Al Pacino

Al Pacino 

I enjoy focusing on artist and just look at the overall work they have done rather than do a blog post on the individual films, though I did cover three Pacino films before. I am a huge fan of Al Pacino, he is still my favorite actor and I can’t wait to see him with Leo and Brad in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He is one of the few to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony for his work on movies, tv and the stage (Wikipedia, 2019). 

He was born on April 25th, 1940 on New York City (Wikipedia, 2019). He was part of The Actors Studio, an organization of professional actors where he studies method acting (Wikipedia, 2019). Pacino has said in interviews that his time there was a huge influence on his life (Wikipedia, 2019). Before entering his film career, he found success in the stage. 

He started with a brief role in the independent film Me, Natalie. His first big role was in the film Panic in Needle Park where Pacino played a heroin addict. I did saw that movie and the movie itself is alright but Pacino was brilliant in the film and with that performance he caught the eye of Francis Ford Coppola and earned him the role that would change his life. He was cast for the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather. The story goes that Francis wanted Al and fought the studio executives that wanted another actor for the role, but during filming Pacino won over the studio executives and the rest is history. He earned his first Oscar nomination for the film. His next film is one of my favorites and one of his best performances. The film Serpico told the story of a New York City police officer that stood up against police corruption in the 1970’s. In my opinion that was such a great performance, Pacino really shines in every scene. He was nominated for Best Actor, but lost to Jack Lemmon, since I have not seen the movie Save the tiger I can’t say if Jack Lemmon’s performance was better because he is a great actor. After Serpico, he made a film that feels like it is not known much, but is a great film. Scarecrow stars Pacino and Gene Hackman as two prisoners released on the same day and they go together with the dream of opening a car wash business. Pacino plays a light-hearted ex-sailor who tries to make Hackman’s character smile with his clown-like antics. The magic of the story for me is in the way the characters change, after being sexually attacked, Pacino’s character changes and is Hackman’s character who now is the clown trying to make his friend laugh. It is a touching story and beautifully acted by Pacino and Hackman. Then came the sequel to The Godfather where we see the story of Michael Corleone and his father, played by Robert De Niro as a young Vito Corleone.  Then came Dog Day Afternoon, one of Pacino’s best-known films and with good reason. Pacino plays Sonny a man who decides to rob a bank to pay for the sex operation of his lover. It is a wild ride of a movie and Pacino delivers an outstanding performance in the film earning yet another Oscar nomination, losing to Jack Nicholson. His next film was Bobby Deerfield, I don’t think that film was well received, and having seen it, is not a bad film but other than Pacino’s performance, the movie has nothing else really interesting about it. his tremendous work in the ’70s would conclude with And Justice for All where Pacino plays a lawyer who ends up representing a judge he hates. The movie has a lot of storylines and great performances. it was another great performance by Pacino. 

The 80’s began with a few films that were not among his best. Cruising is the only Pacino film I have yet to see, but I have seen some scenes and I have not been compelled to see it. After that, he released the family comedy Author! Author about a play righter that is abandoned by his wife and ends up taking care of all her kids while trying to write a successful play. The movie is enjoyable, not that funny and Pacino is charming in the film. Scarface today is a classic film but at the time it was not well received or at least it had mixed reviews. It is a little over the top but I think that is what made it great and Pacino was so good in the role. His accent, the attitude that he brought to the character is what made the film really. Revolution is another relatively unknown film where Pacino plays a soldier who participates unwillingly in the war after his son joins the army. Sea of love was a film that was well received, Pacino plays a cop undercover trying to find a murderer who found its victims through love ads on newspapers. This was the first movie in a while that was well received and it is a good film. 

In the ’90’s Pacino continued his great work. He received another Oscar nomination and was maybe one of the few good things about the movie Dick Tracy. He then starred in the third installment of the Godfather. The movie is not held in the same regard as the first two films, but I believe it’s a good film and Pacino was great in it. Playing an old Michael full of regrets and trying to change his life, in the end when his daughter dies, Pacino delivers an amazing acting moment. He then starred in the romantic film Frankie and Johnny with Michelle Pfeifer. The movie has its charms and I enjoyed it. Pfeifer and Pacino were very good in the film. In Glengarry Glen Ross Pacino is part of an amazing cast that included Jack Lemmon, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Alan Arkin, and Kevin Spacy. Pacino has one of the best scenes when Spacy’s character ruins a sale for Pacino’s character. He once again demonstrates his acting greatness among all those good actors. 

Scent of a Woman came next and with that film, he finally won the Oscar for best actor. This was one of the first films I saw of Pacino and completely loved it. It a drama story about a blind bitter old man who wants a final trip to New York and needs the guidance of Charlie, who needs a job. The way their relationship evolves and it has a big effect on Pacino’s character. The movie has what I believe is one of the best on-screen speeches captured on film. Pacino really stole the show on this movie, and he only got better in his next film. Carlito’s Way is an amazing film and Pacino once again is captivating in his performance and Brian De Palma delivered a truly great film. 

This post would last too long if I talk about every film he has made, so I will try to speed it up. Heat is a classic film where we finally get in the same scene Al Pacino and Robert De Niro for the first time and it was amazing. The movie overall is one of the best films ever. Another great film and a performance that gets overlooked at times is his performance in Donnie Brasco, Pacino is brilliant in the film and Johnny Depp and Pacino are good together in the film. Pacino delivers a perfect performance and you end up rooting for the old gangster. In the Devil’s Advocate, it feels like he was having fun playing the Devil. He was amazing in the role and he really steals the show and the last scenes where he reveals his plan he is just perfect! 

I want to focus on two more films, one is The Insider, what a movie. Pacino, I don’t know why, gets overlooked because of Russell Crowe’s performance. Both were really good in the movie and in fact all the supporting cast was great. The drama in the movie and when Pacino goes against CBS for censuring the interview simply was great work by Pacino. The other film is Insomnia where Pacino plays a cop who accidentally murders his partner and the killer he goes to Alaska to find knows it and begins playing mind games with him. The film also stars Robin Williams and both were really good in the film. 

Al Pacino sadly in recent years mage good film for HBO and TV, but not in the movie screens. But I am so excited that Pacino will be in the new Tarantino Film and in the Martin Scorsese film The Irishman.

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