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Al Pacino Filmography

Al Pacino Filmography

Al Pacino is a name synonymous with powerhouse performances and iconic roles. From gritty crime dramas to intense character studies, Pacino’s career has spanned over five decades, cementing his place as one of Hollywood’s greatest actors. In this article, we’ll explore the comprehensive Al Pacino filmography, highlighting his most memorable films in chronological order. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer, this journey through Pacino’s cinematic legacy is sure to entertain and inform.

Early Career Highlights in Al Pacino Filmography

The Panic in Needle Park (1971)


Synopsis: In this harrowing drama, Al Pacino stars as Bobby, a heroin addict living in New York City. The film delves into the lives of addicts in “Needle Park,” highlighting the destructive nature of addiction. Pacino’s raw and unflinching performance garnered critical acclaim and marked the beginning of his illustrious career.

The Godfather (1972)


Synopsis: Al Pacino’s portrayal of Michael Corleone in The Godfather is nothing short of legendary. The film follows Michael’s transformation from a reluctant family outsider to the ruthless head of the Corleone crime family. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola, this epic crime saga is considered one of the greatest films of all time.

Scarecrow (1973)


Synopsis: In this road movie, Al Pacino stars alongside Gene Hackman as Lion, a drifter with big dreams. The film explores the friendship between two men traveling across America. Pacino’s performance adds depth to this poignant tale of camaraderie and dreams deferred.

Serpico (1973)


Synopsis: In Serpico, Al Pacino plays Frank Serpico, an honest New York City cop who exposes corruption within the police force. Based on a true story, the film showcases Pacino’s ability to portray complex characters driven by a strong moral compass. His performance earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor.

The Godfather Series and More in Al Pacino Filmography

The Godfather Part II (1974)


Synopsis: Continuing the saga of the Corleone family, Al Pacino reprises his role as Michael Corleone. The film interweaves Michael’s story with that of his father, Vito Corleone, played by Robert De Niro. The Godfather Part II is widely regarded as one of the best sequels ever made, with Pacino delivering a masterful performance.

Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Synopsis: Al Pacino stars as Sonny Wortzik, a bank robber whose heist goes disastrously wrong. Based on a true story, the film explores themes of desperation and media sensationalism. Pacino’s portrayal of Sonny is both sympathetic and intense, earning him another Academy Award nomination.

Bobby Deerfield (1977)

Synopsis: In this romantic drama, Al Pacino plays Bobby Deerfield, a Formula One race car driver who falls in love with a terminally ill woman. The film delves into themes of love, loss, and redemption. Pacino’s performance adds depth to a character grappling with the fragility of life.

Legal Dramas and Controversial Roles in Al Pacino Filmography

…And Justice for All (1979)


Synopsis: Al Pacino plays Arthur Kirkland, an idealistic lawyer who battles a corrupt legal system. The film is notable for Pacino’s explosive courtroom scenes, where he famously declares, “You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order!” His performance is a scathing critique of legal injustice.

Cruising (1980)


Synopsis: In Cruising, Al Pacino portrays Steve Burns, an undercover cop investigating a series of murders in New York’s gay community. The film is a dark and controversial thriller that showcases Pacino’s ability to tackle challenging and provocative roles.

Author! Author! (1982)


Synopsis: In this comedy-drama, Pacino plays Ivan Travalian, a playwright juggling his chaotic personal life with his professional responsibilities. The film explores themes of family and creativity, with Pacino bringing warmth and humor to the role.

Scarface (1983)


Synopsis: Al Pacino’s role as Tony Montana in Scarface is iconic. The film follows Montana’s rise from a Cuban immigrant to a powerful drug lord in Miami. Known for its intense violence and memorable lines, Scarface has become a cult classic, with Pacino’s performance central to its enduring popularity.

Historical Dramas and Romantic Leads in Al Pacino Filmography

Revolution (1985)


Synopsis: Set during the American Revolutionary War, Al Pacino plays Tom Dobb, a fur trapper who reluctantly joins the fight for independence. The film explores the struggles and sacrifices of ordinary people during the war. Despite its historical setting, Pacino’s portrayal of Dobb is deeply human and relatable.

Sea of Love (1989)


Synopsis: In this crime thriller, Al Pacino stars as Frank Keller, a detective investigating a series of murders linked to personal ads. As he becomes romantically involved with a suspect, the line between personal and professional blurs. Pacino’s performance adds depth to a gripping and suspenseful narrative.

The Godfather Part III (1990)


Synopsis: In the final installment of the Corleone saga, Al Pacino returns as an aging Michael Corleone seeking redemption. The film explores themes of guilt, legacy, and the inescapable pull of the past. While not as acclaimed as its predecessors, Pacino’s performance remains compelling and nuanced.

1990s: Romantic Comedies and Salesmen in Al Pacino Filmography

Frankie and Johnny (1991)


Synopsis: Al Pacino stars opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in this romantic drama about two lonely individuals finding love. He plays Johnny, an ex-convict who works as a short-order cook and falls for Frankie, a waitress with a troubled past. Pacino’s chemistry with Pfeiffer and his heartfelt performance make this film a touching exploration of love and second chances.

Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)


Synopsis: In this adaptation of David Mamet’s play, Al Pacino plays Ricky Roma, a slick and manipulative real estate salesman. The film’s sharp dialogue and intense performances highlight the cutthroat world of sales. Pacino’s portrayal of Roma earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Scent of a Woman (1992)


Synopsis: Al Pacino delivers an Oscar-winning performance as Lt. Colonel Frank Slade, a blind, retired Army officer who takes a young student on a life-changing adventure. The film is a powerful exploration of friendship, redemption, and the importance of living life to the fullest. Pacino’s portrayal of Slade is both commanding and deeply moving.

Gritty Roles and Complex Characters in Al Pacino Filmography

Carlito’s Way (1993)


Synopsis: Reuniting with director Brian De Palma, Al Pacino stars as Carlito Brigante, a former drug dealer trying to go straight. The film follows Carlito’s struggle to escape his violent past and build a new life. Pacino’s performance is a blend of toughness and vulnerability, making Carlito one of his most memorable characters.

Heat (1995)


Synopsis: In this crime thriller, Al Pacino plays Lt. Vincent Hanna, a dedicated detective pursuing a professional thief played by Robert De Niro. The film is known for its intense action sequences and the electrifying dynamic between Pacino and De Niro. Pacino’s portrayal of Hanna is intense and driven, adding depth to the cat-and-mouse narrative.

City Hall (1996)


Synopsis: In this political drama, Al Pacino plays Mayor John Pappas, whose administration becomes embroiled in a scandal following a police shooting. The film explores themes of political corruption and personal integrity, with Pacino delivering a powerful performance as a conflicted leader.

Donnie Brasco (1997)


Synopsis: In this crime drama based on a true story, Al Pacino plays Lefty Ruggiero, an aging mobster who befriends an undercover FBI agent (Johnny Depp). The film explores themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the blurred lines between duty and friendship. Pacino’s performance is both understated and deeply affecting.

Dark Roles and Devilish Charm in Al Pacino Filmography

The Devil’s Advocate (1997)


Synopsis: Al Pacino stars as John Milton, a charismatic and diabolical lawyer who recruits a young attorney (Keanu Reeves) into his firm. The film blends legal drama with supernatural elements, with Pacino’s devilish charm making Milton a memorable villain. His performance is both chilling and captivating.

The Insider (1999)


Synopsis: In this gripping drama, Al Pacino plays Lowell Bergman, a 60 Minutes producer who supports a whistleblower (Russell Crowe) exposing the tobacco industry. The film highlights Pacino’s ability to deliver powerful, dialogue-driven performances and was critically acclaimed.

Any Given Sunday (1999)


Synopsis: Directed by Oliver Stone, Any Given Sunday stars Al Pacino as Tony D’Amato, the veteran coach of a struggling football team. The film explores the intense world of professional sports, with Pacino delivering a motivational speech that has become iconic. His performance captures the passion and pressure of coaching at the highest level.

Psychological Thrillers and Mentor Roles in Al Pacino Filmography

Insomnia (2002)


Synopsis: In this psychological thriller directed by Christopher Nolan, Al Pacino plays Will Dormer, a detective sent to a small Alaskan town to investigate a murder. The constant daylight and his own personal demons take a toll on Dormer’s psyche. Pacino’s portrayal of sleep-deprived disorientation and moral conflict is a compelling study in psychological decay.

The Recruit (2003)


Synopsis: In this spy thriller, Al Pacino plays Walter Burke, a veteran CIA officer who mentors a young recruit, played by Colin Farrell. The film is filled with tense action and psychological manipulation, with Pacino’s character adding layers of mystery and intrigue.

Gigli (2003)


Synopsis: In this romantic comedy, Pacino makes a cameo appearance as Starkman, a mob boss involved in the kidnapping plot central to the film. While Gigli was not well-received, Pacino’s brief performance added a touch of gravitas to the film.

The Merchant of Venice (2004)


Synopsis: In this adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, Al Pacino takes on the challenging role of Shylock, a Jewish moneylender in Venice. His portrayal is both nuanced and powerful, bringing depth and sympathy to a character often depicted as a villain. Pacino’s performance in this film showcases his ability to handle classical material with intensity and sensitivity.

Two for the Money (2005)


Synopsis: In this sports drama, Pacino plays Walter Abrams, a veteran sports handicapper who mentors a former college football star (Matthew McConaughey) in the high-stakes world of sports betting. The film explores themes of addiction and the price of success, with Pacino delivering a compelling performance.

88 Minutes (2007)


Synopsis: In this thriller, Pacino stars as Dr. Jack Gramm, a forensic psychologist who receives a death threat claiming he has only 88 minutes to live. The film is a tense race against time, with Pacino’s performance driving the suspenseful narrative.

Righteous Kill (2008)


Synopsis: Reuniting with Robert De Niro, Pacino plays Detective Turk, one half of a veteran detective duo investigating a series of vigilante killings. The film explores themes of justice and morality, with Pacino and De Niro’s on-screen chemistry adding depth to the crime drama.

Biographical Dramas and Later Career in Al Pacino Filmography

You Don’t Know Jack (2010)


Synopsis: In this biographical drama, Al Pacino stars as Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the controversial advocate for physician-assisted suicide. Pacino’s performance is deeply moving, capturing the complexities of a man who was both a compassionate caregiver and a polarizing figure. This role earned him an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor.

The Son of No One (2011)


Synopsis: In this crime thriller, Al Pacino plays Detective Charles Stanford, a seasoned cop overseeing a case involving a young officer (Channing Tatum) returning to his old neighborhood. The film explores themes of corruption and hidden secrets as the protagonist unravels a decades-old murder mystery.

Jack and Jill (2011)


Synopsis: In this comedy, Al Pacino plays a fictionalized version of himself, humorously obsessed with Jill (Adam Sandler), the twin sister of his friend Jack (also played by Sandler). The film showcases Pacino’s willingness to poke fun at his own persona, providing comic relief and a memorable cameo performance.

Stand Up Guys (2012)


Synopsis: Pacino stars alongside Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin in this crime-comedy about aging gangsters reuniting for one last night of fun before one of them faces a grim fate. Pacino’s character, Val, is recently released from prison, and the film balances humor with poignant reflections on friendship and mortality.

Phil Spector (2013)


Synopsis: In this HBO biographical drama, Pacino portrays the infamous music producer Phil Spector, focusing on his trial for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson. Helen Mirren co-stars as Spector’s defense attorney. Pacino’s portrayal highlights Spector’s eccentricity and complex personality, earning critical acclaim for his performance.

Manglehorn (2014)


Synopsis: Pacino plays A.J. Manglehorn, a lonely locksmith struggling with the regrets of his past. Directed by David Gordon Green, the film is a character study that delves into themes of redemption and human connection. Pacino’s subtle and introspective performance drives the narrative, making it a standout in his later career.

The Humbling (2014)


Synopsis: In this drama, Pacino stars as Simon Axler, an aging actor who experiences a mental breakdown and retreats to a quiet countryside house. There, he embarks on a turbulent relationship with a younger woman. The film explores themes of identity, age, and the blurred lines between reality and performance.

Danny Collins (2015)


Synopsis: Inspired by a true story, Pacino plays aging rock star Danny Collins, who discovers an undelivered letter written to him by John Lennon. This discovery prompts him to change his lifestyle and reconnect with his estranged family. Pacino’s charismatic and heartfelt performance brings depth to this feel-good drama.

Misconduct (2016)


Synopsis: In this legal thriller, Pacino plays a senior partner in a law firm embroiled in a case involving a young attorney (Josh Duhamel) and a corrupt pharmaceutical executive (Anthony Hopkins). The film weaves a complex tale of power, betrayal, and corporate intrigue.

Hangman (2017)


Synopsis: In this crime thriller, Pacino portrays Detective Ray Archer, who teams up with a criminal profiler (Karl Urban) to catch a serial killer using the children’s game Hangman as his modus operandi. The film is a suspenseful exploration of justice and obsession.

The Pirates of Somalia (2017)


Synopsis: Pacino plays Seymour Tolbin, a seasoned journalist mentoring a young, aspiring reporter (Evan Peters) who ventures to Somalia to cover the pirate phenomenon. The film is based on true events and highlights Pacino’s ability to bring gravitas to supporting roles.

Paterno (2018)


Synopsis: In this HBO biographical drama, Pacino stars as Joe Paterno, the legendary Penn State football coach embroiled in a child sex abuse scandal involving his assistant coach. The film examines Paterno’s legacy and moral complexities, with Pacino delivering a powerful and nuanced performance.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)


Synopsis: In Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Pacino makes a cameo as Marvin Schwarzs, a Hollywood agent who encourages the main character, Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), to revitalize his career by moving to Italy. Despite his brief appearance, Pacino adds depth and authenticity to the film’s nostalgic portrayal of 1960s Hollywood.

The Irishman (2019)


Synopsis: In Martin Scorsese’s epic saga of crime and betrayal, Pacino stars as the infamous union leader Jimmy Hoffa. His dynamic performance captures the flamboyant and fiery personality of Hoffa, offering a fascinating glimpse into his complicated relationships within the mob world. The film is a reflective look at aging criminals haunted by their violent pasts, with Pacino providing a powerful presence.

Final Thoughts


Exploring Al Pacino’s filmography is like flipping through the pages of a cinematic encyclopedia. Each role, whether in drama, comedy, or action, is imbued with his unmistakable charisma and depth. His career is a beacon for actors and filmmakers alike, illustrating the power of versatility and dedication to craft. For fans and cinephiles, Al Pacino’s body of work remains a profound source of inspiration and entertainment, making him truly one of the giants of the silver screen.

Mike Shelby
Mike Shelby

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