Batman / Batman Joker

How Did Joker Get His Smile Batman 1989?

The Joker is one of the most iconic villains in the Batman universe. His twisted personality and maniacal laughter have made him a fan favorite for generations.

But one of the most striking features of the Joker’s appearance is his sinister grin. In the 1989 Batman movie, directed by Tim Burton, the Joker’s smile is given a unique origin story. Let’s dive into how the Joker got his smile in Batman 1989.

The Accident

In the film, we are introduced to Jack Napier, played by Jack Nicholson. Napier is a criminal working for Gotham City’s crime boss, Carl Grissom. However, during a botched robbery at Axis Chemicals, Napier falls into a vat of chemicals and is presumed dead.

Later in the film, we see Napier return as the Joker. The chemicals that he fell into had bleached his skin white and turned his hair green. But what about his smile?

The Smilex Gas

The answer lies in Smilex gas – a deadly toxin created by the Joker himself. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, we see the Joker interrupting a news broadcast to reveal his evil plan: he has poisoned beauty products with Smilex gas and plans to distribute them throughout Gotham City.

But why does this relate to his smile? The gas causes its victims to die with a grotesque grin on their faces – essentially giving them a permanent smile.

The Final Confrontation

In the film’s climactic finale, Batman confronts the Joker atop Gotham’s Cathedral. During their fight, Batman manages to pull off one of the Joker’s gloves revealing that he has been wearing a flesh-colored prosthetic over his disfigured hand.

The prosthetic was hiding something even more sinister – it was holding up what was left of Napier’s face after falling into that vat of chemicals. The Joker’s smile wasn’t just a result of the Smilex gas, but a physical disfigurement caused by the accident.


So there you have it, the Joker’s iconic smile in Batman 1989 was a result of both Smilex gas and a physical disfigurement caused by falling into a vat of chemicals. This origin story gave the character even more depth and made him even more terrifying. It’s no wonder that Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker is still beloved by fans today.

  • Key Takeaways:
  • The Joker’s smile in Batman 1989 was a result of both Smilex gas and a physical disfigurement caused by falling into a vat of chemicals.
  • The use of Smilex gas was part of the Joker’s evil plan to distribute it through beauty products throughout Gotham City.
  • The prosthetic on the Joker’s hand was hiding what was left of his face after his accident.