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Michael Caine says every man should serve in the military: ‘It really makes you a man’

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Sir Michael Caine believes every young man should be obliged to serve in the army.

The “Going in Style” actor fought in the Korean War after entering national service in the British Army in 1952. Prior to his war service, he was stationed in West Germany.

“I think every young man should be made to do it,” the 90-year-old told the Daily Mail this week. “That really makes you a man.”

In 1987, Caine gave an interview to the Daily Mail in which he spoke of the brutality of his wartime experience: “Attack after attack, you would find their bodies in groups of four,” he said, according to the Fusilier Museum of London.

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Michael Caine said he believed every man should serve in the military. (Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

Caine also described how he and the men he was with were almost captured by enemy forces while patrolling a rice field.

“We heard them talking and we knew they understood us,” he said at the time. “Our officer shouted run away and by chance we ran towards the Chinese, that’s what saved us; in the dark we got lost.”

The “Quiet American” star said he didn’t begin his career until after his military service ended.

Michael Caine in "Too late the hero"

Michael Caine as Private Tosh Hearne in the war film “Too Late the Hero.” (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

“I didn’t become an actor until after I got out of the army. I did acting for nine years, then I did a movie and I was like, ‘Damn, this! I like movies more. I liked the money and everything.”

Caine, whose new film “The Great Escaper” tells the story of a World War II veteran who flees his nursing home to Normandy in 2014 for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, starred several military roles throughout his long career, notably in 1981’s “Victory”, 1977’s “A Bridge Too Far”, 1970’s “Too Late the Hero” and 1956’s “A Hill in Korea”, the one of his very first roles.

In this week’s interview, Caine also expressed his frustration at having to be politically correct, but said he was trying to listen to younger generations.

He said he’s trying, “but it’s boring. Not being able to say what he thinks and not being able to call anyone ‘honey.’

Michael Caine seated in front of a "Great escapee" poster

Michael Caine’s new film, “The Great Escaper,” tells the story of a British World War II veteran who escapes from his retirement home to attend the 70th anniversary of Normandy in France. (Mike Marsland/WireImage)

“I try, but it’s difficult. I like to learn from friends who are younger than me,” he added.

Talking about the younger generations made him think about how meeting his grandchildren for the first time gave him a new life.

“Because as you get older, you inevitably think about death, but as soon as you have grandchildren, your focus changes,” he explained. “You think about them. You want to keep living because they’re so much a part of you, and you want to live forever to see what they do with their lives. You just want to keep going.”

Caine also brilliantly gave his advice for living a long life.

“Younger wives, no snacking and always wear sneakers – and you have to be careful not to fall.”

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The actor has been married to Shakira Caine, 76, since 1973.

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