The Greats of our Time

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Alfredo James Pacino born April 25, 1940) is an American actor and filmmaker. Pacino has had a career spanning more than five decades, during which time he has received numerous accolades and honors both competitive and honorary, among them an Academy Award, two Tony Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a British Academy Film Award, four Golden Globe Awards, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the National Medal of Arts. He is one of few performers to have won a competitive Oscar, an Emmy, and a Tony Award for acting, dubbed the “Triple Crown of Acting”.

A method actor and former student of the HB Studio and the Actors Studio in New York City, where he was taught by Charlie Laughton and Lee Strasberg, Pacino made his feature film debut with a minor role in Me, Natalie (1969) and gained favorable notice for his lead role as a heroin addict in The Panic in Needle Park (1971). He achieved international acclaim and recognition for his breakthrough role as Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972) receiving his first Oscar nomination and would reprise the role in the equally successful sequels The Godfather Part II (1974) and The Godfather Part III (1990). Pacino’s performance as Michael Corleone in these films is regarded as one of the greatest screen performances in film history.

Pacino received his first Best Actor Oscar nomination for Serpico (1973); he was also nominated for The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and …And Justice for All (1979), and won the award in 1993 for his performance as blind Lieutenant Colonel Slade in Scent of a Woman (1992). For his performances in The Godfather, Dick Tracy (1990), and Glengarry Glen Ross (1992), Pacino was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. Other notable roles include Tony Montana in Scarface (1983), Carlito Brigante in Carlito’s Way (1993), Lieutenant Vincent Hanna in Heat (1995), Benjamin Ruggiero in Donnie Brasco (1997), Lowell Bergman in The Insider (1999), and Detective Will Dormer in Insomnia (2002). In television, Pacino has acted in several productions for HBO, including the miniseries Angels in America (2003) and the Jack Kevorkian biopic You Don’t Know Jack (2010); he won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for each role.

In addition to his work in film, Pacino has had an extensive career on stage. He is a two-time Tony Award winner, in 1969 and 1977, for his performances in Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? and The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel, respectively. A lifelong fan of Shakespeare, Pacino directed and starred in Looking for Richard (1996), a documentary film about the play Richard III, a role which Pacino had earlier portrayed on stage in 1977. He has also acted as Shylock in a 2004 feature film adaptation and a 2010 stage production of The Merchant of Venice.

Having made his filmmaking debut with Looking for Richard, Pacino has also directed and starred in the independent film Chinese Coffee (2000), and the films Wilde Salomé (2011) and Salomé (2013), about the play Salomé by Oscar Wilde. Since 1994, Pacino has been the joint president of the Actors Studio with Ellen Burstyn and Harvey Keitel. In 2016, he received the Kennedy Center Honor.

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The Greats Of Our Time Directory

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Who hasn’t heard of Al Pacino? Not many l should imagine, l saw him first in Serpico [1973], then l watched him in The Godfather Tiology. Totally in awe of this great fantastic actor. Below are my 15 favourite films of his, tell me yours at the bottom in the comments section.

1 – Serpico – 1973

Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) is an idealistic New York City cop who refuses to take bribes, unlike the rest of the force. His actions get Frank shunned by the other officers, and often placed in dangerous situations by his partners. When his superiors ignore Frank’s accusations of corruption, he decides to go public with the allegations. Although this causes the Knapp Commission to investigate his claims, Frank has also placed a target on himself. The film is based on a true story.

2 – The Godfather – 1972

Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, this mob drama, based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name, focuses on the powerful Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). When the don’s youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino), reluctantly joins the Mafia, he becomes involved in the inevitable cycle of violence and betrayal. Although Michael tries to maintain a normal relationship with his wife, Kay (Diane Keaton), he is drawn deeper into the family business.

2a – The Godfather II – 1974

The compelling sequel to “The Godfather,” contrasting the life of Corleone father and son. Traces the problems of Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) in 1958 and that of a young immigrant Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro) in 1917’s Hell’s Kitchen. Michael survives many misfortunes and Vito is introduced to a life of crime.

2b – The Godfather III – 1990

As Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) ages, he finds that being the head of the Corleone crime family isn’t getting any easier. He wants his family out of the Mafia, but the mob kingpin (Eli Wallach) isn’t eager to let one of the most powerful and wealthy families go legit. Making matters even worse is Michael’s nephew, Vincent (Andy Garcia). Not only does Vincent want a piece of the Corleone family’s criminal empire, but he also wants Michael’s daughter, Mary (Sofia Coppola).

3 – Dog Day Afternoon – 1975

When inexperienced criminal Sonny Wortzik (Al Pacino) leads a bank robbery in Brooklyn, things quickly go wrong, and a hostage situation develops. As Sonny and his accomplice, Sal Naturile (John Cazale), try desperately to remain in control, a media circus develops and the FBI arrives, creating even more tension. Gradually, Sonny’s surprising motivations behind the robbery are revealed, and his standoff with law enforcement moves toward its inevitable end.

4 – Sea of Love – 1989

Troubled New York City detective Frank Keller (Al Pacino) investigates a serial killer who finds victims using personal ads in a magazine and leaves the song “Sea of Love” playing at his crime scenes. With the help of his partner, Sherman Touhey (John Goodman), Frank concocts a plan to find the killer using his own personal ads. But when Frank falls for one of his chief suspects, Helen Cruger (Ellen Barkin), he struggles to reconcile his personal life and his professional duty.

5 – Dick Tracy – 1990

Hard-boiled detective Dick Tracy (Warren Beatty) is searching for evidence that proves Alphonse “Big Boy” Caprice is the city’s most dangerous crime boss. He may have found the key to unraveling the crimelord’s illegal empire in Breathless Mahoney (Madonna), an enigmatic barroom singer who has witnessed some of Caprice’s crimes firsthand. However, she seems more set on stealing Dick away from his girlfriend, Tess (Glenne Headly), than helping him solve the case of his career.

6 – Frankie and Johnny – 1991

When Johnny (Al Pacino) is released from prison following a forgery charge, he quickly lands a job as a short-order cook at a New York diner. Following a brief fling with waitress Cora (Kate Nelligan), Frankie develops an attraction for Cora’s friend and fellow waitress Frankie (Michelle Pfeiffer). While Frankie resists Johnny’s charms initially, she eventually relents when her best friend, Tim (Nathan Lane), persuades her to give Johnny a chance.

7 – Glengarry Glen Ross – 1992

When an office full of New York City real estate salesmen is given the news that all but the top two will be fired at the end of the week, the atmosphere begins to heat up. Shelley Levene (Jack Lemmon), who has a sick daughter, does everything in his power to get better leads from his boss, John Williamson (Kevin Spacey), but to no avail. When his coworker Dave Moss (Ed Harris) comes up with a plan to steal the leads, things get complicated for the tough-talking salesmen.

8 – Scent of a Woman – 1992

Frank is a retired Lt. Col. in the US army. He’s blind and impossible to get along with. Charlie is at school and is looking forward to going to college. To help pay for a trip home for Christmas, he agrees to look after Frank over Thanksgiving. Frank’s niece says this will be easy money, but she didn’t reckon on Frank spending his Thanksgiving in New York.

9 – Carlito’s Way – 1993

A free man after years in prison, Carlito Brigante (Al Pacino) intends to give up his criminal ways, but it’s not long before the ex-con is sucked back into the New York City underworld. Reconnecting with his dancer girlfriend, Gail (Penelope Ann Miller), Carlito gets entangled in the shady dealings of his friend Dave Kleinfeld (Sean Penn), who also serves as his lawyer. When Carlito and Kleinfeld run afoul of shifty gangster Benny Blanco (John Leguizamo), it sets them on a dangerous path.

10 – Heat – 1995

Master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is trying to control the rogue actions of one of his men, while also planning one last big heist before retiring. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Hanna (Al Pacino) attempts to track down McCauley as he deals with the chaos in his own life, including the infidelity of his wife (Diane Venora) and the mental health of his stepdaughter (Natalie Portman). McCauley and Hanna discover a mutual respect, even as they try to thwart each other’s plans.

11 – Donnie Brasco – 1997

Joseph Pistone (Johnny Depp) is an FBI agent who has infiltrated one of the major New York Mafia families and is living under the name Donnie Brasco. He develops a relationship with mob hit man Benjamin “Lefty” Ruggiero (Al Pacino) in order to get deeper under cover, but ends up developing a real friendship with the Mafioso. As their relationship develops, Pistone must decide whether or not to complete his job, knowing that it will lead to the murder of his new friend.

12 – Scarface – 1984

After getting a green card in exchange for assassinating a Cuban government official, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) stakes a claim on the drug trade in Miami. Viciously murdering anyone who stands in his way, Tony eventually becomes the biggest drug lord in the state, controlling nearly all the cocaine that comes through Miami. But increased pressure from the police, wars with Colombian drug cartels and his own drug-fueled paranoia serve to fuel the flames of his eventual downfall.

13 – Insomnia – 2002

From acclaimed director Chris Nolan (“Memento”) comes the story of a veteran police detective (Al Pacino) who is sent to a small Alaskan town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. Forced into a psychological game of cat-and-mouse by the primary suspect (Robin Williams), events escalate and the detective finds his own stability dangerously threatened.

14 – The Devil’s Advocate – 1997

From acclaimed director Chris Nolan (“Memento”) comes the story of a veteran police detective (Al Pacino) who is sent to a small Alaskan town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. Forced into a psychological game of cat-and-mouse by the primary suspect (Robin Williams), events escalate and the detective finds his own stability dangerously threatened.

15 – The Recruit – 2003

From acclaimed director Chris Nolan (“Memento”) comes the story of a veteran police detective (Al Pacino) who is sent to a small Alaskan town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl. Forced into a psychological game of cat-and-mouse by the primary suspect (Robin Williams), events escalate and the detective finds his own stability dangerously threatened.

BONUS

So there we go the best performances of Al Pacino in my eyes, what are yours?

5 thoughts on “The Greats of our Time

  1. Serpico, Sea of Love, Glengarry Glen Ross. He was also in some weird thing as the Devil. Very gory. Liked it a lot. Something Heart? Dog Day Afternoon was great too. I never don’t like him or De Niro!

  2. Godfather I, Scent of a Woman, Heat, Insomnia, Devil’s Advocate. I really liked Serpico, but after falling for him in Godfather, to see his life in danger and the way he was treated, it was a painful movie to watch. You have to remember I was 14 at the time 🙂

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