lone Oscar came via his turn as the blind, crabby and suicidal
Lt. Frank Slade (retired), in Martin Brest's Scent
of a Woman. While some view Pacino's win as
simply a reward for past snobbery, there is no doubt that his
performance was worthy of the Oscar, regardless.
touching; over the top yet engaging; Pacino turns on the charm
and channels his rage spectacularly, while also effectively portraying
his character's deep emotional conflict.
ROMA (GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, 1992)
other film perfectly portrays Pacino's penchant for chewing up
and spitting out a script, then in director James Foley's film
adaptation of David Mamet's wordy play, Glengarry Glen Ross.
Working amongst a super talented cast, Pacino's natural charisma
and magnificent delivery of Mamet's rhythmic, curse filled script
earned him a supporting Oscar nomination (the films lone acting
nom), as well as the chance to bring about his love for the stage
onto the silver screen.
BERGMAN (THE INSIDER,1999)
alongside an in top form Russell Crowe as whistler blower Jeffrey
Wigand, Pacino is right at home playing a crusading 60 Minutes
producer Lowell Bergman who battles against corporate intimidation, while
trying to expose the corrupt nature of the big tobacco via a taped
With his ferocious intensity used to devastating effect,
(without resorting to his particular brand of over the top theatrics),
Pacino delivers a performance reminiscent of his early work, yet
backed by a wisdom he could not muster during his formative years.
turn as Cuban exile turned ruthless cocaine kingpin, Tony Montana
is definitely his most celebrated performance. Dialing his patented ferocity
up to 11 while dropping a cascade of f-bombs through a think
Cuban accent, Pacino delivers a fantastically entertaining performance,
which has become an enterprise on its own.
"LEFTY" RUGGIERO (DONNIE BRASCO,1997)
has portrayed several gangsters in his career, yet none as pitiful
as Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero. Playing mentor to Johnny
Depp's FBI mole, Pacino lays down the ground rules on how to be
a wise guy with goombah frankness and key comedic timing.
BRIGANTE (CARLITO'S WAY,1993)
second collaboration with director Brian De Palma is no mere Scarface clone. Rather, it is an astute noir, which focuses on the redemption
of reformed drug dealer Carlito Brigante, played by Pacino with
style, passion, and an infectious cool.
CORLEONE (THE GODAFATHER,1972)
Paramount top dog Robert Evans pushed for big name stars to play
conflicted mafia son Michael Corleone, director Francis Ford Coppola
pushed for Pacino to be cast in the titular role, despite having
only one film behind him (The Panic in Needle Park).
Regardless, both Coppola and Pacino pressed on, the end result:
an extraordinary turn from Pacino which launched his film career,
and helped The Godfather become one of the most acclaimed
films of all time.
WORTZIK (DOG DAY AFTERNNON, 1975)
Wortzwick was a character so bizarre and fascinating, that it
is hard to believe that he was based on a real life figure. 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 dazzling acting exhibition, swinging from dark comedy
to tragic drama in an instant, and never misses a beat while doing
is an actor who excels in playing characters who have their backs
against the wall. And his portrayal as real life figure Frank
Serpico proves the point.
Here we see Pacino simply evolve on the screen -visually and emotionally
- from fresh faced rookie cop, to grizzled police outcast. It
is a spellbinding performance which catapulted Pacino into the
stratosphere, and secured his stature as an actor to be seen and
CORLEONE (THE GODFATHER PART II,1974)
with Michael's transition from conflicted mafia son to cold mafia
don, The Godfather Part II displays Michael's descent into
darkness with a cold clarity and morally ambiguous tone.
with constant tragedy and betrayal, Michael retreats within himself
until he becomes nothing more than a hardened shell containing
a black soul. Considering that he is an actor who excels in playing extraverts,
Pacino plays the role with an astonishing and eerie restraint.
The popular consensus is that Pacino's commanding voice is his
key strength, yet it is his ability to express himself with his
eyes that truly separates him from the peers. De Niro may have
perfected the art of the blank stare, yet Pacino's eyes are able
to convey emotions which dialogue and body language would fail
to communicate. And for a character like Michael Corleone, his
eyes are definitely the gateway to his dark soul.