Many actors are mainly associated with a certain type of movie or a certain type of role that defines their career, but Michael Keaton is most definitely not that kind of actor. From playing the alternatively spelled title character of Beetlejuice to many audiences’ favorite Batman, the Dopesick cast member boasts one of the most eclectic filmographies a performer could only dream of. See for yourself by taking a look at our picks for the best Michael Keaton movies available for streaming, digital rental, or purchase on physical media below, starting with a character he will soon be returning to.
Tim Burton’s Batman Movies (1989, 1992)
Wealthy, orphaned Bruce Wayne defends Gotham City from the eccentric criminals like the Joker (Jack Nicholson), the Penguin (Danny DeVito), and Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer).
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: From director Tim Burton, 1989’s Batman and the more visually unique, but also controversial, 1992 sequel Batman Returns are still remembered as some of the best DC movies ever, mainly because of Michael Keaton’s layered, brooding performance as the Caped Crusader.
Mr. Mom (1983)
After losing his job, a husband and father takes over household duties with little-to-no preparation as his wife (Teri Garr) climbs the corporate ladder.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: Michael Keaton’s otherwise charming and relatable performance in the John Hughes-penned comedy classic Mr. Mom actually had comic book fans at the time convinced that the actor would be a poor choice for the Batman.
After losing their lives, a husband (Alec Baldwin) and wife (Geena Davis) call upon the help of a more troublesome ghost (Michael Keaton) to scare a snobbish couple and their “strange and unusual” daughter (Winona Ryder) out of their home.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: In his first collaboration with director Tim Burton, an unrecognizable Michael Keaton gives the most ironically lively performance in the Beetlejuice cast in one of the most inventive and visually unparalleled horror-comedy movies of all time.
Clean And Sober (1988)
A hot shot real estate agent (Michael Keaton) desperate to evade the law checks himself into a rehab facility, only to realize that it just what he needs to kick his dependency on alcohol and cocaine.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: In the same year he starred in Beetlejuice, Michael Keaton revealed one of the first glimpses of his serious side with the acclaimed redemption drama Clean and Sober, which also stars Morgan Freeman as his no-nonsense drug counselor.
Birdman Or (The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance) (2014)
A former superhero movies star (Michael Keaton) tries to make a comeback by writing, producing, directing, and starring in a stage adaptation of an acclaimed novel, if not for constant behind-the-scenes mishaps and his own personal demons getting in the way.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: Surprisingly, Michael Keaton would not receive an Oscar nomination (and a Golden Globe win) until he played the lead of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Best Picture winner Birdman - a remarkable achievement in seamless visual storytelling and hilarious meta satire in which the actor also pokes fun at his own post-Batman career.
Pacific Heights (1990)
A couple (Melanie Griffith and Matthew Modine) rent out a bottom suite in their new San Francisco home to a seemingly well-meaning yuppie (Michael Keaton) who proves to be an unstoppable nightmare.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: In between his Batman movies, Michael Keaton showed that he can also be bad - really bad - in the intense thriller from Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger, Pacific Heights.
Night Shift (1982)
An overnight morgue attendant (Henry Winkler) and his fast-talking colleague (Michael Keaton) go into business with a kindly prostitute (Shelley Long) and her colleagues after their pimp is murdered.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: The film that first introduced moviegoers to the brazen comedic talents of Michael Keaton was Night Shift, an early hit from director Ron Howard in which the actor absolutely steals the show in the now iconic role of Bill Blazejowski.
My Life (1993)
After being diagnosed with kidney cancer, a man (Michael Keaton) prepares for his inevitable passing by making video tapes of various essential life lessons for his unborn child to see.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: A film that very effectively proved Michael Keaton’s ability to tug at your heart strings was My Life - an inspiring drama directed by Oscar-winner Bruce Joel Rubin and also starring Nicole Kidman.
The Paper (1994)
A New York City newspaper editor (Michael Keaton) struggles to balance big changes in his personal life with big changes in his professional life as news of a potentially groundbreaking story begins to dominate office conversations.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: In his third collaboration with director Ron Howard, Michael Keaton gives another wonderfully manic, yet relatable, performance as the lead of The Paper - an underrated and unusually fun film about journalism from the point of view of the press.
In the early 2000s, a team of investigative journalists working at the Boston Globe look into a sexual abuse case that eventually uncovers shocking evidence of a scandal kept hidden by the Catholic Church for decades.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: Michael Keaton has actually made a number of movies about the press and perhaps the most powerful of them all is Spotlight - a biographical depiction of a revealing Pulitzer Prize-winning article that became the actor’s second Best Picture Oscar-winner in a row.
An overworked husband and father (Michael Keaton) finds that the secret to his problems lies in cloning.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: Michael Keaton gives another compelling everyman performance in Multiplicity - a fun fantasy comedy directed by the late Harold Ramis which sounds kind of like what Mr. Mom might have ended up like if given a strange sci-fi twist.
Jackie Brown (1997)
A flight attendant (Pam Grier) agrees to be an FBI informant to avoid jail time for smuggling, which only puts her in more trouble with a ruthless drug dealer (Samuel L. Jackson).
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: Michael Keaton’s sole contribution to Quentin Tarantino movies (so far, I would hope) is his performance in Jackie Brown as ace federal agent Ray Nicolette - a character from several Elmore Leonard novels whom he would actually reprise in Steven Soderbergh’s Out of Sight the following year.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
As Andy is about to leave for college, Woody (Tom Hanks), Buzz (Tim Allen), and their fellow child’s playthings find themselves mistakenly brought to a daycare center and begin hatching a plan to escape.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: I would say that the best of Michael Keaton’s contributions to the Pixar movies so far is the clever tearjerker Toy Story 3, in which he lends his voice to a surprisingly perfect performance as Barbie’s boyfriend, Ken.
Game 6 (2005)
A Boston playwright (Michael Keaton) must choose between watching the Red Sox take on the Mets during a dire World Series game or being present for the opening of his latest show in 1986 New York.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: Years before starring as a playwright with a tortured ego in Birdman - which also happens to be deliciously meta show business commentary - Michael Keaton starred as a playwright with a tortured ego in Game 6 - which also happens to be quirky, unconventional sports movie and period piece with a stunning ensemble cast.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Peter Parker (Tom Holland) tries to balance his life as an average teen with being a friendly neighborhood superhero in hopes to appease his mentor, Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.).
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: It was hard to believe that the Vulture would be remembered as on the best Marvel movie villains until we saw Michael Keaton’s performance in Spider-Man: Homecoming as a man turning to crime for an otherwise admirable cause.
The Founder (2016)
A struggling milkshake spinner salesman (Michael Keaton) starts to see dollar signs when he comes across a popular burger joint that he aims to make into a franchise, despite the owners’ reluctance.
Why it is one of the best Michael Keaton movies: It is shocking to see the truth behind the rise of the McDonald’s fast food chain, especially through the eyes of Michael Keaton's character, Ray Kroc. But The Founder really stands out when it takes a left turn when Keaton's character finds success by heinously piggy-backing off the success of another.
If this list of the best Michael Keaton movies was not long enough, I have a good feeling it will be expanding pretty soon. The actor is returning to both of his acclaimed comic book roles two upcoming 2022 movies - Morbius as Adian Toomes and The Flash as an older iteration of the Burtonverse Batman.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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