Batman Begins is a 2005 superhero film based on the fictional DC Comics character Batman, co-written and directed by Christopher Nolan and starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, Katie Holmes, Gary Oldman, Cillian Murphy, Tom Wilkinson, Rutger Hauer, with Ken Watanabe and Morgan Freeman. The film reboots the Batman film series, telling the origin story of the title character (Bale), from his alter ego Bruce Wayne's initial fear of bats, the death of his parents, his journey to become Batman, and his fight to stop Ra's al Ghul (Neeson) and the terrifying Scarecrow (Murphy) from vaporizing the tainted water supply of Gotham City with a fear-inducing drug causing mass hysteria and violence, destroying the city in the process. It draws inspiration from classic comic book storylines such as The Man Who Falls, Batman: Year One, and Batman: The Long Halloween.
After a series of unsuccessful projects to resurrect Batman on screen following the critical failure and box office disappointment of Batman & Robin (1997), Nolan and David S. Goyer began to work on the film in early 2003 and aimed for a darker and more realistic tone, with humanity and realism being the basis of the film. The goal was to get the audience to care for both Batman and Bruce Wayne. The film, which was primarily shot in Iceland and Chicago, relied on traditional stunts and miniatures – computer-generated imagery was used minimally.
Batman Begins opened on June 17, 2005, in the United States and Canada in 3,858 theaters. It grossed over $48 million in its opening weekend in North America, eventually grossing over $374 million worldwide. The film received positive reviews and is considered by many to be one of the best superhero films of its decade. Critics noted that fear was a common motif throughout the film, and welcomed the film's darker tone compared with previous Batman adaptations.
Batman Begins was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and three BAFTA awards. It is followed by The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) in a continual story-arc, which has later been referred to as The Dark Knight Trilogy.
As a child, Bruce Wayne falls down a dry well, where he is attacked by a swarm of bats; he subsequently develops chiroptophobia. While watching an opera with his parents, Bruce is frightened by performers masquerading as bats, and asks to leave. Outside, the family is targeted by a mugger, Joe Chill, who murders Bruce's parents, leaving him to be raised by the family butler, Alfred Pennyworth.