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: 31.506%
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: During World War II, an Italian officer, Captain Corelli, is put in command of a garrison that's occupying the Greek... [More]
Directed By: John Madden (II)

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 38.094%
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: From acclaimed director Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Prometheus) comes the epic adventure "Exodus: Gods and Kings," the story of one man's... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 42.322%
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: The fourth installment of the Terminator series follows an adult John Connor (played by Christian Bale) as he attempts to... [More]
Directed By: McG

#39

Newsies (1992)
39%

#39
Adjusted Score: 41.28%
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: A failed effort to revive the big-budget movie musical, Newsies attempted to create toe-tapping, song-and-dance excitement out of the true... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

#38

Equilibrium (2002)
41%

#38
Adjusted Score: 43.029%
Critics Consensus: Equilibrium is a reheated mishmash of other sci-fi movies.
Synopsis: In the nation of Libria, there is always peace among men. The rules of the Librian system are simple. If... [More]
Directed By: Kurt Wimmer

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 42.081%
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: In 1937, Nanking stands at the forefront of a war between China and Japan. As the invading Japanese Imperial Army... [More]
Directed By: Zhang Yimou

#36

Reign of Fire (2002)
42%

#36
Adjusted Score: 46.859%
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, twelve-year-old Quinn watches as his mother, a construction engineer inadvertently wakes an enormous fire-breathing beast from its... [More]
Directed By: Rob Bowman

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 48.772%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful, indulgently heady, and pretentious, The Portrait of a Lady paints Campion's directorial shortcomings in too bright a light.
Synopsis: Jane Campion directed this expressive adaptation of the classic novel by Henry James. Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) is a young... [More]
Directed By: Jane Campion

#34

Knight of Cups (2016)
47%

#34
Adjusted Score: 53.693%
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: Knight of Cups follows writer Rick (Christian Bale, The Fighter, American Hustle) on an odyssey through the playgrounds of Los... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#33

Harsh Times (2006)
48%

#33
Adjusted Score: 50.861%
Critics Consensus: Despite a dedicated performance by Christian Bale, Harsh Times suffers from a heavy-handed and overly bleak plot.
Synopsis: An unstable Gulf War veteran with a savior complex receives a shocking wake-up call upon returning stateside and accepting a... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

#32

The Promise (2017)
51%

#32
Adjusted Score: 57.358%
Critics Consensus: The Promise wastes an outstanding cast and powerful real-life story on a love triangle that frustratingly fails to engage.
Synopsis: Empires fall, love survives. When Michael (Oscar Isaac), a brilliant medical student, meets Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), their shared Armenian... [More]
Directed By: Terry George

#31
Adjusted Score: 33.604%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: The sophomore directing effort by Dangerous Liaisons screenwriter Christopher Hampton, following Carrington, The Secret Agent is a well-performed but dramatically... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Hampton

#30
Adjusted Score: 56.831%
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: Acclaimed actor and director Andy Serkis reinvents Rudyard Kipling's beloved masterpiece, in which a boy torn between two worlds accepts... [More]
Directed By: Andy Serkis

#29

Swing Kids (1993)
56%

#29
Adjusted Score: 56.648%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1939 Hamburg, Germany, a group of teenagers express their rebellion against Adolph Hitler's Nazi regime through their affection for... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Carter

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 61.499%
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: From Scott Cooper, the critically-acclaimed writer and director of Crazy Heart, comes a gripping and gritty drama about family, fate,... [More]
Directed By: Scott Cooper

#27

Pocahontas (1995)
55%

#27
Adjusted Score: 58.297%
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: History gets the Disney kiddie treatment and a politically correct interpretation in the studio's 33rd feature-length animated movie, the first... [More]

#26

Velvet Goldmine (1998)
57%

#26
Adjusted Score: 58.842%
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: At the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, American independent director Todd Haynes (Safe) received the "Artistic Achievement" award for this re-creation... [More]
Directed By: Todd Haynes

#25

The New World (2005)
63%

#25
Adjusted Score: 69.235%
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: This epic adventure is set amid the encounter of European and Native American cultures during the founding of the Jamestown... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#24

Metroland (1999)
64%

#24
Adjusted Score: 64.435%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An unexpected visit causes a man to wonder what path he should have taken in life in this drama. In... [More]
Directed By: Philip Saville

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 65.179%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this fable set in England, Christian Bale stars as a mentally disabled man who is housebound for most of... [More]
Directed By: Jeremy Thomas

#22

Vice (2018)
66%

#22
Adjusted Score: 81.584%
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: VICE explores the epic story about how a bureaucratic Washington insider quietly became the most powerful man in the world... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#21
Adjusted Score: 70.05%
Critics Consensus: Faultless production and shining performances display the Bard's talent propitiously.
Synopsis: It all begins when Hermia and Lysander flee deep into the forest to escape Hermia's father, Egeus, who wishes Hermia... [More]
Directed By: Michael Hoffman

#20

Shaft (2000)
67%

#20
Adjusted Score: 70.806%
Critics Consensus: With a charismatic lead, this new Shaft knows how to push the right buttons.
Synopsis: This action drama puts a new spin on Shaft, one of the key "blaxploitation" films of the 1970s. John Shaft... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#19

Public Enemies (2009)
68%

#19
Adjusted Score: 77.248%
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: Based on author Bryan Burrough's ambitious tome Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-43,... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#18

Laurel Canyon (2003)
68%

#18
Adjusted Score: 70.691%
Critics Consensus: Though the movie itself is flawed, McDormand is fantastic as Jane.
Synopsis: Writer/director Lisa Cholodenko follows up her much-acclaimed 1997 debut High Art with this examination of a young couple seduced into... [More]
Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko

#17

American Psycho (2000)
69%

#17
Adjusted Score: 74.268%
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: Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) is a Wall Street yuppie, obsessed with success, status and style, with a stunning fiancée (Reese... [More]
Directed By: Mary Harron

#16

Hostiles (2018)
71%

#16
Adjusted Score: 80.173%
Critics Consensus: Hostiles benefits from stunning visuals and a solid central performance from Christian Bale, both of which help elevate its uneven story.
Synopsis: Set in 1892, Hostiles tells the story of a legendary Army Captain (Christian Bale), who after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees... [More]
Directed By: Scott Cooper

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 79.264%
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: Based on J.G. Ballard's autobiographical novel, Empire of the Sun stars Christian Bale as a spoiled young British boy, living... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#14

The Prestige (2006)
76%

#14
Adjusted Score: 82.839%
Critics Consensus: Full of twists and turns, The Prestige is a dazzling period piece that never stops challenging the audience.
Synopsis: In 1878, two young stage magicians clash in a darkened salon during the course of a fraudulent seance. From this... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#13

I'm Not There (2007)
77%

#13
Adjusted Score: 82.197%
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: This re-enactment of the life of musician, Bob Dylan, features multiple actors embodying different stages in the singer's life.... [More]
Directed By: Todd Haynes

#12

The Machinist (2004)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 80.715%
Critics Consensus: Brad Anderson's dark psychological thriller about a sleepless factory worker is elevated by Christian Bale astonishingly committed performance.
Synopsis: Brad Anderson directs the psychological thriller The Machinist, a production of Spain's Filmax company. Christian Bale plays Trevor Reznik, a... [More]
Directed By: Brad Anderson

#11

Batman Begins (2005)
84%

#11
Adjusted Score: 94.006%
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: The origins of the Caped Crusader of Gotham City are finally brought to the big screen in this new adaptation... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 101.362%
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 vanished into the night, turning, in that instant, from hero to fugitive. Assuming... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 92.966%
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: Hayao Miyazaki, the Japanese animation director who wowed audiences worldwide with his award-winning film Spirited Away, brings another visually spectacular... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#8

The Big Short (2015)
88%

#8
Adjusted Score: 100.621%
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: Writer/director Adam McKay joins forces with Paramount Pictures and Plan B Entertainment to adapt Michael Lewis' best-seller The Big Short:... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#7

3:10 to Yuma (2007)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 96.492%
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: Russell Crowe plays a desperado whose accomplices stage an ambush after he is taken into custody by a determined local... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#6

Rescue Dawn (2007)
90%

#6
Adjusted Score: 95.235%
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: In the annals of history's great escapes there is no other story like that of Dieter Dengler, the only American... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

#5

The Fighter (2010)
90%

#5
Adjusted Score: 97.641%
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: Mark Wahlberg stars in Paramount Pictures' inspirational docudrama exploring the remarkable rise of Massachusetts-born, junior welterweight title winner "Irish" Micky... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#4

Little Women (1994)
92%

#4
Adjusted Score: 93.973%
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: This newest version of Louisa May Alcott's tender novel is considered to be among the best as it chronicles the... [More]
Directed By: Gillian Armstrong

#3

American Hustle (2013)
92%

#3
Adjusted Score: 103.531%
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: A fictional film set in the alluring world of one of the most stunning scandals to rock our nation, American... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#2

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#2
Adjusted Score: 106.995%
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: Academy Award-winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in FORD v FERRARI, based on the remarkable true story of the... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#1

The Dark Knight (2008)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107.441%
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: Christopher Nolan steps back into the director's chair for this sequel to Batman Begins, which finds the titular superhero coming... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

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