10 best Al Pacino movies – from The Godfather II to Scarecrow

AL Pacino has made his name in Hollywood playing mobsters and mafia men.

However, his body of work is wide ranging and he has played everything from policemen to vagabonds.

1. The Godfather Part II (1974)

Many hail the sequal to The Godfather as one of the best films ever made.

The film won six Oscars in total including Best Picture and Best Director.

However, Al Pacino lost the Best Actor award to Art Carney for his performance in Harry and Tonto – a travesty in many people's eyes.

From the first film to the second one, we see Pacino's character Michael Corleone develop from a man reluctant to take on the role of mafia patriarch into someone willing to kill his own family.

Back in 2015, Al Pacino said: “Michael Corleone in The Godfather was and still is the most difficult role I’ve played. I didn’t see him as a gangster; I felt his power was his enigmatic quality."

2. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Dog Day Afternoon is based on a true story and revolves around a first-time criminal, played by Pacino, tho tries to rob a bank in order to fund his patner’s sex-change operation.

Pacino's role earned him a nomination for Best Actor, but lost to Jack Nicholson for his role in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

Pacino improvised while cameras were rolling for moments of dialogue in the film.

3. Serpico (1973)

Pacino filmed Serpico in between the first two Godfather movies, and his whistleblower cop character couldn't be more different from his mob boss roles in the mafia movies.

In Serpico, he plays an idealistic cop in New York City who, unlike the rest of his colleagues, refuses to take bribes – much to the annoyance of other officers.

He accuses the force of corruption and goes public with the allegations, and becomes a target for other officers.

4. The Panic In Needle Park (1971)

The Panic In Needle Park is Pacino's second ever film.

Pacino plays a drug addict in New York who falls in love with a homeless woman. He was praised for the authenticity of the love story.

Pacino's co-star Winn won the Best Actress Award at the 1971 Cannes Film Festival but he missed out on a prize for his performance.

5. Carlito’s Way (1975)

Pacino plays Puerto Rican Carlito Brigante, an ex-con who wants to give up his life of crime. However, he is sucked back into the drug underworld of New York.

The film had a lukewarm response at the box office but is now a cult classic.

French publication Cahiers du cinéma named it as best film of the 1990s.

During filming Pacino and his co-star Penelope Ann Miller got very close but Miller said they tried to keep the relationship secret "for the sake of the movie."

6. The Irishman (2019)

Martin Scorsese's American epic crime film The Irishman stars the legendary acting triad of Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.

Scorsese's film is a brilliant reprise of the peak of their acting career.

The mob drama follows hit man Frank Sheeran as he looks back at the secrets he kept as a member of the Bufalino crime family.

The film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Directing and Supporting Actor for Pacino and Pesci.

7. Scarface (1983)

Scarface follows Cuban refugee Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, who arrives in 1980s Miami and makes his name as a powerful drug lord. 

The film shocked with its excessive violence and on-screen drug use, but Tony Montana has since become a cultural icon.

Pacino has said his role as Montana is one of his favourite acting roles ever.

8. Scent Of A Woman (1992)

The film, was nominated for four Oscars, including best picture, and won three Golden Globes.

Scent Of A Woman tells the story of a prep school student in need of money who agrees to be a caretaker to a blind, retired veteran, Lt. Col. Frank Slade, played Al Pacino.

Pacino's portrayal of Frank is often considered to be one of his best performances, and he won an Oscar for best actor for this role.

9. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

 Set in Chicago, Glengarry Glen Ross tells the story of real estate salesman who are told all but two of them will be fired.

Pacino was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his role.

Although the film didn't see major success in the box office, critics widely agree that the acting from the four main characters was superb.

10. Scarecrow (1973)

Scarecrow sees Pacino star alongside Gene Hackman as two vagabonds travelling from California to Pittsburgh.

Critics lauded the bittersweet moments between the two actors.

At the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, the film won the equivalent of the Palme d'Or and critics compared it to be Of Mice and Men.

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