Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was released in 2008 to critical and financial acclaim, grossing over a billion dollars at the box office. Written by Christopher and his brother Jonathan, the film tells the story of the corruption of Gotham City and the rise of the Joker, a crazed yet ingenious criminal who has become the leading figure in Gotham's underworld there. The film follows DC Comics character Batman as he seeks to put an end to Joker's evil while struggling to keep his identity a secret from the people he loves.
The film stars Christian Bale as the titular Batman, Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth, Heath Ledger in his star-making performance as the Joker, Gary Oldman as James Gordon, Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel Dawes, and Aaron Eckhart as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. For his turn as the Joker, Ledger was nominated for, and posthumously won, an Academy Award.
Nominated for eight Academy Awards and winning two, The Dark Knight is considered one of the great action films of all time. Heath Ledger receive a great deal of praise for his unhinged and inspired portrayal of the Joker. In his review of the film, Peter Travers of Rolling Stone wrote, "The haunting and visionary Dark Knight soars on the wings of untamed imagination. It’s full of surprises you don’t see coming. And just try to get it out of your dreams."