Batman: Year One is a 2011 animated superhero film based on the four-issue story arc Batman: Year One printed in 1987. It premiered at Comic-Con on July 22 and was officially released October 18, 2011. The film was directed by Lauren Montgomery and Sam Liu. It is the 12th film released under the DC Universe Animated Original Movies banner and was released on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital copy.
Bruce Wayne returns home to Gotham City from training abroad in martial arts, man-hunting, and science for the past 12 years, and James Gordon moves to Gotham with his pregnant wife, Barbara, after a transfer from Chicago. Both are swiftly acquainted with the corruption and violence of Gotham City, with Gordon witnessing his partner Detective Flass assaulting a teen for fun.
On a surveillance mission in the seedy East End, a disguised Wayne is propositioned by teenage prostitute Holly Robinson. He is drawn into a brawl with her pimp and several prostitutes, including dominatrix Selina Kyle. One of the two reporting police officers shoot him without provocation and take him in their squad car, but a dazed and bleeding Bruce maneuvers his handcuffed hands in front of himself, and demands the police get out. The cops try to subdue him, but the ensuing struggle causes the police car to careen out of control, and flips. Bruce flees, but not before dragging the police to a safe distance. He reaches Wayne Manor barely alive and sits before his father’s bust, requesting guidance in his war on crime. A bat crashes through a window and settles on the bust, giving him inspiration.
Gordon works to rid corruption from the force, but on orders from Commissioner Gillian Loeb, several officers attack him, including Flass, who threatens Gordon’s pregnant wife. In revenge, Gordon tracks Flass down, beats and humiliates him, leaving him naked and handcuffed in the snow.
As Gordon becomes a minor celebrity for several brave acts, Batman strikes for the first time, attacking a group of thieves. Batman soon works up the ladder, even attacking Flass while he was accepting a bribe. After Batman interrupts a dinner party attended by many of Gotham’s corrupt politicians and crime bosses, including Carmine "The Roman" Falcone, Loeb orders Gordon to bring him in by any means necessary.
As Gordon tries in vain to catch him, Batman attacks Falcone, stripping him naked and tying him up in his bed after dumping his car in the river. Assistant district attorney Harvey Dent becomes Batman’s first ally.
Detective Sarah Essen suggests Wayne as a Batman suspect and she and Gordon witness Batman save an old woman from a runaway truck. Essen holds Batman at gunpoint, but Batman disarms her and flees to an abandoned building. Loeb fraudulently orders a bomb dropped on it, forcing Batman into the fortified basement. A trigger-happy SWAT team led by Branden is sent in, whom Batman attempts to trap in the basement. Branden manages to climb out of the trap through a collapsed chimney, and joins in the gun battle. Enraged as the team’s careless gunfire injures several people outside, Batman beats the team into submission. Using a device to attract the bats of his cave, Batman escapes amid the chaos. Selina Kyle, after witnessing him in action, dons a costume of her own to begin the life as costumed thief Catwoman.
Gordon has a brief affair with Essen, while Batman intimidates a drug dealer for information. The dealer goes to Gordon to testify against Flass, who is brought up on charges. Loeb blackmails Gordon with proof of his affair against pressing charges. After taking Barbara with him to investigate Wayne's connection to Batman, Gordon confesses the affair to her.
Batman sneaks into Falcone’s manor and overhears a plan against Gordon but is interrupted when Catwoman, hoping to build a reputation after her robberies were pinned on Batman, attacks Falcone and his bodyguards, aided by Batman. Identifying Falcone’s plan as the morning comes, the un-costumed Bruce leaves to help Gordon.
Gordon tries to rebuild the relationships with his family after Essen leaves Gotham. While leaving home, Gordon spots a motorcyclist enter his garage. Suspicious, Gordon enters to see Johnny Vitti (Falcone’s nephew) and his thugs holding his family hostage. Gordon realizes if he lets them go they will most likely kill his wife and son. So Gordon shoots the thugs and chases Vitti, who has fled with the baby. Bruce Wayne, on a motorcycle, also rushes to chase Vitti. Gordon blows out Vitti's car tire on a bridge and the two fight, with Gordon losing his glasses, before Vitti and James Gordon Jr. fall over the side. Bruce leaps over the railing and saves the baby. Gordon realizes that he is standing before an unmasked Batman, but says that he is "practically blind without [his] glasses," and lets Bruce go.
Gordon and his wife start attending marriage counseling, and he ends with a final monologue: "It turns out that Flass is smarter than he looks, took notes on every little talk he had with Loeb" ... "there's a real panic on, somebody has threatened to poison the Gotham reservoir. Calls himself "The Joker." Got a friend coming, who might be able to help. Should be here any minute." Gordon is standing on a rooftop, implying that his "friend" is Batman.
- Benjamin McKenzie as Bruce Wayne / Batman
- Eliza Dushku as Selina Kyle / Catwoman
- Bryan Cranston as Lieutenant James Gordon
- Katee Sackhoff as Detective Sarah Essen
- Alex Rocco as Carmine Falcone
- Jon Polito as Commissioner Gillian B. Loeb
- Jeff Bennett as Alfred Pennyworth
- Grey DeLisle as Barbara Eileen-Gordon
- Keith Ferguson as Jefferson Skeevers
- Danny Jacobs as Flass's Attorney
- Nick Jameson as Officer Stanley "Stan" Merkel
- Liliana Mumy as Holly Robinson
- Robin Atkin Downes as Harvey Dent
- Pat Musick as Louisa Falcone
- Stephen Root as Lt. Brendan
- Fred Tatasciore as Detective Arnold John Flass