10 Best Joker Quotes From 'The Dark Knight'

Celebrities Attend Heath Ledger Tribute
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Heath Ledger's turn as the Joker in the 2008 blockbuster film "The Dark Knight" is one of the most captivating portrayals of a supervillain in film history. It also earned him a posthumous Oscar nomination, one of 15 nominations the Batman films have received over the years. ​The Joker utters many memorable quotes in the film. Here are his 10 best. 

10. "If You're Good at Something..."

A close up of the joker
Warner Bros.

When the Joker crashes a meeting set up by various mob bosses to discuss what to do about Batman, he first performs a "magic trick" in which he makes a pencil "disappear" by driving it into the eye of one of the boss's underlings. Then the Joker matter-of-factly suggests a simple solution to their problems. Just kill Batman. The mob bosses all laugh, and then the head honcho, played by Eric Roberts, says, "If it's so simple, why haven't you done it already?"

The Joker replies:

"If you're good at something, never do it for free."

9. "Everything Burns!"

Joker in the fire
Warner Bros.

After the mob bosses ultimately take the Joker up on his offer by giving him a pile of cash—literally—the clown-faced villain wants to make it clear that he is about rebelling from all society, even criminal society, He proves it by lighting his massive haul on fire and saying:

"It's not about money...it’s about sending a message. Everything burns!"

8. "Do I Look Like a Guy with a Plan?"

The Joker in a hospital gear
Warner Bros.

During the famous "hospital scene," in which the Joker dresses up as a nurse and sneaks into the hospital where Harvey Dent is laid up, he explains his motivations to Dent by saying: 

"Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I'm a dog chasing cars. I wouldn't know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just...DO things."

7. "Guns Are too Quick."

Warner Bros.

When the Joker is being interrogated by Detective Gerard Stephens, the supervillain explains why he uses knives instead of guns:

"Do you want to know why I use a knife? Guns are too quick. You can’t savor all the… little emotions...you see, in their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?"

3. "I'm Not a Monster."

The Joker versus Batman
Warner Bros.

Batman eventually shows up during the interrogation scene, at which point the Joker explains to him that he isn't trying to kill Batman at all. In fact, Batman "completes him." The Dark Knight rebukes him, calling him a monster. The Joker tries to explain otherwise:

"To them, you're just a freak, like me! They need you right now, but when they don't, they'll cast you out, like a leper! You see, their morals, their code, it's a bad joke. Dropped at the first sign of trouble. They're only as good as the world allows them to be. I'll show you. When the chips are down, these... these civilized people, they'll eat each other. See, I'm not a monster. I'm just ahead of the curve."

6. "Very Poor Choice of Words."

The Joker smiling
Warner Bros.

In the scene where the Joker crashes a dinner party looking for Harvey Dent, he ends up holding Batman's longtime friend, Rachel Dawes, at knifepoint near a window. Batman shows up to save her, prompting the Joker to break the glass and dangle Rachel from the window. Batman shouts, "Let her go!" and the Joker then says:

"Very poor choice of words."

and drops Rachel from the window as he laughs. 

4. "Now I'm Always Smiling!"

The Joker with Rachel
Warner Bros.

Before Batman shows up to rescue Rachel, the Joker tells her a story:

"Come here. Hey! Look at me. So I had a wife, beautiful, like you, who tells me I worry too much. Who tells me I ought to smile more. Who gambles and gets in deep with the sharks…look at me! One day, they carve her face. And we have no money for surgeries. She can’t take it. I just want to see her smile again, hmm? I just want her to know that I don’t care about the scars. So… I stick a razor in my mouth and do this…[he mimics slicing his mouth open]…to myself. And you know what? She can’t stand the sight of me! She leaves. Now I see the funny side. Now I’m always smiling!"

5. "We're Destined to Do This Forever."

The Joker
Warner Bros.

At the end of the film, it is now the Joker who is dangling near death. He taunts Batman, while accurately describing their dynamic:

"Oh, you. You just couldn’t let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible, aren’t you? Huh? You won’t kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because you’re just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever."

2. "Whatever Doesn't Kill You."

The Joker looking sad
Warner Bros.

Joker's very first lines in the film are a wonderful encapsulation of his character, uttered as he robs a bank: 

"I believe, whatever doesn't kill you, simply makes you...stranger."

That's the Joker in a nutshell, isn't it?

1. "Why So Serious?"

The Joker
Warner Bros.

Throughout much of the film, the mob boss known as Gambol has been warring with the Joker, who eventually tricks him into thinking that he succeeded in killing him. The Joker then gets the drop on him and puts a knife in his face and tells him might be his origin story. Whether this or the tale he tells Rachel, is the real story, doesn't really matter. It is a stunning bit of acting, during which Heath Ledger utters what are perhaps two of the most famous lines in the Batman film franchise:

"Wanna know how I got these scars? My father was…a drinker. And a fiend. And one night he goes off crazier than usual. Mommy gets the kitchen knife to defend herself. He doesn’t like that. Not one bit. So—me watching—he takes the knife to her, laughing while he does it! Turns to me, and he says, “Why so serious, son?” Comes at me with the knife...“Why so serious?” He sticks the blade in my mouth…“Let’s put a smile on that face!”

The Joker then kills Gambol with the knife.