10 Al Pacino Movies Everyone Should See At Least Once

Looking at his movies like the classic The Godfather to Angels in America and even his most recent works, there is no way that one can take out Al Pacino movies from some of the best that have ever been made.

The actor has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he is a legendary and iconic personality in the movie industry. In a career that has spanned over 50 years, he has shown the agelessness of his magnificent acting talent and skill with performances on TV and films. While growing up, his only aspiration was to become a baseball player, but he would later decide on acting instead and that led him to quit school even before he became an adult to pursue a career in the entertainment world.

Today, Al Pacino stands tall as one of the best actors of his generation with so many accolades to his name which includes an Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Tony Awards nominations. The list below is a compilation of his movies that everyone should see at least once.

Top 10 Al Pacino Movies You Ought To See

1. The Godfather: The Coppola Restoration (2008)

Al Pacino Movies
Michael Corleone (Image Source)

The Coppola Restoration is an edition of the digital restoration of the Godfather trilogy. It was supervised by Robert A. Harris. The movie was first released on DVD and Blu-ray on the 23rd September 2008. It is made up of The Godfather, The Godfather II, The Godfather III and some other extras regarding the movie itself.

Although The Godfather is among the earliest movies of Al Pacino, the Mario Puzo trilogy still remains one of his best performances. He portrayed Michael Corleone, a gentle and soft-spoken man who rose to become the head of the Corleone Family. At the height of his power, Al was almost out of control and he would do anything to hold on to his power.

He got his first Academy Awards nomination in 1973, thanks to his role in the movie which also gave him his first Golden Globe Awards nomination.

2. Scarface (1983)

The movie was released in 1983 and often regarded as one of the best movies of the iconic actor. Close to four decades since it was released, this movie still enjoys a very huge following. The movie is a classic drama of crime that involves Tony Montana (Al Pacino), an immigrant who came to America with a dream of making a life for himself. He became rich and powerful but destiny has something in store for him. This is one movie that is engaging with lots of action, drama, and suspense.

His role in the movie earned him a Golden Globe Awards nomination for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama.

3. Scent of a Woman (1992)

Scent of a Woman
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This Martin Brest directed film one that is entirely in its own class, winning both the Academy Award and Golden Globe Awards. After seven nominations, Al Pacino’s role in the drama earned him his first and only Academy Award.

He took the role of Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, a blind alcoholic. A young boy, Charlie who is played by Chris O’Donnell is hired to care of Al in the movie, but the man is very irritable that Charlie is finding it hard to deal with him but somehow, they would later develop a good relationship.

Apart from his Oscars for Best Actor, Scent of a Woman also helped Al Pacino to a Golden Globe Awards for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

4. The Panic in Needle Park (1971)

As early as 1971, less than five years into his career, it became clear that Al Pacino was cut out to be a great actor with his performance in this movie which is also his breakout production.

In the Jerry Schatzberg directed movie, Al Pacino portrays Bobby, who is an addict and also in love with a woman, Helen Reeves (Kitty Winn). She soon becomes an addict like her lover and before long, things go sour for the two of them.

5. Sea of Love (1989)

Al Pacino
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He plays the character of detective Frank Keller who is solely obsessed with his job, although he loves living in the fast lane. In the course of duty – working on the case of a serial killer – with his colleague detective Sherman Touhey, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful woman, Ellen Barkin. Ellen is also a suspect as he tries to find the serial killer who picks her victims from newspaper columns and kills them while playing the Sea of Love song in the background.

More than the chemistry between Ellen Barkin and Pacino which is obvious in the movie, he is also very easy to love for his portrayal which earned him a Golden Globe Awards nomination.

6. Heat (1995)

What better can be a movie that brings together Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, and Robert De Niro? This movie brings together all three Hollywood icons. It tells the story of the struggle of the two as they fight to change their ways of life and are adrift of success. One is a thief (De Niro) and the other a Lieutenant (Al Pacino). Just like other Al Pacino movies, there is so much action here. Directed by Michael Mann the film which is based on factual events

7. The Insider (1999)

For yet another time, Al Pacino works with Michael Mann to deliver a top-notch film performance. Apart from Pacino and Mann, the movie also brings in Russell Crowe to complete a great team. The film is drawn from the real-life events on the 60 Minutes Segment on CBS on a whistleblower in the tobacco industry, Jeffery Wigand. However, a large part of the film was fictionalized.

Definitely one of the best movies that one would see about investigative journalism, it is all thrilling right from the start till the end. Al Pacino takes the role of Lowell Bergman who is a producer of “60 Minutes” engaged in a fight with CBS because he wants to have an interview on the addictive nature of cigarettes aired. Crowe, on the other hand, plays Jeffrey Wigand who offered the interview. He used to work with Brown & Williamson as a research chemist.

While Crowe got the nominations for Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Satellite Awards, it was pretty much surprising that Al Pacino only got a Satellite Awards nomination. Nonetheless, the movie improved his place in the ranks of great actors.

8. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Al Pacino Movies
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Dog Day Afternoon is one of those Al Pacino movies that everyone needs to see for many reasons as the actor was his usual great self. In this movie which was directed by Sidney Lumet, Al Pacino plays the role of Sonny Wortzik, a man who has decided on robbing a bank in order to raise the needed funds for the operation of his lover, Leon Shermer as portrayed by Chris Sarandon who is going for sex-change surgery. During the robbery, Pacino and Salvatore Naturale (John Cazale) discover there is no much money in the bank and somehow, the robbery becomes a hostage situation with the media circling around it.

The movie got him various awards and nominations including the Academy Awards nomination in the best actor category, as well as a Golden Globe Awards in the category of Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama.

9. Serpico (1973)

Before his collaboration with Sidney Lumet on Dog Day Afternoon which was a success, Al worked with the director only two years earlier on this biographical crime film, Serpico.

In the movie, he plays the role of a cop, Frank Serpico, an honest New York City cop whose passion leads him to uncover the web of corruption that has marred the police department. Because of this, he finds himself with many enemies within the force coupled with his own personal battles. However, he is determined to testify against the culprits – no matter the cost.

A successful movie both commercially and financially, Al Pacino earned an Academy Awards nomination for the second year after he was nominated for The Godfather in 1973. More so, the role won him a Golden Globes as well as other lesser-known awards.

10. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)

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The movie Glengarry Glen Ross is a 1992 adaptation of David Mamet’s Pulitzer winning play of the same name. It was directed by James Foley and as it is always the case with other films, Al Pacino pulls his role in the movie as easy as only an iconic actor of his standing, can. He plays the role of Ricky Roma, a real-estate salesman who along with others, try to find their way around making sales desperately. He has a little edge over his other realtors, thanks to his instincts and being a smooth talker.

For his role in the movie, he got many award nominations including the Golden Globes and the Oscars. The best part for him was that it helped him to make history as the first male actor to ever have two Oscar nominations for acting roles in two different movies in the same year.


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