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"I'm putting the word out. Five hundred grand for this clown dead; a million alive, so I can teach him some manners first."

Gambol's death.

Gambol was Gotham City's African-American mob boss. His personality was very arrogant, impatient, tough, and confrontational. Although wealthy, Gambol consistently wore fancy suits and professional attire, as he dressed like a well-off businessman. He is an enemy of the Joker throughout the film, and he foolishly believes that he can beat him. He was used to being in charge and powerful. This, coupled with his arrogance, helps to lead to his ironic downfall.


Gambol's gang was at a turf-war with the Italian mob, led by Sal Maroni, and the Chechen mafia, led by The Chechen. Since the arrival of Batman, Gambol had made a truce with Maroni and the Chechen, and formed an alliance with the other crime families as Batman had become a threat.

He acquired an immediate hatred of the Joker, who arrived unannounced to a business meeting between the mob and repeatedly insulted him. Gambol was also displeased with the fact that the Joker stole money from the mob's bank, with his anger rising when the latter implied that he used the stolen money to create his "cheap" suit. The Joker also managed to kill one of Gambol's guards by slamming his head into a pencil, calling it a "magic trick". Eventually, he grew angry at the Joker when the latter when explaining their need to stop Batman ended up insulting Gambol's grandmother by insinuating that he "won't be able to get a nickel" for her. Gambol then tried to attack him, although he was forced to let him escape after the mad clown revealed he was wired with explosives, although not before placing a bounty on him: $500,000 dead, and $1,000,000 alive so he could "teach [Joker] some manners first."

Gambol's empire toppled

After placing a bounty on him, Gambol was tricked by a trio of bounty hunters who made it seem like they brought him the Joker dead. The Joker revealed himself alive after stabbing two of Gambol's men with knives just as Gambol himself was about to pay the bounty hunters the reward, pressed a knife in Gambol's mouth, and told him an ambiguous story of how he got his scars, before killing him with the knife.

Gambol's empire was destroyed for good after the Joker made his last surviving men fight to the death with half of a broken pool stick as part of "tryouts" for more recruits to his own gang.

Behind the scenes

  • "Gambol" means "To frolic or dance about". As Gambol would likely never accept this as a nickname or alias (if he knew its meaning), Gambol was likely his last name. It also could have been derived from the word "gamble".
  • Gambol is played by Michael Jai White, who was best known for playing superhero Spawn. Both Spawn and Gambol share a mutual hatred for clowns (Joker, Clown/Violator). White also played another DC Comics villain in the television series Arrow, where he portrayed Bronze Tiger.
  • Some claim that Gambol survived his attack by the Joker and can be briefly seen later in the film being arrested during a GCPD on his neighbourhood. This claim is disputed by many though as it would render the narrative purpose of The Joker's visit to Gambol's headquarters useless (if Gambol had lived it would be unlikely that the other mob bosses would have hired the Joker after this one told them what the Joker made him, although he could have decided to not speak about this in fear of being killed). Even the movie screenplay never states that Gambol was killed.[1] The recently released behind-the-scenes book of the trilogy, however, confirms that Gambol was indeed murdered by The Joker.
  • Respect to the previous topic, in 2018, ten years after the release of The Dark Knight, Michael Jai White revealed that Gambol initially had a bigger role in the film. Originally, rather than getting killed by the Joker, the Joker just used his knife to make Gambol as Glasgow smile like his own. However, after Heath Ledger's death, Christopher Nolan chose to cut Gambol's further scenes during editing through unknown reasons.[2]
  • Gambol shared a similar role to the character Jefferson Skeevers from Batman: Year One, namely being an African-American criminal kingpin.

Notes and references