Starting at the age of 13 in a Steven Spielberg war classic, Empire of the sun, Christian Bale established himself as an intense method actor yet now. No one can be a very best Batman, other than Bale himself. His solidified acting and the knack to orient himself in body and act is highly commended for. This English-American actor has come a long way and here is a list of Bale’s very best movies starting from the least best, including the upcoming films, Vice, which is slated for this Christmas, and Ford vs. Ferrari, slated for 2019!
The Dark Knight (2008)
Dubbed as the best Christian Bale movie of all time by Ranker, it is undoubtedly his best of the Batman films. Splendidly crafted by Christopher Nolan, the second movie of the epic series became a huge fan-favorite in 2008. Arriving after Batman Begins, this one takes you to a continuation of the marvelous heroism and the “good deed”. Batman’s face-off with Joker, played by Heath Ledger, became one of the most memorable moments in the Batman franchise.
The Fighter (2010)
In this movie, Bale delivered one of his best performances as the crack-addicted former boxer, Dicky, who helps train his younger half-brother, Micky. A true story revolving around Micky Ward, makes it a classic for Boxing lovers, a must watch. Although Bale played a supporting character in this boxing biography drama, it earned him an Oscar for the role of the Best Supporting Actor.
The Machinist (2004)
Bale lost around 60 pounds within 4 months to play the anorexic machinist in this chilling psychological thriller. This harrowing role of the insomniac, Trevor Reznik, who has a really distorted perception of reality, demanded great skill in its portrayal, which Bale carried out with a lot of commitment. Well received among the audience, this movie is high on intensity and paranoia was delivered amazingly well by Bale.
The Prestige (2006)
Bale brilliantly plays the role of a magician performing the trick of a lifetime in this Christopher Nolan film. When he is rivaled by another magician, played by Hugh Jackman, who tries to outdo him, we discover a twist we would never have expected. Acclaimed with many Academy Award nominations, this provoking film outdid the other 2 illusion-centered releases of the year plus, you will love the ending!
American Hustle (2013)
This is another of Bale’s shape-shifting movies, in which he gained about 40 pounds to play the role of a con artist, Irving Rosenfeld, who scams many of his characters with his partner and love interest, Sydney Prosser. Yet now, hired by an FBI agent, to become a part of a sting operation, that would disclose high profile criminals, is the backdrop of the movie. His believable character-depiction even earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.
American Psycho (2000)
Still one of Bale’s exceptional roles till date, he deftly highlights all the key emotions of an investment banker who is also a psychotic killer of women in this horror comedy adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’ novel. Bale is wondrous in his portrayal as a blood lusted psycho which was a financial success and went well among the critics.
The Big Short (2015)
Bale plays the role of a socially awkward but exceedingly smart Michael Burry, who discovers a bubble while going through some home-loan figures in his office. Amongst a select few to predict the 2008 financial collapse, Bale’s expert depiction the real-life genius who has Asperger’s Syndrome earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
In this Batman reboot, Bale plays the exiled Bruce Wayne, who now pairs up with Catwoman, played by Anne Hathaway, to save Gotham once and for all. Christopher Nolan delivers yet another Batman movie with stellar visuals, successfully concluding “The Dark knight trilogy”. It became the highest grossing superhero movie of all time.
Batman Begins (2005)
After losing a frightening 60 pounds for The Machinist, Bale had to gain back over 100 pounds in 6 months and build the superhero body of Batman for this film. Bale proved to be the perfect Bruce Wayne, a billionaire out to avenge his parents’ death by ensuring peace in Gotham city. The first of the Batman Trilogy which gave way to the best of Batman and earned itself many nominations of Academy and BAFTA awards.
3:10 to Yuma (2007)
Starring alongside Russell Crowe, Bale plays a one-legged rancher tasked with escorting a captured outlaw onto the 3:10 train bound for Yuma Territorial Prison in this remake of the 1957 classic Western film.
Empire of the Sun (1987)
Scouted by Steven Spielberg at 13, Bale performed the role of young Jim Graham with vivid realism as the English boy faces the harsh struggles of World War II under the Japanese-occupied Shanghai. You would witness the outstanding work of Bale at this very young age which he is highly applauded for.
Rescue Dawn (2007)
Yet another film where Bale had to lose weight for his character portrayal of the vet pilot, Dieter Dengler, who, after being imprisoned at a POW camp, was tortured along with many others while awaiting an escape. An adaptation from a 1997 documentary film Little Dieter needs to fly, on the American military camp during the Vietnam War.
Out of the Furnace (2013)
Sharing the screen with Casey Affleck, Christian Bale realistically depicts an honest man with a blue-collar job who decides to seek justice himself when his younger brother goes missing. The film did great with the opening and impressed the critics with seat-locked performances of Bale and Affleck.
Public Enemies (2009)
In this film, we see Bale in the role of a federal agent, Purvis, hunting down a notorious gangster group led by Dillinger, played by Johnny Depp. Set in the backdrop of the Great Depression crime rise, about the real story of mobster Dillinger and his capture.
In this Dystopian sci-fi film, Bale depicts a man’s revolution against a world where having emotions are outlawed. In order to suppress the emotions, people are given drug doses which, John Preston(Bale) misses on one and sets out to overthrow the Lawmakers.
In this Disney musical, Bale is seen in one of his earliest roles as a newspaper boy who goes on strike against Joseph Pulitzer. Joining with his other newspaper seller friends sets out to rebel against the exploitation of their bosses. The movie wasn’t a well-received one but later gained a much more positive response.
The New World (2005)
Little women (1994)
Christian Bale plays the charming neighborhood boy, Laurie, in this fifth adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel. The film received many nominations at the Academy Awards and highlighted Bale’s character in a positive mark.
Reign of Fire (2002)
Another of a dragon tale but a distinct one. Bale plays the leader of one of the surviving groups in a post-apocalyptic Earth, now invaded by the reawakened dragons. He joins hands with the others to destroy the beasts for good.
Harsh Times (2005)
Bale plays ex-military suffering from PTSD in this drama film about a conflict between two friends resulting in tragedy. One of the many portrayals that Bale is praised for.
Terminator: Salvation (2009)
In this fourth film of the Terminator franchise, we see Bale in the role of John Connor in this action-packed sci-fi movie. The movie didn’t have Arnold Schwarzenegger in role, in a first and is based on the post-apocalyptic state rather than time travel like the rest of the Terminator films.
The Flowers of War (2011)
In this historical war drama, Bale plays the character of John Miller, who tries to help some Chinese schoolgirls escape when the Japanese invade Nanking. A fourth most expensive Non-English film till date.
I’m Not There (2007)
Bale plays pastor Jack Rollins, one amongst the six characters inspired by the music and life of the legendary singer, Bob Dylan. The film is a stand-out narrative of intercutting the storylines of all 7 characters. Fascinatingly, the movie title is Bob Dylan’s basement recording titled “I’m not there” that never appeared before until the film’s soundtrack album release.
Knight of Cups (2015)
Released to mixed reviews from audiences and critics alike, Bale stars as a Hollywood scriptwriter in this Terrence Malick experimental film, who fights his depression through a series of events occurring in his life by different figures depicted in 8 tarot cards. The film didn’t do much at the box-office but Bale’s central character defines his capability to do exceptional roles.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
Christian Bale plays the epic hero, Moses, who delivers the Hebrews of Egypt from slavery under the tyrannical Pharaoh, Ramses II, in this biblical drama film. It was an international co-production of US, UK, and Spain.
Different from most of his other roles, Bale plays the shady character of Walter Wade Jr. in this detective crime thriller. Bale managed to carry the negative role quite impressively and the film was a Box-office No. 1 in its opening.
In this Western flick, Bale plays a retiring Captain whose final task is to escort a war chief along with his tribal family through some rough territory, back to the tribal grounds in Montana. The film was highly praised for its storyline, although uneven but the impulsive performances were much-admired.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999)
Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
In this Hayao Miyazaki fantasy anime film based on a British novel, Bale voices the lead character, Howl, who undergoes tremendous changes as he tries to protect and help a young girl named Sophie, who has been cursed. The classic is the 3rd highest grossing anime movie of all times.
Velvet Goldmine (1998)
In this musical, Bale takes us on a journey of getting to know a popular fictional singer when he plays a British journalist interviewing those who played a major part in the pop star’s career.
The Portrait of a Lady (1996)
Bale plays the character of Edward Rosier, Isabel’s childhood friend, in this adaptation of Henry James’ classic novel. Not the central character but the acting was praised by the critics.
Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle (2018)
Bale brilliantly voices Bagheera in this darker adaptation of The Jungle Book. This film rightly captures the bitter hardships of the jungle life in a very realistic manner. A Netflix classic, retelling the story in a much different way.
Bale charms us in the role of a quiet suburban banker who begins to feel like his life could have been different when he reunites with his best friend after 10 years. Bale’s strong performance is highly appraised for and the flashback style in the movie gives an apt feel to the movie.
The Secret Agent (1996)
In this adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s political novel, Bale plays the role of the secret agent’s brother-in-law whose mental age is that of a sensitive child’s. Starring with Robin Williams, the film is a sensitive and tragic tale.
Swing Kids (1993)
Bale plays one of the high school boys of Germany before World War II, who decide to be a part of the Swing Youth during the night while being a part of the Hitler Youth at daytime. Playing a rebellion, Christian Bale does justice to his role and performances become fierce as the lives and friendships are put to test in the film.
Laurel Canyon (2002)
Bale plays a loving Sam who brings his fiancée, Alex, to visit his mother at her luxurious hotel in Los Angeles. Getting involved with new people takes a toll on their relationship.
The Promise (2016)
Bale plays the character of an American journalist who meets with tragedy in the Ottoman Empire’s final years in this historical drama. Although the movie didn’t perform well, but the story of a love triangle amidst war was highly praised.
All the Little Animals (1998)
Bale expertly portrays an emotionally inept Bobby Platt, who runs away from home and befriends an old man whose “work” is to bury animals run over by cars, realising his love for pets.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001)
In this war drama, Bale plays an absentee fiancée of a beautiful village girl, starring alongside Nicolas Cage. Bale plays the antagonist in this love triangle.
Bale voices the character of Thomas, a loyal friend of John Smith, who falls in love with a native tribal woman, Pocahontas. A classic animation of the classic tale. The movie fell a little on criticism for historical inaccuracy but praised altogether, receiving 2 Academy Awards.
Henry V (1989)
In this adaptation of Shakespeare’s historical play, Bale, at the age of 15, portrays the character of a luggage boy. The film was acclaimed well and won Academy Awards for Costume and nominations in Best Actor and Director Category.
Prince of Jutland (1994)
Better known as Royal Deceit, Bale plays the role of Prince Amleth in this adventure drama film, who is out on revenge for killing the king and his son. Bale’s intense performance throws light on this historical character.
Mio in the Land of Faraway (1987)
Bale plays the character of Mio’s best friend, Yum-Yum, in this adaptation of a Swedish fantasy novel. Loved among kids that saw Christian Bale’s first appearance in a feature film.
Bale is set to depict Dick Cheney’s journey of becoming one of America’s most powerful Vice Presidents during the administration of George Bush in this biographical drama film. The film received a mixed response with bracketing Christian Bale and Amy Adam’s performances as the best in the film.
Ford vs. Ferrari (2019)
In this action-packed biography film, Bale will play a British driver of the Ford, set to defeat the Ferrari in the 1966 race in France. The film centres on the dedicated team of engineers determined to build up an entirely new automobile to defeat the long-dominant Ferrari.