Today is Al Pacino’s 81st birthday. Oscar-winning actor who starred in the “Godfather” films is still regarded as one of the finest performers of all time, thanks to his outstanding work in some of Hollywood’s most adored films.
With roles in Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino films, he proved he still has the acting abilities that made him famous, and he was nominated for an Academy Award for the ninth time this year. With “House of Gucci” set for release later this year, he’ll be back in the spotlight.
Ten of his best films will be featured here to celebrate the entertainment great on what would have been his 90th birthday today. The following are our top picks (plus a few honorable mentions):
10) Scent of a Woman (1992)
Despite the fact that Pacino’s first Academy Award was in 1992, the man was deserving of an honor long before then. a prep student who accepts a job as an assistant to a grumpy, blind, and medically retired Army lieutenant colonel in Martin Brest’s dramatic tale (Pacino). “Hoo-ah!” has been dubbed a “sympathy Oscar” by impressionists, but it’s more than that, with Pacino at his crazy best.
9) Donnie Brasco (1997)
As an FBI undercover operative, Johnny Depp gets close to Pacino’s sad sack Lefty, a former gangster who is now in his sixties and seventies. Pacino’s performance in “Scarface” was over the top, but here he plays it straight.
8) The Irishman (2019)
Even though Martin Scorsese has ostensibly re-entered the gangster genre’s fast-paced and violent realm, his film on mortality, sin, and remorse centers on Al Pacino’s frenetic portrayal of Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa. Pacino received his first Oscar nomination since winning the award in 1993.
7) Dick Tracy (1990)
As Big Boy Caprice, Pacino’s gangster foil to Warren Beatty’s Dick Tracy, he was hammered more than ever. Pacino wonderfully embraces the comic strip energy in Beatty’s vivid and colorful version, which features an equally game all-star cast. The experience of watching him teach Madonna how to sing and dance is a treat.
6) Scarface (1983)
Al Pacino’s depiction on Tony Montana, the Cuban immigrant who moved to Miami in the 1980s and became a formidable drug boss, is nothing short of over-the-top. Due in large part to its soundtrack, brutal shootouts, and Pacino’s iconic delivery of lines like “Say hello to my little pal!” the film became a cult classic.
5) Heat (1995)
Finally, Michael Mann’s bank robbery thriller brings together Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in one of the finest crime pictures of all time. Dueling heavyweights in a diner robbery-and-shooting fight live up to the hype in this long-anticipated, dialogue-heavy diner clash! His marital difficulties and confrontations with the severity of law enforcement are what make Pacino’s agonized investigator a compelling storyteller.
4) The Godfather (1972)
For his role as Vito Corleone, Marlon Brando was rightfully awarded an Academy Award, and James Caan and Robert Duvall stole their seasons. As a result, Pacino’s calm and tragic transition as Michael was the film’s heartbeat. When he was a young soldier, he vowed that he would never succumb to the temptations of his family’s criminal organization.
3) Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
The Brooklyn-set drama by Sidney Lumet features Pacino as a desperately desperate man who robs a bank to raise money for his lover’s re-equilibration surgery. As one of Hollywood’s most gifted leading men, Pacino proved that few could equal his dynamism by collaborating with late screen luminaries like John Cazale and Charles Durning.
2) Serpico (1973)
Actor Al Pacino plays Frank Serpico, a New York City undercover cop who blows the whistle on systemic corruption in the police force, only to have his colleagues turn against him after he exposes it. In Sidney Lumet’s superb biography, he didn’t take bribes or guff and nearly paid the ultimate price for trying to do the right thing.
1) The Godfather Part II (1974)
Vito Corleone was a ruthless killer, but he concealed it with a jovial demeanor that his son could not imitate. Michael’s fate was brutal and tragic, as he became ten times the monster his father was after he fell into criminality. Pacino scarcely smiles as a criminal boss who had every intention of avoiding this fate in Frances Ford Coppola’s 3-hour epic. Because of his cold-blooded character, he puts his father’s most prized possession — his family — in jeopardy and threatens to let go of it.