Michael Caine is alive and well, but another fine British actor of the same era has left the stage: Albert Finney died yesterday at age 82.
Finney made his rep as a stage actor, and didn’t make very many movies - certainly not compared to Caine! In his later years he was best known for playing a certain type of gruff big shot (he was Daddy Warbucks in the movie version of Annie, as well as Erin Brockvich’s boss) but even within that realm he had depth: one of the pleasures of re-watching the Coens’ Millers Crossing is noting how Finney subtly conveys that his mob boss character is both not as smart but also not as cold as Gabriel Byrne’s lead.
And he had greater range. He was a working class stiff in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, an utterly charming rake in Tom Jones, and a completely ridiculous but also completely formidable Hercule Poirot in the 1974 Murder on the Orient Express.
If you’re looking to discover some lesser-seen Finney, try 1983’s The Dresser, in which Finney plays a blustering, imperious, and legendary stage actor on a disastrous tour during WW2.