Connect with us


Al Pacino Filmography



Al Pacino introduced a new style of acting to the screen. His vulnerability and blend of internal angst and volatile expressiveness gave audiences something to grab onto. After dropping out of High School for the Performing Arts, Pacino trained at the Herbert Berghof Studio and began appearing in off-Broadway productions. His breakthrough role came in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 Mafia epic The Godfather.

The Godfather (1971)

The Godfather established Pacino as a major film star. He was nominated for an Academy Award, and his career flourished from there. He continued to deliver memorable performances in films such as Sea of Love, Dick Tracy, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Scent of a Woman. The solarmovie film was based on Mario Puzo’s best-selling novel, which had already been in print for two years. The movie was a huge hit and influenced countless crime dramas to come.

Studio executives initially rejected both Pacino and Marlon Brando for the lead role of Don Vito Corleone. But Francis Ford Coppola saw something in Pacino, who had honed his craft on the stage. He had earned an Obie Award for Israel Horovitz’s The Indian Wants the Bronx and a Tony for Don Petersen’s Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie?

Serpico (1973)

During this era, Pacino was starting to establish himself as a movie star. He starred alongside Robert De Niro in Scarecrow (1973) and he worked with director Sidney Lumet on Dog Day Afternoon (1975). In Serpico, Pacino portrays Frank Serpico, a New York City police officer who uncovers widespread corruption within his department. The role required him to juggle multiple screen qualities, from brooding seriousness to explosive rage. Pacino delivered a masterful performance, earning an Oscar nomination.

The film pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable on-screen and created an entirely new category of character. It also showed that Pacino was capable of more than just being a good guy. It was the first of many performances that would demonstrate his range and depth as an actor.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

After Serpico, Pacino veered away from easy comedies and delved into tough real-life dramas like Dog Day Afternoon. Based on a Life magazine article about a Brooklyn bank robbery, this gripping film showcases Pacino’s acting prowess in an intense and challenging role.

The movie’s opening montage of sweaty New York street scenes set to Elton John’s “Amoreena” sets the tone, and the rest of the story is driven by small realistic details (a would-be robber’s second thoughts, a security guard’s asthma attack) that produce big problems and changes. The film also features a heartbreaking performance from John Cazale as Sal. The decade after this one would see Pacino take on more ambitious roles, including the aging mobster in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) and the sleazy music producer in Phil Spector (2013).

The Irishman (2019)

In a career that spans more than 40 years, Al Pacino’s roles have been diverse and illuminating. His ability to immerse himself in every character he portrays is unmatched. In The Irishman, a mob drama that received a brief theatrical run and now streams on Netflix, Pacino stars as flamboyant real-life labor leader Jimmy Hoffa. The movie reunites De Niro and Scorsese, who’d come close to teaming up for a film about suffering artist Amedeo Modigliani in the 1980s but couldn’t secure financing for the maudlin subject matter.

Their first collaboration together since Dog Day Afternoon, The Irishman is an emotional swan song for the two icons. It also tackles aging and memory with honesty and conviction, even as it presents a fictionalized story.

Angels in America (2003)

Pacino honed his craft in the theater before making his film debut with Israel Horovitz’s Off-Broadway drama The Panic in Needle Park and won an Obie Award and Tony nomination for Don Petersen’s Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? His earliest screen roles, including the gangster role of Michael Corleone for Francis Ford Coppola’s Godfather, showcased his trademark brooding seriousness and volatile expressiveness. He continued to earn Oscar acting nominations for Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon and other films in the ’70s.

For the apocalyptic melodrama Angels in America, Pacino consulted the playwright on every aspect of the script. He also used his experience working with director Avnet Grobel on a sex comedy 88 Minutes to shape the film. The six-hour saga was no easy ride for the star: production suffered from a cursed shoot and countless delays.

You Don’t Know Jack (2010)

As a polarizing figure loved by some and hated by others, Jack Kevorkian is a fascinating subject for a film. This HBO made-for-television biopic stars Pacino as the pathologist who assisted the terminally ill end their lives. The actor gives an intense and passionate performance that stands among his best work. He’s joined by a terrific cast that includes John Goodman, Brenda Vaccaro, Danny Huston, and Susan Sarandon.

After his success in the gangster films Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, Pacino continued to deliver memorable performances in films such as Frankie and Johnny (1991), Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Carlito’s Way (93), Donnie Brasco (1997), and City Hall (1996). He also gave strong supporting turns in David Mamet’s Angels in America (2003) and Phil Spector (2013).

Phil Spector (2013)

A convicted murderer and music producer with an eccentric personality, Phil Spector was a fascinating subject for David Mamet to explore. The actor portrayed the man behind the famous “Wall of Sound” pop technique in this HBO biopic, which also stars Helen Mirren as his attorney Linda Kenney Baden.

The film caused some controversy with those affiliated with the real-life Spector, who is serving 19 years in prison for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson. But Pacino—who starred in Mamet’s Broadway smash Glengarry Glen Ross decades before the movie version—said he didn’t meet Spector or anyone associated with him before shooting.

That’s probably a good thing. In a less accomplished director’s hands this could have been an awful movie. Instead it’s a pretty entertaining one.

Continue Reading