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Our Top Al Pacino Movies List

If you love drama, crime, comedy and romance movies, you must have seen some Al Pacino movies. You may even already be one of his many fans. Al Pacino, an American actor, screenwriter and filmmaker born on April 25, 1940, has over 73 movies, released in his acting career spanning five decades (from 1969 to date). Though he started his film career with “Me. Natalie” in 1969 and ‘The Panic in Needle Park’ in 1971, his acting breakthrough came when he took the role of Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘The Godfather’ in 1972. Despite his age, Al Pacino is still in great demand in the movie world, as evidenced by The Irishman’s success in 2019. He has also had relatively recent success in Amazon prime’s 2020 series “Hunters”. Over a long-acting career, he has won numerous awards, including an Oscar, Emmy and Tony Awards.

If, like us, you’re an Al Pacino fan (or ja just looking for something great to watch) then check out this list of our favourite Al Pacino movies.

The Godfather, Part II (1974)

6 Of The Best Al Pacino Movies - scene from movie

 “The Godfather: Part II” is considered one of the greatest sequels in the history of filmmaking and is one of the best movies of all time. In fact, some people even think that it is better than “The Godfather”. Al Pacino plays Michael Corleone, the main character and one of Don Vito’s sons in the film. Other familiar faces in the movie include Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen, The Corleone’s family lawyer, Diane Keaton as Michaels as Kay, Michaels, wife; and John Cazale as Michael’s older brother Fredo.

Though the first 200 minutes of the movie are dedicated to Don Vito’s younger days, the rest of the movie is about Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), who is now the head of the family’s business after his father’s death. Though Michael was the best of Don Vito’s sons, he has grown into a power-hungry cold man full of hatred. Like any other Emigrants’ story, the Corleone family was ambitious and worked hard to grow into a powerful Mafia organisation despite its humble beginnings. Michael has moved his operations from New York to Nevada and plans to expand in Florida and Cuba.

When he took over the family business, Michael planned to make it “legitimate” in five years, but that doesn’t happen as he ends up getting deep in a web of betrayal and deceit, leading to abandonment by almost everyone except his workers who fear him. By the end of the film, Michael is a very lonely and suffering man because he has lost the dignity that was part of his father’s secret to success.

Pacino’s performance in this film simply must be seen! The original and best, this is a movie like Goodfellas and oozes class!
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

This crime drama, based on the article “The Boys in the Bank” by Thomas Moore and P.F. Kluge, revolves around the story of an inexperienced crook (Pacino) who tries to rob a bank to get the money required for his lover (Chris Sarandon) to have a sex change operation. In this film, Pacino beautifully evokes sympathy for the role of Sonny, who is too considerate and kind to be a criminal. The film’s writer, Frank Pierson, won an Oscar for the Best Original Screenplay and the film competed for the Best Director and Best Picture, but Pacino ultimately lost the Best Actor award to Jack Nicholson (not a bad way to lose if you have too!)
Directed by Sidney Lumet.

The Godfather (1972)

What can we say about this gem of cinematic gold! The film is written by Mario Puzo and Coppola and is based on “The Godfather” novel by Puzo. The screenplay revolves around Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), the old Patriarch of a crime syndicate who must transfer his leadership to his son, Michael Corleone (Pacino). Through the film, we get an intimate view of a Mafia group from the inside, and this is where the real world is replaced by authoritarian patriarchy. Power and justice come from The Godfather 9who isn’t slow to dish out either) and any opposition is branded traitorous.

Interestingly, Michael is not part of the family business at the beginning of the film but ends up becoming a crime boss, “The Godfather” in the title. Amazingly he achieves this by saving his dad’s life by moving his hospital bed and whispering to him: “I’m with you now.” A classic line from a classic scene.
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola.

The Insider (1999)

This movie, written by Mann and Eric Roth, is based on the article “The Man Who Knew Too Much” by Marie Brenner. Pacino in this film plays Lowell Bergman, a producer who fights to have the story of a former tobacco scientist named Jeffrey Wigand aired on CBS News. Though Wigand is willing to talk, CBS executives are afraid that running the story may attract a lawsuit that could destroy the network, leading to delays. To ease CBS News’ decision to air the piece and overcome the delays, Bergman works behind the scene to manipulate the coverage of the Wall Street Journal.

Bergman’s efforts finally pay off when Wigand eventually reveals secrets from the Brown & Williamson laboratories, leading to a $246 billion settlement of suits against the tobacco industry from all over America. 

An inspirational documentary-type film that did for cigarettes what 3-mile island did for nuclear power!
Directed by Michael Mann.

The Irishman (2019)

Inspired by Charles Brandt’s book ‘I Heard You Paint Houses, ‘The Irishman’ is a sad, violent, yet dryly funny story of Frank Sheeran’s life. Sheeran is a World War II combat veteran who becomes a hitman after crossing paths with Mafia bigwig Russel Bufalino (Joe Pesci) and Teamsters head Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino).

 The movie opening shot is in a retirement home where Frank appears sitting alone in a wheelchair. One may think he is dead looking from the back, but he starts to talk when the cameras circle around to reveal his old face. His statements become the movie’s narration, but the film does not reveal who he is talking to until very late when we see the priest.

 Sheeran’s life history provides a picture of the intersection of politics and crime, Washington and Mafia history. It touches the CIA’s attempt to overthrow Fidel Castro in President J.F Kennedy’s assassination and many more, but it is more about regret and how one can feel like a passive object swept along by history even if they actively played a role in shaping it.

Pacino starred in this movie and brought a touch of style that must be seen.
Directed by Martin Scorsese.

Scarface (1983)

Despite being nearly 40 years old Scarface still packs a hell of a punch and is certainly not for the squeamish. It was directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone. Pacino plays Tony Montana a Cuban refugee seeking a new life in America. Rejecting a low-paid dishwashing job, Tony finds himself in a dangerous situation when he is sent to buy cocaine from a Colombian gang. Despite seeing one of his crew come to a grizzly end with a chainsaw (!) Tony manages to kill the Colombians and escape with the drugs, money and a burgeoning reputation.

In seeing the money, power and women that drugs can bring Tony he brutally asserts himself to the top of the narcotic food chain making powerful enemies in the process. Because of this (and a heavy drug habit), Tony becomes increasingly volatile and unstable. He also finds that when you get to the top, there is only one way to go and that’s not upwards.

This is one of those films that even if you haven’t seen it will still know several often quoted lines from it. It received a mixed reaction upon its release but these days is largely regarded as a classic.
Directed by Brian De Palma

Some Al Pacino Tid-bits

Has Al Pacino won Any Oscars?

Al Pacino has been nominated for an Oscar 8 times including supporting actor nomination for the Godfather, Dick Tracy and Glengarry Glen Ross. However, he has only been successful with an academy award once – for his role in Scent of a Woman in 1993.

How Did Al Pacino Appear Younger in ‘The Irishman’ Movie Released in 2019?

A lot of money was spent to make Al Pacino look younger in ‘The Irishman’ with the help of computer technology. This technique (De-aging)is a visual effect that is becoming more and more popular and used more often to give an older actor the appearance of a younger age.