- Bruce: “You still haven't given up on me?”
- Alfred: “Never.”
- ―Bruce and Alfred[src]
Alfred J. Pennyworth was the butler in service of the Wayne Family. He was Bruce Wayne's guardian, confidant, trusted ally, and above all, his best friend.
After the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne, at the hands of Joe Chill, Alfred became Bruce'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 he trained with the League of Shadows, Bruce reunited with Alfred and told him of his goal to become a symbol to frighten the criminals of Gotham City. With Alfred's help, Bruce gathered the tools that were necessary, became Batman, and he also encouraged Bruce 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 Bruce reflected on the actions of the Joker, Alfred recalled 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 revealed that she was going to marry Harvey. Alfred later burned the letter, and reflected that, just as the people of Gotham needed to believe in Harvey Dent, despite his actions as "Two-Face", Bruce needed to believe that Rachel still loved him.
Eight years after the death of Dent, Alfred grew concerned for Bruce, who did not move on from either Rachel or Batman. Despite that, 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 ordered Alfred to leave. Alfred only returned after Batman apparently sacrificed himself to save Gotham, and attended Bruce's funeral with Commissioner James Gordon, Lucius Fox and John Blake. Bruce left his entire estate to Alfred. However, Alfred returned to a restaurant in Florence, Italy where he visited before Bruce had returned from his seven-year absence as Batman, and hoped that he would see Bruce there, settled down and happy. At his next visit to the restaurant, Alfred looked across to see Bruce dining with Selina Kyle. They exchanged knowing smiles and went their separate ways.
- Bruce: “Why do you give a damn, Alfred? It's not your family.”
- Alfred: “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 they 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 that was stolen from them, a ruby the size of a tangerine, that they discovered that the man had stolen the jewels simply because he wanted to cause chaos. Alfred later reflected that some men looked 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 Wayne Manor.
Creating a Legend
- Alfred: “It's a problem with the graphite, sir. The next 10,000 will be up to specifications.”
- Bruce: “At least they gave us a discount.”
- Alfred: “Quite. In the, uh, meantime, sir, may I suggest you try to avoid landing on your head?”
- — Alfred and Bruce discussing the Batsuit[src]
During his service to the Wayne Family, Alfred became a valued member of the household, and Thomas and Martha trusted him with the guardianship of their son, Bruce, in the event of their deaths. When Bruce vanished for seven years, he was declared dead by Wayne Enterprise's CEO William Earle in order to claim his shares, but that plan was thwarted because Bruce had left everything to Alfred. During Bruce's absence, Alfred frequently visited a restaurant in Florence, Italy 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 Enterprises and Wayne Manor in the event that Bruce returned, Alfred secretly hoped that Bruce had found happiness elsewhere, and never came back realizing that nothing was waiting for him in Gotham but pain and suffering. After Bruce had returned from his training from the League of Shadows, he told Alfred that his goal was to become a symbol to frighten the mobsters and criminals of Gotham and reasoned that as a man, he could be defeated, but as a symbol, he would be incorruptible and eternal. Alfred helped Bruce arrange the order of the tools that were necessary for Bruce to become Batman that he could not acquire from Wayne Enterprises. One such item were the components of the cowl. Alfred suggested that such items needed to be ordered via a dummy corporation in rather large quantities. He had also encouraged Bruce 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 save Bruce when he was trapped under a beam and rallied him to resume his fight against the League in order to save Gotham. In the aftermath, Alfred offered some suggestions about the repairs that could be carried out on Wayne 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 to Bruce about The Joker[src]
Alfred and Bruce moved to a downtown penthouse and the Batcave was relocated to a warehouse at the Gotham Docks as Wayne Manor was destroyed and being rebuilt. Alfred continued to aid Bruce when he needed it while he patrolled 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 had 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, Lau, who handled the mob's money, it was Alfred who came up with the alibi for Bruce. While Bruce reflected on the impossible actions of Gotham's latest threat, the Joker, who announced that people would die each day unless Batman revealed his identity, Alfred recalled a tale from his army career about a thrill-seeking bandit in order to explain to Bruce how some men could not be understood, and only "want to watch the world burn".
Upon several deaths, including the forged death of Lt. James Gordon, Bruce planned to reveal his identity, but Harvey Dent instead named himself as Batman to protect the truth. After that turn of events, Rachel gave Alfred 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, and 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 Rachel's death, Bruce was downtrodden. Alfred was about to give him the letter, but when Bruce expressed his belief that Rachel would have waited for him, he attempted to hide it and said: "It can wait." Alfred later burned the letter, and reflected that, just as the people of Gotham needed to believe in Harvey Dent, Bruce needed to believe in Rachel's love for him.
- "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 to Bruce[src]
Eight years after the death of Dent, Alfred assisted Bruce in finding out information about the mercenary, Bane. However, the two became distanced from one another when Bruce considered becoming Batman again to stop Bane, and Alfred tried to convince Bruce that he was no longer Batman by telling him to give his technology and mind to the GCPD instead of keeping it. After Bruce returned from his first night back as Batman, Alfred tried to use Rachel to demotivate him from becoming Batman once more. Alfred also explained that he had burnt the letter that Rachel had addressed to Bruce that outlined that she intended to marry Harvey and not Bruce. That 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 broke down in tears and apologized to Bruce's Parents for his failure to protect their son. However, when Alfred returned to the Florence Restaurant, he looked across to see Bruce dining with Selina Kyle, they exchanged smiles to one another, and nodded. At that point, Alfred left both happy and joyful that Bruce was alive, that he had finally found peace, and had started a family. Bruce left his entire estate to Alfred in his will.
Behind the Scenes
- Michael Caine portrayed Alfred Pennyworth in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, and The Dark Knight Rises. Despite Bruce's lifelong rebellion and frequent departure from home as shown in Batman Begins, Alfred never lost faith in his master. He also had a flair for both sarcasm and fatherly banter, a frequent source for comic relief in the film.
- Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman starred together again in the Now You See Me series. They were largely antagonistic but Freeman, who was an adversary to the main characters in the first movie, then had a change of heart in the second.