Batman: Original Motion Picture Score
Film score by
ReleasedMay 1989
StudioCTS Studios
LabelWarner Bros.
ProducerDanny Elfman and Steve Bartek
Danny Elfman chronology
Batman: Original Motion Picture Score
Dick Tracy
Batman soundtrack chronology
Batman (score)
Batman (album)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Movie Music UK
Movie Wave
Music From The Moviesfavorable
Score Sounds
Soundtrack Express
Static Mass Emporium

Batman: Original Motion Picture Score is the score album for the 1989 film Batman by Danny Elfman. According to the Batman DVD Special Edition, Elfman said that producer Jon Peters was not sure about him as a composer until Tim Burton made him play the main titles. Elfman admitted he was stunned when Peters announced that the score would be released on its own album. The score was widely acclaimed by the press and in many contemporary reviews is cited as the highlight of the film.

Elfman's "The Batman Theme" went on to become an iconic piece. It served as the basis for the theme music and played in some episodes of Batman: The Animated Series, which premiered in 1992, although this was later changed. Some parts of the Elfman score are also heard in Static Shock, Lego Batman: The Videogame, Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes, Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham, the 1989 Batmobile DLC for Batman: Arkham Knight, the 2017 Justice League film (which was also composed by Elfman), and the Arrowverse crossover Crisis on Infinite Earths. Parts are also played in the queue and on the station platform of Batman the Ride at various Six Flags theme parks.


Burton hired Danny to compose the music score for Batman. For inspiration, Elfman was given The Dark Knight Returns. Elfman was worried, as he had never worked on a production this large in budget and scale.[1] In an interview with Keyboard in October 1989, Elfman said that he never read Batman as a child, preferring Marvel heroes such as Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.[2] In addition, producer Jon Peters was skeptical of hiring Elfman, but was later convinced when he heard the opening number.[3] Peters and Peter Guber wanted Prince to write music for the Joker and Michael Jackson to do the romance songs. Elfman would then combine the style of Prince and Jackson's songs together for the entire film score.[4]

Burton protested the ideas, citing "my movies aren't commercial like Top Gun".[4] Elfman enlisted the help of Oingo Boingo lead guitarist Steve Bartek and Shirley Walker to arrange the compositions for the orchestra.[5] Elfman was later displeased with the audio mixing of his film score. According to Elfman: "Batman was done in England by technicians who didn't care, and the non-caring showed. I'm not putting down England because they've done gorgeous dubs there, but this particular crew elected not to".[6] Despite it, Elfman included several synthesizer cues in the film, mostly percussion samples.[2] Elfman based his five-note Batman motif on his viewing experience on the rough cut of the film.[2]

In rearranging Stephen Foster's "Beautiful Dreamer", Elfman added a "lovely climax" as the Joker twirls away. Elfman also recorded the composition twice, primarily on the violin.[2] Meanwhile, in recording "Up the Cathedral", Elfman did not use a real church organ, but an electronic organ by Rodgers Instruments. Elfman cites his inspiration for "Up the Cathedral" to Bernard Herrmann's score for the 1961 film Mysterious Island, a film he enjoyed as a child.[2] Elfman completed his score on May 15, 1989, just over a month before the film's release.[2]

Track listing

1."The Batman Theme"2:38
2."Roof Fight"1:20
3."First Confrontation"4:43
4."Kitchen, Surgery, Face-off"3:07
6."Clown Attack"1:45
7."Batman to the Rescue"3:56
8."Roasted Dude"1:01
9."Photos/Beautiful Dreamer"2:27
10."Descent into Mystery"1:31
11."The Bat Cave"2:35
12."The Joker's Poem"0:56
13."Childhood Remembered"2:43
14."Love Theme"1:30
15."Charge of the Batmobile"1:41
16."Attack of the Batwing"4:44
17."Up the Cathedral"5:04
18."Waltz to the Death"3:55
19."The Final Confrontation"3:47
21."Batman Theme (Reprise)"1:28

Additional music credited
1."Theme from A Summer Place"Percy Faith and his Orchestra 
2."There'll be a Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight"Jack Nicholson[7] (Written by Joe Hayden, Theodore A. Metz) 

Complete score

La-La Land Records released Danny Elfman's complete score to Batman on July 27, 2010.[8]

Disc One: Original Score (film version)

1."Main Title*"2:42
2."Family*/First Batman*/Roof Fight*"3:24
3."Jack Vs. Eckhardt*"1:37
4."Up Building*/Card Snap*"1:54
5."Bat Zone*/Axis Set-Up*"1:55
7."Dinner Transition*/Kitchen Dinner* (**)/Surgery*"3:00
8."Face–Off* (**)/Beddy Bye*"3:59
9."Roasted Dude*"1:03
10."Vicki Spies (Flowers)*"1:56
11."Clown Attack*"1:59
12."Photos*/Beautiful Dreamer* (***)"2:30
13."Men at Work*"0:33
14."Paper Spin*/Alicia’s Mask*"0:30
15."Vicki Gets a Gift*"1:13
16."Alicia’s Unmasking*"1:10
17."Batman to the Rescue*/Batmobile Charge*/Street Fight*"4:25
18."Descent into Mystery*"1:33
19."Bat Cave*/Paper Throw*"2:48
20."The Joker’s Poem*"0:59
21."Sad Pictures*"0:38
22."Dream*/Challenge*/Tender Bat Cave* (**)"4:28
23."Charge of the Batmobile*"1:43
24."Joker Flies to Gotham (Unused)*/Batwing I*"0:31
25."Batwing II*/Batwing III*"6:02
26."Cathedral Chase*"5:07
27."Waltz to the Death*"3:58
28."Showdown I*/Showdown II*"5:05
29."Finale* (**)"1:47
30."End Credits*"1:29

Disc Two: Original Soundtrack Album (remastered)(tracks 22-29 are bonus cues)

1."The Batman Theme"2:37
2."Roof Fight"1:22
3."First Confrontation"4:43
6."Clown Attack"1:46
7."Batman to the Rescue"3:57
8."Roasted Dude"1:02
9."Photos/Beautiful Dreamer***"2:31
10."Descent into Mystery"1:33
11."The Bat Cave"2:35
12."The Joker's Poem"0:59
13."Childhood Remembered"2:43
14."Love Theme**"1:30
15."Charge of the Batmobile"1:41
16."Attack of the Batwing"4:45
17."Up the Cathedral"5:05
18."Waltz to the Death"3:56
19."The Final Confrontation"3:48
20."Finale (**) (***)"1:46
21."Batman Theme Reprise"1:31
22."News Theme"0:11
23."Joker's Commercial*"1:23
24."Joker's Muzak (unused)*"1:15
25."Main Title (alt 1)*"2:42
26."Photos*/Beautiful Dreamer (alt)* (**)"2:33
27."Batman to the Rescue (original ending)*"0:52
28."Charge of the Batmobile (film edit)*"1:47
29."Main Title (alt 2)*"2:47

(*) Previously unreleased
(**) includes "Scandalous!" composed by Prince with John L. Nelson
(***) includes "Beautiful Dreamer" composed by Stephen Foster

Chart positions

Chart (1989) Peak
U.S. Billboard 200[9] 30


  1. ^ Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, Nocturnal Overtures: The Music of Batman, 2005, Warner Home Video
  2. ^ a b c d e f Doerschuk, Robert L. (October 1989). "Danny Elfman - The Agony & The Ectasy of Scoring Batman". Keyboard. Vol. 15, no. 10. GPI Publications. pp. 82–95. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
  3. ^ Tim Burton, Sam Hamm, Danny Elfman, Shadows of the Bat: The Cinematic Saga of the Dark Knight—The Legend Reborn, 2005, Warner Home Video
  4. ^ a b Mark Salisbury; Tim Burton (2006). "Batman". Burton on Burton. London: Faber and Faber. pp. 70–83. ISBN 0-571-22926-3.
  5. ^ Givens, Ron (February 23, 1990). "The Elfman Cometh". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on January 7, 2008. Retrieved December 18, 2007.
  6. ^ Judy Sloane (August 1995). "Elfman on scoring". Film Review. p. 77.
  7. ^ "Batman (1989)". IMDb. Retrieved 4 December 2021.
  8. ^ "LA LA LAND RECORDS, Film Scores, Music Scores, Film Music,Film Composers,MovieMusic, Composers, Film Composers, Movie Composers, Soundtrack Composers". Archived from the original on 2010-08-19. Retrieved 2011-01-02.
  9. ^ "Billboard Albums: Batman: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-05-23.