Alfie (1966)

In his younger years it would be fair to say that Michael Caine was typecast as a rough-and-ready Cockney. Whether that was agent Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File or the efficacious Charlie Croker in The Italian Job, Caine became Britain's greatest self parody of a bygone era.

In Alfie, Caine plays the eponymous character, a womanising lad-about-town who cares more about with who he'll be sleeping with than where he'll be sleeping that evening. The ladies - and there are more than a few - are often discarded as, literal, objects of desire, but as Alfie comes to learn, actions will eventually have consequences.

When watched through a contemporary lens, there is something both creepy and despicable about Alfie - if any modern man behaved the way that Alfie does, he would rightly be lambasted by the #MeToo movement. But then, this is both the sexually liberating 1960's and Alfie never claims to want to be admired or looked up to.

It would be easy to say that he treats all the women badly, but there is an argument that it is the men who usually come off worse, whether he is charming another man's wife into bed, or demanding so much attention that a perfectly respectable man is barely noticed.

In fact, there are moments when Alfie's moral side appears to shine through as he suddenly become repentant of his actions, and it is impossible not to feel sorry for him. With Caine often breaking the fourth wall and delivering Alfie's inner monologues, you quickly realise that you - the viewer - are also being cleverly manipulated.

Through clever writing and Caine's irresistible roguish charm, Alfie is a multi-layered comedy with an exceptionally important moral message.

4 stars