07/10/2022
al pacino movies

Top 10 Essential Al Pacino Movies

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Experience has values. This is why we always prefer to take advice from experienced people. When beginner actors learn to act, it is essential to be familiar with the already successful and experienced actors. This article will help you to know about such a personality through his movies. We know Al Pacino mostly for his gangster movies. Most of his movies belong to the crime genre. I’ll give you a list of 10 essential Al Pacino movies of all time.

Before starting, let me give you a little bit of an overview of this legendary actor. I hope many of us already know about this worldwide persona. His recent dance moves on the street of San Francisco stunned everyone, especially the younger generation. Being an 82-year-old actor, he is still energetic and refreshed which is the reason for jealousy of the next-gen.

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Where Hollywood prefers mostly taller heroes or actors, but with only 5’7″ height, Al Pacino put his own mark in the industry. He doesn’t need any chiseled body or a good-looking face, his performance says everything. That made him one of the legendary actors of all time. Starting from his first movie, Me, Natalie (1969), Pacino has enjoyed diverse roles of appearances in the film industry.

Because of the House of Gucci, Pacino has been on the headline for some time. He might be in its sequel also expressed by Jared Leto. We all are familiar with Al Pacino appearing in some gangster movies but there are some high-class films that made him what he is today. As a big fan of Pacino, I have watched all his movies to date. Here are my 10 best Al Pacino movies of all time. Some of which you can find on Netflix also.

A list of 10 Essential and best Al Pacino Movies

  1. The Godfather Trilogy
The Godfather Al Pacino films
Image Source: IMDB

Godfather, which gave rise to Al Pacino along with other prominent actors set up a different tone for gangster movies. One of the best movies ever signed by Pacino. As per the all-time great hits, Godfather changed the history of cinema with its style, approach, and in many different ways. This 3-part saga made Pacino one of the most desirable and powerful actors of the directors, especially the Godfather 2 where we get Robert De Niro also. Both of them again appeared in another movie later named, Heat. 

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Based on the novel by Mario Puzo (Amazon), The Godfather is still running in theatres. Recently, it completes its 50th birthday. When Hollywood was finding some different works, The Godfather came as a surprise to the film audience. The movie introduces the mafia world where the head is Don Vito Corleone. Al Pacino plays the character of Michael, Vito’s son who ultimately inherited the power of his kingdom. 

With various accolades like Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay in the Oscar ceremony, The Godfather became one of the highest-grossing films for some time. Pacino received his first Academy Award nomination as the best supporting actor. The Godfather is one of the most influential films ever made in cinematic history.    

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  1. Scarface
Scarface AL Pacino movies
Image Source: Amazon Prime

In Scarface, we get Al Pacino with his most aggressive appearance as a gangster. Another masterpiece you can’t miss if you are checking the Al Pacino gangster movies list. Directed by Brian De Palma, Scarface became another symbolic film of Pacino’s life where he plays Tony Montana. I still remember when I was hungry for Al Pacino, it was on my priority list. 

After watching the movie, it is impossible to remove the hangover from yourself. Though the film didn’t receive any awards, it was a huge box-office success. Some notable directors appreciated the film. It explores 1980s Miami where Tony and his close friend build a drug empire. As a consequence, his ego, and foes increase, and the end is pathetic. 

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This is one of the best Al Pacino movies which is available on Amazon Prime as well as Netflix but on country-specific. Among his 10 best movies, Scarface is one of them.

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  1. Scent of a Woman
scent of a woman al pacino
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After giving some remarkable performances throughout his career, finally, it was time to receive an Oscar for his performance in Scent of a Woman. Before this movie, Pacino received 7 nominations. Can you imagine the worth of this performer? With positive critical reviews, the film was a huge box-office success. You will feel the overwhelming presence of Pacino throughout the movie as soon as appears on the screen. 

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This is also available on Amazon Prime. The movie explores a student who needs money. He looks after Frank, a retired blind Lt. Col. who has something else in mind for the thanksgiving weekend. With a marvelous storyline, the film ultimately gives a chance to an actor to express himself at his best. The film received nominations for best director, best picture, and best screenplay also.  

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  1. Carlito’s Way
carlito's way
Image Source: Mubi

Al Pacino again collaborated with Brain De Palma with Carlito’s Way. Here we get Sean Penn also, another tough performer in this film. Pacino plays Carlito Brigante, a recently prison-free person trying to lead a quiet life.

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Being a crime drama, it’s not like Scarface. Yet, it truly explores its authenticity. The film takes a turn when he involves in a drug deal. He didn’t receive any award nomination for the film but Sean Penn and Penelope Ann miller received the Golden Globe nominations. This is one of the underrated gangster movies by Al Pacino.

Carlito’s Way also became a cult film with positive critical reviews. With a lukewarm box-office success, the film paves a way for Pacino to work more in crime thriller films. His new look was appreciated by the audience. The 90s was a time for the experiment by Pacino when he worked on various crime dramas that might be missing from award shows but is worth watching. 

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  1. Serpico
serpico al pacino films
Image Source: Amazon

When you see that bullet coming from another side piercing the face, you will surely feel goosebumps by the scene. Pacino totally changed his appearance in Serpico from other movies. With a beard, long hair, and earrings, he portrays the character of Frank Serpico, a New York City detective with appropriate authenticity.

Directed by Sidney Lumet, it tells the story of an honest police officer who goes on to uncover the corruption in the system. Considered one of the early films of Al Pacino’s career, Serpico is one of the best films, especially in his young days. This is Al Pacino’s first cop movie. Among two 1973 Al Pacino movies, Serpico acts as a catalyst to give him a respected position in Hollywood.

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It was the golden period of Hollywood. Some movies are worth watching many times. Al Pacino has a great contribution to this era. His films are valuable wealth in cinematic history. We see his popularity rising between the 70s and 80s period. If you have really hungry of watching great movies, collect his movies mainly early 70s to early 90s. Then we don’t find much of his magic on the screen except very few. 

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  1. Dog Day Day Afternoon
Dog Day Afternoon al pacino best movies
Image Source: IMDB

Another Sidney Lumet-directed hit, Dog Day Afternoon is one such kind of film that follows Pacino’s passion through his character, Sonny. He plays a crook who goes on to rob a bank to pay for his lover’s operation. His aggression with frenzies reflects through the character what we ultimately get in Scarface. He received an Oscar nomination for his character but lost to Jack Nicholson. 

During this period, he was rigorously choosing some characters whom he made his a unique identity. The film was a huge box-office success with positive critical reviews. More interesting to know that the film is considered culturally and aesthetically significant by the Library of Congress. You can also find the movie in the National Film Registry list.

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It is truly an awesome piece of art that we get from experienced Sidney Lumet and young Al Pacino. And how can we forget about John Cazale? This film gave us a new solid pair between Al Pacino and John Cazale.  

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  1. …And Justice for All 
and justice for all al pacino young
Image Source: Amazon

Another high voltage performance from Pacino comes through this spectacular courtroom drama. If you have already watched Serpico, then you could find some relevance in this movie. Pacino plays an honest lawyer, Arthur Kirkland fighting against a corrupt system. This film is an amazing example of our dilemma. When we are in dilemma, we can’t choose a particular thing. 

Here Kirland is involved with protecting his innocent clients and on the other side, he is forced to defend a guilty judge. The question is about ethics. The film gave Pacino to show his spectacular performances through his character. He received an Oscar nomination for this film. It received a huge box-office success along with positive reviews. This Norman Jewison film entered the list of neo-noir dramas. 

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  1. Glengarry Glen Ross
glengarry glen ross
Image Source: IMDB

Though the 90s was not a great time for Pacino, he gave his finest performances through some awesome movies. One of them is Glengarry Glen Ross released in the early 90s. Filled with many prominent actors, this movie is an adaptation of David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Glengarry Glen Ross (Amazon). It depicts the lives of real estate salesmen and their desperation when they hear that two of the top salesmen will be fired within two weeks. 

Related – Al Pacino movies on Netflix

One interesting thing to add is that though Pacino received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for this film, he received the award for the best actor for the film, Scent of a Woman. Though the film was a box-office failure, it received a very positive response from the critics. It was also considered one of the best films in 1992.    

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  1. Dick Tracy
dick tracy
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When searching for gangster movies starring Al Pacino, Dick Tracy cannot be missed. He is a master of disguise. It would be difficult to find Pacino in Dick Tracy. When I was watching the film, I was literally stunned by his appearance. I couldn’t recognize him at first. Warren Beatty’s all in all colorful crime drama is a stylish adaptation of the comic book character Dick Tracy.

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Whether its effects, miniatures, or colorful dresses, Dick Tracy is an authentic piece of the comic book where detective Dick Tracy runs after to root out gangster boss Big Boy Caprice. 

Al Pacino gave a memorable performance as Big Boy Caprice for which he received an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor. With a huge box-office success, the film received 3 Academy Awards including Best Art Direction, Best Makeup, and Best Original Song. Especially for its visual portrayal, Dick Tracy is one of the noteworthy films in Al Pacino’s life.   

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  1. Scarecrow 
scarecrow
Image Source: Amazon

Rummaging through the Al Pacino movies list, many skip through an underrated movie which is Scarecrow starring Pacino and Gene Hackman. The combination of two masters set a level of watching experience. The story revolves around the relationship between two men and how they succeed in life. Though it didn’t receive a huge box-office success, it was critically reviewed well and won the Palme d’Or award at Cannes. 

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Later, the film achieved cult status. There was no response from Academy Award. It is one of the early Al Pacino films where we come to be accustomed to his worth in the Hollywood industry. And later, he proved that. Available now on Amazon Prime, this road movie is worth watching for any movie buff. 

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Currently, he is working on Amazon Prime’s big hit web series Hunters. Except for this, there are no recent movies of him. Today, various movies starring Al Pacino are available on Amazon Prime or Netflix. YouTube is another place where you can find Al Pacino movies for free. As if his birthday is approaching very near, it is a great time to rewatch those remarkable and best Al Pacino movies that paved the way for the Hollywood industry.

Though I skipped two significant movies by Al Pacino which are Heat opposite Robert De Niro and the 2002 release Insomnia, it is significant to watch those movies as well. As of now, there is not much solid information about Al Pacino’s upcoming films. But you may find him with Blink, The Humbling, Masterpiece, Where the White Man Runs Away, etc. 

Till then, you can watch the above mind-blowing movies for which Pacino won various accolades such as an Academy Award, two Tony Awards, and two Primetime Emmy Awards. This has made Pacino achieve the Triple Crown of Acting. His accolades include the AFI Life Achievement Award, Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the National Medal of Arts. If you are looking for Al Pacino movies on Netflix, then “The Irishman” is available everywhere around the world.

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Rabi Chatterjee

My love for films grew from the initial period of theatre life. Since then, I have become a big film-addicted person. After finishing almost over 4k movies in various languages, I see films as a remedy for the psychological well-being of a person. Watching movies, especially good movies is like experiencing life through someone else. Founder at Filmo Maniac

View all posts by Rabi Chatterjee →

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