80 Wonderful Michael Caine Quotes for His 80th Birthday

Break out the cake, light up the candles, and trot out your best Cockney-accented imitation: the great Michael Caine is 80 years old today. Sir Michael, who first came to international fame clear back in 1966’s Alfie, has always struck us as a particularly down-to-earth chap, blessed with fierce intelligence, a quick wit, and a rather astonishing work ethic — he’s appeared in well over 100 films since his first credited role in 1956’s Hell in Korea, and during his most productive period in the 1980s, he would frequently star in three or four pictures per year. That doesn’t just mean he’s done a lot of movies; it’s means he’s done a lot of interviews. So in celebration of his 80th year on Earth, we rounded up some of our favorite quotes from his many interviews (and from his own writing); enjoy the wit and wisdom of Sir Michael Caine after the jump.


On his movies

On Jaws: The Revenge: “I have never seen it, but by all accounts it is terrible. However, I have seen the house that it built, and it is terrific.” [IMDb]

“I used to get the girl; now I get the part. In The Quiet American (2002) you may have noticed I got the part and the girl. It’s a milestone for me, because it’s the last time I’m going to get the girl. I’m sure of it, now I’m nearly 70.” [IMDb]

[On Alfie] “After the picture had been out and been a success in England, the director called me and said you’ve got to re-loop – which means re-record – 120 lines in the picture. And I said what for? He said: It’s going to America, and the Americans don’t understand what you’re talking about.” [NPR, 2010]

On Hannah and Her Sisters: “I was working with Woody Allen, one of my favorite directors, in New York, one of my favorite places. Oh – and I got an Oscar.” [The Elephant to Hollywood]

On Harry Brown: “I don’t work very much, and I just sit here waiting for a script that I can’t refuse — and I’m not talking about money. Just from the ordinary actor’s point of view, it’s a wonderful part in a wonderful script. And then there was the coincidence that it was about the sort of people that I was, and then the coincidence again of where the movie was going to be made, which is exactly where I came from. Then there’s also the sort of sociopolitical thing of it: Why the hell is this happening, and why isn’t someone doing something about it?” [The A.V. Club, 2010]

“They [Warner Bros.] have had a great 80-year history there, and although I have contributed to a few of the blips along the way, including The Swarm and Beyond the Poseidon Adventure, I’m pleased to have made it up for them eventually with Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight and Inception.” [The Elephant to Hollywood]

On Hollywood

“Hollywood is a cross between a health farm, a recreation center and an insane asylum. It’s a company town, and I happen to like the company!” [Interview magazine, 1986]

On Oscar campaigning

“You can’t figure out the Oscars. I won an Oscar in Hannah and Her Sisters. I won an Oscar for a part that was released in the February before the March Oscars of last year – if you know what I mean. The picture was Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters. It was written and produced and directed by a man who hated the Oscars and wouldn’t attend. Nobody obviously – based on that set of circumstances – nobody did a campaign for me. Nobody did anything. I was nominated out of the blue and won out of the blue. So that was it… So people do talk a lot of bull about it.” [IGN, 2003]