The "Wretched" Movie Michael Caine Feels Is His Worst (Not Jaws 4)

Michael Caine is a screen legend who - by his own admission - has appeared in many terrible movies, but here's why he thinks Ashanti is his absolute worst. Caine has appeared in over 170 movies and TV shows throughout his career, which began with an uncredited appearance as "Teaboy" in the 1946 submarine movie Morning Departure. Caine's filmography is an embarrassment of riches, including acclaimed turns in Get Carter, Alfie, The Cider House Rules, The Muppet Christmas Carol, the Dark Knight trilogy and many more.


However, Caine is also the definition of a working actor and has freely admitted to selecting projects simply because there was a good paycheck involved. These so-called "paycheck" movies sometimes loom large while discussing his filmography too. While its badness is often overblown for comic effect, 1987's Jaws: The Revenge - which nearly had a megalodon - is often considered the nadir of Caine's career, with the actor receiving a big payday for about a week of work; however, filming the sequel prevented him from picking up his Oscar for 1986's Hannah And Her Sisters. Other examples of paycheck roles include The Swarm, Oliver Stone horror movie The Hand and Beyond The Poseidon Adventure.

Related: Why Batman's Michael Caine Agreed To Star In Jaws 4

Caine famously hit something of a wall with his love for acting in the early '90s, following bad experiences making a pair of Harry Palmer TV movies and Steven Seagal's On Deadly Ground. However, his love for the craft was revived thanks to accepting a supporting role offered by Jack Nicholson in dark thriller Blood And Wine, and Caine has rarely been offscreen since. The screen icon has a healthy sense of humor about those projects that didn't work, but it's 1979's Ashanti that Michael Caine - who has played many characters for Christopher Nolan - believes is his worst film.

Why Michael Caine Thinks Ashanti Is His Worst Ever Movie

michael caine and beverly johnson in ashanti

On paper, Ashanti has a lot going for it, including actors like Peter Ustinov, Rex Harrison and William Holden. The story casts Caine and Beverly Johnson as a married couple who work as doctors for WHO. When Johnson's character is kidnapped by slave traders while on a mission to Africa and sold to Omar Sharif's Prince Hassan, Caine's doctor sets out on a frantic rescue mission. Despite the subject matter, Ashanti isn't nearly as exploitative or sleazy as it could have been, which is to the movie's credit. That said, despite an impressive cast, it's a slog.

The movie is dull for long passages, and there's a sense that pretty much everyone is there for the payday, with Caine and the late, great Holden having admitted as much in interviews. Ashanti was also a difficult shoot, with the original director Richard C. Sarafian - who appeared in The Wachowskis' Bound - being fired early in production. while Telly Savalas also dropped out. Ashanti is considered a meddling, forgettable thriller in the star's CV, but in his autobiography What's It All About? Michael Caine stated of the thriller that it was "... the worst, most wretched movie I ever made," and explained he knew it was no good signing on but needed the money during this period. The actor has also recalled of filming Ashanti that the heat was so severe his own camel collapsed and fell on top of him.