All Christian Bale Movies Ranked

Welcome to Rotten Tomatoes, where we’ve got Bale by the barrel! There’s skinny Bale (The Machinist) and big Bale (American Hustle), edgy Bale (The Fighter) and business Bale (American Psycho). Not to mention two varieties of P.O.W. Bale (Empire of the Sun, Rescue Dawn)! We’ve got cowl Bale (The Dark Knight) if that’s your fever, along with cool Bale (Equilibrium) and magic Bale (The Prestige). Then there’s bard Bale (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) if you’re a person of letters, which we suggest pairing with a biblical Bale (Exodus: Gods and Kings). A Christian Bale, if you please.

Bale’s been nominated for an Oscar four times (winning in 2011 for The Fighter), with the latest in 2019 for Vice. Ford v Ferrari wasn’t nominated for any of its performances, though it did land one for Best Picture. And now he’s in talks to jump from the world of DC to Marvel for a role in Thor: Love and Thunder. Come what may in 2021: First, we’re ranking the best Christian Bale movies (and the worst) by Tomatometer!

#42
Adjusted Score: 31336%
Critics Consensus: The cinematography is gorgeous, but the movie plays it fast and loose with history and the novel it was adapted from. Mostly, the movie fails because the romance between the leads strains credulity and the story is largely uninvolving.
Synopsis: An epic tale about the enduring hope of love and the devastating brutality of war, set amid the Italian occupation... [More]
Directed By: John Madden

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 38870%
Critics Consensus: While sporadically stirring, and suitably epic in its ambitions, Exodus: Gods and Kings can't quite live up to its classic source material.
Synopsis: Egyptian Princes Moses (Christian Bale) and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) are raised together as brothers. When Ramses becomes pharaoh, Moses is... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 43825%
Critics Consensus: With storytelling as robotic as the film's iconic villains, Terminator Salvation offers plenty of great effects but lacks the heart of the original films.
Synopsis: Although Judgment Day has in fact occurred, the future for which John Connor (Christian Bale) was prepared has been partly... [More]
Directed By: McG

#39

Newsies (1992)
39%

#39
Adjusted Score: 41683%
Critics Consensus: Extra! Extra! Read all about Newsies instead of suffering through its underwhelming musical interludes, although Christian Bale makes for a spirited hero.
Synopsis: In this musical, homeless New York City newsboy Jack "Cowboy" Kelly (Christian Bale) befriends two newcomers to his trade, brothers... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

#38

Equilibrium (2002)
41%

#38
Adjusted Score: 42450%
Critics Consensus: Equilibrium is a reheated mishmash of other sci-fi movies.
Synopsis: In a futuristic world, a regime has eliminated war by suppressing emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and... [More]
Directed By: Kurt Wimmer

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 42729%
Critics Consensus: Zhang Yimou's stylistic flair is in full bloom during The Flowers of War, but his colorful treatment of a historical genocide ultimately does a disservice to the horrifying events' inherent drama.
Synopsis: An American (Christian Bale) tries to protect a group of Chinese students and prostitutes from Japanese soldiers in 1937 Nanjing.... [More]
Directed By: Zhang Yimou

#36

Reign of Fire (2002)
42%

#36
Adjusted Score: 46563%
Critics Consensus: Reign of Fire gains some altitude with its pyrotechnic action and a smolderingly campy Matthew McConaughey, but the feature's wings are clipped by a derivative script and visual effects that fizzle out.
Synopsis: In present-day London, 12-year-old Quinn watches as his mother wakes an enormous fire-breathing beast from its centuries-long slumber. Twenty years... [More]
Directed By: Rob Bowman

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 49155%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful, indulgently heady, and pretentious, The Portrait of a Lady paints Campion's directorial shortcomings in too bright a light.
Synopsis: Ms. Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) isn't afraid to challenge societal norms. Impressed by her free spirit, her kindhearted cousin writes... [More]
Directed By: Jane Campion

#34

Knight of Cups (2015)
47%

#34
Adjusted Score: 57171%
Critics Consensus: Knight of Cups finds Terrence Malick delving deeper into the painterly visual milieu he's explored in recent efforts, but even hardcore fans may struggle with the diminishing narrative returns.
Synopsis: A Los Angeles screenwriter (Christian Bale) indulges his wild side with a stripper (Teresa Palmer), a model (Freida Pinto) and... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#33

Harsh Times (2005)
48%

#33
Adjusted Score: 51716%
Critics Consensus: Despite a dedicated performance by Christian Bale, Harsh Times suffers from a heavy-handed and overly bleak plot.
Synopsis: Jim (Christian Bale) is a Gulf War veteran and he believes it is his sworn duty to protect Americans by... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

#32

The Promise (2016)
51%

#32
Adjusted Score: 61653%
Critics Consensus: The Promise wastes an outstanding cast and powerful real-life story on a love triangle that frustratingly fails to engage.
Synopsis: Brilliant medical student Michael (Oscar Isaac) meets beautiful dance instructor Ana (Charlotte Le Bon) in late 1914. Their shared Armenian... [More]
Directed By: Terry George

#31
Adjusted Score: 35811%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1880s London, pornographic bookseller Verloc (Bob Hoskins) is a double agent for the Russian government, providing information to Chief... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Hampton

#30
Adjusted Score: 57812%
Critics Consensus: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle brings impressive special effects to bear on the darker side of its classic source material, but loses track of the story's heart along the way.
Synopsis: Human child Mowgli is raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh... [More]
Directed By: Andy Serkis

#29

Swing Kids (1993)
56%

#29
Adjusted Score: 55746%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: American big-band jazz beats in the hearts of young German friends (Robert Sean Leonard, Christian Bale, Frank Whaley) confronted by... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Carter

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 60866%
Critics Consensus: While it may not make the most of its incredible cast, Out of the Furnace is still so packed with talent that it's hard to turn away.
Synopsis: Steelworker Russell Baze (Christian Bale) works a dead-end job and holds tight to his sense of family, duty and loyalty.... [More]
Directed By: Scott Cooper

#27

Pocahontas (1995)
55%

#27
Adjusted Score: 58350%
Critics Consensus: Pocahontas means well, and has moments of startling beauty, but it's largely a bland, uninspired effort, with uneven plotting and an unfortunate lack of fun.
Synopsis: This is the Disney animated tale of the romance between a young American Indian woman named Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) and... [More]

#26

Velvet Goldmine (1998)
59%

#26
Adjusted Score: 59975%
Critics Consensus: Velvet Goldmine takes a visual and narrative approach befitting its larger-than-life subject, although it's still disappointingly less than the sum of its parts.
Synopsis: Glam rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Myers) plays a character on stage named Maxwell Demon who predicts his death... [More]
Directed By: Todd Haynes

#25

The New World (2005)
63%

#25
Adjusted Score: 69488%
Critics Consensus: Despite arresting visuals and strong lead performances, The New World suffers from an unfocused narrative that will challenge viewers' attention spans over its 2 1/2 hours.
Synopsis: Arriving with a British expedition in Virginia in 1607, Capt. John Smith (Colin Farrell) is captured by Native Americans. His... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#24

Metroland (1997)
64%

#24
Adjusted Score: 65094%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In late-1970s suburban London, Chris (Christian Bale) and Marion (Emily Watson) have settled into a comfortable yet all-too-predictable middle-class existence.... [More]
Directed By: Philip Saville

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 65488%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Bobby (Christian Bale) is a mentally handicapped young man with an affinity for animals. He runs away from home after... [More]
Directed By: Jeremy Thomas

#22

Vice (2018)
65%

#22
Adjusted Score: 87578%
Critics Consensus: Vice takes scattershot aim at its targets, but writer-director Adam McKay hits some satisfying bullseyes -- and Christian Bale's transformation is a sight to behold.
Synopsis: Gov. George W. Bush of Texas picks Dick Cheney, the CEO of Halliburton Co., to be his Republican running mate... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#21
Adjusted Score: 70062%
Critics Consensus: Faultless production and shining performances display the Bard's talent propitiously.
Synopsis: This version of the renowned comedic play finds the world of humans intersecting with the realm of magic. The lovely... [More]
Directed By: Michael Hoffman

#20

Shaft (2000)
67%

#20
Adjusted Score: 70184%
Critics Consensus: With a charismatic lead, this new Shaft knows how to push the right buttons.
Synopsis: Crooked cops on the take -- small-time drug lords -- sleazy informers and sadistic rich kids ready to kill ---... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#19

Public Enemies (2009)
68%

#19
Adjusted Score: 78787%
Critics Consensus: Michael Mann's latest is a competent and technically impressive gangster flick with charismatic lead performances, but some may find the film lacks truly compelling drama.
Synopsis: Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger's (Johnny Depp) charm and audacity endear him to much of America's downtrodden public, but he's... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#18

Laurel Canyon (2002)
69%

#18
Adjusted Score: 71409%
Critics Consensus: Though the movie itself is flawed, McDormand is fantastic as Jane.
Synopsis: Sam (Christian Bale) and his fiancée, Alex (Kate Beckinsale), move to Los Angeles for the summer to stay at the... [More]
Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko

#17

American Psycho (2000)
69%

#17
Adjusted Score: 74646%
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Synopsis: In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as... [More]
Directed By: Mary Harron

#16

Hostiles (2017)
71%

#16
Adjusted Score: 83456%
Critics Consensus: Hostiles benefits from stunning visuals and a solid central performance from Christian Bale, both of which help elevate its uneven story.
Synopsis: In 1892, legendary Army Capt. Joseph Blocker reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back... [More]
Directed By: Scott Cooper

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 79379%
Critics Consensus: One of Steven Spielberg's most ambitious efforts of the 1980s, Empire of the Sun remains an underrated gem in the director's distinguished filmography.
Synopsis: Jamie Graham (Christian Bale), a privileged English boy, is living in Shanghai when the Japanese invade and force all foreigners... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#14

The Prestige (2006)
76%

#14
Adjusted Score: 83670%
Critics Consensus: Full of twists and turns, The Prestige is a dazzling period piece that never stops challenging the audience.
Synopsis: An illusion gone horribly wrong pits two 19th-century magicians, Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman), against each... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#13

I'm Not There (2007)
77%

#13
Adjusted Score: 83261%
Critics Consensus: I'm Not There's unique editing, visuals, and multiple talented actors portraying Bob Dylan make for a deliciously unconventional experience. Each segment brings a new and fresh take on Dylan's life.
Synopsis: Several actors portray legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan at different stages in his personal life and career. In 1959 a guitar-strumming... [More]
Directed By: Todd Haynes

#12

The Machinist (2004)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 80907%
Critics Consensus: Brad Anderson's dark psychological thriller about a sleepless factory worker is elevated by Christian Bale astonishingly committed performance.
Synopsis: Factory worker Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) suffers from insomnia so severe that his condition has taken its toll on his... [More]
Directed By: Brad Anderson

#11

Batman Begins (2005)
84%

#11
Adjusted Score: 95911%
Critics Consensus: Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.
Synopsis: A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he's trained in the martial arts by Henri... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 103502%
Critics Consensus: The Dark Knight Rises is an ambitious, thoughtful, and potent action film that concludes Christopher Nolan's franchise in spectacular fashion.
Synopsis: It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night.... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 92521%
Critics Consensus: Exquisitely illustrated by master animator Miyazaki, Howl's Moving Castle will delight children with its fantastical story and touch the hearts and minds of older viewers as well.
Synopsis: Sophie (Emily Mortimer) has an uneventful life at her late father's hat shop, but all that changes when she befriends... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#8

The Big Short (2015)
89%

#8
Adjusted Score: 101774%
Critics Consensus: The Big Short approaches a serious, complicated subject with an impressive attention to detail -- and manages to deliver a well-acted, scathingly funny indictment of its real-life villains in the bargain.
Synopsis: In 2008, Wall Street guru Michael Burry realizes that a number of subprime home loans are in danger of defaulting.... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#7

3:10 to Yuma (2007)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 97724%
Critics Consensus: This remake of a classic Western improves on the original, thanks to fiery performances from Russell Crowe and Christian Bale as well as sharp direction from James Mangold.
Synopsis: Outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) terrorizes 1800s Arizona, especially the Southern Railroad, until he is finally captured. Wade must be... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#6

Rescue Dawn (2006)
90%

#6
Adjusted Score: 94190%
Critics Consensus: Director Werner Herzog has once again made a compelling tale of man versus nature, and Christian Bale completely immerses himself in the role of fighter pilot (and prisoner of war) Dieter Dengler.
Synopsis: During the Vietnam War, Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), a U.S. fighter pilot, is shot down over Laos and taken captive... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

#5

The Fighter (2010)
91%

#5
Adjusted Score: 99782%
Critics Consensus: Led by a trio of captivating performances from Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams, The Fighter is a solidly entertaining, albeit predictable, entry in the boxing drama genre.
Synopsis: For Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), boxing is a family affair. His tough-as-nails mother is his manager. His half-brother, Dicky (Christian... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#4

Little Women (1994)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 94168%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a powerhouse lineup of talented actresses, Gillian Armstrong's take on Louisa May Alcott's Little Women proves that a timeless story can succeed no matter how many times it's told.
Synopsis: In this 1994 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic, the March sisters confront growing pains, financial shortages, family tragedies and... [More]
Directed By: Gillian Armstrong

#3

American Hustle (2013)
92%

#3
Adjusted Score: 103254%
Critics Consensus: Riotously funny and impeccably cast, American Hustle compensates for its flaws with unbridled energy and some of David O. Russell's most irrepressibly vibrant direction.
Synopsis: Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) dabbles in forgery and loan-sharking, but when he falls for fellow grifter Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams),... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#2

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#2
Adjusted Score: 114314%
Critics Consensus: Ford v Ferrari delivers all the polished auto action audiences will expect -- and balances it with enough gripping human drama to satisfy non-racing enthusiasts.
Synopsis: American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#1

The Dark Knight (2008)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107468%
Critics Consensus: Dark, complex, and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.
Synopsis: With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

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