Christian Bale is one of the most acclaimed actors working in Hollywood. The Welsh actor burst onto the scene as a teenager in Steven Spielberg's 1987 war drama Empire of the Sun and hasn't looked back since.
Known for his immersive method acting, Bale won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor following his role in The Fighter. He has been nominated for three more Oscars since, including for his roles in American Hustle, The Big Short, and, most recently, Vice. As Bale faces off with Matt Damon in Ford Vs. Ferrari next Friday, here are Christian Bale's 10 Best Movies, According to IMDB.
10 3:10 To Yuma (7.7/10)
In his first official western, Bale squared-off and drew guns with the equally formidable Russel Crowe in the remake of 3:10 To Yuma.
Bale plays Dan Evans in the film, a mild-mannered rancher who accepts the unenviable task of guarding apprehended criminal Ben Wade (Crowe) until the titular train arrives to transport him away. As they wait for the 3:10 to arrive, Evans and his son William (Logan Lerman) must fend off a slew of encroaching gunners. Meanwhile, Wade does all he can to outwit Evans and make an escape.
9 The Machinist (7.7/10)
Fans and critics alike were left mouth-agape by the startling physical transformation Bale underwent for his character in The Machinist. We're talking about a record-breaker, folks!
Bale lost an unprecedented 63 pounds to play the guilt-ridden insomniac Trevor Reznik, slimming down from 173 to 110 pounds. Bale reportedly wanted to decrease his weight down to 100 pounds, but producers feared for his life and disallowed him to do so. Still, the story of an industrial machinist unable to sleep for a year due to the remorse felt over a fatal accident is among Bale's finest work.
8 Empire Of The Sun (7.8/10)
In just his second feature film, the 12-year-old Bale earned the leading role in Steven Spielberg's WWII tale Empire of the Sun. Talk about shining bright!
The film is told through the eyes of Jim, a young English boy in Shanghai who deals with the daily rigors of living under Japanese rule during WWII. Adapted from the autobiographical J.G. Ballard novel, Jim contends with illness, food rations, and supply shortages at a Chinese prison camp. Desperate to reunite with his parents, Jim finds the inner-strength and spirit to foster hope.
7 The Big Short (7.8/10)
Bale earned his third Oscar nomination for his role in The Big Short, a comedic examination of the U.S. housing bubble that led to the economic crash in 2008. It's the third time he's played a real-life character that resulted in an Academy Award nomination.
In the film, Bale plays Michael Burry, an offbeat and unorthodox hedge fund manager whose brilliant foresight of the housing bubble allows him to capitalize on the market trends. Burry is underestimated due to his slacker appearance and disregard for professional norms, but he uses his intel to game the system.
6 The Fighter (7.8/10)
In a physical transformation that rivals his work in The Machinist, Bale won his first and only Oscar for his role as Dicky Eklund in The Fighter.
Of course, the title not only refers to the boxing career of Dicky's brother, Mickey Ward (Mark Wahlberg), but it also pertains to Dicky's battle with crack addiction. Bale lost 30 pounds to play the role of Dicky, who turns out to be the heart and soul of the film by the time the credits roll. Bale spent hours with the real Eklund to study his rhythms and mannerisms.
5 Howl's Moving Castle (8.2/10)
Christian Bale is such an intense and serious actor that it's almost impossible to think he'd lend his voice to a PG-rated animated film.
In the English dubbed version of Hayao Miyazaki's animated classic, Howl's Moving Castle, Bale voices the titular hero. The wildly imaginative film follows Sophie, a teenage girl who is cursed by a witch that turns her body into an old lady. When Sophie meets a magician named Howl at his mysteriously floating castle, she is given a grave choice that will determine her fate.
4 Batman Begins (8.2/10)
Christopher Nolan revamped the comic-book tableau of Batman away from the camp-and-kitsch and toward the gritty crime-genre in Batman Begins. And according to IMDB voters, he found the perfect leading man in Bale to do so.
In stark opposition to Tim Burton's Batman films, Nolan reimagined Bruce Wayne as a tougher and more laconic character. In Batman Begins, a backstory is provided as Wayne travels abroad to train with his mentor, Ra's Al Ghul (Liam Neeson). As he learns how to be Batman and fight crime, Wayne must defeat the Scarecrow (Cillian Murphy) and his evil henchmen.
3 The Dark Knight Rises (8.4/10)
In Bale's final turn as Batman, Christopher Nolan pulled out all the stops for the eye-popping super-spectacle The Dark Knight Rises.
Pitting Batman against the ruthless Bane (Tom Hardy), the film picks up eight years after Joker ran roughshod through Gotham City. Batman enlists the help of Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) to restore order and keep the city safe from a barbarous terrorist plotting to annihilate the city. As Batman battles Bane, Bruce Wayne works to repair his sullied reputation after taking the rap for Harvey Dent.
2 The Prestige (8.5/10)
Produced in-between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan somehow managed to squeeze in arguably his finest film in The Prestige. Magic indeed!
The story of rivaling magicians at the turn of the 20th century gave Bale the chance to play two different characters who appear as one. The sleight-of-hand Nolan shows in allowing Bale to secretly play twins, Alfred and Freddy Borden, is trickier than anything the characters perform on stage. Too bad Angiers (Hugh Jackman) couldn't figure it out until it's too late!
1 The Dark Knight (9.0/10)
Currently rated as the #4 title on IMDB's Top 250 movies ever made, The Dark Knight is by far the best Christian Bale movie to date.
Of course, much of the movie's popularity is due to the towering performance of Heath Ledger as the Joker, who won a posthumous Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in the film. Bale keeps the ship steady as Wayne, the prickly business magnate by day and Batman, the caped crusader by night. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, also winning for Best Sound Editing.