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The 25+ Best Christian Bale Movies of All Time

Updated November 15, 2019 5.1k votes 1.1k voters 48.3k views48 items

List RulesVote for your favorite Christian Bale movies, regardless of critic reviews or how big the role was.

The best Christian Bale movies of all time prove that he is one of the top actors currently working. Since his film career started in the late ‘80s, Bale has appeared in plenty of blockbusters and critically-acclaimed movies, earning awards and accolades along the way. His highest grossing movies have been well-received at the box office and his lifetime box office total exceeds $2.2 billion.

Born in the Welsh county of Pembrokeshire, Christian Bale first started acting as a child in commercials. He then moved on to TV films and eventually theatrical releases. His first major role was in Steven Spielberg’s 1987 hit Empire of the Sun. To this day, it is considered one of the best Christian Bale movies of all time.

He continued getting both leading and supporting roles through the ‘90s, which eventually lead him to play the serial killer Patrick Bateman in the 1999 adaptation of American Psycho. Through the 2000s, Christian Bale starred in several high profile movies including The Machinist, Equilibrium, and Reign of Fire. However, he is probably best known for The Dark Knight trilogy of films.

So what are the best Christian Bale movies of all time? Is it The Dark Knight or The Fighter? See what fans have ranked as their favorites in the Christian Bale filmography below. Movie trailers have been included below if you want a preview of the film. If you think the best Christian Bale role isn't at the top, then vote it up. Don’t see it listed? Add it so that others may vote for it. After all, this list of the best Christian Bale movies should be as comprehensive as possible. 

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    The Dark Knight

    Christian Bale, Michael Caine
    The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics...  more

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  • 2
    331
    49

    American Psycho

    Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe
    American Psycho is a 2000 American neo-noir satirical psychological horror film directed by...  more

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    #7 of 43 30+ Very Preppy Movies with the Preppiest Characters#11 of 15 Horror Movie Endings People Only Pretend To Understand

  • 3
    286
    43

    Batman Begins

    Christian Bale, Michael Caine
    Batman Begins is a 2005 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics...  more

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    The Prestige

    Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie
    The Prestige is a 2006 mystery drama film directed by Christopher Nolan, from a screenplay...  more

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    #7 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings#122 of 246 The Best Rainy Day Movies

  • 5
    296
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    The Dark Knight Rises

    Christian Bale, Michael Caine
    The Dark Knight Rises is a 2012 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC...  more

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  • 6
    213
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    The Fighter

    Amy Adams, Christian Bale
    The Fighter is a 2010 American biographical sports drama film directed by David O. Russell....  more

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    #1222 of 1,506 The Most Rewatchable Movies#44 of 204 The Best Sports Movies Ever Made

  • 7
    203
    32

    The Machinist

    Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh
    The Machinist is a 2004 English-language Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Brad...  more

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    #40 of 231 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time#24 of 135 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

  • 8
    142
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    3:10 to Yuma

    Christian Bale, Russell Crowe
    3:10 to Yuma is a 2007 western film directed by James Mangold and produced by Cathy Konrad,...  more

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    #39 of 400 The Best Western Movies Ever Made#145 of 451 The Best Movies For Guys

  • 9
    144
    41

    Equilibrium

    Christian Bale, Sean Bean
    Equilibrium is a 2002 American dystopian science fiction film written and directed by Kurt...  more

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    #35 of 180 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movies#59 of 100 The Best Movies Like 'Inception'

  • 10
    102
    25

    American Hustle

    Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams
    American Hustle is a 2013 American comedy-drama film directed by David O. Russell. It was...  more

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    #238 of 306 The Best Ensemble Movies#39 of 123 The Best Mafia Films Of All Time

  • 11
    93
    15

    The Big Short

    Christian Bale, Steve Carell
    The Big Short is a 2015 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Adam McKay, based...  more

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    #1157 of 1,195 Every Oscar Winning Film Ever#36 of 82 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books

  • 12
    119
    30

    Empire of the Sun

    Christian Bale, Ben Stiller
    Empire of the Sun is a 1987 American coming of age film based on J. G. Ballard's...  more

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  • 13
    101
    25

    Rescue Dawn

    Christian Bale, Steve Zahn
    Rescue Dawn is a 2006 American drama film directed by Werner Herzog, based on an adapted...  more

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    #232 of 376 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked#102 of 301 The Best Movies Based On True Stories

  • 14
    77
    25

    Reign of Fire

    Christian Bale, Matthew McConaughey
    Reign of Fire is a 2002 post-apocalyptic action fantasy film directed by Rob Bowman and...  more

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    #22 of 318 The Greatest Disaster Movies of All Time#62 of 100 The 95+ Greatest Dystopian Action Movies

  • 15
    81
    33

    Public Enemies

    Johnny Depp, Christian Bale
    Public Enemies is a 2009 American film directed by Michael Mann and written by Mann, Ronan...  more
  • 16
    92
    24

    Out of the Furnace

    Zoe Saldana, Christian Bale
    Out of the Furnace is a 2013 American thriller film, directed by Scott Cooper, from a...  more
  • 17
    72
    31

    Little Women

    Kirsten Dunst, Christian Bale
    Little Women is a 1994 American drama film directed by Gillian Armstrong. The screenplay by...  more

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  • 18
    60
    22

    Harsh Times

    Eva Longoria, Christian Bale
    Harsh Times is a 2005 American crime film set in South Los Angeles. The film stars Christian...  more

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    #21 of 72 The Best '00s Cop Movies#445 of 546 The Greatest Crime Movies Ever Made

  • 19
    53
    23

    The Flowers of War

    Christian Bale, Paul Schneider
    The Flowers of War is a 2011 Chinese historical drama war film directed by Zhang Yimou,...  more
  • 20
    78
    41

    Terminator Salvation

    Christian Bale, Helena Bonham Carter
    Terminator Salvation is a 2009 American science fiction action film directed by McG and...  more

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    #155 of 225 The Worst Sequels Of All Time#125 of 165 Live Action Movies With The Best CGI Effects

  • 21
    36
    8

    Vice

    Christian Bale, Amy Adams
    Vice is a 2018 biographical comedy-drama film directed by Adam McKay. The story of Dick Cheney...  more
  • 22
    52
    1

    Ford v. Ferrari

    Christian Bale, Matt Damon
    Ford v. Ferrari is a 2019 action biographical drama film directed by James Mangold. An...  more

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    #108 of 152 The Most Inspirational Sports Movies#17 of 57 The Best Car Racing Movies That Really Put The Pedal To The Metal

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    40
    22

    Shaft

    Christian Bale, Elizabeth Banks
    Shaft is a 2000 American action-thriller film directed by John Singleton, and starring Samuel...  more

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    50
    23

    The New World

    Christian Bale, Colin Farrell
    The New World is a 2005 British-American romantic historical drama film written and directed...  more

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    #762 of 782 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made#78 of 81 The Best Period Romance Movies

  • 25
    28
    11

    Treasure Island

    Christian Bale, Christopher Lee
    Treasure Island is a 1990 TV film adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous 1883 novel...  more