|Depicted By||Michael Caine|
|Appeared In|| Batman Begins|
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 deuteragonist of The Dark Knight Trilogy, serving officially as Bruce Wayne's butler and trusted family friend, and unofficially as Batman's accomplice and aid in fighting Gotham's criminals.
Early Life Edit
Born in 1940 in London under the fathership of Jarvis Pennyworth, the butler of Gotham City billionaire brothers Patrick and Silas Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth grew up as a child actor on the English Stage but left to serve in the British Special Air Service (SAS) when he reached young adulthood. In one mission, he was dispatched with a unit to negotiate with the Burmese government by helping them unite several tribes by bribing the tribal leaders with valuable jewels. However, these attempts were thwarted because while transporting the jewels through a forest north of Rangoon in caravans, the unit was constantly ambushed by a bandit hiding the bushes, who kept stealing them. As a result, Alfred and his friends were tasked to find the criminal and retrieve the gems, but within six months, they failed to discover the bandit's identity and motivation nor meet anyone who possibly hired him to rob them of the jewels. Finally, they came across a boy playing with one of the jewels stolen, a ruby the size of a tangerine, and discovered that instead of making money out of the treasure, the bandit traded them away. This was because he simply enjoyed chaos for its own sake, which Alfred later made sense out of by reflecting that some men are looking for nothing but "to watch the world burn". Alfred and his friends later caught the thief by burning down his forest.
- 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[src]
During his service to the Wayne family, Alfred became a valued member of the household, Thomas and Martha trusting him with Bruce's guardianship in the event of their demise. When Bruce vanished for seven years, he was declared dead by Wayne Enterprises 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. 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.
- "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 moved to a downtown penthouse and the Batcave was relocated to the Gotham Docks as Wayne Manor was destroyed. 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 businessman who was handling the mob's money, it was Alfred who came up with the alibi for Bruce. While reflecting on the Joker's impossible actions, Alfred recalled a tale from his army career to explain to Bruce how some men cannot be understood. Rachel gave him the task of giving Bruce a letter "when the time is right." 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.
- "Remember when you left Gotham? Before all this, before Batman? You were gone seven years. Seven years I waited, hoping that you wouldn't come back. Every year, I took a holiday. I went to Florence, there's this cafe, on the banks of the Arno. Every fine evening, I'd sit there and order a Fernet Branca. I had this fantasy, that I would look across the tables and I'd see you there, with a wife and maybe a couple of kids. You wouldn't say anything to me, nor me to you. But we'd both know that you'd made it, that you were happy. I never wanted you to come back to Gotham. I always knew there was nothing here for you, except pain and tragedy. And I wanted something more for you than that. I still do. "
- ―Alfred to Bruce[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 Alfred uses 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. 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.
Alfred was forever loyal to the Wayne family. He was brave, emotionally intelligent, surprisingly cunning and astute, and exceptionally sensible. His relationship with Bruce Wayne is almost fatherly, and Alfred is often the source of information for Batman and is willingly put in a position where his social life is left at stake due to his relationship with Batman. He comforts Bruce when his parents die and fiercely protects Bruce when he begins to lose his confidence after Rachel's murder. However, his loyalty to Bruce almost traumatizes him because he has to lie to Bruce about Rachel in order to protect Bruce from breakdown. This shatters his relationship with Bruce up until the end of The Dark Knight Rises. Alfred is resourceful and able to discover crucial amounts of information about Bane's past.
Behind the scenesEdit
- 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.