A Comprehensive Look Back At Michael Keaton’s 1980s Cinematic Mastery

As an ’80s baby, Michael Keaton was a big star when cycling through films on Betamax or rented VHS from the neighborhood West Coast Video. Sure Batman and Beetlejuice were staples in the movie watching diet, but so were some of Keaton’s more enjoyable ’80s films like Mr. Mom and Gung Ho.

Keaton’s cinematic accession to Best Actor nominee began in the early ’70s with appearances on Mister Rodger’s Neighborhood. After giving stand-up comedy a try, he decided that it would behoove him to try his hand at acting. Following a string of comedy hits throughout the ’80s, he became a major cinematic star when he teamed up with Tim Burton at the end of the decade to create two iconic films: Beetlejuice and Batman.

The brilliant Keaton is a heavy favorite to snag Best Actor at the Oscars this year. Let’s take a cinematic journey through the former Bruce Wayne’s ’80s playbook in reverence of his storied career…

Night Shift (1982)

Michael Keaton started off the decade as a parole officer in the failed TV series Report to Murphy. His next gig, however, would be his first feature film role in Ron Howard’s Night Shift. Keaton garnered attention for his performance, and the film was a launching pad for his soon to be successful career.

Critic: “Reality would catch up a lot sooner were it not for the antics of Mr. Keaton, who is making his memorable screen debut. Mr. Keaton is former improvisatory comedian whose timing is as good as his gags and who doesn’t miss a beat when he is sparring with Mr. (Henry) Winkler.” Janet Maslin, New York Times

Keaton Quote: “The character I invented was a combination of some people I knew and some things I made up, and afterward there [were other projects and offers] that would have meant trying to repeat that over and over, to be the ‘glib young man,’ whatever that is, but that held no interest for me.” Los Angeles Times

Mr. Mom (1983)

Keaton eased into his leading man potential with this 1983 film that made it okay to be on fun-employment. His character, Jack, takes over the household duties when he gets laid off from his job. Christopher Lloyd and Jeffrey Tambor also pop up in this John Hughes-scripted comedy.