25 April 2008

"Let meee introduce you to my leettle frind" Happy Birthday Al Pacino

Today is the 68th birthday of actor Al Pacino. Born in 1940 in Manhattan he has made over 40 films and won an Oscar, 4 Golden Globes, Tonys, 2 BAFTA, an Emmy and SAG awards (and countless nominations) so it's not just me that thinks he is one of the greatest living actors.

He made his feature debut in the little noticed Me, Natalie (1969) after appearing a number of times on stage (in which he is still quite prolific) but it wasn't until playing a heroin addict in The Panic in Needle Park (1971) that people really started to take notice. What catapulted him to super stardom was his role in The Godfather movies.
Having studied at the same stage school as Robert De Niro under method acting coach Lee Strasberg he is often compared to this other greatest living actor (his list will be on August 17, if I remember!) and they finally appeared together on screen in Michael Mann's excellent Heat (they both appeared in The Godfather II but never shared a scene).

The following list is my favourite roles of Pacino, from films which I have seen (I really must try and catch Glengarry Glenross, Serpico and Insomnia, amongst others). Having Al Pacino in a movie usually makes it worth watching (though I'll probably be giving Gigli a miss).

  1. Don Michael Corleone - Godfather trilogy
  2. Sonny - Dog Day Afternoon
  3. Tony Montana - Scarface
  4. Vincent Hanna - Heat
  5. Benjamin 'Lefty' Ruggiero - Donnie Brasco
  6. Carlito 'Charlie' Brigante - Carlito's Way
  7. Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade - Scent of a Woman
  8. John Milton - The Devil's Advocate
  9. Lowell Bergman - The Insider
  10. Bobby - The Panic at Needle Park
As well as those great parts he's also turned down a number of huge roles. Imagine him as Han Solo in Star Wars, Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas, Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, Captain Willard in Apocalypse Now, Paul Sheldon in Misery, Ted Kramer in Kramer Vs. Kramer and Edward Lewis in Pretty Woman.


Mary said...

IMO, Mr Pacino is incomparable. I had an obsession with Scarface for a couple of years after it first came out.

Some of his later performances were a little mannered, though. I’m thinking particularly of Scent of a Woman.

I highly recommend Glengarry Glen Ross, especially if you also like the work of David Mamet.

And THANK GOD he didn’t take that part in Star Wars! (Which I didn’t know about until reading it here. :))

Sandra Ree said...

Thanks for the list, I now know which movie I need to see of Pacino's, there are a few on there that I haven't caught yet. I like this actor. I also like your blog!

DeeDubya said...

Thanks Mary, really must see Glengarry Glen Ross (and yes Mamet is an excellent writer). I can't imagine Pacino as Han Solo either, one thins for sure he would have been more shouty!

And thanks for dropping by Sandra. Feel free to coment anytime or even suggest new lists.