Sir Michael Caine explains why he’s retiring from acting now

This week we learned the very sad news that Sir Michael Caine has retired from acting.

The iconic English actor, who celebrated his 90th birthday earlier this year, made the announcement on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

His decision to retire follows the release of his brand new movie The Great Escaper, which arrived in cinemas last week.

Watch the heart-warming trailer here:

The film has had brilliant reviews from critics and a great reception from audiences, and Caine has now explained why this has been a key factor in his retirement.

“I keep saying I’m going to retire – well I am now,” he told BBC Radio 4.

“I’ve figured, I’ve had a picture where I’ve played the lead and had incredible reviews. What am I going to do that will beat this?

“The only parts I’m liable to get now are 90-year-old men – or maybe 85. They’re not going to be the lead.

“You don’t have leading men at 90, you’re going to have young handsome boys and girls. So I thought, I might as well leave with all this,” Caine explained.

Born in 1933 as Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, Caine has starred in over 160 films during his eight-decade career.

Establishing himself in the ’60s with roles in the likes of Alfie, The Italian Job, Zulu, The Ipcress File and Battle of Britain, the Cockney actor went on to win Academy Awards for Hannah and Her Sisters and The Cider House Rules.

Caine was also Oscar-nominated for his performances in Sleuth, Educating Rita (we love this movie!) and The Quiet American.

He’s continued with regular roles on screen in recent years in the films of Christopher Nolan, playing butler Alfred in Nolan’s trilogy of Batman movies, and appearing The Prestige, Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk and Tenet.

“I was sent a script actually, and I looked at it, and then I did something I’ve never done before. I counted how many pages I had [and] compared to the number of pages in the script,” Caine added when he spoke to BBC Radio 4 about why it’s the right time to retire.

“It was 15 [pages of dialogue] in a script which was 99 pages. And I thought, ‘I think that counts as a small part, I’m not doing it.’

“So I retired. I thought, ‘I’m ahead here, I may do a little part and get a bad review, so I thought, why not leave now?’ So I’ve left.”

Here’s a lovely clip from The Great Escaper:

Paying tribute to the late Glenda Jackson, who sadly passed away at the age of 87 this summer, Caine said: “Glenda was one of our greatest movie actresses.

“It was a privilege to work with her on The Great Escaper recently, our second film together. It was as wonderful an experience this time as it was 50 years ago. I shall miss her.”

If you’ve not yet seen The Great Escaper, it’s lovely to see two of the country’s finest acting talents end their stellar careers on such a high.

While it’s a shame to think that we won’t see Sir Michael Caine grace our screens with a new movie after this, his retirement sounds like an admirable and well-earned choice.

Michael Caine’s memoir Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life is available on Amazon.