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The Al Pacino Bio

The Al Pacino Review –

by Nate Lee

Best Film:

The Godfather I & II
+ Scent of a Woman

Barely less than Marlon Brando was Al Pacino's contribution to making one of the greatest films of all time, and though not as dramatic, it was certainly more pivotal than De Niro's in making II the greatest sequel ever. Never mind that the studios and producer wanted a name actor for the role. However, "Scent of a Woman" allowed him full range to reveal one of the more fascinating characters in film.

Great Performances You May Not Have Seen:
Glengarry Glen Ross (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as a great salesman in David Mamet's masterpiece)
Merchant of Venice (Shylock)
Looking for Richard (Richard III)
The Recruit (CIA recruiter and trainer of Colin Farrell)
City Hall (NYC mayor, corrupt or not, with John Cusack)
Dog Day Afternoon (based on a true story, robs a bank to pay for his friend's sex-change operation, also an Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance)
Frankie and Johnny (a cook in love with waitress Michelle Pfeiffer)
And Justice for All (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as an attorney forced to defend a judge he hates)
Scarecrow (funky '70s buddy flick with Gene Hackman)
Panic in Needle Park (a doomed junkie)
You don't Know Jack (Golden Globe-winning performance as Jack Kevorkian)
Author! Author! (Golden Globe-nominated performance as a Broadway playwright)
Bobby Deerfield (Golden Globe-nominated performance as a race-car driver)
The Weird Cop:
Serpico (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as real-life NYC cop who blew the whistle on a system of corrupt cops)
Sea of Love (Golden Globe-nominated performance as detective in love with serial-killer suspect he is investigating, Ellen Barkin)
Cruising (detective undercover in gay S&M bars to solve series of murders)
Insomnia (an L.A. detective, very sleepy, investigating a murder in Alaska, with Hilary Swank and Robin Williams)
Heat (LAPD detective trying to catch Robert De Niro)
Righteous Kill (with De Niro, a cop "pursuing" those who escape justice)
The Crook:
The Godfather Series (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance in I and II, and Golden Globe-nominated performance in III, as Michael Corleone)
Dick Tracy (Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated performance as mobster Big Boy Caprice)
Donnie Brasco (real-life Mafia hitman Lefty Ruggiero befriended by cop Johnny Depp)
Carlito's Way (Puerto Rican drug dealer)
Scarface (some people like this portrayal of a drug lord, Golden Globe-nominated)
Scent of a Woman (Oscar and Golden Globe-winning performance as Ltnt. Col. Frank Slade, blind soldier and mentor to young confused Chris O'Donnell)
The Insider (Lowell Bergman, CBS reporter, with Russell Crowe as a whistleblower)
Any Given Sunday (pro football coach running up against owner Cameron Diaz)
Devil's Advocate (John Milton, head of a mysterious Manhattan law firm)
Ocean's Thirteen (Casino mogul Willy Bank and the target of the 13)
The Real Al Pacino:
Pick any Italian.
Acting Style:
Gritty and urban. Tough for a guy who is barely five-foot seven. Acknowledged as one of the five great living American actors, Pacino has had triumphs on stage, even with the classics, but he'll forever be known as the guy who is either breaking the law or enforcing it. This, even though one of his greatest roles is as a blind Army colonel, still as tough as they come.
Bits and Quirks:
Aside from the well-known bits of Michael Corleone, and even though he's a champion of method acting, Pacino has a host of audience-pleasing stylistic devices. The growling voice that either barks in a stage yell or tirade, or skates and slides on a trail of extended vowels. Works the hair, which in dramatic moments, reliably falls in his face. Still brings it down to the nasally whisper of his early mob bosses. Opens up those dark eyes in a variety of weird stares, usually with the head at a strange angle, sometimes with the mouth slightly open. Does the slouch bit, often with a jacket.
Great Scenes:
Any Given Sunday

> The surprise speech to the press at the end


> Shooting the cop and the gangster
> Hiding his father from the hitman
> Lying to wife Dyan Keaton about killing his brother-in-law
> Talking to Keaton in the beginning about Luca Brazzi
> The funeral of his father
> The killing spree while he's in the baptism

Godfather II

> Negotiating with the governor
> In Cuba with Lee Strasberg as mob boss Hyman Roth and brother Fredo at the cabaret

Scent Of A Woman

> Dancing the tango with Gabrielle Anwar
> Driving the Ferrari
> Defending O'Donnell at the trial at the school
> The showdown with O'Donnell over the gun

Ocean's Thirteen

> In the building, threatening Elliott Gould
> Threatening George Clooney, who doesn't fall for it
> Foil to Don Cheadle as the stuntman
> Foil to Brad Pitt as the seismologist


> The shootout with Robin Williams
> Spiritually tormented and sleepless in his hotel room
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