Why So Serious?: Best Joker Actors of All Time, Ranked

Joaquin Phoenix's 'Joker' is the latest to hit the big screen. In celebration of Todd Phillips's new Joker movie, here are the best actors who played Joker.

Joker ranking
Complex Original

Image via Complex/Patso Dimitrov

Joker ranking

The DC Comics supervillain known simply as The Joker is without a doubt one of the greatest comic book supervillains ever. There's something about a figure, in clown make-up and purple suit, aimlessly wreaking havoc on Gotham City and being a thorn in Batman's side, mostly for the (demented) fun of it, has turned this menace into a bonafide icon in the world of villainy, with a number of actors stepping up to embody the spirit of the character.

On October 4, Warner Bros. released Joker, the Todd Phillips-directed film that found Arthur Fleck (played brilliantly by Joaquin Phoenix) breathing life into the mythos of the Joker, most importantly giving the Clown Prince of Crime something of an origin story—to the tune of $96 million(!) at the box office during its opening weekend.

While this might be the first time a full film was devoted to the Joker, this is far from the first time we've seen the Joker on screen. From the 1960s through today, the Joker has been featured in live-action and animated TV series and films (word to Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight and Jared Leto in Suicide Squad), but the question is: Who's the best Joker? Which is the worst? We've got you covered; here's our ranking of the best Jokers, ever.

9. Kevin Michael Richardson

Kevin Michael Richardson poses during the 2013 American Black Film Festival

8. Zach Galifianakis

Zach Galifianakis arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of 'The LEGO Batman Movie'

7. Jared Leto

Jared Leto as the Joker in 'Suicide Squad'

6. Cesar Romero

Cesar Romero as Joker in the 'Batman' television series

5. Joaquin Phoenix

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in 'Joker'

4. Mark Hamill

Actor Mark Hamill, the voice of the Joker attends Fan Expo Canada, 2016

3. Jack Nicholson

Jack Nicholson plays the Joker in the movie 'Batman'

2. Heath Ledger

Heath Ledger as the Joker in 'The Dark Knight'

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