Christian Bale (1974 – …)

Christian Bale (1974 – …)

by Kevin Scanlon, The New York Times

Christian Bale, who is born as “Charles Philip Bale”, is an English actor and the last of the “Batman”s of the silver screen. Today he is accepted as one of the talented actors of our times. He has appeared first in independent movies and some art house films, however he’s also appeared in blockbusters. As a young actor, Bale is expected to appear in more Hollywood movies next decades. Christian Bale is also among the British actors who are transferred to Hollywood at a young age.

Charles Bale was born in Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK in 1974. his first striking role was in Steven Spielberg‘s movie Empire Of The Sun (1987). the movie was based on J. G. Ballard’s novel with the same name. He was 13 when he starred in the movie. Before Empire Of The Sun, Bale has appeared in some small roles in some tv-series and small movies. However his first biggest role was the Empire Of The Sun. In the movie, he played the young English boy Jim, the protagonist.

After Empire Of The Sun, his way as an actor has been opened and he continued to appear in movies. His second big role was in Gillian Armstrong’s movie adaptaion of the novel of the same name, Little Women (1992). He played “Laurie”, a young man around those little women. In 1996, Bale played the character of “Edward Rosier” in one of Jane Champion‘s best movies, The Portrait Of A Lady (1996). After two successful performances in Todd Haynes movie Velvet Goldmine (1998) and Michael Hoffman‘s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999), he portrayed one of the most notorious fictional serial killers of all time “Patrick Bateman” in American Psycho (2000). That was the true break through role of his career. After American Psycho, he began to play leading roles more often. And also by playing Patrick Bateman so tense and striking, he proved himself as a talented actor.

In 2000s, Bale appeared in some of the decades most important psychological thrillers such as The Machinist (2004), where he lost 63 pounds (28,5 kg) to play the role of Trevor Reznik and The Prestige (2006). 2000s are also the times when Bale was choosen to portray legendary DC Comics character Batman once again in silver screen.

Christian Bale and Christopher Nolan did the latest Batman trilogy togehter, which gained highly positive reactions and became a total success at box office. The Batman Trilogy of Nolan, literally created the new “film-noir comic book movies genre”. Christopher Nolan’s and Bale’s Batman movies Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012) are literally accepted as the best Batman trilogy so far. Movies are also made their way to IMDb‘s top 250 list.

Along with those important movies of his, Bale also appeared in Blockbuster and high-budget movies such as Reign Of Fire (2002), The New World (2005), Rescue Dawn (2006), 3:10 To Yuma (2007), I’m Not There (2007), Terminator Salvation (2009), Public Enemies (2009), The Fighter (2010), Out Of The Furnace (2013) and Exodus: Gods And Kings (2014).

Christian Bale won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in The Fighter (2010). He also was nominated for Academy Awards for several times and he won some 62 other awards such as Golden Globes or BAFTAs.


Now known as Christian Bale, Charles Philip Bale was born in Haverfordwest town of Pembrokeshire County in Wales. His mother was a circus performer, and his father was a South African-born commercial pilot and talent manager. His childhood passed in Wales, Dorset and Portugal. He attended Bournemouth School, but he left at age 16.

empire-of-the-sunWhen he was 17, his parents divorced and he moved to Los Angeles, California with his father. Bale was performing in small roles in advertisiments and small movies since he was 8 years old. His first important role was Empire Of The Sun (1987) while he was 13 years old. The movie is accepted as one of the top 10 best Christian Bale movies.

In this Steven Spielberg movie, adapted from Ballard‘s novel, Christian Bale played Jim, the young English boy who was captured in Japan. By this performance, Bale earned great critical praise and the first ever “Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor” award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.

Before Empire Of The Sun, Bale played the character of “Alexei” in the tv-movie “Anastasia: The Mystery Of Anna (1986)”. That was his first role expect the adverts he appeared. In 1987 Bale also appeared in tv-series “Heart Of The Country” as “Ben Harris”. In 1987, Christian Bale was also credited as “Benke” in Mio: In The Land Of Faraway.

After the great victory of the Spielberg movie Empire Of The Sun, Bale had the opportunity to appear in a Kenneth Branagh movie, Henry V (1989). Branagh was one of the top directors and actors of especially late 80s and 90s and he was known for his true film adaptations of classical novels and works. In 1990, he played the role of “Jim Hawkins” in Treasure Island, a tv-movie adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson‘s classic book.

Little-WomenIn early 90s, Bale appeared some other movies that could be called as “teenager movies” such as Newsies (1992) and Swing Kids (1993). In 1994, Christian Bale began to portray more adult roles since he turned to be 20 years old. He appeared in Gabriel Axel movie Prince Of Jutland (1994) with some of the greatest actors of the time Gabriel Byrne, Helen Mirron, Brian Cox and a young Kate Beckinsale. Same year he also appeared in one of the top movies of the year, Gillian Armstrong‘s Little Women (1994). Later on it is said that he was recommended by Winona Ryder. The movie was a huge success at the box office and the critics mostly praised the movie. Bale starred along with Winona Ryder, Gabrieal Byrne, Kirsten Dunst, Claire Danes and Susan Sarandon. Later on both movies were said to be among the top 10 lesser known movies of Christian Bale.

What makes an actor a star is the true choices when it comes to choose the movies to appear. After Little Women, Bale appeared in one of the finest female directors of all time, but especially of 90s, Jane Campion‘s The Portrait Of A Lady (1996). The movie was nominated for two Academy Awards and it also won some other 8 awards. The movie starred Nicole Kidman, Christian Bale and John Malkovich.

velvet-goldmineLater in 1996, Bale portrayed Stevie in Cristopher Hampton‘s R rated thriller The Secret Agent (1996) along with Bon Hoskins, Patricia Arquette and Gerard Depardieu. In 1997 Christian Bale performed in Philip Saville‘s period comedy-drama Metroland (1997) along with Emily Watson. One year later, in 1998 Bale portrayed the journalist “Arthur Stuart” in Todd Haynes‘ glam-rock movie Velvet Goldmine (1998) along with Ewan MacGregor and Jonathan Ryhs Meyers. In 1999, Bale contributed to an all-star cast Shakespeare movie, along with Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci, and Rupert Everett: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1999). The movie was directed by Michael Hoffman. In 90s, classical literature movie adaptations were so popular and the movie was one of them. Although some of the critics didn’t like the movie, it gained some awards and audience loved the movie.


american-psychoChristian Bale did a great beginning to the millenium. Playing the brilliant psycho killer “Patrick Bateman” of Bret Easton Ellis‘ controversial novel, was the one perfect move to make. Immediately Marry Harron‘s great movie American Psycho (2000) became one of the true hits of the year. And yet Bale’s portrayal of Patrick Bateman hit the audience. He was so successful in the movie that this satirical dark-comedy truely became one of the cult movies of all time. And most probably it is the best movie of Marry Harron. American Psycho is also among the top 10 best Christian Bale movies.

Christian Bale spent months to prepare himself to the movie and the character. He worked out for months to look perfect in order to portray the Greek-statue-look obsessed serial killer. That was the proof that Christian Bale was not only a good looking celebrity, but he was also a talented actor who could devote himself to his roles. Christian Bale was nominated for many awards for his performance as Patrick Bateman. And the movie carried him from being an ordinary actor to the stardom.

Till another “transformation” movies of Bale’s, The Machinist (2004), Bale played several other movies. Same year with American Psycho, Bale appeared in John Singleton‘s action thriller Shaft (2000). The movie was rated R and Samuel Jackson played the nephew of the original 70s detective. Christian Bale was Walter Wade, Jr. in the movie. In 2001, Bale appeared in a supporting role as “Mandras” in Captain Corelli’s Mandolin (2001). In the leading roles there was Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz and it was one of the successful movies of the year at the box office.

reign-of-fireIn 2002, Bale made three movies. Two of them were action-thrillers and one was a R rated drama. Laurel Canyon (2002) was a awarded festival drama that was directed by Lisa Cholodenko. The movie was praised by the critics and yet it won two awards. Same year Bale appeared in a fantasy-action-thriller by Rob Bowman, Reign Of Fire (2002). Back then the movie was praised and gained a great deal of public attention. Today the movie is accepted as an early work of today’s two greatest actors: Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey. The third movie Bale appeared in 2002 was Equilibrium (2002), a sci-fi action movie directed by Kurt Wimmer. It was a Matrix style movie that portrays a distopic future.

the-machinistIn 2004, Bale played “Trevor Reznik”, the lead character in Brad Anderson‘s psychological thriller The Machinist (2004). Christian Bale gained great attention for his devotion to the role. Because he practised a crash diet which consists of coffee and apples. So he was able to loose 63 pounds in several months. Just one year later Christian Bale had gained his healthy appearence and signed for Christopher Nolan‘s new Batman trilogy.

Before telling about Batman trilogy, let’s have look at Bale’s other 2000s movies. Except from Batman Begins (2005) and The Dark Knight (2008), Bale made 8 more movies in 2000s. Harsh Times (2005) was the first movie he did after Batman Begins. In this David Ayer‘s action-crime-drama, Bale portrayed Jim Luther Davis, one of the two friends living in Los Angeles’ crime related environment. In 2005 Bale also appeared in Terrence Malick‘s poetic and lyric drama The New World (2005). The movie tells the story of English exploration of Virginia and the a tale of love between native princess Pocahontas and two men.

Rescue-DawnIn 2006, this time Bale played in a Werner Herzog biographical movie, Rescue Dawn (2006). Bale portrays Dieter Dengler and the movie tells the story of a US pilot’s epic struggle to stay alive after a crach in enemy lands during Vietnam War. After the first of the Batman trilogy, Bale also appeared another Nolan movie, The Prestige (2006). The movie was about two magicians, who try to find the latest and most mysterious tricks. Christian Bale played along with Hugh Jackman and an unexpected David Bowie portrayed Nicola Tesla, one of the greatest scientists ot the time.

In 2007, Bale appeared in a James Mangold movie, a remake of a classical western, 3:10 To Yuma (2007), which also turned out to be a classic immediately. In the movie Bale portrays Dan Evans, who pretend to be a brave man. This is an epic road movie that shows how bad men could do some good sometimes. Nearly a decade later Bale appears another Todd Haynes movie, I’m Not There (2007) in which Haynes told the story of legendary musician Bob Dylan.

Before the first decade of the millenium ends, Bale played John Connor, the leader of the mankind in the great Terminator universe. Terminator Salvation (2009) was directed by McG and although it holds a 6,7 rating in IMDb, it did not recieved much positive reactions. Today the movie is accepted as the worst Terminator movie and probably one of the worst movies that Bale appeared. His performance was praised though. Some critics suggest that the character of Sam Worthington, Marcus Wright, was so artificial that the whole universe came near to the edge of collapse. However the producers has seen their fault and immediately given up making Terminator movies in that artificial concept.

In 2009, Bale appeared in a Michael Mann movie, Public Enemies (2009) along with Johnny Depp and James Russo. The movie tells the story of John Dillinger, one of the greatest criminals of great depression era. Although Bale’s performance was praised, Depp was found “not convincing” by the critics.


dark-knight_risesThe last Batman trilogy of our times, “The Dark Knight Trilogy” is directed by one of the finest directors of Hollywood, Christopher Nolan. The series are based on the DC Comics character Batman of course. After the critical failure of Batman & Robin (1997), Warner Bros. decided to reboot the whole franchise. To achieve that one of the best directors Nolan was chosen and in 2005 first of the series was shot; Batman Begins (2005). In the series Christian Bale portrays Bruce Wayne and Batman. Batman Begins is followed by The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012).

The two sequels both earned more than $1 billion worldwide. The Dark Knight Trilogy has received great positive reactions and all the critics praised the movie, as well as the performances by the actors and actresses. The Dark Knight Trilogy today is accepted not only as the best Batman trilogy, but also one of the best film trilogies of all time.

Before The Dark Knight Trilogy, movies based on Comic book characters generally shot like children movies. However Christopher Nolan added a dark touch to the Batman trilogy, making the movies the new-noir of our times. After Nolan’s Batman movies, many DC Comics or Marvel movies are adopted to the cinema like film-noirs. The characters are so deep that they seem to be highly real according to a comics movie. And the story had different aspects and different sides to tell. All these new genre rules are introduced to the silver screen by The Dark Knight Trilogy in which Christian Bale portrayed Bruce Wayne and Batman.


In 2010, Bale portrayed Dicky Eklund, the half brother of Irish Micky Ward, the legendary boxer in David O. Russel movie The Fighter (2010). The movie won 2 Oscars, one of which was best supporting actor Oscar that went to Christian Bale. The R rated movie was one of the best movies of 2010 and some critics suggest that it was one of the finest performances of Christian Bale.

A year later The Dark Knight Rises (2012), Bale played in a Scott Cooper movie, Out Of The Furnace (2013). In the movie Bale portrayed Russel Baze, who tries to find his brother and make the things just. The movie generally recieved positive reactions and won 3 awards, while it was nominated for another 7.

american-hustleSame year Christian Bale appeared in multi-star movie of the year, American Hustle (2013) along with Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner. Despite the fact that the movie holds a 7,3 rating in IMDb and it was nominated for 10 Oscars, the movie generally recieved mixed or negative reactions from the critics, most of whom found the movie as a disappointment. However some of the performances were praised such as Bale’s. For this role Bale gained 43 pounds and he shaved his head.

Christian Bale’s latest released movie was Exodus: Gods And Kings (2014), directed by talented director Ridley Scott. In the movie Bale portrays Moses, who rises up against Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses and sets up 600,000 slaves free. And wtih those 600,000 slaves he escapes by seperating the Red Sea to half. Much was expected from the movie, however it failed to fill all the expectations. The last movie of Bale, The Knight Of Cups (2015) will be released soon this year.

Knight of Cups is a romantic-fantasy-drama written and directed by Terrence Malick. Bale and Malick has worked togehter in The New World in 2005. The movie is produced by Nicolas Gonda and Sarah Green. Although the movie will be released in late 2015, it was shot during the summer of 2012. And yet the movie has spent last two years in post-production. The director of the movie suggests that the original title refers to the tarot card of the same name.