Bale at a premiere of Public Enemies in Los Angeles, June 23, 2009
|Born||Christian Charles Philip Bale
30 January 1974
Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, US|
|Spouse(s)||Sandra Blažić (2000–present; 1 child)|
Jenny (née James) Bale
|Family||Gloria Steinem (stepmother)|
Bale first caught the public eye at the age of 13, when he was cast in the starring role of Steven Spielberg's Empire of the Sun (1987). Based on the original story by J. G. Ballard, Bale played an English boy who is separated from his parents and subsequently finds himself lost in a Japanese internment camp during World War II. In 2000, he garnered critical acclaim for his portrayal of serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. He earned a reputation as a method actor after he lost 63 pounds to play the role of Trevor Reznik in The Machinist (2004).
Bale went on to receive greater commercial recognition and acclaim for his performance as Bruce Wayne / Batman in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins (2005), The Dark Knight (2008) and The Dark Knight Rises (2012). He also portrayed Dicky Eklund in the biopic The Fighter (2010), for which he received critical acclaim and won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.
Bale was born in Wales, to English mother Jenny (née James), a circus performer, and South African–born father, David Charles Howard Bale, an entrepreneur, commercial pilot, and talent manager. He spent his childhood in England, Portugal and the United States. His first foray into acting was a commercial for the fabric softener Lenor in 1982. A year later, he appeared in a Pac-Man cereal commercial playing a child rock star. In 1984, he made his stage debut in The Nerd, opposite Rowan Atkinson.
Bale made his film debut as Tsarevich Alexei Nikolaevich of Russia in the made-for-television film Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna in 1986, which was followed by leading roles in the miniseries Heart of the Country and the fantasy adventure Mio in the Land of Faraway, in which he appeared with Christopher Lee and Nick Pickard.
His performance as Jim Graham in Empire of the Sun earned him widespread critical praise and the first ever "Best Performance by a Juvenile Actor" award from the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures. The attention the press and his schoolmates lavished upon him after this took a toll on Bale, and he contemplated giving up acting until Kenneth Branagh approached him and persuaded him to appear in Henry V in 1989. In 1990, he played the role of Jim Hawkins opposite Charlton Heston (as Long John Silver) in Treasure Island, an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic book.
In 1992, Bale starred as Jack Kelly in the Disney musical Newsies, and followed it up in 1993 with another release, Swing Kids, a film about teenagers who secretly listened to forbidden jazz during the rise of Nazi Germany. Bale was recommended by actress Winona Ryder to star in Gillian Armstrong's 1994 film Little Women. Bale provided the voice for Thomas, a young compatriot of Captain John Smith, in Disney's Pocahontas (1995) and in 1997 played Arthur Stuart in Velvet Goldmine, Todd Haynes' tribute to glam rock. In 1999, Bale contributed to an all-star cast, including Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stanley Tucci and Rupert Everett, portraying Demetrius in an updated version of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
In 1999, Bale played serial killer Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, director Mary Harron's adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis' controversial novel. Bale was briefly dropped from the project in favour of Leonardo DiCaprio, but DiCaprio eventually dropped out to star in The Beach, and Bale was cast once again. He researched his character by studying the novel and prepared himself physically for the role by spending months tanning and exercising in order to achieve the "Olympian physique" of the character as described in the original novel. He went so far as to distance himself from the cast and crew to maintain the darker side of Bateman's character. American Psycho premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival to much controversy. Roger Ebert condemned the film at first, calling it pornography, and "the most loathed film at Sundance," but gave it a favourable review, writing that Harron "transformed a novel about bloodlust into a film about men's vanity." Of Bale's performance, he wrote, "Christian Bale is heroic in the way he allows the character to leap joyfully into despicability; there is no instinct for self-preservation here, and that is one mark of a good actor."
On 14 April 2000, Lions Gate Films released American Psycho in cinemas. Bale was later approached to make a cameo appearance in another Bret Easton Ellis adaptation, The Rules of Attraction, a film loosely connected to American Psycho, but he declined out of loyalty to Harron's vision of Bateman, which he felt could not be properly expressed by anyone else. In 2000, he again played a wealthy murderer, this time in John Singleton's Shaft.
Bale has played an assortment of diverse characters since 2001. His first role after American Psycho was in the John Madden adaptation of the best-selling novel Captain Corelli's Mandolin. Bale played Mandras, a Greek fisherman who vied with Nicolas Cage's title character for the affections of Pelagia (Penélope Cruz). Captain Corelli's Mandolin was Bale's second time working with John Hurt, after All the Little Animals.
From 2002 to 2003, Bale starred in three feature films. Laurel Canyon (2002) was generally well received by critics. This film also marked the second time he worked with actress Kate Beckinsale, his costar in Prince of Jutland (1994). Critics generally focused on star Frances McDormand's performance over the rest of the cast, however.
Reign of Fire was Bale's first action vehicle and had, compared to all his previous work, an immense budget estimated at US$95,000,000. Bale entered into negotiations about starring in the film with reservations, but director Rob Bowman convinced him to take the lead role. Bale starred as Quinn Abercromby opposite Matthew McConaughey's Denton Van Zan. Bale and McConaughey trained for their respective roles by boxing and working out.
Equilibrium was Bale's third film of 2002, costing US$20 million to produce but earning just over US$5 million worldwide. In Equilibrium, Bale played John Preston, an elite law enforcer in a dystopian society. Equilibrium featured a fictional martial art called Gun Kata that combined gunfighting with hand-to-hand combat. According to moviebodycounts.com, the character of John Preston has the third most on-screen kills in a single movie ever with 118, exactly half of the movie's total of 236.
After a year's hiatus, Bale returned in 2004 to play Trevor Reznik, the title character in the psychological thriller The Machinist. Bale gained attention for his devotion to the role and for the lengths to which he went to achieve Reznik's emaciated, skeletal appearance. He went without proper rest for prolonged periods, and placed himself on a crash diet of generally coffee and apples, which reduced his weight by 63 pounds (4 st 4 lb or 27 kg) in a matter of months.
By the end of filming Bale weighed only 121 pounds (8 st 9 lb or 55 kg), a transformation he described as "very calming mentally" which drew comparisons to Robert De Niro's alternate weight-gaining regimen for his role as Jake LaMotta in the 1980 film Raging Bull. Bale claimed that he had not worked for a period of time before he was cast in the film. "...I just hadn't found scripts that I'd really been interested in. So I was really dying for something to arrive. Then when this one did, I just didn't want to put it down. I finished it and, upon the kind of revelation that you get at the end, I immediately wanted to go back and re-visit it, to take a look at what clues I could have gotten throughout". The Machinist was a low-budget production, costing roughly US$5 million to produce, and was given only a limited US release. It was well received, with the review tallying website Rotten Tomatoes reporting that 75% of the critics' reviews tallied were positive.
Bale, an admirer of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away, was then cast as the voice of the title character, Howl, in the English language dub of the Japanese director's fantasy anime adventure Howl's Moving Castle, an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones's children's novel. Its gross in the US was US$4,711,096, a fraction of its worldwide gross (US$235,184,110).
It was reported that Bale had previously auditioned for the role of Robin in Batman Forever (1995) and later Batman and Robin (1997), but lost out to Chris O'Donnell. However, this rumour was later dispelled by Bale himself in a magazine interview in 2008. In 2004, after completing filming for The Machinist, Bale won the coveted role of Batman and his alter ego Bruce Wayne in Christopher Nolan's Batman Begins, a reboot of the Batman film series. Bale beat out Jake Gyllenhaal, the closest competition for the role.
Still fresh off The Machinist, it became necessary for Bale to bulk up to match Batman's muscular physique. He was given a deadline of six months to do this. Bale recalled it as far from a simple accomplishment: "...when it actually came to building muscle, I was useless. I couldn't do one push up the first day. All of the muscles were gone, so I had a real tough time rebuilding all of that." With the help of a personal trainer, Bale succeeded in meeting the deadline, gaining a total of 100 lb (45 kg) in six months. He went from about 130 lbs to 230 lbs. He then discovered that he had actually gained more weight than the director desired, and dropped his weight to 190 lbs by the time filming began.
Bale had initial concerns about playing Batman, as he felt more ridiculous than intimidating in the Batsuit. He dealt with this by depicting Batman as a savage beast. To attain a deeper understanding of the character, Bale read various Batman comic books. He explained his interpretation of the young boy: "Batman is his hidden, demonic rage-filled side. The creature Batman creates is an absolutely sincere creature and one that he has to control but does so in a very haphazard way. He's capable of enacting violence — and to kill — so he's constantly having to rein himself in." For Bale, the most gruelling part about playing Batman was the suit. "You stick it on, you get hot, you sweat and you get a headache in the mask," he said. "But I'm not going to bitch about it because I get to play Batman." When promoting the film in interviews and public events, Bale retained an American accent to avoid confusion.
Batman Begins was released in the U.S. on 15 June 2005 and was a U.S. and international triumph for Warner Bros., costing approximately US$135 million to produce and taking in over US$370 million in returns worldwide. Bale's performance was well received by critics and fans alike, earning him the Saturn Award for Best Actor and the Best Hero award at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards.
Bale reprised the role of Batman in the sequel The Dark Knight. He trained in the Keysi Fighting Method, and performed many of his own stunts. The Dark Knight was released in the U.S. on 18 July 2008 and stormed through the box office, with a record-breaking $158.4 million in the U.S. in its first weekend. It broke the $300 million barrier in 10 days, the $400 million mark in 18 days and the $500 million mark in 43 days, three new U.S. box office records set by the film. The film went on to gross over $1 billion at the box office worldwide, making it the fourth-highest grossing movie worldwide ever at that time, before adjusting for inflation.
He reprised the role again for the finale The Dark Knight Rises, released on 20 July 2012, which made Bale the longest-lasting actor to portray Batman on film to date. Following the shooting at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, he visited survivors in an Aurora, Colorado hospital.
After Batman Begins, Bale returned to appearing in independent films. He was cast as one of the two leads in the South Central Los Angeles David Ayer-helmed crime drama Harsh Times, co-starring Freddy Rodriguez and Eva Longoria. Bale played Jim Luther Davis, a grim Afghanistan War veteran afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder, approached by the Department of Homeland Security and hired as a federal agent. Harsh Times premiered at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival and had a wide release on 10 November 2006.
Terrence Malick directed The New World, a period piece inspired by the stories of Pocahontas, and Bale was cast as John Rolfe. He shared the screen with Colin Farrell and Q'Orianka Kilcher, who played John Smith and Pocahontas. The majority of screen time was devoted to Farrell and Kilcher; Bale was a secondary character, and only appeared during the last third of the film. The film was a failure at the U.S. box office and its worldwide total (US$29,506,437) fell short of turning a profit (the production budget was placed at US$30 million).
In 2006, Bale took on four projects. Rescue Dawn, by German filmmaker Werner Herzog, had him playing U.S. Fighter pilot Dieter Dengler, who has to fight for his life after being shot down while on a mission during the Vietnam War. Bale left a strong impression on Herzog, with the director complimenting his acting abilities: "I find him one of the greatest talents of his generation. We made up our own minds long before he did Batman."
In The Prestige, an adaptation of the Christopher Priest novel about a rivalry between two Victorian stage magicians, Bale was reunited with Batman Begins' Michael Caine and director Christopher Nolan. The cast of The Prestige also included Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, Piper Perabo, and David Bowie. I'm Not There, a film in which Bale again worked alongside Todd Haynes and Heath Ledger (who would go on to play The Joker in The Dark Knight), is an artistic reflection of the life of Bob Dylan. He starred opposite Russell Crowe in a commercially and critically successful Western film, 3:10 to Yuma.
Bale was originally cast to play George W. Bush in Oliver Stone's film W., but dropped out due to the prosthetics involved. Bale played John Connor in Terminator Salvation and FBI agent Melvin Purvis in Michael Mann's Public Enemies.
Terminator Salvation incident
In July 2008, Bale flew into an angry tirade on the sets of Terminator Salvation, while filming in New Mexico. In February 2009, the audio recording of the incident was released. The tirade was directed at Shane Hurlbut, director of photography for the film. According to Bale, Hurlbut had, for the second time, ruined his concentration by walking onto the set during a scene. The recording is of Bale directing profanities at Hurlbut, threatening and belittling him, and finally threatening to quit the film if Hurlbut repeated the offense without being fired for it. It was reported that Warner film executives sent the tape to the insurer of the film in case Bale decided to quit the movie.
In an interview with E! Online, assistant director and producer of Terminator Salvation, Bruce Franklin, said it was an isolated incident. "If you are working in a very intense scene and someone takes you out of your groove ... It was the most emotional scene in the movie ... and for him to get stopped in the middle of it. He is very intensely involved in his character. He didn't walk around like that all day long. It was just a moment and it passed," Franklin said.
Actors Whoopi Goldberg and Terry Crews, directors Darren Aronofsky and Ron Howard, as well as Ain't It Cool News website creator Harry Knowles have also publicly defended Bale's actions, some of them citing the practice that crew members are to remain still while the camera is rolling. The incident also inspired experimental band The Mae Shi to write the song, "R U Professional", which features samples from the recording; similarly, Lucian Piane's remix "Bale Out" is composed almost entirely of audio from the incident. Stephen Colbert parodied the incident on 4 February 2009 episode of The Colbert Report, in which guest Steve Martin repeatedly walked in front of the camera and was berated by Colbert. The incident was re-enacted on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, with Inside the Actor's Studio host James Lipton giving performances of both Bale and the crewmember. The “Oh, goooood for you!” sound bite has become a regular drop from Fred Norris of The Howard Stern Show. An episode of the animated comedy series Family Guy also mixed in the voice of Peter Griffin interacting with Bale and reacting to Bale's comments as if they were directed at him to comedic effect.
After remaining silent for most of the week, Bale made a public apology on 6 February 2009, to a Los Angeles radio station, KROQ, stating that the outburst was "inexcusable" and was motivated by the intensity of that day's shooting. Bale said he "acted like a punk", and that he and Hurlbut talked after the incident and "resolved this completely". Bale acknowledged that the two worked together for several hours after the incident, and "at least a month after that... I've seen a rough cut of the movie and he has done a wonderful job. It looks fantastic".
Bale starred alongside Mark Wahlberg in the David O. Russell-directed 2010 drama The Fighter, for which he won the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and thirty other awards in 2011. Near the end of his acceptance speech during the televised Golden Globes awards ceremony, Bale complimented Robert De Niro by saying he was "the shit". The comment was censored by NBC.
Writer/director Joe Carnahan confirmed in November 2007 that Bale is also involved in the upcoming movie Killing Pablo in which he is to play Major Steve Jacoby. According to a Nuts magazine interview, Bale stated that he will be in the running to play the role of Solid Snake in a film adaptation of Metal Gear Solid. Zack Snyder will have Bale as lead in his current project The Last Photograph. In December 2010, it was announced that Bale would star in the historical drama war film The Flowers of War, directed by Zhang Yimou.
While filming The Flowers of War in December 2011, Bale and a CNN crew attempted to visit Chen Guangcheng, a blind "barefoot lawyer" under unofficial house arrest for his activism against China's One Child Policy. While on camera, Bale was punched, shoved, and denied access by dozens of Chinese security guards who failed to recognise him. Bale later stated that he had wanted "to meet the man, shake his hand and say what an inspiration he is". Video footage also showed Bale and the CNN crew having stones thrown at them, and a minivan then chased their car for more than 40 minutes.
Bale is set to appear in two Terrence Malick directed films shot in 2012, one yet untitled and Knight of Cups. In early 2012, it was confirmed that Bale was portraying the character Russell Baze in Scott Cooper's upcoming thriller Out of the Furnace. He has also been cast in American Hustle, which reunites him with director David O. Russell, since their work on The Fighter. Bale is reportedly playing the lead of the villainous Rawbone in The Creed of Violence, an upcoming crime drama directed by Todd Field.
On 29 January 2000, Bale married Sandra "Sibi" Blažić (born 1970), a former model, make-up artist, and personal assistant to actress Winona Ryder; the couple have a daughter, Emmeline, who was born on 27 March 2005 in Santa Monica, California. Since 1992, Bale has resided in Los Angeles.
Like his late father, Bale actively supports environmental groups such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund. Feminist activist Gloria Steinem became Bale's stepmother on 3 September 2000; it was her first marriage (at the age of 66), and the couple were together until David Bale's death.
Awards and nominations
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- ShortList, issue 42, page 28, 17 July 2008.
- Otto, Jeff. "David S. Goyer Talks Batman, Iron Man, Comics and More" IGN FilmForce, 27 February 2004. Retrieved 16 May 2006.
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- "Gay cowboys the best kissers". The Sydney Morning Herald. 4 June 2006. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
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- "Dark Knight Sets Weekend Box-Office Record". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. 21 July 2008.
- "The Dark Knight Rewrites Box Office Record Books". Google News. Agence France-Presse. 22 July 2008.
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- Ray Subers (30 April 2010). "'Batman' Returns 20 July 2012". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 30 April 2010.
- "Batman actor Christian Bale visits victims, hospital personnel", The Denver Post, retrieved 26 July 2012
- "Blanchett joins Toronto festival lineup". USA Today. Associated Press. 26 July 2005. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
- "The New World at Box Office Mojo".
- "Herzog Hails Bale" Female First, 24 March 2006. Retrieved 17 May 2006.
- "3:10 to Yuma: Christian Bale vs. Russell Crowe". Comingsoon.net. 3 September 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- Larry Carroll (15 October 2008). "What Do Batman And George W. Bush Have in Common? Oliver Stone Explains...". MTV. Retrieved 15 October 2008.
- "Is Josh Brolin the New Terminator?". Comingsoon.net. 6 February 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
- Fleming, Michael; Adalian, Josef (10 January 2008). "Bale on Depp's Trail in 'Public'". Variety. Retrieved 11 January 2008.
- "Christian Bale Freak Out". Chicago Tribune. Associated Press. 3 February 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
- "Christian Bale rant: Full transcript". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group Limited). 4 February 2009. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
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- "Bale Went Ballistic". TMZ.com. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
- Isola, Laurie (3 February 2009). "Costar Defends Bale Blowout". SFGate.com; San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 4 February 2009.
- Finn, Natalie (2 February 2009). "Christian Bale F-Bombs Terminator Set; "It Was Just a Moment", Assistant Director Says". E!. Retrieved 3 February 2009.[dead link]
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- "Wrestler director supports Bale". BBC News. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 6 February 2009.
- "Ron Howard comments on Christian Bale meltdown". Listal.com. 5 February 2009. Retrieved 26 February 2010.[dead link]
- Snead, Elizabeth (4 February 2009). "Harry Knowles defends Christian Bale's ugly outburst?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 5 February 2009.
- "BB Video: The Mae Shi are "Professionals" – Boing Boing". boingboing.net. Retrieved 2 July 2009.
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- "How Howard Stern Gets the ‘Drop’ on the Competition". Wall Street Journal. 18 March 2013. Retrieved 2 April 2013.
- Duke, Alan (6 February 2009). "Bale apologizes for 'Terminator' tantrum". CNN: Showbiz/Movies. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
- BBC News staff (6 February 2009). "Actor Bale speaks out over rant". BBC News. Retrieved 6 February 2009. "Film star Christian Bale has called a US radio station to apologize for a tirade which was leaked onto the internet, calling it "inexcusable""
- Barshad, Amos (20 May 2009). "Melissa Leo to Control Christian Bale and Mark Wahlberg's Bedtimes". New York. Retrieved 4 June 2009.
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- "Smokin' Joe Carnahan: BALE". smokinjoecarnahan.com. Archived from the original on 1 December 2007. Retrieved 2 October 2010.
- "Christian Bale to star as Solid Snake in the upcoming MGS movie?" N4G.com.
- "The Last Photograph (2014)". AllMovie. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
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- "'Batman' star Bale punched, stopped from visiting blind Chinese activist". CNN. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- "Christian Bale barred from visiting China activist Chen". BBC News. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
- Moore, Malcolm (16 December 2011). "Christian Bale manhandled while trying to visit Chinese activist". The Telegraph.
- "How Terrence Malick Retitled Lawless". IGN.com. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
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- "Christian Bale Won't Star in Darren Aronofsky's Noah". CinemaBlend.com. Retrieved 30 November 2011.
- "Christian Bale and Casey Affleck Confirmed for Scott Cooper’s Out of the Furnace". AwardsDaily. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- "Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, and Sam Shepard Confirmed to Star in OUT OF THE FURNACE". Collider.com. Retrieved 9 April 2012.
- Chitwood, Adam (April 15, 2013). "David O. Russell’s Next Film Gets New Title: AMERICAN HUSTLE". collider.com. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
- "David O. Russell Eyes Crime Drama 'American Bullshit'; Christian Bale Sought To Star". Indiewire.com. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "David O. Russell and Christian Bale to reunite on American Bullshit". TotalFilm.com. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "Christian Bale on for 'American Bullshit' with David O. Russell". NME. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
- "Christian Bale Heeds 'The Creed of Violence'". NextMovie.com. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- "Christian Bale's New Movie: 'The Creed of Violence'". Hollywood.com. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
- Singh, Anita (23 July 2008). "Christian Bale — profile". The Daily Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on 28 July 2008. Retrieved 13 April 2009.
- "Bale Becomes a Father". Wenn. Internet Movie Database. 29 March 2005. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- McLean, Craig (29 May 2005). "Suit yourself, mate". The Age (Melbourne). Retrieved 15 July 2008.
- Hoad, Phil (5 June 2005). "Dark Star". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 13 April 2009.
- Broughton, Philip Delves (September 2000). "Marriage at 66 for Radical Feminist Gloria Steinem". The Daily Telegraph (London).
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Christian Bale|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Christian Bale|
- Christian Bale at the Internet Movie Database
- Christian Bale at AllRovi
- Christian Bale at Yahoo! Movies
- Christian Bale on Charlie Rose
- Christian Bale collected news and commentary at The New York Times
- Works by or about Christian Bale in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Christian Bale at the Open Directory Project