Every Joker Movie Performance EVER Ranked From Worst To Best

How does Joaquin Phoenix stack up?

The Joker Joaquin Phoenix The Dark Knight Heath Ledger Suicide Squad Jared Leto
Warner Bros.

On the eve of Suicide Squad's release, Jared Leto famously referred to the role of The Joker as akin to Hamlet - an iconic role which begs to be inhabited dozens of different ways by a unique and diverse array of actors.

And fans of the iconic supervillain have most certainly been cinematically spoiled over the decades, with the antagonist receiving more big-screen attention than any other comic book antagonist in history.

It's with good reason, of course - The Joker's startling appearance, playful sense of villainy and typically ambiguous origins have presented actors with a rich sandbox in which to play.

And so, despite how easily one could appear to dismiss The Joker as a "silly" character, of the five actors to play him in a live-action movie, three of them are Oscar winners - one for this very role, no less.

It's an embarrassment of riches, honestly, and between the seven actors who have portrayed the character in a theatrically-released movie, whether live-action or animated, there's only a single performance that didn't quite work.

But before our list of card-carrying (sorry!) movie Jokers kicks off, we should probably pay tribute to the man without whom the Clown Prince of Crime wouldn't even exist, at least as we know him...

Honourable Mention: Conrad Veidt (The Man Who Laughs)

Conraid Veidt The Man Who Laughs

The original design for The Joker was influenced by German actor Conrad Veidt's role in the 1928 silent romantic drama The Man Who Laughs.

Veidt played Gwynplaine, a disfigured young man with a smile permanently plastered across his face, who ultimately joins a traveling circus under the moniker The Laughing Man.

Veidt's influence on The Joker is largely aesthetic rather than thematic - Gwynplaine is no agent of chaos - with most of the facial hallmarks of the character's eventual look present in abundance.

Veidt's performance is of course very different to any real movie Joker - being silent, above all else - but as a prelude to the character's now 80-year legacy, it's well worth checking out.

And with that in mind, on with the rankings...

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Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.