- "Oh, you're beautiful...in an old-fashioned kind of way. But I'm sure we can make you more today?"
- ―The Joker upon seeing Vicki in person at the museum for the first time[src]
Vicki Vale is an acclaimed photojournalist who agreed work for the Gotham Globe, with Alexander Knox about his giant bat story. While she attempted to uncover the secret of the mysterious Batman and inadvertently became the object of obsession for the Joker.
Corto Maltese Revolution
Vicki spent several weeks photographing the aftermath of the Corto Maltese Revolution.
Pursing the Batman
Vicki joined the Gotham Globe where she teamed up with reporter Alexander Knox to track down the mysterious Batman. Vicki invited Alexander as her "plus one" for Bruce Wayne's charity benefit at Wayne Manor in the hope that they might get a lead on the existence of Batman from one of the guests, particularly Commissioner James Gordon, and did not suspect that their host for the night was, in fact, Batman.
Vicki and Alexander found themselves lost inside the cavernous Wayne Manor, and eventually ended up in Bruce's Armory. Unbeknownst to Vicki and Alexander, a bemused Bruce quietly followed them as they made several snide comments about his armory collection. Bruce then introduced himself to a surprised Vicki, who had told her during the party earlier that he didn't know who Bruce Wayne was.
Bruce then asked Vicki out on a dinner date. During dinner at Wayne Manor, the two had trouble communicating as they each sat at the end of an incredibly long dining table. When Vicki asked if he liked eating in there, Bruce admitted that he had never been in the room before. He then suggested that they have dinner somewhere else, which Vicki gladly accepted. The two were later seen in a cozier room with Alfred Pennyworth, who told them stories about Bruce. After Alfred left, Vicki expressed her affection for Alfred, who reminded her of her grandfather and similar memories at another house. Vicki then admitted that she found it hard to associate Bruce with some of the objects that he possessed. Afterward, a "little drunk", amorous Vicki walked with Bruce up a flight of stairs, and she staggered and started to take off her shoes. Bruce, a little tipsy too, took off her other shoe and kissed her passionately. The two then went to bed together, with Vicki completely asleep and Bruce sleepless. Vicki awoke in the middle of the night and saw Bruce training by hanging upside down (like a bat). Vicki then started to have feelings for Bruce. However, in order to keep Vicki at a distance, Bruce lied and told her he was leaving town. Feeling brushed off, Vicki became upset with Bruce and his secrecy. Vicki decided to follow him and her tailing lead up to an alley, where Bruce stopped and placed two roses in a precise point in the road. Meanwhile, the Joker discovered Vicki and developed an obsession with her. He arranged a fake date for Vicki at the Flugelheim Museum, in which Vicki thought that Bruce had made the date. After she arrived, the Joker murdered all of the patrons except for Vicki, who was given a gas mask beforehand. After Vicki rejected the Joker's advances, Batman crashed in, rescued her, and they escaped in the Batmobile while Joker's Goons chased after them in their two cars.
During the ensuing fight between Batman and the Joker's henchmen, Vicki took pictures of Batman with her camera and put the film in her bra. Afterwards, Batman took her to the Batcave in the Batmobile where he gave her information to give to the press about the Joker's Smylex, which were chemically altered cosmetic products that caused the wearers to laugh hysterically until death, where they were left with ghastly grins on their faces. As Batman explained that to her, Vicki tried to get a closer look at his face, but he managed to avoid letting her get too good a glimpse. Vicki realized that Batman could have sent the information about Smylex to the press himself and suspected that there was something else that he wanted. When she asked Batman about that, he admitted that there was something else that he wanted. When Vicki asked what that was, Batman pulled her into an embrace and sedated her with sleeping gas, which caused her to fall unconscious. Vicki awoke the next morning in her bed at her apartment. After she felt her chest, Vicki realized that Batman had taken the film (which possibly had a picture of him unmasked) while she was unconscious.
Later, Bruce tried to reconcile with Vicki at her apartment. Bruce decided to tell her the truth about his dual life; however, the Joker arrived and shot Bruce when he tried to fight him. The Joker left, was upset by Vicki's "betrayal", and Vicki discovered that Bruce had blocked the bullet by using a decorative silver tray. She eventually learned of the alley where Bruce went before: It was the site of his parents' murder. As Knox showed and discussed archives from the Globe, she had sudden realization of Bruce's secret.
In the Batcave, Bruce became obsessed with stopping the Joker, and believed him to be the murderer of his parents. Vicki convinced Alfred to let her see Bruce while working in the cave, with the hopes that she could convince Bruce that he didn't need to be Batman. They both admitted that they did love each other, before Bruce changed into the Batsuit, took off in the Batmobile, and destroyed the Joker's hideout: Axis Chemicals.
During that time, the Joker began to attract Gotham's citizen to Gotham's 200th Anniversary Parade, with promises of millions of dollars in cash.
Batman used the Batwing and safely removed the balloons. The Joker then took Vicki hostage and forced her to the top of the Gotham Cathedral. Batman followed them to the top, and fought off three of Joker's Goons, while Vicki used her feminine wiles to supposedly seduce the Joker in order to buy time for Batman. The Joker pulled both Batman and Vicki off of the Gotham Cathedral ledge. As they barely hung on, the Joker tried to escape via the his Helicopter, but Batman wrapped his grapple around his ankle and connected it to a stone gargoyle. The weight of the gargoyle pulled the Joker down to the streets below, and killed him on impact.
As Gotham lighted the Batsignal for the first time, Vicki said good-bye to Alexander. Alfred waited for Vicki, and told her that Master Bruce might be "a little late", in which she replied: "I'm not a bit surprised".
During a conversation between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, Bruce mentions that Vicki ended their relationship because ultimately she could not accept his dual life. She is also mentioned flippantly when Bruce reminds Alfred of him letting her into the Batcave.
Behind the scenes
- Sean Young was originally cast as Vicki Vale, but was injured in a horse-riding accident prior to commencement of filming. Tim Burton suggested replacing Young with Michelle Pfeiffer but Keaton, who was in a relationship with Pfeiffer, believed it would be too awkward. She went on to portray Catwoman in Batman Returns. Young's departure necessitated an urgent search for an actress who, besides being right for the part, could commit to the film at very short notice. Producer Jon Peters suggested Kim Basinger: she was able to join the production immediately and was cast.
- Originally in the climax, the Joker was to kill Vicki, sending Batman into a vengeful fury.