, the rule was implemented in 1948 or shortly after, but I don't know if it was always followed from then until now in the comic books. Feb 26, 2018 at 16:40

1 Answer 1


It is important to remember that Batman's #1 rule of "Don't kill people" came after the creation of the character. In 1939's Detective Comics #27 (Introducing the Batman) Batman's first appear has him killing the criminal at the end.

Batman punches the murderer, who then crashes through a railing, and falls into a vat of acid. He’s dead. To this Batman says ‘a fitting end to his kind.’ - Detective Comics #27 – Introduction of the Batman

As comic books rose in popularity, particularly post World War 2, there was a growing concern how they influenced children. After the 1953 Congressional Committee hearings on juvenile delinquency, comic book makers came together and created the Comics Code Authority, which put pressure on them to tone down all their comics and the way they dealt with bad guys. (This Authority has since been abandoned by all publishers).

Batman in the movies has always seemed to be fine with a body count (except 1966 Batman). As noted in the comments, Mr. Sunday News did a compilation kill count for Batman before Superman v Batman, including in Batman Begins and The Dark Knight Rises (yes, refusing to save someone from dying in a train wreck is the same as killing them).

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