Considered one of cinema’s most prolific actors of all-time, Al Pacino (born April 25, 1940) is truly a magnificently talented legend in the art of acting. With a total of eight Oscar nominations, including one win, he owes much of his success and legendary status to the fact that he was one of the leading actors during one of cinema’s greatest eras, the 1970s, playing crucial roles in important gangster films. Since then, he has managed to only grow in stature and is widely regarded as one of the most influential actors of our time.
Mastering the Method Acting approach that was flourishing during the ’70s, Al Pacino was able to demonstrate his unique acting abilities in such masterful works as The Godfather (1972) and The Godfather: Part II (1974), playing the now iconic role of mobster Michael Corleone. He shows true grit and realism that is simply uncanny and is absolutely magnetic in this role, which earned him two Oscar nominations. Other notable films of his during this era include Serpico (1973) and Dog Day Afternoon (1975).
Building on his new found fame and recognition, Pacino continued to make important films in the ’80s and ’90s. One of my favorites, 1983’s Scarface, in which he plays Cuban mobster Tony Montana, further solidified his place in film history, to me at least. He is stunning and mesmerizing in this role and gave cinema one of its most famous quotes: “Say hello to my little friend!”.
Playing a blind man in Scent of a Woman (1992), Al Pacino was finally given a much-deserved Oscar by the Academy. Being the true professional that he is, he did not rest on his laurels. Instead, he continued to act, producing two memorable films. While Carlito’s Way (1993) became another gangster classic to be added to his impressive filmography, it was his excellent collaboration with director Michael Mann and another acting legend, Robert De Niro, in 1995 that resulted in possibly the greatest cop drama ever, Heat.
Having played outstanding roles in a plethora of classic films, it is clear to see that Al Pacino has not received his legendary status without working hard for it. As an admirer of cinema, I always get excited and pumped up when I am about to watch an Al Pacino picture. He brings such rawness and focus in his movies that very few other actors can, if any. One can safely claim that his roles and films will live forever and remain benchmarks for generations to come.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Godfather, The (1972)
Godfather, The: Part II (1974)
The New Godfather scene from The Godfather (1972)
“My offer is nothing” scene from The Godfather: Part II (1974)
Negotiation scene from Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
“Say hello to my little friend!” scene from Scarface (1983)
Tango scene from Scent of a Woman (1992)
1973: Best Supporting Actor in The Godfather (1972) (Nominated)
1974: Best Actor in Serpico (1973) (Nominated)
1975: Best Actor in The Godfather, Part II (1974) (Nominated)
1976: Best Actor in Dog Day Afternoon (1975) (Nominated)
1980: Best Actor in …And Justice for All (1979) (Nominated)
1991: Best Supporting Actor in Dick Tracy (1990) (Nominated)
1993: Best Supporting Actor in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) (Nominated)
1993: Best Actor in Scent of a Woman (1992) (Won)