A textbook "take-over" robbery, the Joker's plan called for three masked thugs (including himself with the alias of "Bozo") to enter the bank's lobby and subdue the employees, security guards, and clients, while two others swung onto the roof from an adjacent office building, one to disable the silent alarm before it could be tripped, and another to open the vault. Owing to their affiliation to the Joker, they each wore robber masks stylized in a similar manner to clowns.
Unknown to any of the thugs, the Joker had also arranged a sequence of double-crosses, that would end with him being the only one left alive at the same moment the robbery was completed. He also secretly called in a bus driver to act as the escape vehicle. He also deliberately kept his men in the dark about the bank's true nature as a front for the Mob's money laundering schemes.
While on their way to the bank, after picking up "Bozo," Grumpy and Chuckles conversed about the planned robbery: specifically, they will split the money among themselves, dividing it into five shares. Chuckles then corrects Grumpy that it would actually be six shares due to the fact that they naturally have to include the Joker, the one who planned the job. Grumpy then accosted him, implying that he intends to make off with the money without giving Joker his cut due to feeling he doesn't deserve a share for "sitting out," and also citing that he knows why they call him the Joker.
Happy and Dopey arrived on the roof, also conversing with each other about why their boss was called "the Joker," speculating that it had to do with his wearing clown-like make-up to scare people in a manner comparable to war paint. Dopey, after disabling the alarm, was shot in the back by Happy, who made his way to the vault. Just before his death, however, Dopey noticed an oddity: Specifically, that the silent alarm was not going out to 9-1-1, but instead trying to reach a private number, although he dismissed it as not being a problem when asked by Happy. Happy then reached the bank vault and set up a device to bore open a hole to access the locks. However, while drilling, he ends up hit with a jolt of electricity, temporarily stunning him, causing him to realize that the vault was wired with at least 5,000 volts.
The Joker, disguised as Bozo, Grumpy, and Chuckles stormed into the bank lobby to pacify those within, with Chuckles tackling a security guard and eventually pistol-whipping him on the back. Grumpy pulled one of the tellers from across the table to let him know he was making a withdrawal at this bank. This included an ingenious touch by which the Joker placed grenades into the terrified customers' hands and pulled the pins, ensuring that they could do nothing with their hands except hold on.
In a surprise move Chuckles was killed when the Bank Manager, a mob employee, opened fire with a shotgun while warning them that they'll soon be dead and demanding to know if they know who they are stealing from. Grumpy was wounded after being tricked by the Joker into believing that he used his last round, while the Joker shot the manager in the legs. However, the wound was not fatal, with Grumpy yelling at his partner and accosting him, demanding to know where "[Bozo] learned how to count" before taking his leave. Grumpy then went to the vault, which Happy had opened despite the hidden electric security system by using his shoes as makeshift electric gloves, with Grumpy deducing from Happy's report on the electric system in the vault as well as their earlier encounter with the manager that the place they were robbing was actually a mob bank, commenting that the Joker was indeed as crazy as his reputation stated. Grumpy then shot Happy as ordered, although not before learning that Happy had killed Dopey under similar orders, with Happy also expressing shock and horror when learning what was to become of him, and loaded several moneybags with the cash inside, also commenting that had the Joker been smart, he would have made sure they brought a bigger car to load the money inside.
Believing that he had been set up, Grumpy pointed his gun at Bozo just as he was about to retrieve the last bag, but was run over by a school bus driven through a wall, also expressing confusion when Bozo revealed that he intended to kill the Bus driver. The Joker and the bus driver loaded the cash into the bus, then Joker calmly shot the driver as he was questioning where the rest of the robbers were, and began to leave after retrieving the last bag. Just before he could leave, though, the manager, having witnessed the robber's earlier actions, told him with clear disgust for his actions that he'll just get rubbed out himself in the future and commented that criminals used to have honor and respect and then demanded what the robber believes in. The Joker couldn't resist showing his face to the manager and the security cameras, also sticking a grenade with its pin attached to its string while revealing that his belief is that "whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you stranger."
The Joker then drove the bus away, pulling the grenade while driving off due to making sure the string was caught to the door beforehand, with it revealed to be a gas grenade releasing an unknown set of fumes. merging smoothly into a line of other school buses, just as the GCPD started arriving from the opposite direction. As a result of the heist, the Joker stole upwards of $68,000,000.
The GCPD, presumably after ensuring the staff were saved, proceeded to also discover the bank's ties to the mob. Lieutenant James Gordon then proceeded to tell Batman (who at the time had just arrived at the bank after taking down Scarecrow and a group of vigilantes dressed up as himself for a drug meet and trying to kill people, respectively) about what had occurred. As Joker was a then-unknown hoodlum at the time, Batman decided he'll deal with Joker later, especially regarding their opportunity to take down the entire mob for good. This decision would ultimately come back to haunt both him and the rest of Gotham City.
At some point later, Joker used the money he gained in the robbery to create his custom suit, which he admitted in his unannounced meeting with the mob when responding to Sal Maroni's insult of the suit being cheap by saying "you ought to know. You bought it." In large part because of the events of the robbery, the mafia, due to Gambol's anger towards Joker, was strongly reluctant to hire him to kill the Batman, with the Chechen being the only one suggesting they hire him. It wasn't until after Lau squealed on the entire mob that they finally hired him to kill Batman in exchange for "half" of the Mob's remaining money. Afterward, Joker literally burned the money he earned with the Chechen's cigar when demonstrating that he doesn't actually care for money, implying that his earlier back-stab plan was largely for his own amusement.
Behind the Scenes
- The robbery scene was inspired by the one in Michael Mann's crime film Heat. The film also influenced the film's version of Gotham City.
- The Robbery was played at San Diego Comic-Con International 2008 as promotion for The Dark Knight.
- The Joker's bank robber mask was available with the Best Buy version of the DVD (or Blu-ray) and the DC Collectible Joker.
- The masks of Joker's Thugs were available as Crime Scene Evidence with the Movie Masters Gotham City Thug figure. The masks included were the Joker's, the bus driver's, Grumpy's (referred to as "Tears of Joy"), Happy's ("Kiss of Death"), and Chuckles' ("Tears of Anger").