Batman (also known as Batman: The Movie), is a 1966 film spin-off of the popular Batman television series, and was the first full-length theatrical adaptation of the DC Comics character. The 20th Century Fox release starred Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward as Robin.
The film was directed by Leslie H. Martinson who also directed a pair of Batman episodes; "The Penguin Goes Straight" and "Not Yet, He Ain't," both from season one.
Armed with a dehydrator that can turn humans into dust, a Navy surplus submarine, and their three pirate henchmen (Bluebeard, Morgan and Quetch), the "fearsome foursome" intends to take over the world, and Batman and Robin must stop them. Catwoman romantically lures Bruce Wayne into a trap, unaware that Wayne is Batman's alter-ego, and Penguin even schemes his way into the Batcave, leaving the Duo unable to prevent the kidnapping of the dehydrated United World Security Council.
After giving chase in the Batboat, the Caped Crusader and Boy Wonder use a sonic charge weapon to disable Penguin's submarine and bring it to the surface, where a grand fistfight ensues. Although the powdered members of the dehydrated Council are mixed together – which would normally spell their doom – Batman constructs an elaborate filter to return each of them to life.
Prior to this process, Robin asks Batman if it might not be in the world's best interests, with continued problems of overt racism, especially in the U.S. during the 1960s, for them to alter the dust samples so that humans can no longer harm one another. In response, Batman says that they cannot do so and can only hope for people, in general, to learn to live together peacefully on their own.
However, in the final scene, Robin's wishes are ironically fulfilled when the Security Council is improperly re-hydrated. While all of the members are alive and well, continuing to squabble among themselves and totally oblivious of their surroundings, each of them now speaks a completely different language than their original native tongue. As the world looks on in disbelief at this development, Batman and Robin quietly climb out of the United World Headquarters to an uncertain future. Batman's final words express his sincere hope that this "mixing of minds" does more good than it does harm.
Though Julie Newmar played the Catwoman to great acclaim in the TV series, she suffered a back injury and was replaced by Lee Meriwether in this movie.
The movie was moderately successful at the box office.
Though it is often described (like many contemporary shows) as a parody of a popular comic-book character, some commentators believe that its comedy is not so tightly confined. It's worth noting that some commentators feel the film's depiction of the Caped Crusader "captured the feel of the contemporary comics perfectly". The film was, they remind us, made at a time when "the Batman of the Golden Age comics was already essentially neutered".
Nevertheless, certain elements verge into direct parody of the history of Batman. The movie, like the TV series, is strongly influenced by the comparatively obscure 1940s serials of Batman, such as the escapes done almost out of luck. Likewise, the penchant for giving even obscure devices — notably, "shark repellent" — a "Bat-" prefix, and the dramatic use of stylized title cards during fight scenes, playfully acknowledge some of the conventions that the character had accumulated in various media. However, the majority of Batman's campier moments can be read as a broader parody on contemporary late-1960s culture in general.
Of the three new Batvehicles which first appeared in the Batman movie, only the Batcycle crossed over into the TV series, as the budgetary limits of the TV series precluded the use of the others. Instead, snippets of the Batcopter and Batboat from the movie were stitched into episodes.