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Alfie (1966)

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An unrepentant ladies' man gradually begins to understand the consequences of his lifestyle.

Director:

Lewis Gilbert

Writers:

Bill Naughton (screenplay), Bill Naughton (based on the play: "Alfie")
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Michael Caine ... Alfie
Shelley Winters ... Ruby
Millicent Martin ... Siddie
Julia Foster ... Gilda
Jane Asher ... Annie
Shirley Anne Field ... Carla
Vivien Merchant ... Lily Clamacraft
Eleanor Bron ... The Doctor
Denholm Elliott ... The Abortionist
Alfie Bass ... Harry
Graham Stark ... Humphrey
Murray Melvin ... Nat
Sydney Tafler Sydney Tafler ... Frank
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Storyline

For Alfie, the only real life is sex life; only then can he kid himself he is living. Sex is not used as the working-class boy's way to 'the top'. Executive status has no appeal for Alfie. Nor has class mobility. He is quite content to stay where he is, as long as the 'birds' are in 'beautiful condition', as he assures us they are in one of the candid, over-the-shoulder asides to the camera which the film carries over from "Tom Jones". The film shows how much of the 'swinging 60's' quality of London life was a male creation, and through the dominance of the fashion photographers, a male prerogative. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Winner of the Special Jury Award at the Cannes Film Festival See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 August 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Alfie See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$800,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$18,871,300
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Recording System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The hospital scene was filmed in, what is now, York House, the Town Hall in Twickenham, England. See more »

Goofs

When Alfie is in the doctors office and looks out of the window at the funeral, the window frame is of a different sort to the one we see of the interior. See more »

Quotes

Alfie: [hugging Ruby] She's in beautiful condition.
See more »

Crazy Credits

At the beginning of the film Michael Caine talks to camera and explains that there will be no opening credits. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in I Believe in Love Part 2 (1998) See more »

Soundtracks

Alfie
Vocal by Cher
Produced by Sonny Bono (as Sonny)
Composed by Hal David and Burt Bacharach
(U.S. version)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Utterly fresh and brilliant, and filled with moral disruption.
19 July 2010 | by secondtakeSee all my reviews

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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