All 20+ Actors Who Played Joker, Ranked Best To Worst By Fans
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures

All 20+ Actors Who Played Joker, Ranked Best To Worst By Fans

Over 48.3K Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of All 20+ Actors Who Played Joker, Ranked Best To Worst By Fans

Throughout all the various Batman films, animated series, and video games, who do you think are the best Joker actors? A seemingly difficult role, not to mention ever changing in its portrayals (and its costumes), the Joker has been played by some of Hollywood's top actors since his first appearance on screen. While all the actors who played Joker brought their own take to the role, some simply performed better and really brought the character to life, perhaps making some of the best Batman movies. Whether you're a fan of the TV shows or feature films, you surely have your favorite version of Batman and Batman villains.

From Heath Ledger's incredible and even terrifying role in The Dark Knight to Jared Leto's creepy take as Joker in Suicide Squad, not to mention Jack Nicholson in Batman, the live-action films alone have had multiple interpretations of Joker. Of course, we can't forget Cesar Romero, who was the first Joker in Batman: The Movie. Then you have numerous animated series like Batman: The Animated Series and Justice League Action, voiced by Mark Hamill, as well as Batman: The Brave and the Bold—voiced by Jeff Bennett. On top of all that, there are multiple video games voiced by the likes of Richard Epcar and Anthony Ingruber, and even a couple Lego movies. In short, a range of both actors and voice actors have taken on Joker in various mediums— many have been great, some were pretty bad. But who played Joker the best?

Check out the list of Joker actors below and vote up the stars you think handled the role best or were the most entertaining. You can also vote actors down if you feel their performance wasn't as good as the rest of them.

  • Heath Ledger
    Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
    27,990 VOTES

    Heath Ledger's chilling portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight redefined the character, with fans and critics alike praising his hauntingly brilliant performance that transcended expectations. His unforgettable scenes, such as the pencil trick, his macabre humor, and his interrogation with Batman, showcased Ledger's unwavering dedication to immersing himself in the Joker's twisted psyche. Ledger's Joker reshaped the Batman franchise and left an indelible mark on how future incarnations of the character would be approached. Tragically, Ledger passed away before the film's release, but his monumental talent was duly recognized when he was posthumously awarded the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, forever immortalizing his chilling take on the iconic villain.

  • Mark Hamill
    Photo: Warner Bros. Television Distribution
    17,826 VOTES

    Mark Hamill's voice acting as the Joker in various animated series, movies, and video games is the stuff of legend, transforming him into a fan-favorite iteration of the Clown Prince of Crime. With his gleefully sinister laugh and chillingly whimsical tone, Hamill's Joker has often been described as the definitive vocal embodiment of the character, effortlessly capturing his madcap humor and unhinged psychopathic tendencies. Notably, Hamill's performance in Batman: The Animated Series and the Arkham video games has left an indelible impact on the Batman universe. Hamill's exceptional talent as a voice actor has garnered widespread acclaim and adoration from fans and critics alike, solidifying his status as one of the most iconic Jokers of all time.

  • Jack Nicholson
    Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
    18,274 VOTES

    Jack Nicholson's turn as the Joker in Tim Burton's Batman set a high bar for future portrayals of the infamous villain. Nicholson's Joker oozed charisma, combining a devilish sense of humor with the character's murderous tendencies, creating a captivating and entertaining performance that is still beloved to this day. His flamboyantly twisted appearance, along with unforgettable scenes such as the art gallery sequence and his deadly parade, contributed to the success of the film and cemented the Joker as Batman's ultimate nemesis. Nicholson's groundbreaking performance earned him a Golden Globe nomination and left an indelible mark on the character's legacy, influencing future portrayals of the Joker for years to come.

  • Joaquin Phoenix
    Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
    14,724 VOTES

    Offering up a deeply disturbing and empathetic look at the origins of the iconic character, Joaquin Phoenix's riveting performance in Joker provides a fresh perspective that transcended the typical comic book movie fare. Phoenix's gritty and jarring exploration of the Joker's descent into madness was marked by his haunting laughter, unsettling unpredictability, and raw vulnerability, culminating in a stunning transformation that fully captured the essence of the character. His chilling dance on the stairs remains one of the most memorable moments in the Batman franchise's history, and his heartfelt portrayal garnered critical acclaim, ultimately earning him the Academy Award for Best Actor. Phoenix's Joker not only redefined the character for a new generation but also challenged and elevated the standards for future iterations.

  • Cesar Romero
    Photo: 20th Century Fox
    13,102 VOTES

    Cesar Romero's unforgettable portrayal of the Joker in the 1960s Batman television series and the 1966 film Batman: The Movie remains a classic, embodying the campy and light-hearted tone of that era's Batman franchise. Romero's exuberant and flamboyant performance, complete with his iconic painted mustache, showcased the Joker's zany charm and delightfully sinister antics, setting the precedent for future live-action portrayals. His colorful and devilish pranks, such as turning the United Nations into dust and attempting to dehydrate Gotham City's citizens, left an indelible mark on the Batman universe and forever endeared Romero to fans of the iconic villain. While quite different from today's darker interpretations, Romero's Joker is cherished as a beloved, pioneering performance that paved the way for those that followed.

    13,102 votes
  • Cameron Monaghan
    Photo: Fox/Warner Bros.
    13,493 VOTES

    Cameron Monaghan's portrayal of Jerome and Jeremiah Valeska in the television series Gotham offered a unique and captivating take on the Joker character, exploring two distinct yet closely related figures who each embodied the chaos and madness associated with the iconic villain. Monaghan's intensely immersive performances, ranging from deranged humor to menacing brutality, showcased his versatility as an actor and kept fans eagerly anticipating each new harrowing development. His chilling laughter, unforgettable carnival massacre, and twisted obsession with Bruce Wayne added new dimensions to the Batman universe and helped shape "Gotham's" distinct identity. Monaghan's iterations of the Joker stand out as a fascinating, fresh approach to the character that has earned him considerable praise and a loyal fan base.

    13,493 votes