The Very Best Of – Al Pacino

AL Pacino

One of the few actors in the world who can rightfully lay claim to being the best, Al Pacino broke out in Francis Ford Coppola’s masterpiece The Godfather and has since established himself as one of the true greats of his craft. Known for his distinct ability of chewing up and spitting out a script, Pacino has made a career out of playing bold and intriguing characters. Throughout his great career he has worked with some true greats like Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Mann, Sidney Lumet, Brian De Palma, Barry Levinson. Here’s my pick of the best of the very best of Al Pacino

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Honorable Mentions:

Frank Serpico, Serpico (1973)
Lowell Bergman, The Insider (1999)
Carlito Brigante, Carlito’s Way (1993)

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5. Lt. Vincent Hanna, Heat (1995)

al pacino and robert de niro michael manns heat the blazing reel

Seeing Al Pacino and Robert De Niro share the screen together was something people were dying to see for a very long time, they both had worked together on The Godfather Part II but not together in any scene. Heat, which is arguably the greatest heist movie ever made, made this possible. The film follows the story of career criminal Neil MaCuley (De Niro) who takes on one last job under the watchful eye of broken cop Lt. Vincent Hanna (Pacino). Both Pacino and De Niro are at the top of their game here but ultimately it’s Pacino who stands out for his superbly compelling performance.

4. Michael Corleone, The Godfather (1972)

al pacino the godfather part i the blazing reel

Legend has it that studio executives did not want Al Pacino in the role of Michael Corleone, primarily because he had only one acting credit to his name prior to the film’s release. However, Francis Ford Coppola fought to keep him in the film and Pacino’s performance as the youngest son of Vito Corleone, Michael launched his career. Pacino is of course excellent, even if he is somewhat overshadowed by a towering performance from Marlon Brando and a show-stealing turn from James Caan.

3. Tony Montana, Scarface (1983)

al pacino scarface the blazing reel

Tony Montana remains Pacino’s most celebrated role simply because of the influence of the movie and his performance. Playing a cuban exile turned ruthless cocaine kingpin, Tony Montana, Pacino is nothing short of electrifying as he gives one of the most intense performances of his career, spitting an array of f-bombs and shooting up things with his AK-47. While I myself am not particularly fond of the movie Pacino’s performance is something special.

2. Sonny Wortzik, Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

al pacino dog day afternoon the blazing reel

Playing a character as bizarre and neurotic as Sonny Wortzik is no easy thing, but Al Pacino does it with amazing decree. The role which is easily Pacino’s most daring role to date sees him playing a bumbling bank robber, who attempts to rob a Brooklyn bank in order to pay for his gay lover’s sex change operation, Pacino puts on a magnificent performance, going from dark comedy to tragic drama in the blink of an eye. It is said that the actor took cold showers regularly to prepare for the role.

1. Michael Corleone, The Godfather Part II (1974)

al pacino the godfather part ii the blazing reel

In Godfather II we see better, more well established version of Michael Corleone who has taken over as the role of his father quite successfully. Watching Michael’s descent into darkness gives this film a special edge and the film works as a brilliant character study on Michael’s character. Al Pacino gives the most gripping performance of his career, as Michael he is in full control at all times. It’s his eyes that work best at conveying the emotions of his character, not dialogue, not body language. A truly masterful performance.

-Khalid Rafi

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6 responses to “The Very Best Of – Al Pacino

  1. I need to watch Heat. I’ve always to see it. Definitely agree that his performance in Godfather II is my favourite

    Like

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