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Iconic Michael Caine film
HotToastyRag23 November 2017
If you've never seen a Michael Caine movie, or if you only know him from his white-haired roles, you need to start with Alfie, the movie that propelled him to stardom and made him an instant heartthrob. He made his Cockney accent famous and inspired thousands of imitations through the decades, and even though he actually toned down his naturally thick accent for the movie, his co-star Shelley Winters didn't know what he was saying while they were filming! Ladies, if you don't drool over him in his film, you need your head examined.

In Alfie, Michael Caine plays the ultimate cad. He has an endless supply of women at his disposal, even though he treats them like garbage and refuses to commit to any of them. He's a sarcastic, flippant young man, and even when he gets one of his girlfriends pregnant, he refuses to marry her—which, in 1966, was not respectable behavior. However, as villainous as he seems, he manages to charm the audience with his constant talking to the camera and adorable aura. The audience thinks he's despicable, but desperately wants him to see the error of his ways and repent, so they're invested in him and the film.

It's a very adult story, so even though Michael cracks jokes to the audience, it's a pretty heavy film. I don't want to give anything away, but particularly religious audiences might want to avoid this movie. If you do decide to watch it, you'll probably be very glad you did. Not only is it one of the most famous flicks of the 60s, but you'll get to hear the origin of Burt Bacharach's memorable title song, and you'll gain a new celebrity boyfriend. I actually wrote Michael Caine a fan letter when I was in high school and told him I thought he was exceptionally dreamy.

Kiddy Warning: Obviously, you have control over your own children. However, due to some upsetting adult content, I wouldn't let my kids watch it.
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Sets Michael Caine on the Road
Hitchcoc22 August 2017
Except for the wonderful cheek of Michael Caine, this would be a pretty ordinary movie. The thing is, however, this rake is really a destructive force. These little sex comedies in the Sixties were pretty much for male viewers or fantasizing women. This is the kind of cad who makes promises with no desire to ever commit to anything. His motivations are strictly physical and without direction. And yet, Micael Caine lights up the screen. He is one of those actors who I automatically go to, like Anthony Hopkins or Gene Hackman. I know that even if the script is somewhat lacking, these guys will rise above it.
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Caine's film all the way
rdoyle2930 June 2017
Caine is Alfie, an unrepentant ladies man who gets close to and uses several women before tossing them away at the slightest sign of complication. He eventually learns that his actions have consequences and that he faces increasingly diminishing options along the path he's chosen. Not exactly a deep film, but one that's elevated by Caine in his career defining performance. Caine walks a very thin line, never letting the audience forget that he's really a creep while simultaneously charming the pants of them with a running narration pitched directly to the audience in 4th wall breaking asides. He pretty much carries the film. It seems like Kubrick must have studied this one while preparing "A Clockwork Orange".
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A sixties classic that is rather of its time
Tweekums27 April 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Alfie is a young man in sixties London who attracts a string of beautiful women despite the fact that he treats them poorly. When one of them gets pregnant he isn't too happy but she says she will have the baby adopted… but when the time comes she decides to keep the little boy. Alfie isn't willing to be a full time father but he likes the lad and sees him every weekend. A couple of years pass then she decides she wants more and marries another man. Around the same time Alfie discovers that he has a shadow on his lungs and must live in a sanatorium in the country… he doesn't stop his womanising ways though and it isn't long before it is getting him in more trouble.

This film is a classic from the 'Swinging Sixties' but is definitely of its time. Michael Caine does a fine job in the lead role… unfortunately his character is hard to like thanks to his very dated attitudes. Referring to women as 'birds' is just slightly dated slang but using the pronoun 'It' must have been offensive even then! This of course makes it rather satisfying when one of his women gets a younger lover. There are comedy moments, notably a bar fight, but also some real tragedy involving an illegal abortion. Much of the dialogue is Alfie talking directly to camera as he tells the viewer his various ideas… mostly about women; this could have been irritating but I found it effective and sometimes comic. The supporting cast do an impressive job; these include Julia Foster, the woman who bears his child; Jane Asher, an attractive young redhead he dates for a while; Shelley Winters as an older American woman and Vivien Merchant who plays the wife of another patient at the sanatorium. Overall I'd certainly recommend this even if it does feel a bit dated it is an interesting look at sixties' attitudes.
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oOoBarracuda8 February 2017
Apparently, I had never seen Michael Caine in a leading role; that can't be right I thought, but a quick scan through his filmography revealed that I had, in fact, missed out on seeing any films with Michael Caine as a lead. Alfie, the 1966 film by Lewis Gilbert, follows a self-professed ladies man through his life of careless leisure as he slowly begins to realize the consequences of the choices he has a history of unapologetically making. Starring Michael Caine in the titular role, along with Shelley Winters, Alfie is a late-in-life coming of age story highlighting the difficult realization that adulthood comes along whether we wish it to or not, and at some point, we must face the realities of the decisions we make.

Alfie (Michael Caine) is a young, good looking, wholly self-centered egotistical sexist who believes that women exist to be sought after by him. Alfie has an established system that he closely follows that require him to use women for sexual gratification, yet remain proficient in detecting the signs of emotional attachment. As soon as Alfie sees one of his conquests becoming emotionally involved, he retreats, ignoring them until their feelings have waned. Such a "romantic" method leaves Alfie feeling happy-go-lucky without any attachments, but leaving a trail of devastation in his wake. The worst part of Alfie's character is not only that he believes he is doing no harm to the psychology of these women, but that he is actually doing them a service and teaching them a valuable life lesson. As Alfie's own mortality and emotional attachments reveal themselves to him, he begins to realize the harm his lifestyle has done and slowly learns that one person's actions affect all of those one comes into contact with.

Rabid individualism is what Alfie believes gives him the edge in life, but he eventually finds out that what he has always viewed as his biggest strength, is actually his greatest downfall. It takes some people much longer than others to learn that their life doesn't just affect them--don't we all know that self-centered person that behaves just as Alfie does, leaving pain behind in everything they touch while believing that they are doing favors to all those they come into contact with. Alfie's only redeeming quality in this film is that he eventually comes to realizing he is hurting people, and goes about, in his own way, to do less damage to those around him. Unlikeable characters are a tough boat to get into when watching a film because it's tough to find another redeeming quality on a film low on technical prowess. What was impressive was the effective way in which the 4th wall was broken throughout the film and a dialogue was maintained with the audience. Of course, Alfie wasn't the only film to do this, as the technique was also done quite effectively in the Best Picture winning film of 1963, Tom Jones. The speech at the beginning of the film regarding not having credits was great fun, and such unconventional methods were able to detract from the unlikeable characters and keep one engaged.
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Does every dog have its day?
Spikeopath23 April 2016
One of Michael Caine's launching pad movies, Alfie is a cunning observation of the hedonistic swinging 60s, of a mod London that time has left behind. Adapted by Bill Naughton from his own play, it's directed by Lewis Gilbert and sees Caine supported by Shelley Winters, Millicent Martin, Julia Foster, Jane Asher, Shirley Anne Field and Vivien Merchant.

Undeniably dated and arguably pushing the boundaries of the war between the sexes, it's a picture that is often wry and bittersweet and yet also so sad. It never shies away from responsibility, deftly showing the pitfalls of the era, with Caine absolutely marvellous as Alfie goes through his armoury of sexual charm and bizarre naivety.

The viewing of sex and adultery, from both sides of the coin, is frank and telling, with the smartness of the production garnering 5 Oscar nominations. Come the end of the play, you will have feelings you didn't think were coming your way. Especially after a turn of events that is harrowing and potent in equal measure.

Of its time for sure, but relevant film making? Without a doubt. Exceptionally performed in to the bargain. 7/10
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The protagonist is an unlikable cad, but the film is still pretty good
zetes23 April 2016
More swinging '60s London, this time with unrepentant *beep* Michael Caine at the center. Alfie is a shameless philanderer, sleeping with multiple women, some of them married, and narrating his exploits to the audience in asides, referring to the various women as "it"s. Quite a disgusting and unlikable character to center a movie around! Yes, he softens a bit towards the end (a bit), but it's quite hard to not just spend most of the movie despising him. It is, however, a good movie in most ways, and Caine is, unsurprisingly, excellent. The film was popular enough that it received a Best Picture nomination, and Caine received his first Best Actor nomination. Seeing as Shelly Winters is second billed as one of Alfie's more unconventional lovers, I'm shocked that the Academy looked past her (whom the Academy seemed to nominate every time she farted her way into a movie like she does here) and nominated Vivien Merchant for Best Supporting Actress. She plays one of Alfie's married lovers, the one who is forced to go through with an abortion during the film's climax. I'm sure the traumatic event is what got her the nom, because she's honestly unmemorable. Millicent Martin and Jane Asher both give better supporting performances than either Winter or Merchant.
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Swinging 60's
Dan Harden27 February 2016
Warning: Spoilers
Alfie is very much a film of it's time, it's purpose to be a critique of the swinging 60's lifestyle. Why it was remade I do not know.

Michael Caine plays Alfie, the hedonistic, sexist, hypercritical, narcissistic cockney who breaks the fourth wall letting us into his thoughts and feelings. Caine is great in the role showing the ability that would make him a household name in years to come.

Lewis Gilbert's direction is extremely detailed and symbolic as meaning can be found everywhere, mainly to symbolise Alfie's inner conflict as well as the real Britain in the 60's as opposed to the media's representation of "Swinging Britain".

This Kitchen Sink film stands out for its use of 4th wall breaking. Although criticised, Alfie has become infamous for his ability to break the fourth wall. This allows the audience to react to him rather differently (sort of positively) as he allows us into his life and mind.

The film deals with some rather interesting issues that were deemed controversial at the time and still are today. The issues of abortion, gender equality, homosexuality, divorce etc are all at least touched on in this film. The abortion scene in Alfie (Where Alfie goes behind the blue curtain) is in my opinion the best scene in the film, as even watching it now I was shocked and to think how people would have reacted in the 60's I can only imagine. Also in the scene Alfie finally lets out a cry bringing his feelings to the surface which is the best acting Michael Caine's puts on display in the film.

Alfie is a classic film, a film of its time that can be looked back at as a part of cinematic and British history of the 60's. It's a good film I just simply have no idea why this would be remade, being a film that is set, made and about the 60's. But that's a review for another day.
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amazing Michael Caine
SnoopyStyle22 July 2015
Alfie Elkins (Michael Caine) is an irresponsible womanizer. He gets Gilda pregnant but even the birth of his son can't straighten him out. He complains constantly. Gilda decides to marry a bus driver for stability and keeps her son from Alfie. A health checkup finds two shadows on his lungs. He breaks down and spends time in a recovery home. He sleeps with the nurses and befriends his neighbor Harry who misses terribly his wife Lily. Harry sleeps with Lily getting her pregnant and is horrified by the abortion. He continues with various women but he wonders "What's it all about? You know what I mean."

This takes London's swinging 60s to a darker place. It's not free love. In fact, Alfie is selfish and the women are often left in the dust. Breaking down the 4th wall is important because it allows the audience into Alfie's mind. He's not mean-spirited but he is self-obsessed. He excuses his antics with no malice. This is one of Michael Caine's great early performances. The abortion scene is shocking and there's no way modern mainstream movies would ever do that today.
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They never make movies like this anymore. What is this all about?
kennethcarino24 June 2015
Only a handful of movies left a warm feeling on me after viewing, such as The Pianist, Forrest Gump and 500 Days of Summer; and I'm glad to include Alfie as one of those movies that left the same impression on me. Alfie is a British comedy drama released in 1966 with the main star Michael Caine as the titular playboy who has a libertine philosophy and readily disposes any woman he meets as just another 'bird'. The plot revolves around Alfie's relationship with these women and the consequences of each and each relationship have a character of their own as Alfie manipulates the girls to satiate himself, and to cower away from responsibilities. Essentially, the story is Alfie's adventures and shenanigans with laugh out loud jokes and innuendos.

The film Alfie is a stunningly beautiful and well crafted film with a narrative characteristic of other good contemporary films at that time (such as The Godfather)- subtle and lets the audience read the situation for themselves. This type of narrative was used effectively in the movie especially in some scenes bringing a very edgy and powerful emotion for the audience and this is very true near the end of the movie which I wouldn't spoil. Another aspect special in the narrative is breaking the fourth wall. Alfie talks to the audience directly for hilarious effect. The cinematography is also excellent that complements well with the script and so every scene in the movie feels like they have their own life. Every place seen in the movie feels unique from the countryside, the apartment, the convalescent home, the pier everything has been filmed beautifully.

In relations to acting, I have not seen the 2004 remake with Jude Law to compare with bur Michael Caine is absolutely excellent and he, only him, could play the role of Alfie and no one else. Michael Caine's English accent coupled with the English charm gives an impeccable performance making Alfie as a character very unique. The other casts as well have given excellent performance on the same level of Caine. Julie Foster as the timid and clingy Gilda, Vivien Merchant as the Lilly who is a shy and submissive wife of Alfie's friend Harry and Shelley Winters who plays as Ruby, the promiscuous American female counterpart of Alfie. The actresses have given excellent performances and like the character of Alfie, the female characters that the women have unique and interesting personalities that interact with Alfie. Personalities that fit to Alfie's As previously mentioned, the story is essentially Alfie's adventures and shenanigans but beneath the layer is Alfie's own personal development. As the story progresses, it becomes more and more mature and dark leading to the infamous gut-wrenching scene which I wouldn't spoil to some but to note, the scene I refer to is intricately crafted as we see a close-up look of Alfie's face turn from curiosity to disgust. That scene punched right in to the gut and left me speechless. At the end, Alfie's closing monologue have made him, and us, ponder about life when he asked us: What is it all about? Indeed what is it all about? His closing monologue certainly rings true but sad as Alfie outlines the advantage of being a care-free playboy but at the same time, miserable for being incapable to commit. The thought-provoking ending makes you and I think of the nature of life but specifically relationships, similar to the movie Annie Hall by Woody Allen. In the end, what is it all about?
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Slightly dated but engaging dramedy
brchthethird14 November 2014
ALFIE is a somewhat dated, but still engaging dramedy, with a star-making performance by Michael Caine. The film is about Alfie, a Cockney ladies' man with commitment issues, and the audience is personally led through his life by him breaking the fourth wall and addressing us directly. This is useful on a couple of levels. First, it is amusing that he can do that without his female companions being any wiser, but it also allows the viewer to connect with him in a much deeper way. As Alfie is a rather unlikeable character, save for a couple scenes where he shows some genuine emotion, the way in which he directly communicates with the audience is key in laying bare the character's motivation, regardless of whether or not you agree with what he does. Early on in the film, there is a sly comedic tone set which carries throughout most of the running time, until it takes a turn for the melodramatic. I didn't particularly like the direction it went, but it did serve a narrative and character-building purpose. I also felt like Alfie's comeuppance was handled rather well. Overall, this was a good movie, though occasionally slightly tedious. Michael Caine's performance is the real draw here. Still, there was a nice soundtrack and closing credits song by Cher. Despite some rather dated morals, I felt that this was a good character study of someone who knows how to make love, but doesn't know how to love.
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"I don't want no bird's respect - I wouldn't know what to do with it."
Thomas Drufke3 November 2014
Alfie is one of Michael Caine's first starring roles and one of the films that really broke him into Hollywood's finest. It tells the story of a womanizer who does everything for himself and nothing for others. He doesn't really love anything besides women in general, as he constantly breaks the fourth wall and tells the audience. He lives a care free life that seems to be unbreakable, that is until some of his not-so-smart actions come back to bite him.

If there's ever a movie that reassures me that true love is the only way you will never feel lonely in this world, it's this one. Alfie spends years cheating on every woman he's with, even having a child along the way. He never gives the audience true emotion until his mistakes of the past present new problems for his future. It is then and only then that we as the audience feel any sympathy towards the character. I think the film lacks the depth behind his character enough for the audience to truly care and root for him. He is quite often obnoxious and treats women as objects rather than beautiful human beings.

Michael Caine gives a brilliant performance that catapulted his career to new levels and even earned him an Oscar nomination. But even his charm couldn't get me to love this movie. It's an enjoyable film that at times can be a bit uncomfortable but Caine makes it watchable.

+Caine's breakthrough role

+Ending song

+4th wall breaking

-Unlikable and uncomfortable characters

-Lacks emotion

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An Enjoyable Comedy that Still Holds Up Today,
FilmBuff199410 September 2014
Alfie is a good movie with a well written storyline and a terrific cast.A lot of people told me that this was a good movie but it was very dated,and to be honest I don't think that's true,the dialogue and the characters personalities is still something that holds up in today's world,I know many people that behave like Alfie and some of the other characters.The movie dosen't really have a story to follow,you're basically just following Alfie as we see him question his lifestyle,but Michael Caine has the like-ability factor for us to be very much able to just follow him around and speak to the audience,which was actually my favourite part of the movie because they pulled off breaking the fourth wall very well.Alfie isn't laugh out loud comedy,but it's funny and also dramatic at times and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good comedy if you ever see it on television.

An amoral hedonists series of amorous adventures lead to him realising he is lonely.

Best Performance: Michael Caine Worst Performance: Jane Asher
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This is how to do a character study
jimbo-53-18651113 July 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Michael Caine plays Alfie who is a bed hopping care free Jack the Lad. Alfie basically sees women as tools for his pleasure and they are merely objects that are there to bolster his ego. However, when one of his conquests Gilda (Julia Foster) ends up pregnant and subsequently decides that she's keeping the baby, Alfie finds that, for once, he has some responsibility in his life (which he isn't pleased about). However, the addition of a child in his life doesn't faze him and he continues with his philandering ways ultimately to his own detriment.

What I really enjoy about these 'character study' type films is that when they're done right they provide so much thought for the viewer. Michael Caine narrates the films partly in person (in front of the camera) and partly through voice-over. Many films use this approach in order to help viewers to get an understanding of its characters and Alfie is no different. It's quite clear that Alfie likes to be in control - he chooses when to visit his conquests and he also never really gets too close to his conquests and tries not to get emotionally involved with any of them. A possible reason for this is that he probably feels that if he gets too attached to any single woman that he may lose control and will leave himself open to being hurt. There is a scene where Alfie is in hospital and he makes an assumption that one patient's wife is having an affair with another man because she's late visiting her husband - he has no evidence that this occurs and I believe that he makes this assumption based on the fact that he cheats on a lot of husband's wives so therefore they must be doing it to their husbands. In a twist of irony, Alfie does end up having an affair with the very women who he accused of cheating on her husband.

I suspect that the premise of this film may have put some people off (particularly women) as on the surface it is about a bed hopping womaniser. It also has an abortion scene later in the film which may upset some people (depending upon what your views are on this subject). However, if you look beyond the obvious this is actually an excellent character study and as we witness Alfie losing everything and everyone it highlights the downside of promiscuity. The mother of his child marries Humphrey who is basically everything that Alfie isn't (loving, loyal, caring). The one women that he actually falls for ends up cheating on him with a much younger man - I think this was the key scene in the film as it finally brought everything home to Alfie and meant that for once in his life he wasn't in control of a relationship which was the one thing that he never thought would happen and therefore, in effect, the 'player' had been 'played'. When you think about it at the start of the film he was 'alone' and at the end of the film he ends up 'alone' - although he's learnt a lot of life lessons between A and B.

Michael Caine was superb in the lead role of Alfie and due to the fact that this film acts as a character study it's down to Michael Caine to carry the film which he does with ease. Caine is always watchable, but this is probably the best I've ever seen from him. The supporting cast are all good too, but this really is the Michael Caine show.

The only very minor criticism I have with this film was with the bar fight scene which just went on for far too long and seemed out of place in a character studying drama - it would have been fine in a Western, but in a serious drama it just cheapened the film a little bit (although I'll admit it was quite fun to watch).

Alfie is a wonderful film and is also an excellent character study (probably one of the best I've seen). The film acts as a cautionary tale more than anything else. Alfie is film making at its absolute best. Superb!
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Interesting, funny, infuriating
grantss23 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Funny and intriguing movie, yet at the same time often irritating and cringeworthy.

Alfie's character was an interesting one. Certainly not a nice one, but interesting, in the sense of "Do/did such jerks/misogynists exist?". Maybe his character was too extreme - surely nobody is so insensitive and self-absorbed.

Quite funny at times, though this sometimes was a two-edged sword as you're laughing at some quite obnoxious behaviour. As long as you're laughing at him, not with him, I guess.

Great performance from Michael Caine in the lead role. Might be the only time in his life he has played a villain.

Supporting cast is great too, especially Shelley Winters, Millicent Martin, Vivien Merchant and Jane Asher. Jane Asher is incredibly beautiful in this movie.

Controversial, and probably very un-PC nowadays, yet it works. Alfie's behaviour is not glorified and he has his comeuppance at the end.
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just scintillating
wvisser-leusden27 November 2013
Now here we truly have a film without any flaws. Carried on by a magnificent Michael Caine, with equal excellent support by a variety of (mostly) actresses. Shelley Winters prominent among them.

Another outstanding feature is 'Alfie's theme -- extremely daring and groundbreaking in 1965, the year of its issue. Nevertheless made pleasantly digestible by a touch of humor & lightness. Some even call this film a comedy.

'Alfie' surely goes deep -- very deep in showing us recognizable dilemmas in human relationships. Making us part of some painful choices everyone has to make in life.

Watching this film leaves the warm aftertaste of having been visited by an intimate friend.
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Oh Alfie!
AaronCapenBanner15 September 2013
Michael Caine became a breakout star as Alfie, an unrepentant ladies man in the "swinging '60s" era of London, which was undergoing a social revolution at the time, which Alfie takes full advantage of, though it will eventually catch up with him...

Despite the potentially odious nature of the lead character, Michael Caine does succeed in making him charming and even refreshingly honest, as he frequently breaks the fourth wall of the screen by talking to the viewer directly, a risky move that works here because of the free-spirit nature of Alfie, and the supremely talented acting abilities of Michael Caine. Film does take a serious turn, though the change of tone is welcome and works, because, by the end, you realize that beneath it all, Alfie is kind of a sad person, whose casual treatment of women will not serve him well as he gets older...
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Wow...was I mistaken about this one!
MartinHafer8 August 2012
I am very glad I finally got around to seeing "Alfie". For years I incorrectly assumed two things--that it was a smutty little film and that it was a comedy. While the film does have a very strong message about sex and the title character seems to be sexually addicted, it is far, far deeper. And, while the film appears to be a comedy, as the film progresses it becomes more and more serious. All in all, I was very impressed by this film--it had far more depth than I'd assumed.

The film begins with Alfie (Michael Caine) making it with a married lady in a car. You don't see any of it but hear them as he tries to convince her to go all the way. Now here is where it gets weird--Alfie gets out of the car and then begins addressing the audience. In fact, throughout the film he stops to talk to the audience--to discuss his philosophy about women, marriage and relationships. Now MOST of what he says is pure drivel--a guy coming up with 1001 reasons why it was okay to use women and why emotionally connecting with any of them was a BIG mistake. However, as the story unfolds, Alfie discovers that staying that emotionally distant is very difficult. I could easily say more--but don't want to give away the plot twists.

I really loved this film. Michael Caine was at his best as a lovable but emotionally stunted rogue. But what really impressed me was the writing. This film would be WONDERFUL to show to young men--especially since there are so many 'Alfies' out there and seeing how lonely this sort of life could be is a great lesson for young folks. See this film--it's so much more than I'd expected and had amazing depth.
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Cheerful Hedonist
bkoganbing13 July 2012
It was interesting to learn that Alfie had its origins on stage with a play because the way it was brought to the screen clearly showed author Bill Naughton's bow to Eugene O'Neill's influence. The play and film are about cheerful hedonist Alfie Elkins who wants nothing more in life than to kanoodle with as many women as he can. As apparently he does not believe in condoms that creates several problems for him, a couple of which would never have occurred with use of same.

Michael Caine plays Alfie endearing cockney charm and all and as he goes through various sexual entanglements all in the spirit of fun and pulls aside as in Strange Interlude and talks about the 'birds' and his philosophy of life which changes as he changes as the film progresses. Caine creates a memorable character worthy of the Best Actor nomination he got.

The women are pretty memorable as well. Jane Asher plays a runaway who Caine steals from a truckdriver who picked her up. Shelley Winters is as cheerful a hedonist as Caine is and a bit more experienced. Winters put down of him is devastating.

Most memorable is Vivien Merchant who got a Best Supporting Actress nomination playing the wife of a fellow patient of Caine's while Caine is in a hospital for a short stay. He seduces Merchant, the mother of three and gives her a fourth. The guilt for this indiscretion that Merchant bears brought her that nomination.

Also in that hospital is Dr. Eleanor Bron who is the only woman seemingly immune to Michael Caine's charms. Perhaps because she looks at him from a clinical perspective only.

Alfie also got nominations for Best Picture and Best Original Song for the 60s classic What's It All About Alfie. Bill Naughton also got a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. Naughton also did another fine film from that decade, The Family Way. I recommend you see both.
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Citizen Caine.......Becomes Alfie
werefox085 July 2012
Michael Caine was 33 years old in 1966...the year Alfie was made. He was a relatively unknown actor. After Alfie, he was famous and in demand. Caine appears to have approached this role with a lot of confidence ...and why not, he already had a cockney accent...and he was also very cocky. His performance is 95% of the reasons why this is a very good movie. He gives one of the truly GREAT screen performances. The film is not just a comedy...there are examinations of deep and complex social issues...and there are lots of windows into the swinging sixties. But in the final analysis this is Michael Caines movie....for it is his character that stays with us, long after we are mesmerized by his bravado performance. He is still working the age of 79. He has given some great performances over the years...but none to equal his work as Alfie.
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Not the light sexual comedy one might expect
Framescourer22 May 2011
Crumbs. I was expecting a light period vehicle for the carousing Michael Caine. Instead I got tough social realism, with no small amount of satire. It's also a technically interesting film with Caine addressing the audience directly by speaking into the camera. He remains in character, speaking in soliloquy rather than stepping outside the drama. It's effective, at once establishing the link of charm with the audience that might otherwise have been at a distance between characters, and makes the pain of the weave of stories all the more vivid.

Alfie is not an unreconstructed Lothario. He's just self-deluded, mixing up his own, genuine growing pains with a warped, self-centred logic. Equally, the film isn't a proto-feminist tract. Although the women involved are independent characters the drama isn't ideological but domestic. Though the behaviour of the women from the contemporaneous London film Blow-Up is similar the two films are polar opposites in terms of their reach, Antonioni making a sublime thriller, Lewis Gilbert going inside, looking for the dramatic gemstone in the kitchen sink.

He finds it, too. Caine is strong in Alfie (justly Oscar-nominated), notably when faced with the fall-out - literally - of another of his casual conquests. The support acting is mixed. Shelley Winters, Julia Foster and Vivien Merchant stand out from the women, with Denholm Elliott making a short but heavyweight appearance at the crucial juncture. London also features nicely too, although it still has a Dickensian gloom, not least with many shots with Thames-side industry for a backdrop (something that the enterprising Antonioni manages to escape). 6/10
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A great movie for grownups
pontifikator14 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Michael Caine gets well-deserved praise for his acting, but I'd like to give credit to Bill Naughton, the man who wrote the play on which the movie is based and who wrote the screenplay. Naughton's understanding of Alfie is deep and caring, even though Alfie is a narcissistic jerk. Caine gets the character right, showing us all Alfie's flaws without making the character unbearable.

Alfie is a man whose goal in life is to screw women. His references to women in general, and each particular woman he dates, is to "bird" and "it." "It's a nice little bird, isn't it?" he'll ask us -- Alfie looks straight at the camera and addresses us the viewers as his co-conspirators in life. If you didn't see Michael Caine in the 60s when he was in his prime, you may be surprised at his good looks; he was almost pretty. It makes it totally credible that Caine's Alfie could be a ladies man and get quite beautiful women to stay with him in spite of his narcissism and lack of any caring at all. Alfie's asides to the camera are plentiful and revealing of his character. We're taken into his confidence, even as the women are taken.

The film is very 60s in its view of things. Sex outside of marriage was a sin, nice girls didn't do it, and girls who did were looked down upon. And Alfie is a cad who preys upon nice girls. Among his victims are Annie, played by Jane Asher. (Asher was an actress from her pre- school days, but she may be best known as Paul McArtney's long-time girlfriend. She's said to be the inspiration for the songs "And I Love Her," "All my Loving," "Here, There and Everywhere," among others.) There's also the sad Lily, wife of a long-term patient in a nursing home who is an acquaintance of Alfie's. Lily is very well played by Vivien Merchant. (Merchant had some sad times of her own, I understand. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for this role, and she was in many other plays and movies. Married to Harold Pinter, he cheated on her, setting up his script for "Betrayal." After the divorce, Merchant died from the consequences of her alcoholism at the age of 53.) Shelley Winters plays Ruby, the character Alfie likes most of his birds. But she's too much like him for it to work.

"Alfie" can be seen as comedic, but the underlying themes are depressing. Naughton uses humor to make an otherwise unrelentingly inhuman and inhumane point of view -- well, not likable, but at least bearable. The script is very impressive as Naughton (and Caine) peel away Alfie's layers of defenses, baring his sorry excuse for a soul. When we finally get to Alfie's heart, there's nothing there.

The music is excellent; original music is by Sonny Rollins. He did a great job of capturing the spirit of the 60s and the spirit of Alfie. Cinematographer Otto Heller and director Lewis Gilbert made great use of the sets and the camera, capturing Alfie in his milieu. "Alfie" received 5 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, and Best Screenplay based on Material from another Medium.

If you liked Caine in this, I suggest seeing "The Ipcress File," which came out a year earlier.

I saw Shelley Winters being interviewed on TV about this movie. She said she couldn't understand a word Michael Caine said and that the movie was re-dubbed for American audiences to soften Alfie's cockney accent. At least that's my recollection, and I'm sticking with it.

I haven't seen the later version with Jude Law. My impression is that the two versions cannot be compared. Don't let your like or dislike of the later version sway you in seeing the 1966 "Alfie."
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Utterly fresh and brilliant, and filled with moral disruption.
secondtake19 July 2010
Alfie (1966)

There are two ways to love this movie. One is the way people in 1966 did, with a certain amount of shock at the candor and callousness of the main character, and how the dealt with pregnancy and abortion. The other is how it is made, which was impressive at the time and equally so now--even more so, considering how it has aged so well. I truly "tells" a story, and Michael Caine is brilliant, subtle, chilling, and believable in the starring role of Alfie.

On the first score, there is something unsettling, really really funny, and daring about the subject--a true cad, a British young man who has his way with women but only, it seems, in the most superficial way, emotionally. You want to hate him for it, but he's so likable, and so honest, and fresh, and frankly charming to the gills, you can't help but have mixed feelings. Caine defines the role so thoroughly, in the remake, you feel Jude Law trying not to be Alfie, but be Michael Caine (and it doesn't work nearly as well).

On the second, the way the movie was made, with many long takes, and with the main character (and no one else) narrating directly into the camera, but often in the middle of real action, is uncanny and virtuosic. Everyone involved had to have been sharp as a tack to get this right, the timing and feel, the light and the deadpan acting (I saw a crack of a smile during the long clinic scene). It makes for a dry approach, in a way, and it forces detachment from the plot proper. But it draws you into Alfie's plight, and flight, and complicated character.

There are other movies made in the mid 1960s that are about the early and mid 1960s in working class London without trying to be, but this is among the best, like "Easy Rider" is clearly about the later 1960s in America. The new mores of the fresh sexual revolution are just being sorted out by cast and character and audience, almost before our eyes as we watch. It's quite remarkable, really. There's a lot of talk, and if you don't get into that pace right away you'll be doomed. But if you connect, and see the brilliance of it, you'll be blown away. Singular and special.

Notice also the terrific music by Sonny Rollins, and of course the famous title song, sung by Cher. And though Michael Caine steals the show, the rest of the cast is spot on serious and authentic. Oddly, this is roughly the same time as the recent "An Education" and it has a little echo in some ways. But oh how much more true "Alfie" is from top to bottom. This may be fiction, but it gets to what matters very much.
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What's it all about, Alfie?
sme_no_densetsu5 February 2010
"Alfie" is the film that made Michael Caine a star some 44 years ago. Here he plays a working-class lothario whose relationships with women are typified by selfishness and a lack of scruples.

Being a film from the swinging sixties I half-expected a badly dated affair. Luckily, that expectation proved to be unfounded, though there seem to be quite a few who hold that opinion. As I see it, Alfie finds a ready counterpart in the self-styled 'player' of today.

Michael Caine pulls off the difficult title role with ease. Alfie is a fairly loathsome character but his candour makes him appealing as a sort of anti-hero. The various women that cross his path are all convincingly portrayed, including Academy Award nominee Vivien Merchant.

The film's presentation is attractive and Lewis Gilbert's direction handles Alfie's many asides with fluidity. The score by jazzman Sonny Rollins is a nice change of pace as well. And, of course, let's not forget the Oscar-nominated theme song by Burt Bacharach & Hal David.

In my opinion, the one thing that drags the film down slightly is that the plot seems a bit aimless for much of the film. This isn't particularly surprising since the film is really more of a character study. As far as that goes, it's a rewarding viewing experience.
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Alfie (1966) asks "Are women worth the price men pay?"
David Allen29 July 2009
Alfie (1966) provides a laundry list of the many, many problems (large and small) men face when they become intimate with women.

Money problems, health problems, social problems, emotional problems and on and on and on.

The movie, Alfie (1966), is about the questions of intimate contact men have with women, and about commitment to women as an option men can choose, or refuse. Big subjects, both.

Can individual men gain personal advantages by avoiding intimate contact and commitment to women? Yes.

In about 1000 A.D., the Roman Catholic Church decided to vote "No" on marriage for its priesthood. There was a reason, and the incredible wealth and power of that organization down the ages is connected to that simple decision. It was profound, and still is.

The Roman Catholic Church gained enormous practical advantages due to its decision, and individual men (including ones not at all religious or in any way connected to the Roman Catholic Church) can gain the same advantages by making the same decision.

One "Comments" writer discussing this movie on this site compared it to La Dolche Vita (1960), another "laundry list of problems different types of women provide men" movie. Good comparison.

Women are attractive, often, especially in youth, and so are favors they sometimes provide men.

But.......... are the favors worth the price men pay (sometimes demanded by women, sometimes by others), and how long do the favors keep coming, and at what level of quality?

Are women worth the price men pay?

That is the main question the movies Alfie (1966) and La Dolche Vita (1960) present and ask.

The clear answer is, sadly, "No." That's "what it's all about," Alfie.


Written by Tex Allen, SAG Actor. Visit WWW.IMDb.Com and choose "Tex Allen" "resume" for contact information, movie credits, and biographical information about Tex Allen.

He has reviewed more than 42 movies posted on WWW.IMDb.Com (the world's largest movie information database, owned by Amazon.Com) as of January 2011.

These include: 1. Alfie (1966) 29 July 2009 2. Alien (1979) 24 July 2009 3. All the Loving Couples (1969) 17 January 2011 4. All the President's Men (1976) 16 November 2010 5. American Graffiti (1973) 22 November 2010 6. Animal House (1978) 16 August 2009 7. Bullitt (1968) 23 July 2009 8. Captain Kidd (1945) 28 July 2009 9. Child Bride (1938) 24 September 2009 10. Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) 22 September 2010 11. Destination Moon (1950) 17 January 2011 12. Detour (1945) 19 November 2010 13. Die Hard 2 (1990) 23 December 2010 14. The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993) 19 November 2010 15. Jack and the Beanstalk (1952) 26 July 2009 16. King Solomon's Mines (1950) 1 December 2010 17. Knute Rockne All American (1940) 2 November 2010 18. Claire's Knee (1970) 15 August 2009 19. Melody Ranch (1940) 10 November 2010 20. Morning Glory (1933) 19 November 2010 21. Mush and Milk (1933) 17 January 2011 22. New Moon (1940) 3 November 2010 23. Pinocchio (1940) 6 November 2010 24. R2PC: Road to Park City (2000) 19 November 2010 25. Salt (2010) 24 August 2010 26. Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960) 21 January 2011 27. Sunset Blvd. (1950) 1 December 2010 28. The Forgotten Village (1941) 21 January 2011 29. The Great Dictator (1940) 1 November 2010 30. The King's Speech (2010) 19 January 2011 31. The Last Emperor (1987) 20 January 2011 32. The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) 9 January 2011 33. The Man in the White Suit (1951) 5 August 2009 34. The Philadelphia Story (1940) 5 November 2010 35. The Social Network (2010) 19 January 2011 36. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974) 1 August 2009 37. The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) 14 August 2009 38. The Witchmaker (1969) 21 July 2009 39. Thousands Cheer (1943) 3 December 2010 40. Till the Clouds Roll By (1946) 24 November 2010 41. Wake Up and Live (1937) 27 July 2009 42. Witness for the Prosecution (1957) 1 August 2009

A full list of Tex Allen's movie reviews appearing on WWW.IMDb.Com with links to full texts of reviews is accessible via:

Tex Allen's email address is TexAllen@Yahoo.Com.

See Tes Allen Movie Credits, Biography, and 2012 photos at WWW.IMDb.Me/TexAllen. See other Tex Allen written movie reviews....almost 100 titles.... at: "" (paste this address into your URL Browser)
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