The 10 Most Memorable Quotes From The Dark Knight Trilogy

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If you’re like me, you have spent the last 4 years scouring the internet for hints of news about The Dark Knight Rises. Whether it was casting news, locations, or plot clues that leaked, that information was what got me through the long wait.

Now, it’s all over and there is no more speculation. Sure, people will talk of a fourth film for years to come, but it won’t ever happen. Christopher Nolan has made that clear, both through his words and through the end of The Dark Knight Rises.

It really was a special experience to finally see what we had waited so long for and luckily, the movie didn’t disappoint. But now, we’re left with the question of what’s next? And, to be honest, we’re not really sure. For now, all we have is Nolan’s three excellent Batman films and we’re left wondering what the future holds in store for our beloved hero.

As we sit and wonder though, we can reflect on the trilogy as a whole and that’s just what I’ve done here, by compiling the ten best quotes from all three films.

So, without further ado, check out the ten best quotes from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy, in no particular order.

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“Gotham, take control… take control of your city. Behold, the instrument of your liberation! Identify yourself to the world!” - Bane in The Dark Knight Rises

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The anarchy that Bane inspired and the terror that he brought to Gotham City was truly frightening. Most of all though, Tom Hardy’s portrayal of the masked villain was absolutely brilliant. Most of his dialogue, that of which could be understood at least, was quote-worthy, but it was this line in particular that sent an extra chill down my spine.

The quote outlines everything Bane is working for. He is liberating Gotham from corruption by becoming the city’s reckoning.

The power with which this line was delivered and the way that those listening to him trembled at his words, was terrifying and at the same time, in a very odd way, inspiring.

Being able to evoke those emotions together is truly the product of first-rate writing.

“You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” - Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight

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That’s a depressing phrase to consider. It means that for Batman, there really is no way to win, especially when he is already considered a villain in the eyes of Gotham. Heroism isn’t what it should be in Gotham, as evidenced by the responses of those around Dent regarding his support of Batman.

At this point in the story, it’s hard to not believe in Harvey Dent. He’s a public official who supports Batman, he’s Gotham’s white knight, and he is wise enough to speak dialogue like this.

The irony of this quote makes it even more memorable considering that Harvey Dent didn’t do just one of those, he did both. He died a hero in the eyes of Gotham, but those who saw him in his last moments knew the villain he actually became.

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“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” -Alfred in The Dark Knight

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Ah, the infinite wisdom of Alfred. I dare to say that he is one of the wisest characters in recent memory. Many pieces of dialogue from Bruce’s surrogate father figure could have qualified for this list, but this was definitely the pinnacle of Alfred quotes.

Simply put, it just captures the essence of the Joker so well. There is no method to his madness. There is only a madness to his madness. That is what makes him such a formidable foe for Batman. If there was a motive Batman could discover, he would then know his enemy and know how to defeat him. With the Joker though, there is no information to learn other than he can’t be understood. He simply wants to watch the world burn.

“When Gotham is ashes, you have my permission to die.” – Bane in The Dark Knight Rises

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The cruelty of Bane is never shown more vividly than it is through this quote. It isn’t enough for him to break the Bat, destroy Gotham, and lock Bruce Wayne away in a dungeon. No, he insists that Wayne must watch Gotham tear itself apart before he can die.

Bane is standing over a crippled, broken Bruce Wayne when he says this line. It was one of the first quotes from the first trailer and it stuck with me right up until I saw the film. Bane’s voice oozes horror, the character is sinister and yet so collected in everything he says.

This quote also marks the lowest point for Batman. It doesn’t seem as if things could possibly get any worse as Batman is half a world away from a Gotham that is destroying itself. It’s a steep, steep mountain for our hero to climb, but it’s that climb that leads to such an epic film.

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“Not Everything. Not Yet” – Batman in The Dark Knight Rises

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Out of context, these words are nothing, but in context they mean everything. In saying this, Batman made it clear that his life meant nothing in comparison to the fate of Gotham.

The quote comes when Selina Kyle is trying to talk Batman into leaving Gotham. She says, “You don’t owe these people anymore. You’ve given them everything,” which in her opinion he had, but Batman had long ago stopped caring what happened to him.

Selflessness is one of the traits that people love in superheroes. Batman as a whole, and this quote in particular, exemplify this selflessness in a way that it is heartbreaking to watch. Giving up everything, for the betterment of everyone. That is Batman.

“It’s not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.” -Rachel Dawes in Batman Begins

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What may be the most profound quote of Batman Begins is uttered by Rachel as a slap in the face to Bruce Wayne. Later on though, Batman uses it as his way of revealing to Rachel his true identity.

It’s a beautiful quote, seeping with wisdom and truth. It really is what we do that defines us, regardless of whether or not that matches what is underneath. That realization plays well into the developing theme of Batman as not just a person, but as a symbol; how any number of people could be Batman, it just happens to be Bruce Wayne within the suit.

It also speaks so directly to the dual-identity life that all superheroes are faced with, and the struggle of whether or not to share their secret with those they love. Even though who we are underneath doesn’t directly define us, the internal conflict he faces directly inspires Batman’s actions, which are seen by all.

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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. - Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins

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This quote is the defining moment of Bruce Wayne put into words. It is when Batman actually begins. Once he realizes that Gotham needs him, but not as Bruce Wayne, as something more, is when he first realizes the possibility of Batman. And the rest is history.

This quote lays out a theme that is carried through the entire trilogy. The theme that Batman is more than Bruce Wayne in a costume. Batman is a symbol of hope. It doesn’t matter who is in the suit. All people need to know is that Batman is there watching over the people of Gotham.

“Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” – Thomas Wayne in Batman Begins

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The words of Thomas Wayne echo throughout the Dark Knight trilogy. They are the driving force for every time Bruce struggles or falls and needs to press on. When he is trapped in a prison, with a broken back, his father’s words are in his mind. Even when they aren’t heard, the ripples of this quote underscore so much of the trilogy that it will surely be remembered and quoted for years to come.

It is one of many quotes that are used multiple times in the movies, and perhaps just as effective as the first time these words are said is when Alfred repeats them to Bruce, showing faith in him and reminding him of what his father stood for.

Yet another amazing example of the enduring wisdom of these films.

“He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.” -Jim Gordon in The Dark Knight

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This quote never fails to give me goosebumps, no matter how many times I watch The Dark Knight. It’s the quote that narrates this epic ending.

The impact of this quote is aided by what we are witnessing. Watching the Dark Knight ride away into the dark of the night, knowing that he just saved Gotham and will become the villain because of what he has done, is heartbreaking. Gordon’s words and the bewilderment of his son only further to show the injustice.

Gordon’s words sum up the darkness which is shown by Nolan’s Batman films. Batman will help the city. It is his calling, and they need his help. They just aren’t ready to admit that they need his help.

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“Why so serious?” – The Joker in The Dark Knight

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Heath Ledger’s incredible performance as the Joker will go down as one of the greatest performances of all time. Ledger was the Joker, becoming totally unrecognizable as he immersed himself in his role.

The fact that the line is used multiple times, each time with a different story preceding it, furthers the mystery that is Nolan’s Joker. There is no back story. No truth we can know about his past. The unknown is what makes him all the more sinister.

The words on their own have no deeper meaning, it really is a simple phrase. But the way in which Ledger delivers those three words, and the context which they are put in, make it one of the most iconic movie lines ever uttered.

It represents everything that the Joker stands for: Chaos, Anarchy, Madness. The very things that make him such an unpredictable, and therefore difficult, foe for Batman to deal with.

It would be impossible for me to try to put into words the unfathomable effect this line has had. With that knowledge, I will stop trying and let you watch it for yourself:

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  • Matt Zimmermann

    2 joker quotes I would put on this list:
    “This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.”
    and “Madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes, is a little push!”

    • Alex Lowe

      There really could be a great list of just Joker quotes

    • GwB

      “If you are good at something, never do it for free…”

  • Kevin Tran

    Here’s one, Joker: “it’s not about the money it’s about sending a message”

  • http://twitter.com/Silrian Silrian

    The two quotes that single handily made Batman Begins my favorite movie of all time.
    Ra’s “The training is nothing, WILL is everything!”
    Rachel “No, they’re never the same, justice is about harmony, vengeance is about making yourself feel better.”

    But I love all dialogue from all three movies. The Nolan’s are so adept at it!

    • Alex Lowe

      I love that quote from Rachel. She has some great ones. More in Begins than TDK though

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Donato/556930521 Matt Donato

    A bang up list, great job. I don’t think this belongs on a top 10 list, but have to give love to one of my favorite moments though:

    “How about a magic trick? I’m gonna make this pencil disappear.” *SLAM* “Ta-daa! It’s… it’s gone.”

    Such a great quote and fantastic Joker moment.

    • http://www.facebook.com/selina.almendarez Selina Almendarez

      That magic trick was hilarious. ;D

  • http://twitter.com/ncavalanche Nathan Coker

    I personally believe THE best quote in this entire trilogy is the following quote by Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins:
    “If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal – you become something else entirely.”

    And a close second is this one by the Joker:
    “I believe that whatever doesn’t kill you, simply makes you… stranger.”

    I also like this one by Bane:
    “But you merely adopted the dark; I was born in it, moulded by it.” – Such a great line!

    • Everlasto

      “make yourself more than just a man .. ..” should have inspired bruce wayne to become a symbol, the Batman.

  • Jose

    Damn this quotes helped me so much in my Ap Lang essay on archetypes and my rhetorical essay, thanks a lot!!!

  • Rex

    how is ” No , not yet ” a great comment , guys dont slack on your job ?

  • trey

    “when the chips are down, these “civilized” people, they’ll eat each other.” joker in the dark knight

  • trey

    “you have nothing to threaten me with. nothing to do with all your strength.” joker in the dark knight

  • Terrence

    Batman: it’s not wat im underneath, but it’s wat I do dat defines me.

  • Bruce Wayne

    you are a briliant brilliant citizen and i’m proud to have you in my city

  • Thomas Carpenter

    “Oooooooh you think darkness is your ally, but you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it… I didnt see the light until I was already a man, and by then it was nothing to me but BLINDING!!!”.
    That quote should have been on this list…

  • Everlasto

    “It doesnt matter who we are, what matters is our plan! -Bane”
    and
    “How can you move faster than possible, fight longer than possible
    without the most powerful impulse of the spirit: the fear of death.”
    Gave me goosebumps!

  • devlin

    The last lines Batman says in DKR before flying off with the bomb. not exactly sure, but something along the lines of “A hero could be anyone. Even a man who does somethifg as simple and reassuring as put a coat over a young boys shoulders to let him know the world hadn’t ended.” My favorite quote in the entire trilogy.

  • bdparks

    the greatest quote for me was “Im Batman”

  • http://www.facebook.com/kaelz Kelvin L.

    I really like the quote by Bane when he’s in the airplane with the doctor at the start of the movie when they were about to leave the falling airplane “Now’s not the time to be afraid.. That comes.. Later”

    • Batfan

      He says “Now is not the time for fear…That comes later.”

      pretty sure it’s that.

  • DL

    “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 the world hasn’t ended” – Batman, The Dark Knight Rises

  • http://www.facebook.com/pratik.patra.94 Pratik Patra

    Joker deserved another place in the list.
    The scene where he burns all the money and says:-
    “Its not about money…its about sending a message.
    Everything Burns!”
    The menace in his voice and the underlying madness in his tone truly defines his character.

  • MasterChief3624

    Disappointed you ended this list with such a popular one-liner. The previous quotes all had such heavy metaphorical weight and meaning, but this last one was such a cop-out : In my personal opinion, at least. The idea that it encapsulates Heath Ledger’s performance and Nolan’s vision of the Joker is the only strength I think it has, but even then I think it is just too short and insignificant to do Ledger’s Joker the justice it deserves.

    The quote I would put in to replace that one is the one that Batman says to Commissioner Gordon right before he got into the Batpod for the last time. Something along the lines of:

    “A hero can be someone as simple as putting a coat over a boy’s shoulder, to let him know his world wasn’t ending.”

    Something like that. I thought that was infinitely more powerful, and really hammered home the idea that anyone can be a hero. Any act can be an act of heroism. One simple thing could mean the entire world to another person, and therefore we all have the ability to be a hero.

  • Jake Kluge

    My top 2 favorite batman quotes are
    Rachel:”it’s not who you are on the inside, but what you do that defines you”
    Joker:” I’m like a dog chasing a car, I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I fought it, I just do things”

  • Ash

    “You thought we could be decent men, in an indecent time.”

  • Ash

    “I’m not a monster, I am just ahead of the curb.”

    • Ash

      *curve

  • Sov23

    The shadows betray you because they belong to me

  • Michael

    Best quote: Batman to a fake Batman
    I’m not the one wearing hockey pants!!!!!

  • Joe

    WHERE IS HE!?