Every single Christian Bale movie, ranked by critics

Christian Bale
Christian Bale's acting career spans across multiple decades.Warner Bros. and Lionsgate Films
  • Christian Bale is well known for playing Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's "Batman" trilogy.

  • The actor's highest-rated films include "The Dark Knight," "American Hustle," and "Henry V."

  • Critics didn't share as much love for "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" and "Exodus: Gods and Kings."

Bale played Mandras in "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" (2001).

captain corelli's mandolin
Penélope Cruz and Christian Bale in "Captain Corelli's Mandolin."Universal

Rotten Tomatoes score: 28%

Synopsis: An Italian officer (Nicolas Cage) is torn between loyalty to his country and his love for a local fisherman's fiancé (Penélope Cruz) as he occupies a Greek island during World War II.

Bale appears in the film as Mandras, the fisherman who leaves his love behind to fight the war on the mainland.

Bale portrayed Moses in "Exodus: Gods and Kings" (2014).

exodus gods and kings bale
Christian Bale in "Exodus: Gods and Kings."Twentieth Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 31%

Synopsis: In Ridley Scott's retelling of biblical mythology, Moses (Bale) defiantly rises up against the tyrannical rule of the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses (Joel Edgerton) as he plans to release thousands of slaves and lead them to freedom.

The actor appeared in "Amsterdam" (2022).

christian bale in amsterdam
Christian Bale in "Amsterdam."20th Century Studios

Rotten Tomatoes score: 32%

Synopsis: In "Amsterdam," a trio of friends (Bale, Margot Robbie, and John David Washington) ends up stuck in a murder investigation at the center of the Business Plot, a real-life political conspiracy from 1933 America.

Bale starred as one of the three friends,

He was John Connor in "Terminator Salvation" (2009).

christian bale terminator
Christian Bale stars alongside Sam Worthington in "Terminator Salvation."Warer Bros. Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 33%

Synopsis: The fourth installment in the "Terminator" franchise takes place in 2018 as John Connor (Bale) tries to assemble a human resistance strong enough to overpower the machines that have taken over the world.

In "Newsies" (1992), Bale played Jack Kelly.

christian bale newsies
Christian Bale in "Newsies."Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 39%

Synopsis: Set in 1899, the movie-musical centers around a band of young boys who go on strike against newspaper titan Joseph Pulitzer.

Led by their fearless leader Jack Kelly (Bale), the newsboys of New York unionize to protect their rights and secure fair wages.

He starred as John Preston in the drama "Equilibrium" (2002).

Christian Bale in the 2002 film "Equilibrium."Miramax Films

Rotten Tomatoes score: 40%

Synopsis: Citizens live in the peaceful nation of Libria where any expression of emotion can result in arrest.

John Preston (Bale) never questioned the system, until he skips a dose of the government-mandated drug that reduces emotion and finally realizes what he's been missing.

Bale played John Miller in "The Flowers of War" (2011).

bale flowers of war
Christian Bale in "The Flowers of War."Wrekin Hill Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 42%

Synopsis: In 1937, a war between China and Japan ensues and the Imperial Army overruns the capital city of China.

As the battle rages on, American John Miller (Bale), a group of school children, and 13 courtesans hide in a church in an attempt to survive.

Bale was Quinn Abercromby in "Reign of Fire" (2002).

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Christian Bale starred alongside Matthew McConaughey in "Reign of Fire."Jonatha Hession/Spyglass Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 42%

Synopsis: Quinn Abercromby (Bale) works as a fire chief in a desolate future where fire-breathing beasts roam the earth and prey on the few people left alive.

It's his job to keep the city safe until Denton Van Zan (Matthew McConaughey) arrives with an incredible plan to kill the beasts.

In "The Portrait of a Lady" (1996), he played Edward Rosier.

portrait of a lady
"The Portrait of a Lady" starred Nicole Kidman and John Malkovich.PolyGram Video

Rotten Tomatoes score: 46%

Synopsis: In the adaptation of the classic novel by Henry James, a young American woman named Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) is sent to England to live with distant relatives after the death of her parents.

Bale appears in the film as Edward Rosier, a young art collector who wishes to marry Isabel's friend Pansy.

In the romantic-drama "Knight of Cups" (2016), Bale starred as Rick.

knight of cups bale
Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale in "Knight of Cups."Melinda Sue Gordon/Broad Green Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 46%

Synopsis: Wandering soul and writer Rick (Bale) travels through Los Angeles and Las Vegas as he searches for a sense of self through the eyes of six women he meets along the way.

He played Jim Luther Davis in "Harsh Times" (2006).

bale harsh times
Christian Bale in "Harsh Times."MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 48%

Synopsis: Gulf War-veteran Jim Luther Davis (Bale) transitions his war tactics to the streets of Los Angeles as he attempts to join the police department. But he soon finds himself accepting a position with the Department of Homeland Security instead.

Bale played Stevie in "Joseph Conrad's 'The Secret Agent'" (1996).

joseph conrad the secret agent
Christian Bale in "Joseph Conrad's 'The Secret Agent.'"20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 50%

Synopsis: Joseph Conrad's story takes place in late-19th century London and centers on Verloc (Bob Hoskins), a man who owns a pornography shop and secretly aids the Russian government.

Bale plays a supporting role in the film as Verloc's stepson Stevie.

In the romantic drama "The Promise" (2017), he played Chris Myers.

bale the promise
Christian Bale starred as a photojournalist in "The Promise."Open Road Films

Rotten Tomatoes score: 51%

Synopsis: In World War I, medical student Mikael (Oscar Isaac) moves to Constantinople and vies for Ana's (Charlotte Le Bon) affections.

However, he is unaware that her boyfriend Chris (Bale) is a famous political photojournalist who has already captured her heart.

Bale voiced Bagheera in "Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle" (2018).

bale as mowgli
Christian Bale voiced the panther Bagheera in the Netflix film.Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 52%

Synopsis: This adaptation of "The Jungle Book" depicts a dark take on Mowgli's (Rohan Chand) journey toward self-discovery as he struggles to find a place between the animals of the jungle and the world of men.

In the film, Bale voiced Bagheera the panther alongside the voice talents of Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Andy Serkis.

In "Out of the Furnace" (2013), he played Russell Baze.

bale out of the furnace
Christian Bale as Russell Baze in "Out of the Furnace."Relativity Media

Rotten Tomatoes score: 53%

Synopsis: Russell Baze (Bale) must balance caring for his dying father with his job at the steel mill. Life grows more complicated when his brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) returns home from serving overseas and immediately disappears without a trace.

Bale voiced Thomas in the Disney animated film "Pocahontas" (1995).

bale pocahontas
Christian Bale and Mel Gibson's characters in Disney's "Pocahontas."Disney

Rotten Tomatoes score: 54%

Synopsis: Spirited Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) is set to marry a man she doesn't love at her father's behest. But when European settlers arrive led by John Smith (Mel Gibson), Pocahontas takes an interest in the adventurer.

Bale voices Thomas, John Smith's young friend and fellow settler.

He was Thomas Berger in "Swing Kids" (1993).

Screen Shot 2020 01 28 at 11.37.40 AM
Christian Bale and Robert Sean Leonard in "Swing Kids."Buena Vista Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 56%

Synopsis: Forced to join the Hitler Youth of Germany in 1939, young university students Peter (Robert Sean Leonard) and Thomas (Bale) rebel against the tyrannical reign of the Nazi regime.

He was Arthur Stuart in "Velvet Goldmine" (1998).

velvet goldmine
Christian Bale as Arthur Stuart in "Velvet Goldmine."Miramax Films

Rotten Tomatoes score: 62%

Synopsis: The world of 1970s glam rock is explored through the eyes of Arthur Stuart (Bale) as he interviews once-famous musician Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) for an article.

Stuart unravels the ghosts of Slade's past to discover how the rock star came to fame.

In the comedic drama "Metroland" (1999), Bale starred as Chris.

Christian Bale in "Metroland."Universal Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 62%

Synopsis: In 1977, Chris (Bale) and Marion (Emily Watson) live where the tube line ends at the edge of London.

Chris is beginning to feel bored with married life when an old friend Toni invites him to travel with him and relive the days of their carefree youth. This brings turbulence to Chris and Marion's marriage as he begins to question his life choices.

Bale starred in "The Pale Blue Eye" (2023).

Christian Bale playing Augustus Landor in the pale blue eye
Christian Bale in "The Pale Blue Eye."Netflix

Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%

Synopsis: After a heinous murder is committed at the US Military Academy, retired detective Augustus Landor (Bale) recruits eccentric cadet Edgar Allen Poe (Harry Melling) to help him solve it.

The film, based on the novel by Louis Bayard, is purely a work of fiction, outside of the fact that Poe did attend West Point Academy.

Bale played the villain in "Thor: Love and Thunder" (2022).

Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher in "Thor: Love and Thunder."
Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher in "Thor: Love and Thunder."Marvel Studios

Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%

Synopsis: In the latest "Thor" installment, the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) comes out of retirement to take on Gorr the God Butcher (Bale).

He played John Rolfe in "The New World" (2005).

christian bale the new world
Christian Bale returned to the story of Pocahontas in "The New World."New Line Cinema

Rotten Tomatoes score: 63%

Synopsis: This retelling of the story of Pocahontas explores the legend of John Smith (Colin Farrell) and Pocahontas (Q'Orianka Kilcher) during the Jamestown Settlement of 1607.

Bale appeared in the film as John Rolfe, a settler who falls for Pocahontas.

Bale portrayed Dick Cheney in "Vice" (2018).

vice bale
Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in "Vice."Annapurna Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%

Synopsis: The somewhat biographical film follows the ambitious life and turbulent career of former US Vice President Dick Cheney (Bale) in the country's lead-up to the war in Iraq.

He played Walter Wade Jr. in the action movie "Shaft" (2000).

Christian Bale played suspected-murderer Walter Wade Jr. in "Shaft."Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%

Synopsis: Detective John Shaft (Samuel L. Jackson) investigates a racially-motivated murder at the hands of Walter Wade Jr. (Bale) — the son of a wealthy New York City construction owner.

He was Demetrius in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1999).

bale midsummer night's dream
Christian Bale, Calista Flockhart, Dominic West, and Anna Friel in "A Midsummer Night's Dream."Twentieth Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%

Synopsis: Adapted from the classic play by William Shakespeare, Michael Hoffman's retelling follows star-crossed lovers Demetrius (Bale), Helena (Calista Flockhart), Lysander (Dominic West), and Hermia (Anna Friel) as they wander a forest thick with fairies.

He was Bobby Platt in "All the Little Animals" (1999).

all the little animals
Christian Bale and John Hurt in "All the Little Animals."Lions Gate Films

Rotten Tomatoes score: 67%

Synopsis: After being house-bound for nearly his entire life, Bobby (Bale) flees to the countryside following an explosive fight with his abusive stepfather.

While he's on the run, he makes friends with a fellow hermit (John Hurt) who teaches him about the wonders of nature — until his stepfather catches up with him.

Bale was FBI agent Melvin Purvis in "Public Enemies" (2009).

public enemies
FBI agent Melvin Purvis goes after John Dillinger in "Public Enemies."Universal

Rotten Tomatoes score: 68%

Synopsis: FBI agent Melvin Purvis (Bale) tails infamous bank robber John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) throughout the 1930s in this retelling of Bryan Burrough's novel.

Bale starred as Patrick Bateman in "American Psycho" (2000).

American Psycho
Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in "American Psycho."American Psycho screengrab

Rotten Tomatoes score: 68%

Synopsis: Based on the novel by Bret Easton Ellis, the dark comedic thriller centers on ambitious Wall Street-elite Patrick Bateman (Bale) as he tries to preserve the appearance of a perfect life while keeping his murderous alter ego in check.

He played Sam in "Laurel Canyon" (2003).

bale laurel canyon
Christian Bale and Kate Beckinsale in "Laurel Canyon."Neal Preston/Sony Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 68%

Synopsis: A young couple from the East Coast, played by Bale and Kate Beckinsale, relocates to the West Coast and becomes enveloped in a more relaxed, carefree lifestyle as they camp out at Sam's mother's (Frances McDormand's) house.

He was Captain Joseph J. Blocker in "Hostiles" (2018).

bale hostiles
Christian Bale played an Army captain in "Hostiles."Lorey Sebastian/Yellow Hawk Inc.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 70%

Synopsis: In 1982, Army Captain Joseph J. Blocker (Bale) accompanies a dying Cheyenne war chief named Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) back to his tribal lands.

In the drama "The Prestige" (2006), he played Alfred Borden.

bale the prestige
Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in "The Prestige."Francois Duhamel/Touchstone Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%

Synopsis: Two magicians — Robert Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Alfred Borden (Bale) —  try and one-up each other to extreme lengths to secure their legacy as legendary showmen.

Bale played Jack Rollins in the drama "I'm Not There" (2007).

bale im not there
Christian Bale as Jack Rollins.The Weinstein Co.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%

Synopsis: In the musical drama, various incarnations of Bob Dylan are shown through the lives of six characters: Jack Rollins (Bale), Robbie Clark (Heath Ledger), Woody Guthrie (Marcus Carl Franklin), Billy the Kid (Richard Gere), Arthur Rimbaud (Ben Whishaw), and Jude Quinn (Cate Blanchett).

He was Trevor Reznik in "The Machinist" (2004).

bale the machninist
Christian Bale is pushed to extremes in "The Machinist."Paramount Classics

Rotten Tomatoes score: 77%

Synopsis: Factory worker Trevor Reznik (Bale) suffers from crippling insomnia that begins to warp his mental and physical health until he becomes haunted by hallucinations.

Bale played Jim "Jamie" Graham in "Empire of the Sun" (1987).

christian bale empire of the sun
Christian Bale's first major film role was in "Empire of the Sun."Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 78%

Synopsis: In the adaption from the book by J.G. Ballard, a young British boy named Jamie (Bale) lives with his family in Shanghai.

When the Japanese invade, Jamie becomes separated from his parents and relies on the help of a lone soldier (John Malkovich) to survive.

He originated his depiction of Bruce Wayne in "Batman Begins" (2005).

Batman Begins
Christian Bale as Batman in "Batman Begins."Warner Bros. Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 85%

Synopsis: The first installment of Christopher Nolan's gritty, superhero trilogy explores the origin story of Bruce Wayne (Bale), a philanthropist who transforms into a vigilante to prey on the villains that prowl the dark streets of Gotham City.

He completed his role as Bruce Wayne in "The Dark Knight Rises" (2012).

bale dark knight rises
Christian Bale's final role as Batman in "The Dark Knight Rises."Ron Phillips/Warner Bros. Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 87%

Synopsis: The final installment of the highly-praised trilogy finds Bruce Wayne (Bale) facing off against his most ruthless villain yet: a looming terrorist named Bane (Tom Hardy).

He played Michael Burry in "The Big Short" (2015).

Christian Bale the big short work busy stressed
Christian Bale's character tackles the housing crisis in "The Big Short."Jaap Buitendijk/Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%

Synopsis: The US housing crisis is depicted through the lens of hedge-fund managers Michael Burry (Bale) and Mark Baum (Steve Carell) in this retelling of the book by Michael Lewis.

Bale was Dan Evans in the western "3:10 to Yuma" (2007).

bale 3 10 to yuma
Christian Bale in "3:10 to Yuma."Lionsgate Films

Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%

Synopsis: Veteran rancher Ben Evans (Bale) seeks revenge on the outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) after he ambushes his family on the road out west in the remake of the 1957 film.

In "Rescue Dawn" (2007), he depicted Dieter Dengler.

bale resue dawn
Christian Bale in "Rescue Dawn."MGM

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

Synopsis: Based on a true story, the military-drama tells the tale of American pilot Dieter Dengler (Bale) and five other captives who must escape a prisoner of war camp in the Laotian jungle during the Vietnam War.

He played Dicky Eklund in "The Fighter" (2010).

bale the fighter
Christian Bale stars alongside Mark Wahlberg in "The Fighter."Paramount Pictures

Rotten Tomatoes score: 91%

Synopsis: Former boxer Ducky Eklund (Bale) trains his half-brother Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) to compete for the World Boxing Union's Intercontinental Lightweight title.

He appeared in the documentary "Intent to Destroy: Death, Denial & Depiction" (2017).

intent to destroy
"Intent to Destroy" sheds light on the horrors of the Armenian Genocide.The Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Synopsis: Joe Berlinger's haunting documentary catalogs the devastating tragedy and impact of the Armenian Genocide by order of the Turks of the Ottoman Empire, which occurred in the early 1910s.

Bale and his "The Promise" co-star Oscar Isaac both appeared in the doc to provide historical context.

He played Ken Miles in "Ford v Ferrari" (2019).

bale ford v ferrari
Matt Damon and Christian Bale in "Ford v Ferrari."Merrick Morton/Twentieth Century Fox

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Synopsis: Based on a true story, this action-drama follows American car designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and British driver Ken Miles (Bale) as they build a cutting-edge race car for the Ford Motor Company to compete in an international race against the highly-successful Ferrari cars.

In "American Hustle" (2013), Bale starred as Irving Rosenfield.

bale american hustle
Amy Adams and Christian Bale in "American Hustle."Francois Duhamel/Annapurna Productions

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

Synopsis: Con-artists Irving Rosenfield (Bale) and Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams) are forced to cooperate with FBI agent Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper) as they descend into the dark world of mafia dealings.

Bale portrayed Laurie in "Little Women" (1994).

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Winona Ryder and Christian Bale in 1994's "Little Women."Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 93%

Synopsis: The 1994 adaption of Louisa May Alcott's classic novel follows the lives of four sisters — Meg (Trini Alvarado), Jo (Winona Ryder), Amy (Kirsten Dunst), and Beth (Claire Danes) — as they grow up in New England in the midst of the American Civil War.

Bale played Theodore "Laurie" Laurence, a young boy who vies for Jo's affections.

He returned as Bruce Wayne in "The Dark Knight" (2008).

bale dark knight
Christian Bale as Batman and Heath Ledger as Joker in "The Dark Knight."DC Comics/Warner Bros.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%

Synopsis: Bruce Wayne (Bale) returns to grapple with a gleefully-dangerous adversary, known as Joker (Ledger), who seeks to plunge Gotham City into pure chaos.

The actor voiced a role in the English-dubbed version of "The Boy and the Heron" (2023).

Shoichi Maki in a screen grab from the boy and the heron
Christian Bale voiced Shoichi Maki in the English dubbed version of the film.Studio Ghibli

Rotten Tomatoes score: 97%

Synopsis: When Mahito (voiced in English by Luca Padovan) moves to the countryside after his mother's death, he winds up embarking on a journey of self-discovery with a mystical heron (voiced in English by Robert Pattinson).

In the English dub of the film, Bale voiced Shoichi Maki, Mahito's father.

Bale played Sir John Falstaff's luggage-boy in "Henry V" (1989), his highest-rated film.

Henry V
"Henry V" was Christian Bale's third film.MGM Home Entertainment

Rotten Tomatoes score: 98%

Synopsis: The Shakespearean tragedy portrays the plight of young King Henry V (Kenneth Branagh) as an argument with King Charles of France (Paul Scofield) escalates to full-blown war.

Bale appeared in the film as Robin, an apprentice to Sir John Falstaff (Robbie Coltrane).

Note: All scores were current on the date of publication and are subject to change. Films without critical ratings were not included.

This story was originally published on January 29, 2020, and most recently updated on January 30, 2024. 

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