5 Best Joker Actor: Our Top 5 Ranked 
The Joker, Batman's arch-nemesis and the Clown Prince of Crime, is one of the most iconic and complex villains in comic book history. Over the years, various actors have taken on the challenging role, each bringing their unique interpretation to the character. In this article, we will rank the top 5 best Joker actors as of 2023, considering their performances in different mediums such as live-action films and animated series.
From the dark and haunting portrayal by Heath Ledger to the classic campiness of Cesar Romero, each Joker actor has left a lasting impression on audiences. Let's delve into their performances and see how they have shaped the enduring legacy of this enigmatic character.
Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" is a tour de force that remains unparalleled in the realm of superhero cinema. Ledger's Joker is a force of chaos, a sinister and unpredictable agent of anarchy who seeks to dismantle the established order of Gotham City. From the moment he robs a bank with his crew of masked goons, it is evident that Ledger's Joker is not just another run-of-the-mill villain; he is a malevolent force that revels in causing chaos.
What sets Ledger's performance apart is the depth and complexity he brought to the character. The Joker is not just a one-dimensional villain; he is a psychological study of madness and obsession. Ledger's commitment to the role was evident in every scene, from the eerie way he licks his lips to the hauntingly maniacal laughter that sends shivers down your spine. His physical transformation, with the iconic makeup and scars, further added to the haunting presence of the character.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Ledger's portrayal is his ability to imbue the Joker with a dark sense of humor. The "Why so serious?" line is now etched in the annals of cinematic history, representing the perfect blend of malevolence and humor that defines the Joker.
Heath Ledger's tragic passing before the film's release only added to the mystique surrounding his portrayal. His posthumous Oscar win for Best Supporting Actor was a well-deserved recognition of his extraordinary talent and commitment to the role. Reigned as one of the best Joker actors, Ledger's Joker has become the gold standard against which all future portrayals of the character are measured.
Mark Hamill - Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), The Arkham Video Game Series, The Killing Joke (2016)
Mark Hamill's Joker, featured in "Batman: The Animated Series," the Arkham video game series, and "The Killing Joke," is a masterclass in voice acting that brings a captivating and iconic version of the character to life.
In "Batman: The Animated Series," Hamill's Joker stands out as one of the most memorable and enduring portrayals of the Clown Prince of Crime. He injects a perfect balance of humor and menace into the character, creating a Joker that is both delightfully entertaining and genuinely sinister. Hamill's distinct voice work gives the Joker a unique personality, and his chemistry with Kevin Conroy's Batman provides a dynamic and compelling dynamic between hero and villain.
Hamill's Joker in the Arkham video game series further cements his legacy as one of the best Joker voice actors. His performance brings a new level of depth to the character, exploring the Joker's maniacal schemes and twisted mind with astonishing authenticity.
One of the most significant highlights of Mark Hamill's portrayal is his role in "The Killing Joke," a dark and gritty animated adaptation of Alan Moore's graphic novel. Hamill brings an emotional complexity to the character as he delves into the Joker's tragic past, showcasing his range as a voice actor and deepening the character's complexity.
Mark Hamill's dedication and passion for voicing the Joker have garnered him a massive fan following, and many fans consider him the definitive Joker. His contribution to the character's legacy is immeasurable, and his voice will forever be associated with the Clown Prince of Crime.
Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of the Joker in Todd Phillips' "Joker" is a haunting and visceral journey into the psyche of a troubled and mentally ill man, Arthur Fleck. The film takes a departure from traditional comic book adaptations and presents a character study of a man driven to madness by a society that has failed him.
Phoenix's performance is a masterclass in method acting, as he fully immerses himself in the role of Arthur Fleck. The actor lost a significant amount of weight to portray the emaciated and fragile nature of the character, lending authenticity to the portrayal of a man on the edge of sanity.
As Arthur Fleck descends into the depths of madness, Phoenix's transformation into the Joker is both mesmerizing and unsettling. His uncontrollable laughter, a result of a neurological condition, becomes a signature trait that haunts the audience throughout the film.
Unlike previous iterations of the Joker, Phoenix's portrayal lacks the traditional humor associated with the character. Instead, his Joker is a tragic figure, a victim of a society that has pushed him to the brink, making his descent into villainy all the more poignant and tragic.
Joaquin Phoenix's performance in "Joker" earned him critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor. His dedication and commitment to portraying the complexities of mental illness and societal failure set his portrayal apart as a thought-provoking and haunting version of the Joker.
In Tim Burton's "Batman," Jack Nicholson's portrayal of the Joker brought a charismatic and larger-than-life take on the character, imbuing him with the essence of a gangster boss. As the first live-action Joker since Cesar Romero's portrayal in the 1960s Batman series, Nicholson's performance holds a special place in the hearts of fans.
Nicholson's Joker is arrogant and flamboyant, reveling in his criminal schemes while maintaining a twisted sense of humor. His iconic "Jack Napier" is a mobster with a flair for theatrics, creating an aura of chaos that makes him a formidable adversary for Michael Keaton's Batman.
One of the highlights of Nicholson's portrayal is his impeccable delivery of the Joker's lines. He delivers the character's dark humor with charm and flair, making him a joy to watch even in his most malevolent moments.
While some critics argue that Nicholson's performance borders on being too campy and lacks the depth seen in later versions of the Joker, it cannot be denied that his influence on the character's legacy is profound. His performance laid the foundation for future Joker actors, and many aspects of his portrayal can be seen in subsequent iterations.
Jack Nicholson's Joker remains a classic and influential interpretation, contributing to the enduring legacy of the character and solidifying his position among the best Joker actors.
Cesar Romero's portrayal of the Joker in the 1960s Batman TV series is a seminal and influential rendition of the character. The show's campy and colorful nature was mirrored in Romero's playful and goofy interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime.
Romero's Joker is characterized by his boisterous laughter and penchant for elaborate schemes. He brings a level of mischief and light-heartedness to the character, creating a version of the Joker that is more comedic than menacing.
While some viewers appreciate Romero's light-hearted and entertaining take on the character, others find it too cartoonish and lacking the dark edge commonly associated with the Joker in modern interpretations.
As the first actor to play the Joker on screen, Cesar Romero set the blueprint for future actors taking on the role. His performance laid the groundwork for future iterations of the character, influencing subsequent portrayals.
While subsequent actors brought new layers and complexity to the role, Romero's portrayal remains an important and iconic part of the Joker's evolution throughout various media.
The Joker's main enemy is Batman. He is one of the main antagonists in DC Comics and is often pitted against his archenemy Batman, as well as occasionally facing other DC superheroes such as Superman and the Justice League as part of the Legion of Doom.
Heath Ledger's portrayal of the Joker in "The Dark Knight" is widely considered the best Joker in DC. His performance as the clown prince of crime stands tall among all other Batman villains.
Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of the Joker in "Joker" was notably different from previous portrayals, humanizing the character and presenting a fresh take on Gotham City's most notorious villain. His considered acting work and the unique approach to the character contributed to his acclaimed performance.
Cesar Romero played the first Joker in the 1966 Batman TV series and later in the movie "Batman: The Movie." He was known for his acting and singing skills before taking on the iconic role of the Joker.
Emperor Joker is considered the most powerful version of the Joker. After tricking Mister Mxyzptlk into donating 99.99% of his reality powers, the Joker became near-omnipotent and created a hellish world in his own image.
The Joker's universal appeal as the best villain of all time can be attributed to his signature cackle, batshit crazy persona, and chaotic and sinister plans. Fans also admire the fact that the Joker wasn't inherently bad from the beginning, at least in certain renditions of his backstory.
Reggie Long, who assumed the mantle of Walter Kovacs (Rorschach) in "Doomsday Clock," managed to defeat the Joker within an inch of his life after discovering he was lied to by Adrian Veidt.
Mark Hamill's version of Joker's laugh is widely regarded as the best, heard across various DC media. His iconic voice work brought a perfect blend of humor and menace to the character.
Cesar Julio Romero, Jr. was the oldest actor to portray the Joker. He played the character in the 1960s television series Batman, making him the first actor to portray the Joker in a motion picture.
In the main DC Universe, the Joker's real name is revealed to be "Jack Oswald White." This revelation was made in a DC Comics storyline involving Martha and the villain Psycho-Pirate.
The Joker is a formidable villain, but it's unlikely that he could defeat the Avengers, who are one of the toughest teams in comics. The Avengers, composed of powerful and seasoned heroes, would likely prove to be more than a match for the Joker.
The Joker's evil persona is often attributed to a tragic origin story. In the most common story, he falls into a tank of chemical waste, which disfigures him and drives him insane. The Joker is the antithesis of Batman and is considered to be his perfect adversary by critics.
The Joker, as portrayed by different actors over the years, has become an enduring and complex character in popular culture. Each actor brought their unique interpretation, contributing to the rich tapestry of the Clown Prince of Crime.
Heath Ledger's haunting and disturbed Joker in "The Dark Knight" remains a definitive and groundbreaking portrayal, setting a high standard for all future Joker actors. Mark Hamill's voice work in animated series and video games has left a lasting impact, capturing the mischievous and sinister essence of the character.
Joaquin Phoenix's deeply disturbing and realistic Joker in "Joker" brought a fresh and unsettling take on the character, earning him critical acclaim and an Academy Award. Jack Nicholson's charismatic and gangster-like Joker in "Batman" became a classic and influential interpretation, shaping the Joker's legacy for generations to come.
Cesar Romero's playful and goofy Joker in the 1960s Batman TV series may divide opinions, but it remains an important and iconic portrayal that set the stage for future actors to follow.
Each Joker actor has left their mark on the character, making the Joker one of the most captivating and enigmatic villains in fictional history. As fans continue to debate and appreciate these performances, the question of the best Joker actor remains subjective, as each portrayal brings something unique and significant to the enduring legacy of the Clown Prince of Crime.