Al Pacino has been one of Hollywood’s most famous and successful actors for decades, proving with each new project (except Jack and Jill, because even Pacino couldn’t save that dumpster fire) that he still at the top of its game. Pacino’s impressive filmography includes countless classics, so we’ve rounded them all up for your viewing pleasure.
Check out our list of the 11 best Al Pacino movies of all time.
1. Enthusiasm (1995)
One of the best crime films of all time, Heat is Michael Mann’s masterpiece. Mann, who previously directed/co-wrote The Last of the Mohicans, originally developed the story for this film in the ’80s as a (failed) television pilot, LA Takedown, before retooling his story into Heat years later.
Heat is memorable for its contrasting character-driven dramas, with Pacino playing jaded veteran LAPD officer Vincent Hanna, who is in pursuit of Robert De Niro’s (Taxi Driver) career thief Neil McCauley ( and let’s not forget Tombstone star Val Kilmer, who also cast him in his starring role on the film). When Pacino pursues De Niro, their paths rarely cross (they only have one actual “coffee shop” scene together), but when they do it’s memorable.
Heat is one of those movies that you must watch if you call yourself a movie buff. It’s a pulse-pounding slow burn (emphasis on slow), but it pays off in the end.
2. The Godfather trilogy (1972, 1974 and 1990)
A recurring series in our film list, The Godfather Trilogy was directed and co-written by Francis Ford Coppola along with Mario Puzzo, who also wrote the novel on which the film is based. It originally starred heavyweights Marlon Brando (Superman), James Caan (Goblin), Robert Duvall (The Judge), Diane Keaton (Let Him Go) and Pacino.
Pacino’s Michael Corleone takes the lead as he guides us through New York City’s Italian Mafia scene, starting in the 1940s and progressing through the 1980s. The series chronicles Michael’s initial reluctance to go following in his father’s footsteps as head of the “family business” all the way through his rise to “villain” and… Well, let’s not spoil the story.
The Godfather trilogy has been hailed as one of the greatest film trilogies of all time (although Part III is often heavily criticized) and is one of Pacino’s best and most important works.
3. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Directed by critically acclaimed filmmaker Sidney Lumet (The Verdict), Dog Day Afternoon is another crime drama film starring Pacino, this time based on true events in real life. The film follows Pacino’s Sonny Wortzik (based on real-life bank robber John Wojtowicz) as he leads a robbery/hostage heist to pay for his lover’s gender reassignment surgery.
The film’s cast was handpicked by Lumet and Pacino, with Pacino choosing various co-stars from his previous Off-Broadway plays, including John Cazale (The Godfather), Charles Durning (The Sting), Chris Sarandon (The Princess Bride) and Lance Henriksen (Millennium). Outstanding performances, including Pacino’s, bring this semi-biographical tale to life in a way that makes it stand out as one of Pacino’s best stories.
Dog Day Afternoon has become a classic American film filled with action, drama, and plenty of anxiety-inducing suspense. Attica! Attica! Attica!
4. Scarface (1983)
Perhaps Pacino’s most famous role, Scarface (itself a remake of the 1932 film of the same name) is iconic. Written by Oliver Stone of Snowden and JFK fame and directed by crime film legend Brian De Palma (The Untouchables), Scarface takes a story, originally inspired by Chicago criminal Al Capone, and transforms it. it becomes its own story.
Set in Miami, Cuban refugee Tony Montana climbs the criminal ranks and eventually becomes a wealthy drug dealer. It is a tragic story about the life of a struggling refugee who is drawn into a life of crime, leaving both himself and his family devastated. What makes Scarface memorable is Pacino’s brilliant performance as Montana, who gradually loses himself in a cocaine coma as the film approaches its climax.
Scarface, and Tony’s “little friend,” is one of the most talked about, quoted, and memorable crime movies out there, so if you love that genre, or are like Al Pacino, this is it. movie for you!
5. Carlito’s Way (1993)
Another Brian De Palma picture, this one based on the two Judge Edwin Torres novels, Carlito’s Way stars Al Pacino as professional criminal (a recurring theme in Pacino’s films) Carlito Brigante. Recently released from prison on a technicality, he tries to leave behind the life that put him in prison, but as usual, he is pulled back into the criminal underworld. Besides Pacino, Sean Penn (The Game) will play his best friend and lawyer David Kleinfeld.
While many gangster movies feature gangsters trying to escape or retire from life, none can compare to Carlito’s tumultuous journey here. Throughout the film, Carlito, referred to as “Charlie” by his girlfriend Gail (Penelope Ann Miller, Adventures in Babysitting), works hard to escape his fate and completely rid himself of a life of crime. .
This is an exciting feature with lots of drama and suspense to keep you interested along the way. Carlito’s Way may not have been well received by critics at the time, but it has since attracted a cult following and is considered by many to be a lost gem of film Pacino’s photo.
6. Serpico (1973)
Another Sidney Lumet biopic-crime film, Serpico stars Pacino (obviously), this time as real-life New York cop Frank Serpico, who became disillusioned with the NYPD and instead worked as a whistleblower to destroy corruption from within. His efforts eventually led to an investigation chaired by the Knapp Commission.
While not as famous as Heat or The Godfather, Pacino still brings his A-game to the role of NYPD Officer Serpico in a way that only he can. Serpico was put through the wringer by his officers and superiors, who bullied and belittled him nearly his entire time on the force.
He witnesses and experiences police brutality firsthand, forcing him to make a choice to do something instead of remaining silent. Serpico is a timely picture that reminds us of the unjust abuse of power, while giving us hope that no matter what, we can stand up in the midst of it.
7. Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Master playwright and screenwriter David Mamet (The Unit) adapted his Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name into this drama about four salesmen pushed into a difficult situation after a coaching Company employees were sent to encourage them, and announced that two of them would be fired, leaving only the “top two”.
The film stars some serious celebrities (you know, besides Pacino) like Jack Lemmon (The Odd Couple), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock), Alan Arkin (Argo), Ed Harris (Apollo 13) and Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), that really helps sell this film as both witty and (as one reviewer called it) one of the “quintessential modern films about masculinity.” Glengarry Glen Ross includes “one of the finest American casts ever assembled” and has to be seen to be seen.
8. Any Sunday (1999)
The only sports drama on this list, Oliver Stone’s Any Given Sunday follows the fictional football team, the Miami Sharks, and their head coach Tony D’Amato (Pacino) as they fight to win ( or lose) on “any given Sunday”.
If you love football movies then this is a movie you must see. Right up there with movies like We Are Marshall, When The Game Stands Tall and Field of Dreams, Any Given Sunday is about the power of brotherhood, insurmountable odds and even overcoming selfish nature mine.
The film features a great cast including Cameron Diaz (Shrek), Jamie Foxx (Just Mercy), James Woods (True Crime) and Dennis Quaid (The Rookie). Any given Sunday is anything but a lot of tackles and strikes along the way proving that life is a contact sport.
9. Donnie Brasco (1997)
Pacino and Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean) team up in this crime drama based on FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone’s character Donnie Brasco. Depp plays an undercover FBI agent while Pacino takes on the role of hitman Lefty Ruggiero as they rush through the streets of 1970s New York.
As the film progresses, “Donnie” gradually gets deeper into the Mafia, only to realize that he may want to cross the line between law enforcement and career criminal. Meanwhile, he is slowly setting up Lefty to not only fall, but also push him into certain death.
The couple’s relationship is the clear driving force of the film that will keep you invested throughout. Donnie Brasco was a riveting and riveting drama with two of the most bankable stars of its era.
10. Panic in Needle Park (1971)
God help Bobby and Helen. The Panic in Needle Park was Pacino’s second film role and one of his most influential roles. Bobby (Pacino) and Helen (Kitty Winn, The Exorcist) are heroin addicts who hang out together in “Needle Park” after having a relationship.
As the film progresses, Bobby’s hustle and Helen’s addiction overcome them, leading to one betrayal after another. It’s certainly not the happiest, funniest, or even most exciting movie on this list, but it is one of Pacino’s most heartbreaking performances and will definitely keep you on your toes. any needle park in your area. The Panic in Needle Park is a thrilling drama that pushes boundaries while still feeling very real.
11. Insomnia (2002)
One of Christopher Nolan’s first American works (between Memento and Batman Begins), Insomnia stars Pacino as an LAPD detective on loan to Nightmute, Alaska, along with his partner (played by Martin Donovan). , played by Trust) to help solve a murder case. The film also stars Hillary Swank (Million Dollar Baby) and Robin Williams (Good Will Hunting) in a dramatic role.
As the title suggests, Pacino’s Detective Wil Dormer suffers from insomnia, partly because of the things he’s seen and done as an LA cop, and a constant day of Nightmute doesn’t seem to be helping What. While this may not be one of Nolan’s most famous films, it still holds its own as a psychological thriller that gets your blood pumping and your heart pounding. Insomnia is most notable for its stellar cast, tight script, and smart direction that will keep you guessing until the end.