Music is as central to conveying Batman on the screen as the actor wearing a cape and cowl. Emotion, intent, action, and darn-right silliness, have been expressed over the last 50 years in bringing Batman into homes and theatres everywhere.
I tried to encompass all the scores and whittle all the soundtracks down to their highlights (in my opinion). This is my Top 10 of the best 30 second clips of Batman music that we have enjoyed over the years - from Adam West's "Batman - The Movie" to Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises". Agree or disagree...leave your opinions.
10. Batman - The Movie (1966): "Titles" Nelson Riddle weaves the themes of the villians (Joker, Riddler, Penguin and Catwoman) playfully around with the Batman motif in this theme which may be less iconic than that of the TV show - but is no less fun and dynamic. To lovers of adventure, lovers of pure escapism, lovers of unadulterated entertainment, lovers of the ridiculous and the bizarre — to funlovers everywhere — No.10 is dedicated!
9. The Adventures of Batman & Robin (1994): "End Credits" The late Shirley Walker's take on Batman took Danny Elfman's music to a whole new (some may say richer) level. Composed and conducted by Shirley herself, this clip from the end credits of the second season of Batman: The Animated Series makes No. 9 in the list. The score to Mask of the Phastasm may be more epic but there is something about this clip that ticks all my Bat-boxes.
8. The Dark Knight Rises (2012): "Gotham's Reckoning"
Hans Zimmer goes it alone for the final score of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy. This piece from The Dark Knight Rises is fairly unique in it's sound for the rest of the album and is quite infectious. If only the rest of the album lived up to the standard of it's predecessor.
7. Batman Returns (1992): "Final Confrontation" Buliding up to action with Batman is the music to the Penguin's revenge on Gotham City. The unique sound (compared to some of the pieces from Returns than remind of Edward Scissorhands) of this clip coupled with the build up to the Batman theme with drums blarring gets the goosebumps going everytime!
6. Batman Forever (1995): "Capsule" Elliott Goldenthal's soundtrack to Batman Forever was a revelation to me upon revisiting it via La-La Land's excellent special edition release - and it definitely has music that deserves a place in any Top 10 list. Perfectly capturing the hi-tech world in which Batman Forever is set, this track erupts into the Batman theme of Kilmer and Clooney.
Rousing percussion crescendo building up to the brass (with some modulation I suspect) finale is quite stirring and a joy to listen to as it stands above a lot of the merky atmosphere of the Batman Begins score. Exactly 30 seconds of awesome - perfect for a Top 10 list such as this.
4.Batman (1989): "Batman to the Rescue" The introduction fo the Batmobile in Tim Burton's Batman is an iconic moment - and the music here is suitably brash and epic...slowing down only to let us hear the Batmobile's turbine roar into action!
3. The Dark Knight (2008): "Introduce A Little Anarchy"
The tower top "pre-finale" with Batman taking on the SWAT team and dealing with the Joker's twisted "Doctor-Goon" switch is an awesome thumping bit of music...and this 30 second piece is my highlight of it. Percussion that builds and a merky effect to emulate the Joker - love it!
2. Batman Returns (1992): "Selina Transforms" Danny Elfman crafted very specif themes for the two main villians in Batman Returns. Catwoman's motif consists of intertwining violins - almost sounding like cats twisting around your legs. Haunting, tragic and defiant - this clip by Elfman is as beautiful as it is disturbing.
1. Batman (1989): "Finale" There shouldn't be any controversy over my choice for No.1! It's become the standard for heroic fanfare and rightly so. The pinnacle of the Batman 1989 score - and that's saying something after all the action and music that preceeded it - there is nothing like watching the final scene of the movie with this music blarring at full volume...and it's followed by a haunting little reminder, in the form of Batman's motif, that this is Gotham City and nothing is triumphant for long.