- " He's just a fucking man, put a bullet in him and he'll go down like any other."
- ―Carnegie on Eli
He is portrayed by actor Gary Oldman.
Carnegie is a man who runs a town in a post-apocalyptic United States and runs it with an iron fist with the help of his henchmen. He has a woman named Claudia, who is blind and controls her. Claudia has a daughter named Solara, who also Carnegie controls.
Carnegie is searching for a book that he believes will help him gain more power over people and that book is the Holy Bible. He sends his illiterate henchmen to collect all the books they can. He sees the books they bring, a random collection of paperbacks and picture books, and is less than pleased. He orders that they be burned. He takes a hotel bottle of shampoo and tells Redridge, his right hand man, that the bikers are to be rewarded for such a discovery. He goes to his lady, Claudia, and shares the shampoo with her.
Carnegie's luck is about to change when he meets a traveler named Eli, who needs some water. Solora gets Eli some water filled in his canteen. Eli gets into a fight with some of the bikers and kills all but one. Solara returns with the canteen and begs Eli to stop. Redridge and Carnegie's men arrive and hold Eli at gunpoint and bring him to Carnegie. Carnegie is impressed to meet Eli. He recognizes Eli's immense skill and the fact that he is also an educated man who knows scripture. He tells Eli that men like him, who are older but know things, are the future. He asks Eli to stay so that Carnegie can utilize his fighting skills to keep control over the town. Eli tells Carnegie that he has no interest in staying but Carnegie forces him to stay the night.
The next morning Solara joins Claudia at breakfast. Carnegie freezes in amazement as Solara tries to recite the prayer with her mother. She forgets the 'Amen,' which Carnegie supplies. He then beats Claudia in front of Solara in order to find out if Eli has the book he seeks. When Solara signs him the cross she saw on the cover, Carnegie orders Redridge to bring the book to him. When they get to the room, they see that Eli had snuck out. Redridge kills the guard on duty and gathers the men to find him. Across the street, Eli gathers his battery and prepares to leave.
Carnegie goes over to Eli and begs him to stay and give him the book, a Bible. Carnegie tells Eli that he isn't afraid to kill him and take the Bible. Carnegie thinks that the Bible's righteous scripture is the best way to keep the town under his control. Eli tells Carnegie that he dreams of finding a town where the people need the book, but he tells Carnegie that it is not here. Carnegie orders Redridge to shoot Eli as he walks away but Redridge misses twice. A shootout ensues and Eli kills most of Carnegie's men and hits Carnegie in the knee. Redridge sees that Eli is fearless and begrudgingly lets him leave. Behind the scenes, Claudia tells Solara to follow Eli, since she will be safer away from Carnegie.
Carnegie gets his leg treated by a doctor. The bullet and shrapnel are removed and he is bandaged. He tells Redridge to prepare the vehicles to pursue Eli and recover the book. Redridge tells Carnegie that most of their men are dead and decides to use the book as leverage to get Solara as his concubine. Carnegie humorously, albeit reluctantly, agrees.
Carnegie and Redridge's men find the bodies of the marauders and determine that Eli can't be more than a few miles ahead. Redridge finds a piece of Solara's custom clothing and tells Carnegie with displeasure. Carnegie asks if Redridge still wants her and walks back to the car. One of their henchmen suggests that they call it a day, since their cars will give them away at night and they could drive right by the pair.
Carneie and his men search for Eli and Solora. The pair arrives at an old house with a sign that says "No Trespassing." Eli tries to open the door, but a trap opens up and the two fall into a hole. They find themselves at the mercy of Martha and George, an elderly couple who have lived in their house for years. They ask why they didn't obey the sign and Eli apologizes, saying he didn't see it. They give Eli and Solara tea and then show them a cemetery filled with the people who attacked their house. Eli tells Solara that it's time to go, explaining that Martha had 'the shakes' because the couple are cannibals who ate their victims and could have drugged the tea. As they leave, Carnegie's caravan passes and sees the pair exiting the house. Eli and Solara re-enter the house and George and Martha pull out an impressive gun cache from under the sofa.
A stand off ensues. Carnegie tells Eli to throw out the book. Everyone is ready for the gunfight. A covered parcel is hurled through the window. Redridge looks at it and realizes it's a bomb, throwing it away and running for cover. Two cars explode, killing several men. Eli and the house's occupants fire their weapons until Redridge pulls out an RPG missile and blows half the house up, killing Martha. George starts shooting wildly, killing men left and right until Carnegie's men bring out a hand operated Gatling gun and blast him away along with most of the house. Eli and Solara are surrounded and dragged out of the house.
Carnegie threatens to kill Solara, to the dismay of Redridge. Redridge entreats Eli to surrender the book and Eli tells Redridge where he hid it. Redridge recovers the book, with a locked flap, and gives it to Carnegie, who releases Solara. He says God is good. and Eli responds "all the time." Carnegie responds "Well. Not all the time" and shoots Eli in the stomach. He puts Solara in one van with Redridge and a driver and then takes the book with him in the other.
In the other van, Redridge puts Eli's machete on the dashboard and chuckles to himself now that Eli is gone. Solara uses the wire from Eli's bow that she had in her pocket and chokes the driver until the car flips over. The driver is killed and Carnegie's men turn around to go to the accident site. Solara throws a grenade, blowing up the third car. Solara goes to the driver's seat and sees Redridge was impaled by Eli's machete. He pulls the machete out and steps out of the vehicle with grace. Collapsing on his knees in penance, he dies. Solara drives away and Carnegie opts not to go after her since he has the book and they have barely enough fuel to get back to town.
Solara returns to the house and finds that Eli is missing. She finds him still walking west. She puts him in the car and he treats the gun shot wound with duct tape. She apologizes for losing Eli's book but Eli responds that it's time he put the lessons he learned to use: to do more for others than you do for yourself. They drive to the remnants of the Golden Gate Bridge and Eli says that they are close. He finds a row boat and starts to row toward Alcatraz Island. Fatigue and weakness overtake him, so Solara takes over. An armed guard calls out to the pair and Eli responds that he has in his possession a King James Bible. The guard lets him in.
Eli is taken to Lombardi, the curator of Alcatraz, who has been gathering all the remnants of pre-war civilization, such as books, music, and art, and storing them in the cells until they are ready to rebuild and re-establish society. Lombardi tells Eli that they have been missing a copy of the Bible, so Eli tells him to get a lot of paper and pen. He starts to recite the Bible word for word, having memorized it over the last 30 years.
Back in town, Carnegie tries to open the bible but realizes that he didn't take Eli's key to the book flap. He calls the Engineer in to unlock the book and once it's unlocked they see the Bible is in Braille. Carnegie tries to get Claudia to read it but she cruelly lies and tells him that she's forgotten how. She tells him that his leg smells and that he's feverish: signs of an infection. The rest of the town's populace is looting the bar and Carnegie's remaining men are fighting each other; in his quest for the book, Carnegie has lost control and the town has erupted into anarchy. He collapses in despair.