Batman TV series and movies
Think of Bruce Wayne as Arthur. He grows up alone in a mansion full of toys and gadgets; he has an addiction (to crime-fighting), and he has a butler who is as close to a father figure as he’s ever known. Alfred is also the only one who can call Batman on his BS. Which is good; occasionally, the Caped Crusader needs to hear a skeptical voice that will bring him back to Earth and remind him that he’s a rich guy with a dangerous hobby.
There have been lots of Alfreds over the years, of course. Alan Napier was the classic stiff-upper-lip butler on the 1960s Batman TV series. In the 1989-97 cycle of Batman movies, Michael Gough played him as a kindly father, a choice that paid off in the final film, Batman and Robin, when Alfred’s illness gives emotional weight to a saga that’s otherwise in total free-fall.
And in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, Michael Caine’s Alfred (pictured) is a grounding, sardonic anchor, someone with enough presence and world-weary wisdom to keep Christian Bale’s wilder impulses in check.
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