7 Reasons Why Jack Nicholson Was a Way Better Joker Than Heath Ledger

Some of the top reasons why Jack Nicholson's Joker is totally better character compared to Heath Ledger's bizarre and un-Joker-like creation:

1. Nicholson's Joker was actually very funny.

Heath's Joker had no sense of humor at all :D

2. Nicholson's Joker was incomparably closer to the authentic comic book character.

Ledger's Joker was a completely new character, unrelated to the original in almost every aspect of his interpretation ;)

3. Jack's Joker had much better lines.

Heath was usually mumbling some maniacal and depressive Emo crap, totally out of the character :P

4. Jack's Joker killed more people in the original movie

So much for the Ledger's alleged "darker and scarier Joker" :)

5. Jack Nicholson's Joker had a very interesting On-Screen Origin, and a motive for revenge (so did Batman)

Heath Ledger's Joker had nothing 😁

6. Genuine Joker was an euphoric type of lunatic, closer to Schizophrenic, rather than Ledger's anarchistic Psycho type

Jack wins again 😜

7. Finally, Jack Nicholson's Joker was classier, more stylish, he had better makeup, more convincing smile, and he was an expert at chemistry, his weapons were absolutely cooler compared to Ledger's Joker 👍

Conclusion: The only reason why people are glorifying Ledger, is because of his untimely and infamous death, but when it comes to real acting quality, he is not a match for Jack Nicholson.

Modern kids are obviously not familiar with the original Joker character, or are infatuated with Heath's so called "darker version of Joker" - Just to be clear, there is only one original story, while the "other versions" are just unnecessary modifications, usually ranging far away from the indigenous story.

Jack Nicholson - The Best Joker ever

Ledger's version of "Joker"



Most Helpful Girl

  • Hahaha, finally, someone else gets it, Ledger is no competition for Jack Nicholson, cool mytake ;)


Most Helpful Guy

  • My thoughts exactly, Jack Nicholson was awesome Joker, I hope more people will realize these facts, great Take 👍


Join the discussion

What Girls Said 14

  • Jack Nicholson did a great job for sure, I loved his performance, but Heath Ledger's interpretation blew me away. It was just on another level. He took an original, and made it his own, expanding and deepening it in delightfully twisted ways. I loved the dark realism in it, from his makeup to his persona. His Joker as a character was much more dynamic and fascinating, in my opinion. But good Take!

    • Expanding it? Deepening it? He had no origin story... yeah, he was twisted, and dynamic, but his character was pretty much different from the comic book Joker, or the cartooned/animated Joker, and he had no jokes like the original Joker ;)
      Anyway, I'm glad you like the Take :D

    • I think that's what I really loved about it - that he was different and gave it his own incredible, terrifying spin.

      Of course. :)

  • Thanks for the Op Ed. All I can really say to that is that they are two different characters from two different directors vision of the film, the setting, and the persona of the role. On your fourth point, "darker" doesn't necessarily equal more murders but rather a mood, feeling, etc. one that Heath portrayed brilliantly.
    Christopher Nolans screenplay was a decidedly darker vision of Batman than Sam Hamms screenplay, hence the DARK Knight trilogy moniker.
    Before I finish, I'd like to say none of my opinions are meant to diminish the brilliance of Jack Nickolson in every role he takes on, Joker included.
    Just two very different characterizations of a role first made famous by Cesar Romero, another fine actor but again a completely different character with the name Joker
    But like I said, thanks for your opinion.
    It was well written 💟

    • Thank you very much :D

  • Mark Hamill is my favourite joker and always will be. I do love Jack and Heath though.

    • Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill will always be the best Batman vs Joker. Though John DiMaggio's Joker was insanely good as well in Under the Red Hood.

    • Show All
    • My favourite of the animated is defintiely Under the Red Hood. And DiMaggio was giving an excellent performance there as well. If I remember correctly he was already in the end-phase of voice-choices for the animated series as well, but they decided for Hamill since he was more comicish while DiMaggio was more sinister.


    • @FakeName123 he is bloody good, must admit. Gotta say Hamill was very sinister in The Killing Joke.

  • I agree that Ledger was pretty shit and that Nicholson was infinitely better but I don't think there is a clear origin story for the Joker. Various writers seem to have written their own version if it so there doesn't appear to be one true Joker.

    • I agree, but at least Nicholson's Joker has a story, and it's a really good story ;)

    • Agreed. Im not a fan of the new Batman movies at all, I find Bane so lame as a character and the back story ridiculous and unimaginative.

    • Exactly :D

  • Excellent points and a very good Mytake, Nicholson's Joker rules :D

    • I know, right? ;)

  • Fantastic myTake, I totally agree, Jack was my favorite Joker too :)

  • But Heath ledger is hot

    • Yeah, isn't he? :P

  • 'More convincing smile'
    His smile was just creepily happy lmao.
    I like this myTake tho. Jack Nicholson was a great Joker.

    • Thanks, I'm glad you like it :D

  • Just because he's Jack Nicholson...

  • i might get around to watching these movies one day

    • you should! times running out. :(

    • They are just OK honestly, Christopher Nolan's Batman movies are the best super hero movies ever made, and stand up pretty damn well against other genres too.

    • @DaddyRollingStone Not true, Tim Burton's Batman was the best.

  • Heath Ledgers performance in The dark knight was breathtaking, nothing less.

    • His performance was not the problem, but his interpretation was, but I don't think it was his fault, it was probably the director's mistake.

    • I think he did absolutely nothing wrong, trying to be the same joker over and over again would have been a mistake.

    • Well, if you want an actor for the role of James Bond (for example), you probably don't expect him to stray far away from the character, right?

  • Very true! But I think it's the movie director's fault, not Heath's.

    • Yeah, I think you're right about that.

    • My thoughts exactly. He was only following the director's vision as he was told. Same can be said about his lines, style of dress, etc... he just used what he was given.

  • Jared leto was better in my opinion

  • I agree with you, Jack Nicholson is the best joker. Good myTake.


What Guys Said 38

  • I don't disagree; Nicholson's Joker was indeed superior.

    I will say, however, that Ledger's Joker was so extremely different, it's hard to compare the two. For what the movie and director were going for in the new Batman movies, I think that particular vision of The Joker fit well, and Ledger played it almost to perfection.

    But strictly from a comic book standpoint, and the fact that Jack is ALWAYS the man, Nicholson does indeed win. ;) And #3 is most definitely true.

  • Nicholson is AWESOME, incredibly talented and he always does an incredible job, and I understand that he's way closer to the Joker than Heath, but I must admit that Ledger's performance impressed me as much as the Dark Knight trilogy. I consider him the best piece in my favorite superhero movie.

    But it's kinda easy to explain my opinion: I'm a diehard Chris Nolan fan and not the biggest Batman fan. I've noticed that those that prefer Jack usually are people that really love Batman, while I just really love movies. In the end, it's a matter of opinion.

    • Yep, you are right ;)

  • i agree. i think christopher nolan simply wanted a more dark batman series overall whereas the tim burton series went more with the comic fun and campi-ness

    i enjoyed ledger's joker more as a true villain but i do agree Jack's was more true to what the joker was like in the comics

  • Why not compare them with Cesar Romero's version or the cartoon version voiced by Mark Hamill while you're at it?

    For better or for worse. It's all a matter of perception and perspective. Each to their own. Ledger's version is a much deeper and darker character than Nicholson since the story and scripts are totally and entirely different.

    The Jokers both had completely different motives.

    Ledger's (or rather Nolan's version) is an extremist nihilistic anarchist type of psycho terrorist, he's Evil for the sake of Being Evil. His version of the Joer is different in that of all the things he had done, he did it because he wants to show Batman, Gotham and pretty much the whole word that there is "No Good" and that any and all attempts at "Good" are insane, hence why he wants to "watch the world burn", and his most powerful message was "EVERYTHING BURNS." When he torched all those bills, as he clearly demonstrates his motive for what he is doing isn't about the pursuit of material wealth or gain.

    That's more or less true, from a nihilistic perspective such as coming from myself, as everything we ever gained or attained from our lifetime and in this world would be loss upon our very deaths, everything in existence is pretty much futile, nothing lasts forever.

    But if you don't like that type of existentially nihilistic extremist psychopath character, then I can see why you would rather go with Nicholson's version. I Ledger's version of The Joker is one of the most unique kind of villain that there ever was, but I'm sure there are similar nihliistic extremist psychos type of villains in other works of fiction and media.

    In the end he actually beat Batman by successfully corrupting Harvey Dent's mind and drove him to insanity to make his point valid: "that even the best of someone can go bad under the worst circumstances that had occurred to them". Sure he might have been captured and lost in a melee fight with Batman, but that wasn't the point or "The Joker's" Point.

    Nicholson's version is moreso motivated by vengeance upon Batman for causing him to become the Joker in the first place.

    Again different directors, different plots, totally different version and style of the Jokers. So each to their own on who you "think" is the "better" version or "liked" "better". There will always be some sort of bias of favoritism somewhere.

    • I think they are both interesting villains, but if Ledger's version was a clone of Nicholson's version it won't be as interesting, as it wouldn't be "original" or lack any originality. Not saying the type of villain or concept of the type of villain is exactly 100% unique but you get what I mean. You wouldn't be able to really compared much of the differences.

      Besides it's always up to the hollywood exec's directors and writers which is what makes characters different and have different versions and varieties so they aren't always more or less the same exact thing.

    • That's what I said, Nolan's version is not related to the original comic book character... his "Joker" had no sense of humor at all, why was he named Joker at all? Nolan should have just invent a completely new character called Mr Anarcho-Nihilist :P
      Cesar Romero's version or the cartoon version voiced by Mark Hamill were in accordance with the original Joker character, so I have no complaints regarding their interpretation.

  • I think the difference is that Jack Nicholson has this scary rage about him bubbling beneath the surface that you always sense. It shows through in his demeanor.

    While Ledger is a pretty boy that had to manufacture rage and then express that anger. That's why he had the "I hate you daddy" vibe, which is a farcry from Jack's crazy. Ledger did amazing. I love him as joker, but Nicholson was definitely the more creepy joker. However, Ledger was the most realistic version of the Joker. That's the theme of nolans series. He only used the most realistic characters and if he had one that was unbelievable he'd change it, into a real world excerpt of the character.

  • You lost me at reason #1. Heath Ledger wasn't funny at all? I thought the part where he slams the guys face on the pencil for a 'magic trick' was pretty damn funny or the scene where he's dressed up in a nurse outfit. Lol
    Heath Ledger did an arguably best acting job for the joker there was. He studied journals of the mentally insane to get into character. I really liked his surprises in the movie and how he tracks mobsters out to kill him. He was more dark and creative about the character than Jack.

    I'll be honest, Jack is actually my favorite joker. I'll give respect where it's due though, Heath really knocked it out of the park. In fact he won an Oscar for it. He was indeed a respectable actor and I honestly looked up to him. May he RIP.

    • Jack was much funnier, you can't have the Joker without any jokes ;)
      We all know Nicholson had more Oscars during his career, but I don't think that Oscars are a proper criteria for such type of movie. Jack did his Joker role perfectly, and he was definitely more creative... Ok, so Ledger was darker, but lack of character development for his version of Joker makes him kinda flawed.
      I'm not saying it's Heath's fault, it was probably Nolan's mistake.
      RIP, he was a very good actor, The Brothers Grimm is one of my favorite movies with Heath Ledger.

    • The Brothers Grimm? hmm I'll have to check that one out

  • My only problem with Ledger is that now, every major film baddie wants to be him. And insanity is being abused as a handwave to excuse lazy writing.

    • Same with the Bourne Movies and shaky cam.

      Paul Greengrass does it back in 2004 and everyone had to follow... ugh

  • Yea the joker in the new batman took a more serious dark role. The whole movie was much more intense and dark vs the older joker batman one

    Of course it will be less jokes, less snarky lines and more crazy pyschoness.

    Both were good. This was a modern take on joker and a good one too

  • That's bullshit

    • According to your face, I can see why the truth bothers you :P

  • Why not enjoy both performances. Nicolas is the better actor by miles, but credit to Ledger, he put in by far the best performance of his life.

    The main difference in my opinion, was that Nicolas was the comic book creation. A schizophrenic psychopath hell bent on murder and revenge. It was like the part was written for him.

    Ledger was more of a real life sociopath who was bored and got excited by mayhem. A different slant, but I think he played it really well. And I think it worked well against Bales batman, who was not as closed off or brutal as Keatons.

    • Yeah, you have a very good point

    • Thanks.

      I did agree with all your points. Nicolas version is better. But I still think Ledger was very good.

      It might be easier for me to appreciate Ledger, because I saw his version first, so I got to judge it on its own merit. But what chance has any normal actor got when being compared to Nicolas.

  • I completely agree with you! Jack Nicholson had always been my favourite Joker too. Not saying Heath Ledger wasn't great (of course, he was) but I've felt like he's slightly overrated. Most of his fans appear to be modern kids who aren't familiar with DC thay are only going for the latest trend while not looking back and giving the other Jokers a chance.

  • To be very honest, there were six characters in the entire Dark Knight trilogy that were true to form: Bruce Wayne/Batman, James Gordon, Lucius Fox, Selena Kyle/Cat Woman, Harvey Dent/Two-Face, and Alfred Pennyworth.

    Thank God for Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman. I don't think in the history of Batman that we have ever seen as good an Alfred or Lucius as those two. Other than that, though, the casting was a bust.

    • Well, Morgan Freeman was fantastic, as always, but in the original Batman movie, there was no Lucius Fox, I wonder why... anyway, Alfred and the others were great, I agree completely :)

    • While Lucius is an important character, his role is often very overlooked. Even in the comics and games, he's kinda like Q from James Bond: the guy who is in charge of making stuff for Batman, but whose role doesn't take him beyond that. I think that his role in the Nolan series was great, but I think he definitely infringed on Barbara Gordon's territory as the Oracle (who was, sadly, absent from the series as a whole).

    • I agree, Lucius is a very interesting character, in all the comics, cartoons, movies and the new Gotham tv series.

  • I agree.
    On some extent.
    All of what you said was true, but the fact is that Ledger wasn't comic book like because he wasn't meant to be a comic book like character.

    I also like Nicholson's much more than Ledger's, but that's because I'm not too much in to Nolan's "realness" as much as I'm in to Burton's "grotesqueness" (is this a word?). I wouldn't confuse "I prefer" to "The better is".

    • Exactly, I love Burton's "grotesqueness" too :)

  • The Dark Knight was... overrated to put it bluntly. It wasn't a superhero movie, it was a crime drama that had a superhero in it.

    That being said, Batman Begins does not get the true credit it deserves.

    And The Dark Knight Rises was just your popcorn summer flick lol.

    • I totally agree, Batman Begins was much better :)

  • Great MyTake!

    I enjoyed Heath Ledger more, but I now see Jack Nicholson's Joker in a much better light.

  • In a word, Jack Nicholson could act!

  • I prefer Jack... however... Heath's character actually made me uncomfortable with how dark he was. Hahaha.

    • Yeah, too dark for a character named Joker ;)

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    • Sure. Like the Italian mobster named "Tiny" who's actually huge?

    • Oh, you mean like John Little in Robin Hood? That's kind of sarcastic towards the larger people, but still, the name Joker doesn't suit Ledger's character.

  • Actually if you read the comics past the 60s and 70s iterations of the Joker he becomes far more dark... Nicholsons was an adaption of the Adam West style of Joker from the time when acting was pretty crappy and acting crazy was jumping around with your grin and saying weird jokes. Ledgers Joker shows actual insanity, apathy for human life, psychological need to create chaos, etc.

    What is the Joker. By all standards of interpretation he is supposed to be the direct antithesis to batman. Batman has a reason to be the batman. The Joker's motivation is never clear and remains unclear to this day as an agreement amongst DC writers. The closest one we ever got was from the animatrd series where Joker just wanted to make batman laugh at his jokes, but Joker's sense of humor always involved suffering so he could never get it. Ledger's was better in regards to the character. Joker is not supposed to be funny to normal people. He is funny to himself and people who are equally deranged. Ledger laughed at all the chaos he created but nobody else did. That is the entire point of the character.

    • Actually, the first Joker from 1940's (long time before Adam West style) also resembled more to Jack Nicholson's Joker, rather than Heath Ledgers: upload.wikimedia.org/.../...e_Joker_%281940%29.jpg

      Becoming "more dark" is not in accordance with the Joker character, because he is supposed to be a funny character (in some evil way). If he were supposed to be the direct antithesis to Batman, note that original Batman was quite dark character, therefore, Joker had to be the opposite - funny and not so serious.

      The main inspiration for the Joker character's design was actor Conrad Veidt, as Gwynplaine in "The Man Who Laughs": upload.wikimedia.org/.../...1928%29-Gwynplaine.png
      As you can see, he is also closer to Jack Nicholson's Joker.

      Heath Ledger's Joker had no character development at all, he was kind of boring character, completely different from the roots of the original Joker, including the old "dark Joker".

    • By Adam West style I was referring to the comedy of the time. Which is very wacky character who makes jokes while committing crimes. That was how the Joker was originally created. He was a counterpart to the serious hero, similar to hoe the riddler challenged batman's brain with comedic riddles for the audience/reader to try and decipher... Here is the problem with your statement. Yes Joker's appearance in the comics and almost every drawing has him with slicked back and green hair. As for his character, cannonically over time both characters changed. Batman used to kill people in the comics. However it did not mesh well with his origin story so they made the vow not to kill. Joker being funny while killing people did not mesh well with the serious nature of the batman series and ethical questions it eventually tackled on the comics. So Joker's humor became understandable to the Joker and others like him but not to others including the readers. Ledger's Joker fit into that mold.

    • Just like I said, Batman used to be darker, because he killed people... while Joker was always funny, but his jokes were understandable, not just to him and his gang, but also the audience, that's why Batman's fans prefer Jack Nicholson as the original Joker.

  • number 1 is the best.
    I see them as two completely different jokers. You can like one or the other more depending on your own taste of how the Joker should look like. My favourite Joker is Mark Hamill's.

  • I'm not saying Nicholson's Joker is worse than Ledger's. I just think that it's nice to be able to enjoy both performances for what they are.
    Personally, I don't care that the Nolan Joker deviates from the original story, shouldn't I be allowed to consider it an improvement on the original story, if I, personally, really enjoy it? (as long as I don't state is as a fact, that's just silly)
    Also, this is just me talking here, but the last picture you included doesn't really help your case, putting the clean suited, fresh makeup Joker next to the bedraggled, broken looking Joker, which I think looks far darker from appearances alone. I love how loose he is in his actions. His pencil trick is one example that comes to mind. Everyone is entitled to an opinion though :)

    • Of course, but in order to be called Joker, you have to be funny... Nolan's version wasn't showing much affinity for humor.

    • I thought he was quite funny :p

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