These Are the Best Michael Caine Movies, Ranked

The name Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr. isn’t one that automatically leaps out as possessing any kind of public or cultural significance. When boarding flights or going through rigorous airport security, Maurice would regularly receive befuddled looks as he passed over his passport to perplexed check-in staff, many occupied by the same thought processesa fraudster perhaps, a case of stolen identity, or he just really looks like that actor.

It was for that exact reason that Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr. legally changed his name to that of his famous alias, Michael Caine. This change actually came recently, in 2016, after the Great British actor had been facing the same inquisition from airport security for 55 years. Translating this into movie terms, that’s 160 films, six Oscar nominations with two wins, and an $ 80 million net worth… Suffice it to say, Caine’s career in the film industry has had quite the innings.

Viewed as a national treasure in the UK and widely accepted as an industry icon, Michael Caine is one of the finest actors to have graced the silver screen. The Zulu star’s career has spanned over seven decades, making him one of the longest-working actors in the profession. He is one of an elite group of actors to have been nominated for an Oscar in five different decades: Jack Nicholson, Paul Newman, and Laurence Olivier being his esteemed company. Late last year, Caine seemingly announced his retirement from acting after his role in Lina Roessler’s Best Sellers, but followed it up with the self-referential statement, “I have not retired, and not a lot of people know that.” With Michael Caine soon to be 89-years-old, let’s rank the legendary actor’s best films…

8 Batman Begins

Warner Bros. Pictures

Over Caine’s formative years, he had the propensity to take on less demanding roles, with several appearances of varying prominence in films such as Dunkirk, Interstellarand Inception (albeit, not a bad selection of films to have a part in), this can also be said for the Batman trilogy. As in all three of those other films, Caine thrives under Christopher Nolan’s directorship in Batman Begins as well, playing Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s highly-regarded butler who had taken care of the orphaned Batman when his parents were killed. In this first installment of The Dark Knight trilogy, Alfred assists Wayne with undertaking his missions through both invaluable intel and state-of-the-art gadgets, as well as being Batman’s closest confidant. While Batman Begins is a great film, Caine’s back-seat supporting role hardly warrants it being considered his greatest role.

7 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Orion Pictures

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels follows the hilarious story of two con-men, Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine) and Freddy Benson (Steve Martin). Due to the pair operating in the same area on the French Riviera, the fraudsters elect to settle their area dispute via a wager. Caine plays the smooth-talking, masterly, professional British crook to expert effect. The combination of Caine’s suave and upper-class persona and Steve Martin’s jovial, comical genius works a treat. This movie is a barrel of fun.

Related: Here Are Some Of The Smartest Comedy Movies Ever Made

6 The Italian Job

Italian Job
Paramount Pictures

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off” is arguably one of Michael Caine’s most famous lines in cinema, coming in the form of British heist movie The Italian Jobnot to be mistaken for the lightweight 2003 remake starring Mark Wahlberg and Jason Statham. Caine stars as a Cockney cheeky-chappy ex-convict and gangster, Charlie Croker, who orchestrates a gold-bullion heist in Turin. The late, great Sir Noel Coward also makes an appearance as a crime boss, Mr Bridger. This film is emblazoned with patriotic British quirks, from the Cockney rhyming slang used in Quincy Jones’ “Self-Preservation Society,” to the getaway cars of choice, mini-coopers, sporting the colors of the Union Jack, of course. While The Italian Job may not possess the right foundations for substantial character development and plot depth, it thoroughly embraces its power as a form of entertainment, escapism, and amusement.

5 Get Carter

MGM-EMI Distributors

Get Carter follows the story of lethal London gangster, Jack Carter (Michael Caine) on a mission to avenge the murder of his brother. At the time (1971), Michael Caine had become a break-out international star, so his homecoming to partake in this (what was considered to be) low-budget project was a major coup for British director Mike Hodges. Caine plays a smooth, efficient, and unforgiving mobster who stops at nothing to exact his revenge. The London-born actor is all too accustomed to playing the cold-blooded gangster, albeit to varying degrees; as seen in The Italian Job, Harry Brown, The Marseille Contract and King of Thieves. As Roger Ebert put itGet Carter shows him as sure, fine and viciousa good hero for an action movie. ”.

4 Educating Rita

Educating Rita
Rank Film Distributors

During the late 70s and early 80s, Caine had hit a crossroads as far as his acting career was concerned. He had succumbed to films that were simply not worthy of his name, nor acting ability (and that’s putting it mildly.) Yet, Educating Rita provided the actor with a much-needed revitalization. Starring as a seemingly defeated university professor, Dr. Frank Bryant was introduced to an unlikely savior in the form of his student, Rita (Julie Walters). This charming, light-spirited story extends beyond the couple’s mutually beneficial teacher-student relationship, offering both parties another chance at realizing their respective passions, aspirations, and dreams.

3 The Cider House Rules

Cider House Rules
Good Vista Pictures Distribution

Director Lasse Hallström’s adaptation of The Cider House Rules, the famous novel by John Irving, was the film that brought Michael Caine his second Oscar win for a Best Supporting Role. Set against the backdrop of WWII, it follows the story of orphan Homer Wells (Tobey Maguire) who has never stepped foot out of the orphanage until a chance encounter with visitors Wally (a youthful Paul Rudd, who nonetheless looks exactly the same) and Candy (Charlize Theron). Caine stars as Dr. Wilbur Larch, a physician at the dilapidated orphanage who also happens to specialize in “backstreet” abortions. Aside from his rather questionable American accent, Caine’s performance encapsulates the caring, warm, and complex on-screen presence of Dr. Larch whose father-son-like relationship with protagonist Homer Wells is put to the test when Homer leaves for pastures new.

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2 The Man Who Would Be King

Man Who Would Be King
Columbia Pictures

Plausibly Michael Caine’s career-best performance is in the adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s novella, The Man Who Would Be King. It follows the adventures of two ex-British soldiers, Daniel Dravot (Sean Connery) and Peachy Carnehan (Michael Caine), as they battle against the elements, bandits, and anything else that stands in the way of them and their destination, Kafiristan. The Man Who Would Be King provides a stark reminder of what can happen when one attempts to play God. As Empire states “It could be argued, that they give the best performances of their career, a fact obscured by the film’s unassuming devotion to story.” It may not be the best Michael Caine movie, but it is arguably his best performance.

1 Hannah and Her Sisters

Hannah and Her Sisters
United Artists

Woody Allen’s mid-career masterpiece, Hannah and Her Sistersfollows the comedic story (as the title suggests) of the lives of Hannah and her two sisters, Lee and Holly, over a two-year period. At one stage this was the Manhattan director’s highest-grossing film; consequently, it won three Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Supporting Actor for Michael Caine as Eliot, Hannah’s want-away husband, who embarks on a year-long affair with her sister, Lee. Caine is incredible in his performance as the love rat, Eliot, managing to be simultaneously contemptible and yet relatable, putting the ‘pathetic’ in ‘sympathetic.’ Hannah and Her Sisters explore the themes of convoluted relationships between couples, siblings, and in-laws, as well as the constant battle for control over one’s emotions, thoughts, and fears amidst mortality and the anxieties of life. The fact that this film remains one of Allen’s very best, coupled with Michael Caine’s standout performance even amongst a glittering ensemble cast, and Hannah and Her Sisters is arguably the best Michael Caine movie, even with such an incredible filmography.

Helen Mirren & amp;  Vin Diesel Agree: Michael Caine Should Join the Fast & amp;  Furious Family
Helen Mirren & Vin Diesel Agree: Michael Caine Should Join The Fast & Furious Family

Helen Mirren believes that Michael Caine would make the perfect addition to the Shaw family in future Fast & Furious sequels.

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