Top 15 Christian Bale movies, ranked

Christian Bale’s onscreen and off screen presence has a no-nonsense aspect that has been a characteristic of actor performers since Marlon Brando. 

Everything he does appears to be done with full intensity and minimal vanity, especially considering how many times he’s acquired or lost a significant amount of weight for multiple positions over the years.

Bale, the rare kid actor who grew into an invincible leading man, is notoriously contemptuous of celebrities. 

And he has a thorny love-hate connection with his work, admitting, “There are periods of actually kind of dislike of it and feeling that it’s the saddest, hilarious, foolish profession that you could pick.” 

And it seems like anything but art; it seems as far away from art as possible.

On January 30, 1974, Christian Charles Philip Bale was born in London, England. He has worked starring men in various genre films, with physical alterations for his parts. 

He has won several awards, including an Academy Award and two Golden Globe awards.

1. American Psycho (2000)

American Psycho is a 2000 American psychological horror film directed and co-written by Mary Harron. 

It is an adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s The same-named novel was published in 1991.

Christian Bale plays Patrick Bateman, with Reese Witherspoon, Chloë Sevigny, Josh Lucas, Willem Dafoe, Samantha Mathis, and Justin Theroux in supporting roles.

The story follows Bateman (Bale), a young Wall Street investment banker who appears to be living the American dream: he has a high-paying job at a prestigious firm, an expensive apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and a beautiful girlfriend (Sevigny). 

However, his extreme obsession with living what he believes is a perfect life leads him to cross the line from being merely selfish to becoming homicidal. 

He also develops an intense feeling of entitlement that drives him to want everything he sees for himself.

Where To Watch -123movies, Reddit, or TV shows from HBO Max or Netflix

2. The Fighter (2010)

Micky Ward is a down-and-out boxer who has been working as a mechanic in Lowell, Massachusetts. 

With the assistance of his brother Dicky and trainer Kevin Rooney, Micky tries to make it as a professional boxer.

Micky’s two young children are living with their mother, Charlene Fleming. Micky continues to see them but does not have much time for them because of his boxing training and work schedule. 

Micky works at the garage he owns with Dicky when he is not boxing.

One day when Micky is in Boston on business, he meets up with Charlene and his kids at their new home in the suburbs. 

Charlene tells him she has met someone else and wants a divorce from him. The next day, before returning to work at the garage, Micky goes on a drinking binge with Dicky and Rooney, ending with all three of them being arrested for disturbing the peace outside of a bar.

Where To Watch – Paramount Plus, The Roku Channel, SHOWTIME, Spectrum TV, Showtime Anytime, Prime Video, Vudu, Redbox., ROW8, or Apple TV

3. The Big Short (2015)

It’s an American biographical drama Adam McKay directed the picture, which he co-wrote with Charles Randolph.

The film is based on the same-named book published, which was written by Michael Lewis book covers the rise of the US housing bubble in the 2000s.

Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt star as four outsiders who predicted and shorted (bet against) the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008. In 2018, The Big Short became available to stream on Netflix.

Where To Watch – iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and Vudu

4. American Hustle (2013)

The film is based on the FBI ABSCAM operation of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The film begins with a view of a high-roller at a casino in Atlantic City. It then cuts to con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his mistress Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams). 

They are working with a Federal Bureau of Investigation, Richie DiMaso (Bradley Cooper), who is trying to catch other con artists. 

Richie has been working on this case for six months and has not caught any suspects yet. Irving Rosenfeld says he can help Richie by getting close to Mayor Carmine Polito (Jeremy Renner) so he can find out about his next job.

Irving Rosenfeld can get close to Mayor Carmine Polito because he knows his wife, Rosalyn (Jennifer Lawrence). He meets with her, and she agrees to arrange a meeting between him and her husband. Irving tells Mayor Carmine.

Where To Watch – The Roku Channel, STARZ, Spectrum TV, Prime Video, Vudu, ROW8, Apple TV, or Redbox

5. Ford v. Ferrari (2019)

The story is set in the late 1960s when Hollywood producer and director Frank T. J. Mackey (played by Matt Damon) is looking for a new project to keep his production company afloat. He finds that the public is not interested in his projects because they are too tame and safe, so he produces a film about a car race between two teams of drivers from England and Italy.

The movie follows the two drivers as they prepare for their race: American driver Ken Miles (played by Christian Bale), who drives for Ferrari, and British driver Pete Aron (played by Freddie Thorp), who drives for Ford.

The movie also follows the women in their lives: Eve Mackey (played by Caitriona Balfe), Ken’s wife; Monica Dallesandro (played by Alessandra Mastronardi), Pete’s girlfriend; and Lila Kalish (played by Imogen Poots), Ken’s mistress.

Where To Watch – Disney+

6. Empire of the Sun (1987)

 The story starts with Shanghai-based father John Clavering, a British businessman who works as an advisor to the Chinese government. His wife, Anna, is a German woman. They have two children: Jim and Lucy.

The film opens with John Clavering speaking on the radio about how he has been advising China on how to modernize its country and infrastructure. 

He speaks of his love for China and its people while Anna listens at home with their children.

Jim is out riding his bicycle when he sees a group of Japanese soldiers enters town carrying guns and bayonets. 

Jim goes home to tell his parents about what he saw, but they do not believe him until they hear gunfire outside. 

They go outside to find that Japanese soldiers have killed one of their servants after demanding food from them at gunpoint.

Anna decides it would be best to send her children away from Shanghai for safety reasons.

Where To Watch – Apple TV, Prime Video, Vudu, or Redbox

7. The Machinist (2004)

Brad Anderson directed the 2004 psychological thriller film The, written by Scott Kosar and starring Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, and John Sharian. 

The film is about Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale), a machinist who suffers from insomnia. He begins to doubt his sanity when he believes everyone around him is part of an elaborate conspiracy to drive him insane.

The Machinist has generally received positive reviews from critics. It was awarded the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Deauville American Film Festival and three Independent Spirit Awards nominations in 2005.

Where To Watch – Epix, Amazon Prime, and Paramount+

8. The Prestige (2006)

The Prestige is a 2006 film directed by Christopher Nolan. It is a thriller concerning two magicians, Robert Angier and Alfred Borden, engaged in competitive one-upmanship with tragic results.

The Prestige is about the intense rivalry between two stage magicians – Robert Angier and Alfred Borden – that leads to the death of an assistant of Angier’s. 

The rivalry begins when Borden performs the ultimate illusion: he makes Angier disappear on stage.

Where To Watch – Disney+

9. Shaft (2000)

The shaft is a 2000 John who wrote and directed this American drama film Singleton.

It stars Samuel L. Jackson, Vanessa Williams, and Richard Roundtree, with Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett Smith in supporting roles.

The film tells the story of John Shaft II (Jackson), a private detective descended from a long line of cops that served as private investigators for wealthy families in New York City during the 1970s. 

He is hired to investigate the murder of Jules Winnfield (Williams) – one of his father’s clients – at a Mafia poker game gone wrong.

Although this John Hunter adjustment of the blaxploitation masterpiece isn’t all that interesting, it’s approximately 4 million times faster than last year’s lackluster sequel. It stars Christian Bale in an immensely exhilarating villain role that materializes from nowhere.

He performs the role of Walter Wade Jr., a shady real estate heir who conspires with a drug kingpin to overthrow Samuel L. Jackson’s Shaft. 

Although Bale just has a little role, it’s still amazing how much he dominates the entire movie.

He would be excellent as Bruce Wayne and Patrick Bateman both because of his smug iciness in this scene. And my, he pulls off being a racist jerk with horrifying veracity.

Where To Watch – Prime Video, Vudu, Redbox. or Apple TV

10. Vice (2018)

Here, we should point out that these ratings are based on individual performances rather than the entire picture. 

Even though Adam McKay’s toxically smug analysis of Dick Cheney falls short of capturing the whole scope of this awful vice president, Bale manages to capture a fundamental aspect of the man’s arrogance and autocratic nature. 

Sure, the actor’s Oscar-winning makeup helps turn him into Cheney, but Bale’s portrayal of this crime should cause PTSD in everyone who lived through the Dubya administration.

Where To Watch – Roku Channel, Netflix, Paramount Plus, The Roku Channel, Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, or Redbox

11. Public Enemies (2009)

Christian Bale appears to be Michael Mann’s ideal actor: The Heat director frequently casts dramatic, brooding characters. 

However, National Enemies is their sole cooperation to date, and it’s an excellent one. Bale is cast as Melvin Purvis; the Fed sent to take down John Dillinger (Johnny Depp). 

(Ironically, Dillinger, the robber, was a beloved antihero, whereas the culture viewed a man like Purvis as the criminal.) 

But the interplay pays off: Bale plays a legislation type who resolves to overstep his authority to apprehend the bank robber.

Where To Watch – Spectrum TV, The Roku Channel, STARZ, Prime Video, Redbox., Vudu, or Apple TV

12. 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

This version puts Russell Crowe as a beautiful bandit who Bale’s weary Civil War vet will take to a titular railway, which will carry him to his trial, in a magnificently masculine man battle between tough-guy performers. 

Things don’t go as smoothly as expected, and much of the enjoyment of 3:10 to Yuma derives from the rear posing of these two characters: humorous and pure evil; the other, respectable but disturbed. 

Crowe has the more prominent role, but Bale imbues the film with a feeling of what it is to be heroic in difficult circumstances – he’s battling to bring that man to justice and redeem himself. 

Bale’s steady hand is required for this compelling, no-nonsense Western, and he delivers with aplomb.

Where To Watch – Prime Video, Redbox., Vudu, or Apple TV

13. Rescue Dawn (2006)

When you combine filmmaker Werner Herzog (renowned for his dismal vision of humanity) and star to physical ordeals in service of a dramatic plot), you get Christian Bale (an artist who is willing to expose his body) a movie that isn’t for the faint of heart. 

While Rescue Dawn is a harrowing drama about authentic aviator Dieter Dengler, who was taken by the enemies during the War In Vietnam and subsequently fought his way to freedom, it is also one of the most fun either man’s career. 

Dengler faced interminable torture and terrible calamity — escape from prison was only the start of his ordeal in the forest — yet Bale portrays him as a steadfast optimist, an unbreakable soul that cannot destroy.

Where To Watch – Prime Video, Redbox., Vudu, or Apple TV

14. Knight of Cups (2015)

Indeed, this Terrence Malick film is “polarising.” That is to say; we could be the only individuals on the earth who enjoy the Knight of Cups. 

But we like it, partly because Malick has a method for making anything feel incredible and eternal (even the story of a morose scriptwriter whose life is somehow miserable despite it having to decide between Cate Blanchett and Natalie Delivered to excel in customer expectation), and primarily because of Bale, who finds a spiritual center in this sad sack of a character despite everything. 

This film is so disjointed that Ben Kingsley serves as a narrator even though he isn’t in it — The report of Thomas Lennon.

Where To Watch – Roku Channel, Peacock TV, Tubi – Free Movies & TV, Pluto TV – It’s Free TV, Redbox., Freevee, Plex – Free Movies & TV, Vudu, Prime Video or Apple TV 

15. I’m Not There (2007)

Todd Haynes’ kaleidoscope of Bob Dylans, which depicts the renowned American singer-songwriter in various guises and eras, includes Bale as a more direct portrayal. 

He’s the folkie-era Dylan who was honing his “voice of a generation” reputation while producing protest songs.

 The actor captures the musician’s muttering and slight awkwardness before transitioning to Dylan’s born-again period. 

The performance has soulfulness and humor, but it doesn’t erase the reality that a few other Dylans are much more dynamic or moving.

Where To Watch – Pluto or Tubi

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