Joker has been introduced to the world for the first time in 1940 in a DC's Batman comic book. And of all the villains in the superhero movies, he has always earned a top spot on Hollywood's favourite list. Directors keep making this character darker and darker over time but always put him into the same universe as Batman. Joker (2019) is the first (and maybe the only) movie of the Clown Prince of Crime without the appearance of the fully grown caped crusader.

Despite all the controversies Warner Bros' newest rated R movie has created, Joker is still able to set a new record at the October box office, regenerating a revenue of more than $540 million worldwide. Recently in an interview, director Todd Phillips has revealed the five influences of his darker interpretation of Batman's greatest villain. They are, according to Phillips, necessary for fans to watch if they are really want to understand the realistic version of Joaquin Phoenix's Joker. Surprisingly, you won't see a Batman movie on this list.

JOKER - Final trailer

The Man Who Laughs

As an adaptation of Victor Hugo's novel, The Man Who Laughs tells a story about Gwynplaine (Conrad Veidt), a man who was disfigured with a permanent smirk on his face when he was only a child as a sentence for the sins of his noble father. Years later, he became the Laughing man, the freak show star of a traveling carnival.

Joker1
Conrad Veidt's Gwynplaine in The Man Who Laughs (1928) and Joker's first appearance.

The original DC's comic books on Joker are clearly inspired by this 1928 American silent romantic drama film, especially Conrad Veidt's Gwynplaine. The interesting thing is, although this is a well-known inspiration for the creators of the Joker, director Todd Phillips and his co-screenwriter Scott Silver have no idea about that when they're working on the movie.

"Believe it or not, as silly as that sounds," Phillips admitted. "I think you have to start with The Man Who Laughs, which is a silent film that really was a huge inspiration for us and oddly was a huge inspiration for the original creators of Joker."

The King of Comedy

This psychological satirical black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese came out in 1983 and is a huge inspiration for Todd Phillips' interpretation of Joker. The movie is about Rupert Pupkin (Robert De Niro), who always wants to be a comedian, despite the fact that he is not funny at all. Being a guest on the late-night talk show of Jerry Landford is his dream. He continuously attempts to get a spot on the show, and of course, he gets rejected all the time. As an act of desperation, Rupert Pupkin decides to kidnap Jerry Landford and demands an appearance on his show as ransom.

Joker2
De Niro's Rupert Pupkin in The King of Comedy (1983)

According to Todd Phillips, his Joker is not directly a remake of The King of Comedy with the lead character is Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck. The movie embraces on a story of a delusional man who cannot tell illusion from reality, and that all the severe consequences from his violence are the result of a tragically disturbed mind. "In the end, all that horror was hilarious.", Phillips added.

Modern Times

Charlie Chaplin's 1936 movie follows Little Tramp, who is trying to get a job in an industrial era. After going through a series of jobs, he has been mistakenly taken into jail, and he eventually finds that place is more pleasant and appealing than the world outside.

Joker3
Modern Times' reference in Joker.

You may have noticed this clear inspiration for Joker from the moment its trailers released. Despite the difference in those two movies' genres, Charlie Chaplin's Tramp and Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck have a lot in common: they are both social outcasts, struggling every day to get a life in a desperate society. "I think you'd have to watch Modern Times because we believe there is some Chaplin in Arthur that I think is really important," Phillips emphasized.

Dog Day Afternoon

The movie is set on August 22, 1972, and follows two ne'er-do-wells named Sonny and Sal. They have a plan to rob the First Brooklyn Savings Bank to pay for the operation of Sonny's lover, which unfortunately turns into a hostage situation and a media circus. With the ingenious creativity of Sidney Lumet, Dog Day Afternoon wonderfully illustrates the atmosphere of the Big Apple, later leading to the classic scene where Sonny rants "Attica!" towards the NYPD. Check it out at the video right below:

Dog Day Afternoon - Attica!

This 1975 iconic drama is listed for a reason: both Sidney Lumet's Dog Day Afternoon and Phillips' Joker tell its own story in favor of the villain, or "because of how the anti-heroes become embraced," as Phillips mentioned.

Taxi Driver

Martin Scorsese's 1976 drama takes place in New York City, where Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro), a depressed 26-year-old veteran, works as a night shift taxi driver. Later onto the movie, Travis feels disgusted by the people he faces every day on Manhattan's night streets, and yet they fuel his urge for violence to "clean up" the hellhole.

Joker4
Taxi Driver (1976) was directed by Martin Scorsese

Just like his The King of Comedy, Taxi Driver is also about an unstable and broken man whose desperation boils over when he thinks that people start to reject him. Besides the similarities between Arthur Fleck and Travis Bickle, the grimy hopelessness of Gotham City in Joker is definitely inspired by the infernal portrayal of New York City in Taxi Driver.

Joker5
Joaquin Phoenix's Joker keeps smashing records in the October box office.

More than 10 years from the masterpiece The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan and the phenomenon performance of talented actor Heath Ledger, DC fans seem to finally get to see their desired Clown Prince of Crime on the big screen for another time. With more than $540 million worldwide gross at the moment, some even think about this movie to reach 1-billion-mark in the next few weeks. Honestly, with the outstanding, mesmerizing Joker's portrayal by Joaquin Phoenix, DC fans could rightfully expect that to be possible. Eventually, we all deserve an Oscar-worthy superhero title from the beginning of this era.