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Alfred Pennyworth (Michael Caine)

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Alfred Pennyworth
General Information
Real name: Alfred J. Pennyworth
Aliases: None
Alignment: Good
Affiliation: Thomas Wayne
Martha Wayne
Bruce Wayne
Rachel Dawes
Lucius Fox
Characteristics: Gender - Male
Height - 6'0"
Weight - 160 lbs
Eyes - Blue
Hair - White/Grey
Portrayed by: Michael Caine
David McCallum - Batman: Gotham Knight (Voice)
Appearances: Batman Begins
Batman: Gotham Knight
The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises

Bruce Wayne: “You still haven't given up on me?
Alfred Pennyworth: “Never.
―Bruce and Alfred[src]

Alfred J. Pennyworth was the butler in service of the Wayne family. He had been Bruce Wayne's guardian, confidant, trusted ally and above all, his best friend.

After the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, murdered at the hands of Joe Chill, Alfred became Bruce Wayne's legal guardian. When Bruce vanished, he was declared dead by Wayne Enterprises' CEO William Earle, and left everything to Alfred. Seven years later, after training with the League of Shadows, Bruce reunites with Alfred and told him of his goal of becoming a symbol to frighten the criminals of Gotham City. With Alfred's help, Bruce had gathered the tools necessary to become Batman, also encouraging him to feign a social life to deflect attention from the idea that he could be Batman. When the League of Shadows attacked Wayne Manor, Alfred saved Bruce, who was trapped under a beam, and rallied him to resume his fight to save Gotham from Ra's al Ghul.

For the next year, Alfred acted as a source of wisdom to not only Bruce, but Rachel Dawes and, on a more casual level, Harvey Dent. While reflecting on the actions of the Joker, Alfred recalls a tale in order to explain to Bruce that some men "just want to watch the world burn". Rachel later gave Alfred the task of giving Bruce a letter, which reveals that she was going to marry Dent. Alfred later burns the letter, reflecting that, just as the people of Gotham would need to believe in Harvey Dent, despite his actions as Harvey "Two-Face", Bruce needed to believe that Rachel still loved him.

Eight years after the death of Harvey Dent, Alfred had grown concerned for Bruce, who had not yet moved on from either Rachel or Batman. Despite this, Alfred assisted Bruce in finding out information about the mercenary, Bane. However, the two became separated when Alfred told Bruce the truth about Rachel; angry and hurt, Bruce orders Alfred to leave. Alfred only returned after Batman apparently sacrificed himself to save Gotham, and attended Bruce's funeral with James Gordon, Lucius Fox and John Blake. Bruce left his entire estate to Alfred. However, Alfred returns to a restaurant in Florence, where he visited before Bruce returned from his seven-year absence as Batman, hoping that he would see Bruce there, settled down and happy. And in his next visit to the restaurant, Alfred looked across to see Bruce dining with Selina Kyle. They exchange knowing smiles and go their separate ways.



Alfred Pennyworth

Early Life

Bruce Wayne: “Why do you give a damn, Alfred? It's not your family.
Alfred Pennyworth: “I give a damn, because a good man once made me responsible for what was most precious to him in the whole world.
―Bruce and Alfred[src]

Alfred served in the British Special Air Service (SAS) when he was younger. In one mission, he was dispatched with a unit to negotiate with the Burmese government and bribing them with jewels, but were constantly ambushed by a bandit who kept stealing the jewels. It wasn't until they found a kid playing with one of the jewels stolen from them, a ruby the size of a tangerine, that they discovered that the man stole the jewels simply because he wanted to cause chaos; Alfred later reflected that some men are looking for nothing but "to watch the world burn". They later caught the person by burning down his forest. At some point in time, Alfred relocated to Gotham City, where he became a butler for Thomas and Martha Wayne at stately Wayne Manor.

Batman Begins

Creating a Legend

Alfred Pennyworth: “It's a problem with the graphite, sir. The next 10,000 will be up to specifications.
Bruce Wayne: “At least they gave us a discount.
Alfred Pennyworth: “Quite. In the, uh, meantime, sir, may I suggest you try to avoid landing on your head?
— Bruce and Alfred discuss the Batsuit[src]

Alfred assists Bruce in the Batcave.

During his service to the Wayne family, Alfred became a valued member of the household, Thomas and Martha trusting him with the guardianship of their son Bruce in the event of their demise. When Bruce vanished for seven years, he was declared dead by Wayne Enterprise's CEO William Earle in order to claim his shares, but this plan was thwarted because Bruce left everything to Alfred. During Bruce's absence, Alfred frequently visited a restaurant in Florence in the hope that he would see Bruce there and that he would have settled down with a wife. Despite keeping strict watch over Wayne Enterprise and Wayne Manor in the event Bruce returned, Alfred secretly hope Bruce found happiness elsewhere and never came back having realized nothing was waiting for Bruce in Gotham but pain and suffering. After Bruce returned from his training in the League of Shadows, he told Alfred that his goal was to become a symbol to frighten the mobsters and criminals of the city, reasoning that as a man he could be defeated but a symbol would be incorruptible and eternal. Alfred helped Bruce arrange the order of the tools necessary for Bruce to become Batman that he could not acquire from Wayne Enterprises- such as the components of the cowl-, also encouraging him to feign a social life to deflect attention from the idea that he could be Batman. When the League of Shadows attacked Wayne Manor, Alfred helped to save Bruce when he was trapped under a beam and rallied him to resume his fight against the League to save Gotham. In the aftermath, Alfred offered some suggestions about the repairs that could be carried out in the manor.

The Dark Knight

Continued crusade

"Some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn."
―Alfred Pennyworth[src]

Alfred and Bruce looking at Gotham's latest threat.

Alfred and Bruce moved to a downtown penthouse and the Batcave was relocated to the Gotham Docks as Wayne Manor was destroyed and being rebuilt. Alfred continued to aid Bruce when he needed it while patrolling Gotham as Batman. Although he supported Bruce's decision as Batman, Alfred couldn't help but worry about him while he was on his nightly raids. Alfred eventually told Bruce to know his limits to which Bruce replied that Batman has no limits. Alfred was a source of wisdom to not only Bruce, but Rachel Dawes and on a more casual level, Harvey Dent. When Bruce traveled to Hong Kong to get a business man who was handling the mob's money, it was Alfred who came up with the alibi for Bruce. While reflecting on the impossible actions of Gotham's latest threat, Joker, who announced that people will die each day unless Batman reveals his identity, Alfred recalled a tale from his army career about a thrill-seeking bandit in order to explain to Bruce how some men cannot be understood, and only "want to watch the world burn".

The Letter


Alfred reading Rachel's letter.

Upon several deaths, including the forged death of James Gordon, Bruce planned to reveal his identity, but Harvey Dent instead named himself as Batman to protect the truth. After this turn of events, Rachel gave him the task of giving Bruce a letter "when the time is right." With Rachel's permission, Alfred later read it and discovered that she was going to marry Dent, having concluded that, while a day may come when Gotham no longer needed Batman, she was no longer sure that there would ever be a day when Bruce didn't need Batman.

Upon her death, Bruce was downtrodden; although Alfred was about to give him the letter, when Bruce expressed his belief that Rachel would have waited for him, he attempted to hide it saying, "It can wait." He later burned the letter, reflecting that, just as the people of Gotham would need to believe in Harvey Dent, Bruce needed to believe in Rachel's love for him.

The Dark Knight Rises

Leaving Bruce

"You are as precious to me as you were to your own mother and father. I swore to them that I would protect you, and I haven't."
―Alfred Pennyworth[src]

Eight years after the death of Harvey Dent, Alfred assists Bruce in finding out information about the mercenary, Bane. However, the two become distanced from one another when Bruce considers becoming Batman again to stop Bane, Trying to convince Bruce that he is no longer Batman by telling him to give his technology and mind to the police instead of keeping it. After returning from his first night back as Batman, Alfred tried to use Rachel to demotivate him from becoming Batman once more. Alfred also explains that he burnt the letter Rachel addressed to Bruce that outlined she intended to marry Harvey and not Bruce. This leads to Alfred leaving Wayne Manor on Bruce's orders. Alfred was saddened over not only failing to use Rachel to persuade Bruce to move on, but losing his master, whom he cared for like family, in the process. Over Bruce's grave, Alfred breaks down in tears and apologizes to Bruce's parents having failed to protect their son. However, when Alfred returns to the Florentine restaurant, he looks across to see Bruce dining with Selina Kyle and they exchange smiles to one another and nod. At this point Alfred leaves happy and joyful that Bruce is alive and that he has finally found peace and starting a family. Bruce leaves his entire estate to Alfred in his will.

Behind the scenes

  • Michael Caine portrays Alfred in the films Batman Begins and its sequels The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. Despite Bruce Wayne's lifelong rebellion and frequent departure from home as shown in the film, Alfred never loses faith in his master. He also has a flair for both sarcasm and fatherly banter, a frequent source for comic relief in the film.


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