10 Christian Bale Movies That Made Him a True Star

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Maybe one of the greatest actors of his generation, Christian Bale slowly built his impressive career away from the spotlight and paparazzi. With one Academy Award under his belt, Bale proved himself before the critics, as well. He started acting at the tender age of 13 and in a Steven Spielberg film, no less.

Christian Bale became known to the mainstream public after his notable role in American Psycho. But his most popular role to date is Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy.

Bale is known for his tremendous physical transformations for his roles. He is pursuing method acting, which includes emotionally immersing yourself into the role.

Let’s go over his most memorable performances as listed by the Metacritic scores.


  • American Hustle (2013)

Bale here stars as Irving Rosenfeld, a con man who gets implicated with FBI agent and mafia. The story is a fictionalized telling of the Abscam. Bale underwent a body transformation and gained over forty pounds for the role of Rosenfeld. He changed so much that Robert De Niro failed to recognize him on the set.

The star-studded cast of American Hustle also includes Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, and Jeremy Renner. 


  • The Dark Knight (2008)

Christopher Nolan got the opportunity back in 2004 to helm his own version of Batman. His decision on who to cast as one of the favorite superheroes ended up being simple. Bale got the role and this ended up being the most recognizable role of his career.

While the whole trilogy deserves praise, The Dark Knight is special since Heath Ledger’s performance as Joker brought this movie to a whole new level. 


  • The Big Short (2015)

Accompanied by Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, Bale plays one of the investors who figured out how much corruption there is on the US mortgage market. Anytime when it’s possible to meet the actual person he is portraying, Bale uses that chance to study the person in question and collect their mannerisms and their attitude. He went a bit further when he met the real Dr. Michael Burry. He asked Burry for his shirt and cargo shorts, which Bale then actually wore in the movie.


  • The Fighter (2010)

For his role as Dicky Eklund in The Fighter, Bale was presented with an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He managed to lose thirty pounds to realistically portray Eklund, who was a drug addict at the time of the events presented in the film.

This was also Bale’s first collaboration with director David O. Russell, with whom he collaborated on American Hustle as well. 


  • 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

This lesser-known film stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. Bale plays Dan Evans, a rancher, who is trying to keep an outlaw, Ben Wade (Russell Crowe), locked up until Wade gets sent off to Yuma for his trail. This was the first collaboration between Bale and director James Mangold. Their newest film, Ford v Ferrari, is due to be released this year. 


  • The Prestige (2006)

Bale’s next collaboration with Christopher Nolan after the first Batman movie, Batman Begins, was The Prestige. Starring opposite Hugh Jackman, they are portraying two magicians whose friendship turns to vicious rivalry. After Alfred Borden (Bale) performs a spectacular trick, Robert Angier (Jackman) becomes obsessed to find out the mechanics behind his former best friend’s illusion.  


  • American Psycho (2000)

Mary Harron’s American Psycho is the adaptation of the eponymous work by Bret Easton Ellis. Bale talked in an American accent during the complete shooting of the film. At one of the parties when he resumed talking in his normal accent, everybody was confused. Many people thought that he was American. Bale is born in Pembrokeshire, which is located in Wales, UK.


  • Empire of the Sun (1987)

Bale’s first role ever was in Steven Spielberg’s flick Empire of the Sun. In this epic war drama, young Bale played James Graham who lived in Shanghai with his parents until the Japanese occupied the city during the Second World War. Separated from his parents and all alone, James tries to survive the new circumstances.


  • The Machinist (2004)

Can you imagine eating a can of tuna and an apple a day? That is what Bale ate during his extreme diet since he wanted to lose weight for his role as Trevor Reznik. His character hasn’t slept for a year and Bale thought that his physical appearance should also paint the emotional state of Reznik. He lost about 63 pounds and this is considered a record among actors to this day.


  • Vice (2018)

Teamed up once again with Amy Adams and director Adam McKay (they previously collaborated on The Big Short), Bale was on familiar ground. And this didn’t go unnoticed. He earned an Oscar nomination for best actor for his portrayal of Dick Cheney, Vice President of George W. Bush. 

Wish to check out more Christian Bale’s performances? Download Movvio app and find the rest of Bale’s movies. 


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