Alfie is a 1966 British film directed by Lewis Gilbert, starring Michael Caine. It is an adaptation by Bill Naughton of his own novel and play of the same name. The film was released by Paramount Pictures.
A remake of the film sporting the same title was released in 2004, starring Jude Law as the title character. The movie was written, directed and produced by Charles Shyer and, again, released by Paramount Pictures.
Both incarnations of the film follow the life of the title character, Alfie Elkins, for a few years, documenting events that lead to his emotional growth, starting with the birth of his child. Alfie, however, is unable to get together with the mother of his son, who moves on herself. Left unable to see his son, he seeks out emotional aid, leading to a series of misadventures as things derail further and he attempts to recover his life.
In 1975 there was a sequel of sorts, Alfie Darling, starring Alan Price as Alfie, but the film felt more like a remake than a sequel, what with Alfie being played by a younger man and what not. It is not as highly regarded as the original film.
These films provide examples of:
- Anything That Moves: The most outrageous instance is when he has sex with his friend's wife that he met in the sanitarium.Alfie: Well, what harm can it do? Old Harry will never know. And even if he did, he shouldn't begrudge me - or her, come to that. And it'll round off the tea nicely.
- Auto Erotica: The film begins with Alfie romancing a married woman and having sex in his car.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Alfie often talks directly to camera.
- The Casanova: Alfie. He has sex with married women, single women, any woman that's willing and able.
- Deconstruction: Of The Casanova trope that Alfie embodies. He goes about using women in whatever manner pleases him, referring to them as "birds" and sometimes even as "it" until his behavior eventually blows up in his face.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Alfie doesn't get any of his love interests in the 1966 movie.
- Distaff Counterpart: Ruby (pictured) is the female counterpart to Alfie, except richer. She's carefree, promiscuous, and ultimately abandons him for another conquest much like he did to many of the women he came onto.
- Downer Ending: More so in the original as Alfie is cheated on and is alone, though present in both.Alfie: You know what? When I look back on my little life and the birds I've known, and think of all the things they've done for me and the little I've done for them, you'd think I've had the best of it along the line. But what have I got out of it? I've got a bob or two, some decent clothes, a car, I've got me health back and I ain't attached. But I ain't got me peace of mind - and if you ain't got that, you ain't got nothing. I dunno. It seems to me if they ain't got you one way they've got you another. So what's the answer? That's what I keep asking myself - what's it all about? Know what I mean?
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Gilda decides to have her baby while it's averted with Lily. Alfie is so shocked by the experience of seeing the fully formed fetus in his kitchen that he genuinely shows sympathy for Lily, something he hasn't shown to any other woman.
- Nothing Is Scarier: The camera focuses entirely on Alfie's horrified reaction to seeing Lily's aborted fetus. Though it's later revealed that the truly scary thing is that it looked just like a normal baby.
- Pet the Dog: One of Alfie's good points is his genuine love for his son, Malcolm.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Let's just say that almost everything that comes out of Alfie's mouth is incredibly sexist.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Alfie is never not in his suit and tie, making him all the more appealing.
- Silver Fox: Ruby, the older woman Alfie dates, who he remarks is in "beautiful condition."
- The Sociopath: Alfie is very, very, very detached from people.
- Slapstick: The 1966 version has Alfie encounter an angry trucker (who he stole a girl from) who starts a bar brawl. Pratfalls and crazy hi-jinks ensue.