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Christian Bale’s Top 5 Roles

Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher and Bruce Wayne/Batman
Christian Bale as Gorr the God Butcher and Bruce Wayne/Batman

Christian Bale, the former Dark Knight himself, will now be entering the MCU by taking on the role of Gorr the God Butcher in Thor: Love and Thunder. As Bale once said, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Bale is an incredibly method actor who has made some incredible transformations over his career. These have led to some very memorable performances, from a superhero to a former Vice President. These are the roles I would consider his Top Five Roles of all time:

5. Jamie Graham in Empire of the Sun

Christian Bale as Jamie Graham in Empire of the Sun

Spielberg has always had a gift of bringing great performances out of child actors, but he brought something truly special out of Christian Bale in this film. Bale plays a young boy from England who ends up in a Japanese internment camp during World War II; the performance is truly a sight to behold from someone who was only 12 years old. There’s a reason the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures gave Bale a special citation for Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor; it’s clearly evident on screen.

4. Bruce Wayne/Batman in The Dark Knight

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Christian Bale and Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight

While the true highlight of the film is Heath Ledger’s award winning performance as The Joker, Bale expands on the great work he did in Batman Begins as the first take on film of a grounded, real world Dark Knight. Bale and Ledger have great chemistry as two sides of the same coin; he also has much better chemistry with Maggie Gyllenhaal as Rachel than he did with Katie Holmes (a great recasting in my opinion). The film still holds up today and Bale will always be synonymous with Batman for the rest of his career.

Also Read: Every Live Action Batman Movie Ranked

3. Dicky Eklund in The Fighter

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Editorial use only. No book cover usage. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/Shutterstock (1664042a)         The Fighter Film and Television

Christian Bale finally got his Oscar for his role in David O. Russell’s boxing drama. While Bale took home the gold, he actually wasn’t the first choice for the role; Brad Pitt and Matt Damon dropped out due to scheduling conflicts and Eminem had recording conflicts. It worked out for the best, as Bale has previous experience with dropping weight for a role (63 pounds for The Machinist). From the Boston accent to Eklund’s mannerisms, Bale was truly committed to the performance and it shows throughout the film. 

2. Patrick Bateman in American Psycho

Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman in American Psycho

Along with Batman, this is the role that most people think of when they think of Christian Bale. As a New York investment banker/serial killer, Bale displays the complete spectrum of emotion on a grand scale. Throughout the film, he flips between hatred, joy, and heartlessness at the drop of a hat. It’s one of those performances that is exaggerated to the point where it seems like bad acting (a thought some of his co-stars had during filming). Bale makes it work though and the film wouldn’t be the same without him in it.

1. Alfred Borden in The Prestige

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Christian Bale as Alfred Borden in The Prestige

This is Christopher Nolan’s best film in my opinion. Christian Bale is absolutely brilliant as a rival magician to Hugh Jackman. The film features an incredible cast of supporting characters, the highlight being the late great David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. If you haven’t seen the film before, you have to watch it because I don’t want to spoil the twist. It will make you want to go back and watch the film again to see Nolan pull off an incredible magic trick of his own.

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Written by Elliott Wishnefsky

Elliott Wishnefsky is a Film/TV Critic for FandomWire and a member of the Critics Choice Association. He's a graduate of Millersville University with a Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. Elliott is also a content creator for his own brand, Learning at the Movies! Twitter: @Learning_Movies | Facebook/Instagram: @learningatthemovies | TikTok: @learningatthemovies