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The 50 greatest Batman movie moments

Becoming Catwoman

The Moment: Selina Kyle stumbles through her front door and proceeds to kiss farewell to her old life, trashing her singleton's apartment, spray-painting her clothes and fashioning the figure-hugging latex suit that will transform her into Catwoman.

Why it's great: There's something gloriously deranged about the whole sequence, from the voracious draining of a carton of milk to Michelle Pfeiffer's throaty proclamation, "I don't know about you Miss Kitty, but I feel so much yummier now." Amen to that.

Don't feed the Penguin

The moment:Danny De Vito's Penguin takes umbrage to a suit's suggestion that there's "not a lot of reflective surfaces down in the sewer," by nearly biting his nose clean off. Ooooh, touchy!

Why it's great: De Vito's Penguin might resemble a hysterically OTT vaudeville act, but he's got a feral side that makes for some effective bouts of villainy. This one has the added bonus of being funny as well.

Mirror mirror

The moment: Jack Napier's plastic surgeon removes his patient's bandages and is visibly horrified by the results. "Mirror... MIRROR!" barks Napier, before dissolving into a fit of hysterical giggles.

Why it's great: Jack Nicholson might spend much of the film playing it for laughs, but this is a genuinely unnerving sequence made all the more effective by the fact we can't actually see his face.

"Would you like to see my mask?"

The moment: Dr Jonathan Crane disproves Carmine Falcone's claims that he's untouchable, by donning the Scarecrow mask and reducing him to a gibbering wreck.

Why it's great: All of the scenes in which Scarecrow uses his fear serum are a macabre treat, but this one is particularly insidious, given the calibre of the man he's scaring. "He's not faking," smirks Crane to a nurse, "not that one."

"You can call me Joker"

The moment: Jack Nicholson's Clown Prince of Crime makes his bow, stepping from the shadows to reveal his hideously disfigured face before putting a bullet in Jack Palance's wide-eyed crime boss.

Why it's great: The circus music that kicks in halfway through adds a carnival atmosphere to a scene that veers dramatically between the amusing and the macabre.

Pencil trick

The Moment: Having swanned into the mobsters' sit-down, Joker introduces himself to his new acquaintances via the medium of a magic trick. "I'm gonna make this pencil disappear," he begins.

Why it's great: It's a brilliantly grisly (second) introduction to Heath Ledger's diabolical villain. The off-key delivery of, "it's - it's gone," that follows is the icing on the cake.

"Swear to me!"

The Moment: Batman interrogates crooked cop Flass in Batman Begins, dangling him a perilous distance above the ground as he "swears to God" that he doesn't know anything. "Swear to me!" roars Bats before sending his terrified victim plummeting groundwards.

Why it's great: This is the point at which one thing becomes painfully clear: Bale's Batman ain't messing around!

"I want my phone call"

The moment: The Joker takes advantage of his jailer's short temper by taunting him about the number of his colleagues' deaths he's been responsible for. The man really wants his phone call.

Why it's great: When Joker mouths a disbelieving "six?" back at the guard, it's a masterclass in black comedy. The line, "would you like to know which of them were cowards?" is also pretty cool.

Rachel Dawes RIP

The Moment: Batman arrives to rescue Rachel Dawes, only to realise that the Joker has directed him to Harvey Dent instead. Meanwhile, somewhere across town, time runs out for poor Rachel as she's blown to smithereens.

Why it's great: We really didn't see this one coming. Just when you think the film is on the brink of wrapping up, Rachel is killed, the Joker escapes and Harvey Dent is transformed into Two-Face. With this one scene, the entire film is turned on its head!

Heist to meet you

The Moment: The Dark Knight's opening bank-job sequence, filmed in glorious IMAX, is not only a visual treat, but a hell of a way to introduce its chief antagonist.

Why it's great: From the off, the Joker is presented as an entirely amoral villain, bumping off his henchman with icy detachment before gleefully mocking William Fichtner's shotgun-toting banker. The mask-removing reveal is a nice touch as well.