Every single Christian Bale movie, ranked

Christian Bale

  • Christian Bale is perhaps best 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.”
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Christian Bale has made his mark on a variety of genres, from Shakespearean dramas to action-heavy superhero films.

Seeing as he has such a long and storied film career, it’s no surprise that Bale’s works have been met with varying degrees of criticism over the years. 

Here is every movie Bale has been in, ranked according to critic scores on Rotten Tomatoes:

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

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

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).

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.

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

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.

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).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 41%

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).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 41%

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).

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.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 45%

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.

Rotten Tomatoes score: 47%

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).

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).

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.

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).

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.

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).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 55%

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).

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).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 58%

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. 

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

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.

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

Rotten Tomatoes score: 64%

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. 

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

Rotten Tomatoes score: 65%

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 portrayed Dick Cheney in "Vice" (2018).

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).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 66%

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).

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Rotten Tomatoes score: 70%

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

Rotten Tomatoes score: 71%

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.

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

Rotten Tomatoes score: 75%

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.

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

Rotten Tomatoes score: 76%

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.

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

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

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

Rotten Tomatoes score: 84%

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).

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).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%

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).

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.

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).

Rotten Tomatoes score: 90%

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.

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

Rotten Tomatoes score: 92%

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

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).

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.

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.

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

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.

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

Rotten Tomatoes score: 100%

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).

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