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Gotham Cathedral (Burton Films)

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Gotham Cathedral
General Information
Official name: Gotham Cathedral
Created by: Anton Furst
Tim Burton
First Appearance: Batman
Country: United States
Locale: Gotham City

The Gotham Cathedral is a monolithic cathedral that stands more than 800 feet from the ground. Once intended to be the spiritual center of the city, the Cathedral has since fallen into ruin as the city itself has fallen into corruption and decay.

With stone gargoyles and tolling bells watching over Gotham from its towers; designed conceptually to keep evil at bay, the Cathedral easily dwarfs the surrounding buildings of Gotham.
Located at the end of Broad Avenue, the Cathedral became the site of the final confrontation between Batman and The Joker.


Batman also pursued Joker up the stairway of Gotham Cathedral to rescue his lover Vicki Vale as well as avenge his parents death. An ensuing battle resulted in serious damage to the Cathedral's steps and belfry and saw the deaths of The Joker and many of his Goons.


Screen Caps

Behind the scenes

Behind the scenes

Background Information and Notes

"I basically stretched Gaudi into a skyscraper and added a castle feel which was especially influenced by the look of the Japanese fortress."
―Anton Furst
Gotham cathedral

The Cathedral was a key dramatic device in the film and was called the "establishing part of the city" by Anton Furst.
The challenge in its design was to create a cathedral which was taller than the tallest skyscraper and still make it credible, with its design intending to be over 1,000 feet (300 metres) high. Furst found inspiration in the knowledge that some of the 1930s skyscrapers in New York produced a cathedral effect by means of Gothic detail. Furst also found inspiration in the works of Spanish architect Gaudi; who is best known for his cone-shaped cathedral in Barcelona.
The top deck of the Cathedral is strongly evocative of Hitchcock's house, a favourite image of Tim Burton's.

Because filming in and around the Cathedral was complicated, full-size set-pieces were built on both the outside lot and the studio to represent the top and bottom of the building, while two other scales were employed to construct the length in between.


The Cathedral became such a popular location and a recognized Batman landmark that the building was inserted into the comic books and other Batman media.

The Cathedral bells are also used as a noted sound related to Batman's presence; most notably described in the Return of Bruce Wayne comic event.


  • As with the other landmarks depicted in Batman (1989), the Cathedral is not seen in Batman Returns in spite being set in the same city.
  • It was rumored that the Cathedral was a place of comfort for Bruce in the failed Batman film Batman Triumphant.
  • The Cathedral is mentioned in the Batman (1989) novelisation as being 800 feet tall, which would make it the tallest cathedral in the world.
  • Batman witnessed the mugging of Harold by Nick and Eddie at the film's beginning from the Cathedral's balcony.

In Other Media

LEGO Batman: The Videogame

Gotham Cathederal makes an appearance in the Joker story of LEGO Batman: The Videogame. The Joker and his group plan to fill the cathederal with Joker Gas and blow it up to flood Gotham with the gas.

Batman: Arkham City

The Cathedral later reappeared in the 2011 video game Batman: Arkham City. In it, the Cathedral was one of the locations placed within Arkham City. It was converted into a medical center, which was also where the Joker's gang, led by Harley Quinn, had kept medics as well as former members of the Arkham Asylum Security Force hostage. Joker also utilized one of his "mannequins" to man a sniper rifle in an attempt to assassinate Catwoman at the highest room in the tallest tower. Batman freed the hostages to track down the Joker so he could interrogate him about Protocol 10, as he was believed to be working with Dr. Hugo Strange. However, Joker anticipated this possibility and rigged the top of the cathedral to explode, with Batman just barely escaping the explosion. The Riddler later invaded the cathedral to kidnap the medics and the former Arkham Asylum Security Force as part of his revenge plot to Batman for his earlier defeat in Joker's takeover of Arkham Asylum. Eventually, Batman defeated the Riddler and the medical staff was safe inside the church. Vicki Vale later interviewed a recently incarcerated and demoted Mayor Quincy Sharp in regards to Arkham City.

Batman: Arkham Origins

In the prequel to Arkham City, the Church was used by Black Mask as a home to his drug operations after Joker took over the Steel Mill. After destroying various drug canisters across the city, Batman defeated his armed thugs inside the Church, and later on, he captured Sionis when the latter confronted him in the church and left him to be taken in by the GCPD.

DC Universe Online

See: Cathedral Square

The Cathedral appears in the massive multiplayer online game DC Universe Online as a visitable location in the Old Gotham District.

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