Al Pacino is one of the greatest actors of all time known for playing intense, gangster, and overall hardened male leads. His career spans over five decades from his breakout role in The Godfather to his recent work in The Irishman. Pacino has delivered memorable performances in a variety of genres, making him an icon in Hollywood. In this article, we will look at the ten best Al Pacino movies and where you can stream them.
10. The Godfather (1972)
The Godfather is a cinematic masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the film tells the story of the Corleone family, a powerful Mafia clan. Al Pacino’s portrayal of Michael Corleone, the youngest son and reluctant heir to the family business, is a standout performance.
Throughout the film, Michael transforms from a war hero who wants nothing to do with his family’s criminal activities to a ruthless mob boss who will stop at nothing to protect his interests. Pacino’s nuanced portrayal of Michael’s inner turmoil and conflicted loyalties earned him his first Oscar nomination. He’s also known for his role in The Godfather because he has spoken out about using method acting techniques during this film’s production. In the darkness and violence of the Corleone family, he dug up his own raw emotions to make Michael an extremely believable character.
9. Heat (1995)
Heat is a crime drama directed by Michael Mann that pits Pacino against Robert De Niro in an epic showdown. Pacino plays Vincent Hanna, a veteran detective on the hunt for a group of professional thieves led by De Niro’s character, Neil McCauley.
The film is known for its intense action sequences and memorable performances, including Pacino’s explosive portrayal of Hanna. The character is driven and obsessive, with a personal life that is falling apart as he becomes more and more consumed by the case.
Pacino’s performance in Heat is a masterclass in acting, with his trademark intensity and passion on full display. The film is a must-see for any fan of crime dramas, and Pacino’s performance is a major reason why.
8. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
The Godfather: Part II is a rare sequel that many consider to be superior to the original. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, the film tells the story of the Corleone family in two parallel timelines. Al Pacino reprised his role as Michael Corleone, now the head of the family and struggling to hold onto his power.
Pacino’s performance in The Godfather: Part II is even more nuanced and complex than in the original film. He portrays Michael as a man haunted by his past and struggling with his own morality. The film won six Oscars, including Best Picture, and further cemented Pacino’s status as a renowned leading actor.
7. Serpico (1973)
Serpico is a gripping crime drama that is based on the true story of Frank Serpico, a New York City police officer who is determined to expose corruption within the department. Pacino delivers a masterful performance as Serpico who faces ostracism and danger for his actions. The film portrays the difficulties of being an honest cop in a corrupt system and the importance of standing up for what is right.
The movie’s themes of police corruption and loyalty are still relevant today. The film’s portrayal of the dangers of speaking up against powerful institutions has become more pertinent in light of recent events, including the Black Lives Matter movement. Pacino’s performance has been praised by critics and audiences alike and is considered one of his best. If you haven’t seen this classic movie, it’s worth checking out for Pacino’s brilliant performance and the film’s gripping storyline.
6. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Dog Day Afternoon is a crime drama that tells the true story of a bank robbery gone wrong. Pacino plays Sonny Wortzik, a man who attempts to rob a bank in order to pay for his lover’s sex change operation. The film is known for its tense atmosphere and Pacino’s captivating performance, which earned him an Oscar nomination.
The movie explores themes of desperation, love, and human connection. The film’s storyline is based on a real-life incident that occurred in Brooklyn, and the movie captures the tension and chaos of the event. Pacino’s performance as Wortzik is one of his most memorable and is often cited as one of the best performances in cinema history. If you are a fan of crime dramas or Pacino’s acting, Dog Day Afternoon is a must-watch.
5. The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
The Devil’s Advocate is a supernatural thriller in which Pacino plays John Milton, a charismatic lawyer who may be the Devil himself. Keanu Reeves stars as his protégé, who begins to suspect that something is not right about his boss. The movie explores themes of ambition, power, and morality.
Pacino’s performance as John Milton is one of his most memorable and entertaining. He brings a devilish charm to the role that is both captivating and terrifying. Reeves also delivers a strong performance as the naive lawyer who becomes caught up in Milton’s world.
4. Carlito’s Way (1993)
Carlito’s Way is a crime drama directed by Brian De Palma. Pacino plays Carlito Brigante, a Puerto Rican gangster who wants to retire from the drug trade and criminal life. The film is known for its suspenseful plot and Pacino’s charismatic performance as he is tempted by tons of people from his past. The best part is that you can stream this movie for free on Tubi.
3. Scent of a Woman (1992)
Scent of a Woman is a moving drama in which Pacino plays a blind retired Army officer who takes a young man (Chris O’Donnell) on a trip to New York City. The movie explores themes of friendship, loyalty, and living life to the fullest.
Pacino’s performance in this movie won him his first Oscar for Best Actor, and it is easy to see why. He brings a vulnerability and warmth to the character of Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade that is both touching and inspiring. The film’s emotional ending is one of the most memorable in cinema history, making it one of the best Al Pacino movies on our list.
2. Donnie Brasco (1997)
Donnie Brasco is a crime drama based on the true story of an FBI agent who infiltrated the Mafia. Pacino plays Lefty Rugiero, a seasoned mobster who takes the agent posing as a jewelry seller (Johnny Depp) under his wing. The film explores the complexities of their relationship and the dangerous world they inhabit. There is tons of suspense, drama, and violence, making it hard to believe this is based on a true story and that the mob really exists.
1. Scarface (1983)
Scarface is a cult classic and arguably the best Al Pacino movie on our list. Al Pacino’s larger-than-life performance as Tony Montana is referenced a ton in comedic, film, and cultural settings. He plays a Cuban immigrant who rises to power in the drug trade in Miami. The film is a gritty and violent portrayal of the American Dream gone wrong.
Pacino’s performance as Montana is unforgettable, with his over-the-top accent and memorable catchphrases. The film has since become a cultural touchstone and has inspired countless imitations and homages. While Scarface was not initially well-received by critics, it has since gained a cult following and is now considered a classic. Pacino’s performance is a major reason for the film’s enduring popularity, and it remains one of his most iconic roles.
What is Al Pacino’s most famous role?
Al Pacino’s most famous role is arguably Michael Corleone in The Godfather.
How many Oscars has Al Pacino won?
Al Pacino has won one Oscar for Best Actor for his role in Scent of a Woman.
What is Al Pacino’s net worth?
As of 2021, Al Pacino’s net worth is estimated to be around $120 million.
Is Al Pacino still acting?
Yes, Al Pacino is still acting and has several projects in the works, including a TV series called The Offer about the making of The Godfather.
Al Pacino has had a legendary career and he’s not even retired yet. These ten films showcase his range as an actor. From his breakthrough role in The Godfather to his nuanced performances in Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon, Pacino has left an indelible mark on cinema. With the convenience of streaming services, it has never been easier to revisit these classic films. You can also rent most of them for around $3 on Prime Video.