Top 7 Joker Performances From TV & Movies Ranked

7. Michael Emerson — The Dark Knight Returns

Michael Emerson The Joker The Dark Knight Returns

That’s right. Ben Linus, the creepy Dharma leader from Lost, doubled as the Joker in the adaption of the classic Frank Miller story.

The story shows the character’s return to his sadistic roots after years being calm in a mental hospital.  Emerson’s performance lends the whole thing a sense of emotional vulnerability that really brings the character to life as he descends back into his old ways.  Batman doesn’t typically kill, but Emerson’s Joker was able to push him to go over that limit.  Emerson brought a level of intensity to the role that made a viewer feel truly anything could happen.  He encapsulated Joker at his best and most frightening points.  It’s really too bad Emerson will likely never return to voice him again given how his story ends.

Nick Kazden

Nick Kazden

I love Batman, movies and Tyrion Lannister. Check me out on Youtube!

  • Cinephilia Lovegood

    There’s no denying that Hamill is just awesome as Joker, but Heath Ledger was on a different level. If you’re speaking solely on performance, Ledger did something that transcends genre and redefined villainy in a way that was so true to the spirit and demented nature of the character, yet totally unique at the same time.

  • Rob

    When I was flipping through, I saw Nicholson at 3 and Ledger at 2 and for a split second I feared you would have Jared Leto at #1. I already had a whole scathing post ready in my head. Totally forgot Mark Hamill who clearly is awesome as the Joker.

    BTW, I know I am in the minority, but I still like Jack Nicholson’s Joker more than Heath Ledger’s.