- "There's a reason why this prison is the worst hell on earth... Hope. Every man who has rotted here over the centuries has looked up to the light and imagined climbing to freedom. So easy... So simple... And like shipwrecked men turning to sea water from uncontrollable thirst, many have died trying. I learned here that there can be no true despair without hope."
The Pit is a prison located in the ancient part of the world, which had established such a fearsome reputation that it became referred to as "the worst Hell on Earth". The Pit also featured a well-like structure which the prisoners were free to climb in order to attempt their escape. Nearly everyone who tried the climb failed due to the gap between two ledges being too far to jump. The legend of the only person to ever escape (young Talia al Ghul) inspired Bruce Wayne to believe that escape was possible. Escape can only be done by using adrenaline to boost the human body's capabilities well beyond the normal capabilities of a human. In both cases of Talia and Bruce making the jump, they did it without the rope, causing the fear of dying to give them the adrenaline they needed to make the jump.
Approximately 30 years before the events of The Dark Knight Rises, a young mercenary was sentenced to be imprisoned within this Pit for falling in love with the daughter of the warlord he worked for. Unbeknownst to the mercenary, however, the warlord's daughter arranged for his release under the condition that she take his place in The Pit. Also unknown to him was that she was pregnant with the mercenary's child and she gave birth inside the prison walls. She named their daughter Talia. Many years later, the warlord's daughter was attacked and killed by the other inmates. Talia, however, was protected by a fellow prisoner known as Bane, a man who spent his entire life in the prison.
Bane later aided in Talia's escape from the prison, which lead to his disfigurement through severe beatings. Bane was then treated by the prison doctor and heavily bandaged. Following Talia's escape from the prison, she located her former mercenary father, Ra's al Ghul, and he returned with the League of Shadows to exact revenge upon the prisoners who had killed the love of his life. In the process, Ra's and the league also saw to the treatment of Bane, but were unable to stop the continual pain he experienced. Bane is then recruited into the League of Shadows, wherein he is given a mask which supplies him with analgesic gas to stem the constant pain from the injury he received in The Pit.
The Dark Knight Rises
After being excommunicated from the league, Bane bought the pit and used it to lock up and torture his enemies. Following his first fight with Batman, Bane and his mercenaries transport Bruce Wayne to the Pit. He recounts the story of The Pit to Bruce before returning to Gotham. Bruce then spends the better part of five months in The Pit, learning about the legend of the only person (a child) to have ever escaped and training to become Batman once more. After Bruce learns more about the child's past, he assumes the child who escaped from the prison to be Bane.
- "...Then make the climb...as the child did. Without the rope. Then fear will find you again."
- ―Prison Doctor to Bruce Wayne[src]
Bane also enables Bruce to view the state of martial law he implements throughout Gotham City through a television screen outside his cell. After several failed escape attempts, Bruce attempts to traverse the Pit without the use of the rope. As Bruce begins the climb, the prisoners begin chanting "Deshi Basara" (translated as "Rise" in the film). Bruce successfully manages to escape from The Pit and begins the journey back to Gotham City but not before dropping a long rope to the other prisoners for them to escape.
- The Pit's cylinder structure seems to have been designed to be reminiscent of the well Bruce Wayne fell down as a child which started his fear and obsession with bats.
- The Pit has been interpreted as an homage to both Peña Duro (the prison where Bane grew up in the comics), and the Lazarus Pit, a pit filled with chemicals that have the ability to instantly heal the human body and resurrect the dead, which Ra's al Ghul uses to maintain his immortality. Seeming references to the Lazarus Pit in the film include: 1. Bruce healing from his injured back after being placed there by Bane (albeit over a period of 5 months); 2. A hallucination of Ra's al Ghul telling Bruce that "there are many forms of immortality", hinting that he is "immortal" through the birth of his daughter who was born in the Pit; 3. The death of Ra's al Ghul's wife in the Pit, who lost both of his wives (one of whom was Talia's mother) because of the Lazarus Pit in the comics; 4. The apparent insanity of the prisoners who killed Talia's mother, a common side effect of the Lazarus Pit.