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Michael Caine reveals why he’s finally retired, for real this time

Michael Caine, frequent Christopher Nolan collaborator and one of the best actors ever, has finally retired and explained why. So long, Alfred Pennyworth.

Michael Caine as Alfred in Batman

Michael Caine, a Hollywood legend, has officially announced his retirement at the age of 90. The British actor, known for his distinct Cockney accent, concludes his career after seven decades over the course of which he’s cemented his status as an acting icon with two Oscar wins, three Golden Globes, and countless other awards.

Beginning his career at the start of the ’50s, Michael Caine rose to prominence over a decade later in the ’60s with his roles in British hits Zulu and The Italian Job and would go on to star in a number of the best movies of the era with Get Carter, The Eagle Has Landed, and A Bridge Too Far. Throughout the rest of the 20th century, Caine’s career continued at a breakneck pace, though after the turn of the century he’s become best recognized for his role in eight Christopher Nolan movies, starting with Batman Begins.

Now, though, after stating his intention to retire over recent years, he’s finally gone and done it after the launch of his latest new movie The Great Escaper. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, he revealed, “I keep saying I’m going to retire. Well I am now.”

Explaining his reasoning, Caine referenced The Great Escaper’s positive reviews, his desire to end on a high, and his acknowledgment that his time in lead roles was over. “I’ve figured, I’ve had a picture where I’ve played the lead and had incredible reviews… What am I going to do that will beat this?”

“The only parts I’m liable to get now are 90-year-old men. Or maybe 85,” he joked. “They’re not going to be the lead. You don’t have leading men at 90, you’re going to have young handsome boys and girls. So I thought, I might as well leave with all this.”

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Caine concluded, “I thought, ‘I’m ahead here, I may do a little part and get a bad review…’ So I thought, ‘Why not leave now?’ So I’ve left.”

It’s as good a reason as any, with the acknowledgment that his time in the spotlight is coming to a close. He now joins the likes of Jack Nicholson, Gene Hackman, and Daniel Day-Lewis as great actors in official retirement. However, that has us thinking about a movie pitch: an Avengers-style ensemble piece where a collection of the best actors ever come out of retirement… for some reason. Admittedly, we haven’t really thought this one through.

For now, we’ll just be content to go celebrate his wonderful catalog of movies. What a career, with a particular shoutout to The Muppet Christmas Carol.

If you want more movie magic, see our picks for the best drama movies, and read our Killers of the Flower Moon review to learn about the upcoming Scorsese movie. Or, for something entirely different, get up to speed with the progress on Deadpool 3.