The Source: Pac-Man Cereal Commercial (1984)
The Moment: We all have to start somewhere. Bale's first recorded acting gig saw him one of four kids dancing in delight at the prospect of cereal shaped like Atari's ghost-bothering pill-guzzler.
The Source: Shaft (2000)
The Moment: The same year as American Psycho , Bale flirted with being a regular Hollywood villain as the nemesis of Samuel L. Jackson's private dick. Bale's sadism as Walter Wade, Jr is made clear when, in jail, a criminal demands Walter gives him his shoes. Wade punches him in the balls and then - shouting "You want my shoes?" - stamps him in the face.
The Source: Terminator Salvation (2009)
The Moment: Bale as iconic future hero John Connor is, on paper, an exciting match but the star was arguably ill-served by a film whose emphasis was on Sam Worthington's conflicted Terminator. But Bale gets one great moment shouting down the mighty Michael Ironside after the latter ill-advisedly proposes leaving Kyle Reese to his death. "He is the key. The key to the future, to the past... If we stay the course, we are dead! WE ARE ALL DEAD!"
The Source: Little Women (1994)
The Moment: In a parallel life, Bale might have been a romantic lead, but the nearest he came was as Laurie, the suitor who ardently proposes to Jo March (Winona Ryder), only to be rebuffed. "You can't even propose without quarrelling," she observes rather astutely as the pain of rejection overwhelms Bale's face.
The Source: Reign Of Fire (2002)
The Moment: Before Batman began, Bale didn't have much luck with Hollywood action. His post-apocalyptic dragon adventure isn't exactly top-notch blockbusting, but does feature the iconic sight of Bale's hero Quinn slaying the baddest of the beasts with an explosive crossbow bolt.
Bale and The Bard
The Source: Henry V (1989)
The Moment: The teenage Bale toyed with abandoning acting until Kenneth Branagh persuaded him to play Falstaff's servant in his Shakespeare adaptation, delivering a message to Richard Briers and Judi Dench. Even in twenty seconds of screen-time, Bale effortlessly switches from joking about a warming pan to announcing, with sudden seriousness, "Faith, he's very ill."
A Hero Can Be Anyone
The Source: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Moment: The tenderest of grace notes between Bale and Gary Oldman, as Batman finally lets slip his identity to Commissioner Gordon, by revealing that the latter became Bruce Wayne's hero by "doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a young boy's shoulders to let him know that the world hadn't ended."
You And Me And God
The Source: Harsh Times (2005)
The Moment: The ending of troubled ex-soldier Jim Davis' walk on the wild side sees him shot and paralysed during a shootout, forcing best pal Mike (Freddy Rodriguez) to put him out of his misery. Bale swerves between vulnerability, fear and bravado as he tells Mike, "Put the fucking gun to my head and pull the trigger. Nobody's gonna know. Just you and me and God."
The World Will Know
The Source: Newsies (1992)
The Moment: Bale hadn't quite perfected his New York accent but one of the biggest of his post- Empire Of The Sun teenage roles revealed the ability to belt out a showtune or two. The rousing "The World Will Know" is an aptly titled declaration of his desire to be the best.
Ain't Never Been No Hero
The Source: 3:10 To Yuma (2007)
The Moment: In James Mangold's Western, Bale plays Dan Evans, a disabled rancher attempting to escort outlaw Wade (Russell Crowe) to the titular train. At the height of his Batman fame, Bale played against type to portray a courageous underdog. As Wade (Russell Crowe) chokes him, Dan declares "I ain't never been no hero," and explains how he got his injury retreating from battle.