The Marvellous Michael Caine Blogathon: My Five Favourite Michael Caine Performances

caine3Realweegiemidgetreviews is hosting this blogathon all about Michael Caine. Be sure to visit Gill’s site to read all of the entries. I can’t wait to read them all myself. 

Michael Caine is one of my favourite actors. He is someone who I have grown up with, and he is someone whose work I always try and make time to watch. I first saw him in The Muppet Christmas Carol and I’ve loved him ever since.  

He is an actor who I think is always worth watching, sometimes he has appeared in some really terrible films (yes, I’m looking at you The Swarm and Jaws The Revenge)but he is usually always watchable. I think he has got even better as he gotten older to be honest. 

The following are my five favourite Caine performances. I’m not claiming that these are his best performances. These are simply all performances and films of his that I really love. 


Zulu (1964)

This British war classic is the film which really made me a fan of Michael’s. This is not only a cracking film filled with terrific performances, but it is also the film that got Michael noticed by audiences and critics.

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Michael as Lt. Bromhead. Image source IMDb. 

Michael has the difficult task in the film (which he manages so well)of making us both hate his character, and then start to like and respect him, until eventually he has become one of the characters we are really hoping survives. He goes from being arrogant and annoying,to being capable and calm under pressure, to being battle fatigued and desperate.  I love the growing bond between his character and Stanley Baker’s. Starting off as opposites and rivals these two men soon become very important to one another, and they see each other in a different light as their hostility towards one another melts. 


Miss Congeniality (2000)

This hilarious film sees Michael as a Henry Higgins type character. He plays the fussy make up artist, Victor Melling, who has to help a seriously non glamorous FBI agent (Sandra Bullock)become a pageant beauty for an undercover assignment. He has to turn her into a lady.

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Michael as Victor. Image source IMDb. 

He is hysterical here filled with disdain and possessing an acid tongue one moment, and then turning kind and lovable the next. Michael looks like he is having great fun in this film too and that just helps to make it funnier I think. I love the restaurant scene where he is watching Sandra’s character eat,you can see how repulsed and fascinated by her he is. So funny.


Batman Begins (2005)


Michael as Alfred. Image source IMDb. 

I think that Michael was perfectly cast as a tougher and more worldly screen version of Alfred Pennyworth. He captures Alfred’s great love and loyalty for his master, the caped crusader Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale).

Michael’s Alfred is a war veteran. I think you can believe that he was made Bruce’s legal guardian because he could protect him should the need to ever arise. Michael makes his Alfred tough, funny, sharp, loyal and resilient. I think this film is very good and that he stole all the scenes he was in. Whenever I watch this, I really enjoy the film, but I am always waiting for the scenes I know he appears in. 



 Educating Rita (1983)

Michael is both funny and moving here as Frank, a teacher who has lost the will to teach and become cynical of life. Into his life comes a young woman called Rita (Julie Walters). She is desperate to learn from him. Teaching her, and seeing her knowledge grow, really makes him very happy and he feels of use again. As they spend more time together he begins to fall in love with her and also grows to love life again and becomes a happier person.

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Michael as Frank. Image source IMDb.

Michael’s performance here is all in his expressions and eyes. It’s a complex character he is playing and he does a fantastic job of letting us see what this guy is feeling and going through. This is a film that I return to again and again, and each time I do, Michael’s performance never fails to have me laughing one minute and tearing up the next. 


5- The Ipcress File (1965) 

Michael plays a more realistic secret agent than James Bond. Michael is Harry Palmer, a spectacle wearing British agent who has to find out who is brainwashing some scientists. He is torn between knowing who to trust and gets caught up in something far beyond his control. Michael shows us here that brainy men can be just as sexy as men of action. 

Harry Palmer is the anti Bond and Michael plays the role so well. This guy lives modestly, and cooks his own food. His job is more about observation and being watchful, rather than shooting his way to the answers. Michael is so cool in this flick, and he oozes class and style. I never get tired of watching this film. 


What are you favourite Michael Caine films and performances? I’d love to hear what you think of the films I chose. 




23 thoughts on “The Marvellous Michael Caine Blogathon: My Five Favourite Michael Caine Performances

  1. Paul S

    Like you I grew up watching Michael Caine, seeing him in the film Too Late the Hero on television is one of my earliest childhood movie memories. He’s always eminently watchable even in films like The Swarm and Jaws the Revenge. My own personal favourite Caine films are Get Carter, Zulu and The Ipcress File. I do also like the other “Harry Palmer” films, Funeral in Berlin and Billlion Dollar Brain. Oh and The Italian Job… I could go on and on!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. dbmoviesblog

    Very interesting, because these are the performances which I know least of all. I need to check them out asap. I am a huge admirer of Michael Caine myself, and though I love his classic films such as Alfie and The Italian Job, I am also in love with his later work. I really love him in The Quiet American in a leading role, and in Inception, The Prestige & Children of Men as a secondary actor.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. dbmoviesblog

        He really did outshine everyone else in The Quiet American. I have heard they courted Caine for ages to be cast in the lead role there, and he only agreed when they agreed that a particular soundtrack will feature. I love the soundtrack as well.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jay@cinemaessentials

    I guessed two of these, so I should probably get a badge or something.

    I thought Caine was miscast as Alfred to begin with. I remember reading a review (possibly on IMDb) where someone said they thought he was more likely to steal the family silver than polish it! But he’s grown on me. It’s a more interesting version of the character than the usual stereotypical butler.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Jay@cinemaessentials

        I guessed Zulu and The Ipcress File.

        I’m amused that the first Michael Caine film you saw was The Muppet Christmas Carol. I’m not sure what impression that would give a child about Michael Caine, except they might assume he’s one of the Muppets …

        Liked by 1 person

  4. mikestakeonthemovies

    So hard to marrow this guy down to just 5 films. Then do we look at it from what we think are his greatest roles or performances or just the movies we like the best. Off the top if were to make recommendations I’d be pointing people to Sleuth, The Man Who Would Be King, Too Late The Hero and Get Carter which are not in your list and that’s just off the cuff. Yes Zulu would have to be mentioned for sure. I also liked the Cider House Rules but only ever saw it once. I’m due for a revisit. Either way, hard not like this guy no matter the film and I also recommend his two biographies he wrote to or so years apart. Keeps it simple and they are a fun read. Doesn’t take himself too seriously. Cheers’

    Liked by 1 person

    1. maddylovesherclassicfilms Post author

      Agreed. He has made so many fine films and delivered so many fine performances over the years. Well my five were just five favourites. If I was listing five best performances, I think the list would be as follows – Get Carter, Zulu, The Quiet American, The Man Who Would Be King and Educating Rita. He’s also terrific in the miniseries Jack The Ripper (1988), Harry Brown and as Alfred in the Christopher Nolan Batman films.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Silver Screenings

    Mikes Take on the Movies (above) sure said a mouthful when he noted it’s hard to narrow down fave Michael Caine performances to just five. But you’ve done an admirable job. Very pleased to see “Miss Congeniality” on your list.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Le Magalhaes

    Miss Congeniality was without a doubt my favorite Michael Caine movie – thanks to my mother for introducing me to that delightful movie. I also really enjoy him in Alfie, Zulu and The Italian Job. And, wow, I had never heard about Educating Rita! I must look for this movie.
    Don’t forget to read my contribution to the blogathon! 🙂



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