The Best Scene in Tim Burton's Batman Is Brought to You by Prince

Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989)
Jack Nicholson in Batman (1989)
Screenshot: Warner Bros. Pictures (YouTube )

I’m Batman.

OK, let me explain.

My first drive-in movie experience was Tim Burton’s 1989 film, Batman. Speaking of drive-ins, there’s been some conversation about possibly reviving the concept during this current social distancing era and I think that’s a fabulous idea.



After seeing the film, I would bug my big sister’s best friend ad nauseam with one quote in the film that became the tagline for Michael Keaton’s version of the caped vigilante: “I’m Batman.” The exchange would go something like this:

Me: Who am I? Who am I?!

Big Sister BFF: *rolls eyes with a grin* Who, Tonja? Who are you?

Me: I’m Batman. *runs away giggling*

I really thought I was so fucking clever. Narrator: She was.

Needless to say, that film became an early precedent of what to expect from me: when I love a film, I obsess over it. So, naturally, I saw it over and over again. And some more after that.

On Monday, artist and entrepreneur @NomiChronicles posted a graphic featuring various versions of the Joker (comics, television, film, etc.) and asked fellow Twitter users to pick their favorite. Now, while I respect each interpretation of the Joker for an assortment of reasons, my all-time favorite is Jack Nicholson’s portrayal. In addition to the creepy campiness, it’s mostly due to one scene.


It’s the scene when Joker breaks into an art museum and causes all kinds of ruckus and mayhem by defacing the priceless works. The whole display perfectly captures Joker’s wacky and mischievous aura and I watched the “funkiest man you’ve ever seen” on the big screen with a rapt fascination. The purple glue that brought it all together? Prince Rogers Nelson and his song from the film’s soundtrack, “Partyman.”

From the moment Prince sings, “All hail, the new king in towwwwn...” I thought I’d heard the coolest song in the entire universe.

Batman - Partyman (Museum Scene) / YouTube

Interestingly enough, I hadn’t thought about the fact that I said this the day before the 4th anniversary of the iconic artist’s death. It didn’t even occur to me until today. So, of course, today is a timely moment to honor what I believe to be the best part of the entire film. Cheers to the “black and white, red and green.” But most of all, cheers to the purple.


Rest in power, Purple One.

Prince - Partyman (Official Music Video) / YouTube

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.



OK, if I’m going to recognize this version of Batman/Joker, though I do like Partyman and I know we aren’t basing this off the songs, but the presence of another from that soundtrack is just too much for me to ignore anytime this version comes up. So...