Skip to main content

The Dark Knight’s Michael Caine Reveals Why He's Retiring From Acting

Michael Caine as Alfred Pennyworth in The Dark Knight
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

Michael Caine has been professionally acting since the early 1950s, and while older generations likely know him best from movies like Alfie and the original version of The Italian Job, younger folks certainly haven’t had any trouble finding him in cinematic settings, such as his time as Alfred Pennyworth in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. However, after nearly 60 years in the business, Michael Caine has retired from acting, and he recently revealed how he came to this decision.

Last month saw the release of Best Sellers, a comedy-drama that saw Michael Caine acting opposite Aubrey Plaza, Scott Speedman, Ellen Wong, Cary Elwes and Veronica Ferres. While chatting about the movie on Kermode and Mayo, Caine revealed that this will be his final role, and explained his rationale thusly:

Funnily enough, it has turned out to be my last part really. Because I haven’t worked for two years, and I have a spine problem which affects my leg, so I can’t walk very well. And I also wrote a couple of books, which were published and were successful. I’m now not an actor, I’m a writer, which is lovely because as an actor, you have to get up, out by six in the morning and go to the studio. The writer, you just start writing without leaving the bed.

At 88 years old, no one can accuse Michael Caine of retiring from acting too early, though there wouldn’t have been anything wrong with that if he felt like embarking down a different path in his younger years. Regardless, with his current physical issues and writing work, Caine feels like now is the good time to step away from acting, and the latter activity certainly isn’t as strenuous as performing on stage or screen. Caine has been writing books since the early 1980s, the most recent one being 2018’s Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life

After it was clarified that Best Sellers will end up being his “last picture,” Michael Caine brought up two other things that factored into his decision to retire, saying:

Yeah, I think it would be. There haven’t been any offers obviously for two years because nobody’s been making any movies I’d want to do. But also, you know, I’m 88, and there’s not exactly scripts pouring out with the leading man who’s 88, you know?

While Best Sellers will go down as the last movie Michael Caine acted in, there is one last movie of his that has yet to come out. In 2018, he shot a Czech action historical movie called Medieval with Hell or High Water’s Ben Foster. Medieval still doesn’t have a release date yet, although it’s possible it might come out in 2022. Caine’s other credits from recent years include Going in Style, King of Thieves and Tenet, the latter being his eighth and final collaboration with Christopher Nolan.

It’s truly the end of an era, but at least we have decades worth of Michael Caine movies to enjoy to our heart’s content. As for what’s coming to theaters in the near future, that information is available in our 2021 release schedule and 2022 release schedule.

Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.