Best Joker: Heath Ledger vs. Joaquin Phoenix

  • Published: 06 October 2019
  • Playing the Joker can take everything out of you, learn how Joaquin Phoenix transformed himself into the iconic character, right here!:

    The Joker... versus the Joker. Heath Ledger... versus Joaquin Phoenix. Two incredible actors … one role. Join WatchMojo as we pit the late, great Heath Ledger against living legend Joaquin Phoenix to see who gave us the superior big screen incarnation of iconic Batman villain, the Joker, from their portrayals in "The Dark Knight" (2008) and "Joker" (2019), respectively. Come along as we evaluate a wide-range of categories to determine which interpretation of the Clown Prince of Crime reigns supreme. Which Joker performance is your favorite? Let us know why in the comments below!

    Check out more awesome Joker content from WatchMojo below:
    Top 10 Reasons Joker Will Blow Your Mind:
    Top 10 Things You Need to Know About Joker (2019):
    Why Joaquin Phoenix Is Meant to Be the Joker:

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Comments • 12 796

  •   1 months back

    Learn how Joaquin Phoenix transformed himself into the Joker, right here!:

    • Scott Jamerson
      Scott Jamerson  2 hours back

      @Slick Sosig no

    • Scott Jamerson
      Scott Jamerson  1 days back

      @Curtis Tisberger So you don't go see movies in theaters? Do you rent movies from red box or do watch them on a streaming service? Do you'll up a copy off the web on a clandestine streaming service like cinema he or Putlocker? If you answered no to all those questions then you haven't seen the movie so why the fuck are you even here running you're fucking mouth about it then you bitch troll. and if ya answered yes to any of those questions I got news for ya braniac, then you too are supporting those same chomos and peds you speak of like you're right there, living in the heart of Hollywood itself. And guess what, even if you haven't seen the movie or any Hollywood produced film because following you're extremely limited logic then every movie produced by a Hollywood studios is supporting this den of peds and rapists, just you're presence here, on this thread , unwanted though it may be by everyone probbably, us also supporting those peds and rapis you speak of. It's called publicity. Advertising. You're in a chatroom on YouTube, owned by Google specifically dealing with these movies idiot. I really detest morons like you and I often times wish we all had a magic button we could use just once that would somehow make it. possible for 2 people to be magically transported to the same place so we could hash this out in person the old fashioned way because I don't suffer fools lightly and you, and make no mistake about this, are a fool

    • Scott Jamerson
      Scott Jamerson  1 days back

      @Ismael Rodriguez Really?because that's exactly how it is portrayed in the comics retard. of course it seems forced because it is. His voice is as much of his disguise as his mask and costume. fucking DUHHHHHH. I guess you prefer a Batman , who when in his final confrontation with the joker just casually strolls up behind him and in a leisurely almost casual voice Bruce Wayne might use when telling a house boy of histo fetch some more wine for his party ' ahh excuse me. By chance have you ever danced with the devil by the pale moonlight?" Now that's impressive. And just in case you hadn't noticed some of the shit Bale did with the character was brilliant. For starters, there's 3 characters he plays'. The Batman, the Bruce Wayne he projects to the public and the real Bruce Wayne. The guy he plays when he's having a conversation with Alfred or Lucious.. And there are dark psychological underpinnings at play in his performance as well. How, when he's in Batman mode, even if only in the company of someone like Lucious like when he unveiled the imaging system he created to find the joker, he stays in character even though he knows Lucious knows everything about him. That's somehow disturbing and only shows how smart and good of an actor Bale is. He didn't even want to play the part when it was offered to him because he told Nolan that the villains in these types of movies always tend to be the showier and funner parts to play not to mentioned more developed and well written so he asked Nolan if he could atleast attempt to make the part competitive with the villains and when Nolan agreed Bale came on board. And to his credit, during the Dark Knights best and only real scene with Ledger, the interrogation, Bale just kind of stands back and let's Ledger do his thing because he knew how strong Ledger's performance was and it was the right thing to do. At this point, looking back at that trilogy as a whole, there are very few people who don't , atleast in hindsight appreciate what Bake did with it & if you don't you're either very young or very dumb. Bale had to carry that entire trilogy on his back and he pulled it off and actually still had a career after it was over an where alot of actors would have been type cast for life after a trilogy if movies as successful as those were but instead he just went out and almost immediately won an Oscar .

    • Scott Jamerson
      Scott Jamerson  1 days back

      @Suicide Reaper No. This new Joker, if that's what you want to call it has not 1 fucking thing to do with Ledger's joker or any other part of the world Nolan created for Ledger's joker to inhabit. This is precisely why Nolan had a copyright infringement a pause worked into his contract with W.B.s basically saying that no future incarnations of Batman could use anything designed for his films like the batmobile, the bat, any of his accessories, the imaging system he created to find the joker etc .. and it also included any poryrayls if the characters as portrayed by the very top of the A list actors who portrayed them so , you see,not only would it be both creatively impossible but legally impossible for Phoenix's ' joker' to be a precursor to Ledger's joker. But beneath all that,& the reason, the real reason this entire debate is absolutely fucking pointless that anyone with even half a brain isn't bringing up is that Phoenix isn't playing the joker. He's playing a guy named Arthur Fleck. a fundamentally well intentioned but mentally Disturbed loser who just wants to fit into a society that fails him in every way eventually leading him to a Psychotic break that allows him to disassociate his humanity and let his mental see sickness to take over and kill a guy then after that seeeing the acceptance he gained from that 1 act of violence, the kind of acceptance he'd yearned for his whole life, he changes. He changes into something & someone he probbably never would have had he got the treatment and care that he should have but didn't. but the clown faced , dancing killer he de evolved into after his break is not the joker. I'm sorry but it's a fact. It's actually a good movie with a very good performance by Phoenix but what they did, & this reeks of desperation on the part of W.B.s as they allowed the director, Phillips to take & use the brand name of 1 of the most iconic villains in American pop culture history to attract the Batman demographic into going to see a movie that has not one fucking thing to do with the joker of the last 70 yrs but instead tell this story that is really just Phillips commentary on some of the very real problems we face as a society and the hypocrisy of some of the people that are supposedly running it. This movie wouldn't even exist were it not for Donald Trump being elected president. I like the movie & Phoenix should be proud of the work he did, but I'm telling you, this is not what it portrayed itself to be, the origin story of the joker. What it really is, is the origin story of the very real threat of another violent revolution in this country if there isn't some kind of financial revolution 1st because this 1 or 2 percenters in control of 98 percent of this country's money while the rest of us have to fight for the scraps from their table just ain't gonna work much longer and the billionaires are finally starting to get a little nervous as well they should be with an election 3 months away. It was after all, o e of this country's original revolutionaries who famously said " A little revolution is a good thing from time to time." That would be Benjamin Franklin.Thats why this movie was seen by some as being potentially dangerous because , depending on how you choose to look at it, it could most defenitely be construed as a type of not so subtle call to arms.

    • Avinash
      Avinash  1 days back

      When I think of joker laugh i remember the best joker i. E h20delirious

  • freddy herrera
    freddy herrera  47 minutes back

    Is 2 different jokers though. They are both not the same. U cant compare between the 2. One is joker and the other one is THE joker. Is very different. Do ur research right before u make a video.

    • Unstoppable times
      Unstoppable times  1 hours back

      Most dirtiest thing in this world is comparison.

      • ÖnîÖns Cut
        ÖnîÖns Cut  2 hours back


        *You can't compare teacher with student*

        • tanvir rahman
          tanvir rahman  2 hours back

          Let’s be honest Jared Leto was the best joker

          • James Jameson
            James Jameson  5 hours back

            Both incredible.
            Both in different times of the jokers’ life.
            They don’t need to be compared.
            And leto as joker.
            Not on my screen...

            • Thomas El Hage-Boutros
              Thomas El Hage-Boutros  5 hours back

              A stupid and nonsensical comparison IMO considering that each represent a different timeline of the joker’s character, one represents the fall of Arthur Fleck the other is a more experienced Joker who’s been around for a long time. They are totally different, they can’t be compared even through the most superficial details. I think this analysis is too shallow and superficial.

              • Tommy-Boi
                Tommy-Boi  6 hours back

                My favourite was Jack's! But Joaquin's Joker was a masterpiece <3 Oscar is callling!!

                • Alexis Vazquez
                  Alexis Vazquez  6 hours back

                  Can anyone explain why Jared Leto is considered the worst joker?

                  • The M
                    The M  6 hours back

                    I just think it is pointless to compare base on JOKER characteristic. ppl say this joker only kills those whom did wrong to him while Heath's Joker is more unpredictable and stuff. one has to think that, here you just see first year of the JOKER and his first 5kills, when Heath's JOKER is like, it is already few years after he gets the JOKER persona. You don't know , what this JOKER will do in 4 or 5 Years after this.
                    So comparing these two JOKER base on characters I feel never can be accurate

                    • Imran Khan
                      Imran Khan  7 hours back

                      Phoenix 💪💪💪💪💪💪💪👈👈👈👈👈👈👈

                      • Badreddine Setlia
                        Badreddine Setlia  7 hours back


                        • Matt B
                          Matt B  8 hours back

                          I think ledger is #1 and Phoenix is a very close 2nd.
                          Also if ledger didn’t od Phoenix wouldn’t have gotten the role

                          • DELANEY GREENE-GRETZINGER

                            Ledgers laugh draws goosebumps and is natural and unforced. Don’t think their laughs should be compared though as they are two different excellent performances very different

                            • ToddlerTab •
                              ToddlerTab •  10 hours back

                              RIP Heath Ledger. Best joker that ever existed.

                              • Razer Blade
                                Razer Blade  11 hours back

                                Heath's Joker was A comic character, Phoenix's Joker was a real human being

                                • Adnan Akbar
                                  Adnan Akbar  12 hours back

                                  I felt Phoenix was trying to overcompensate. Overacting more like it. Reminded me of shitty BollyWood movies.

                                  • Jollyproductions
                                    Jollyproductions  12 hours back

                                    Ledger’s joker worked to actively change society’s perspective on itself, whereas Phoenix’s joker really just wanted to show society just what kind of people it produces.

                                    Same spectrum of motivation, completely different strategies and ideas.

                                    • Ingrid rodriguez
                                      Ingrid rodriguez  13 hours back

                                      Phoenix is the winner that’s why he’s movie 🎥 is now making trillions of dollars internationally, making it the highest Pay 💰 R rated movie.

                                      • Ingrid rodriguez
                                        Ingrid rodriguez  13 hours back

                                        Joaquin joker is epic.

                                        • F8thful Gam3r
                                          F8thful Gam3r  14 hours back

                                          Phoenix is the winner in my book for one reason. Character evolution. He took on a feat that no other joker actor had done before. He showed the evolution of a rather mild mannered, average man with a mental disability, into a sinister comic icon villain. Jack Nicholson didn’t have to do this. He went from gangster to Joker by falling in a vat of chemicals. No journey. And Ledger started the whole movie as Joker.
                                          Both actors did exquisite/masterful performances as the clown prince of crime, but the unprecedented evolution of man to villain is what makes Phoenix the winner for me.

                                          • Diane Rodriguez
                                            Diane Rodriguez  14 hours back

                                            A total waste of time watching this stupid video.

                                            • kempmt1
                                              kempmt1  14 hours back

                                              Heath Ledger is still my favorite Joker, but Mark Hamill still has the best Joker voice

                                              • Citizenfourteen
                                                Citizenfourteen  14 hours back

                                                Both of them were amazing, but I would still pick Heath as the greatest ever

                                                • Ahmed Ezz
                                                  Ahmed Ezz  14 hours back

                                                  actually i did't understand a lot of your speak in this video because my English is not well yet and i still study to improve my English but i prefer heath ledger joker than phoenix joker

                                                  • KUNAL SONI
                                                    KUNAL SONI  15 hours back

                                                    Both joker cannot be compared
                                                    Both the actors have played their role Amazingly

                                                    • Bring red hair mochi back

                                                      I don't want to be hated on I love both actors, both of them are legends.. But Joaquin got me a little bit more in the movie😭

                                                      • Denis G
                                                        Denis G  16 hours back

                                                        Hey everyone! just let me throw in few words to what ya all already said! I came to love Joker when I first saw The Dark Knight and since then I'm really obsessed by this absolutely incredible villain, not the most powerful but arguably the most unpredictable, stylish, shrewd, intelligent, ruthless, freacking gentleman that makes u whisper his name, respect, feel whatever u feel but feel, brings deepest emotion in you , makes you take in and break down each his phrase, each motion!!! And all of it just crumbles to the ground like a void after watching Joker 2019! Sorry guys but how it could turn out that Joker is just a hollow Clown!!! Pennywise is a clown, but how Joker could have had this background, are you kidding me?! Joker is the Joker and not a damn clown or a Joke! What's with all these chicken dances, feelings,movements and chicken notes in his intonation! I guess Heath would never play the character like this-never ever!Sorry but this Joker(2019) is nothing but a fake!

                                                        • Océe 100
                                                          Océe 100  16 hours back

                                                          Heath ledger a vie!

                                                          • Johnny Bread
                                                            Johnny Bread  17 hours back

                                                            Some say Heath and some say Joaquin is the best clown

                                                            But deep down inside we all know you’re the real clown for thinking someone loves you.

                                                            • DrivingOutlet
                                                              DrivingOutlet  18 hours back

                                                              They are both equally incredible. Phoenix mastered the origins and ledger mastered the prime joker.

                                                              • Aslam Chaus
                                                                Aslam Chaus  19 hours back

                                                                Heath Ledger is the best actor all of jokers Hahahahahahahaha No Joaquin Phoenix

                                                                • Aslam Chaus
                                                                  Aslam Chaus  16 hours back

                                                                  Heath Ledger forever

                                                                • Aslam Chaus
                                                                  Aslam Chaus  16 hours back

                                                                  @Ashik Srb Heath Ledger Lock himself in a for 44days to be a better joker did Joaquin Phoenix did this.... all In people beat Joaquin Phoenix ......
                                                                  And Heath Ledger will blast everyone hahahahahaha

                                                                • Ashik Srb
                                                                  Ashik Srb  18 hours back

                                                                  Hey... J, pheonix is better than h, ledger

                                                              • MrPOWERSs
                                                                MrPOWERSs  20 hours back

                                                                You can’t compare two immortals when they’re already awesome.

                                                                • Jason Taylor
                                                                  Jason Taylor  20 hours back

                                                                  MrPOWERSs I know. Heath would have clearly done a better job but

                                                              • Draxx Them Sklounst
                                                                Draxx Them Sklounst  22 hours back

                                                                Pheonix was incredible. Absolutely incredible. But Heath was still better. Heath murdered the role. It's rediculous how good his acting was.

                                                                Btw, Jack was terrible as the joker.

                                                                • DANDAZE
                                                                  DANDAZE  1 days back

                                                                  Both brilliant actors and both played the joker to perfection.

                                                                • The one and only
                                                                  The one and only  1 days back

                                                                  Heath ledger

                                                                  • Tote
                                                                    Tote  1 days back

                                                                    I didn't like the Joker movie but you can't deny that Phoenix was a beast.

                                                                    • Victorix
                                                                      Victorix  1 days back

                                                                      you can't compare them, they are completely different characters

                                                                      • bobby b
                                                                        bobby b  1 days back

                                                                        you can't compare them , this is not the same set of time period. Joaquin Phoenix play Joker birth , Heath Ledger a joker already mean.And I think they were both good.

                                                                        • Thick Boi
                                                                          Thick Boi  1 days back

                                                                          Ledger=Realistic joker
                                                                          Phoenix=Reality joker

                                                                          • Armdesign
                                                                            Armdesign  1 days back

                                                                            You are trying compare joker's past against his future character. Do you think that makes sense?

                                                                            • Smile :D
                                                                              Smile :D  1 days back

                                                                              Леджер лучший навсегда

                                                                              • Dan 2000
                                                                                Dan 2000  2 days back

                                                                                After I saw this video couple years back walking Phoenix wins 100% Joaquin Phoenix made his own character Heath Ledger took his character from this artist

                                                                                • The Bit Gamer 2
                                                                                  The Bit Gamer 2  2 days back

                                                                                  No matter what, this video is going to make some people mad

                                                                                  • lutfi dandy
                                                                                    lutfi dandy  2 days back

                                                                                    heath ledger still better

                                                                                    • Sploosh ツ
                                                                                      Sploosh ツ  2 days back

                                                                                      These men are both perfect for "Joker" let's be real here, in my eyes I think it's a tie because these two actors take "Joker" so seriously. (no pun intended)

                                                                                      • Denroy Taylor
                                                                                        Denroy Taylor  2 days back

                                                                                        1:00 is she colour blind, she just called his suit "purple"