Some actors get better with age. Witness a couple of men on this list, Tom Selleck (January 7, 2010) and Paul Newman (May 17, 2009). They were stars as younger men, but acquired a certain world-weariness that made their later characters memorable. I mention this to say that I can’t see that happening with Al Pacino. I don’t think he’s nearly as sharp as in his younger years. But those years, those characters, those performances were so wonderful, he definitely has earned his place as a Great American Thing.
As an Italian-American from New York City, Pacino has had more than his share of gangster roles. And no one has ever done them better, and that’s a high compliment. But he’s also had movies where he’s been a policeman, detective, lawyer. Here’s a list of some of the excellent movies he’s made:
- The Godfather (1972 – Nomination)
- Serpico (1973 – Nomination)
- The Godfather Part II (1974 – Nomination)
- Dog Day Afternoon (1975 – Nomination)
- …And Justice for All (1979 – Nomination)
- Scarface (1983)
- Dick Tracy (1990 – Nomination)
- The Godfather Part III (1990 – Nomination)
- Glengarry Glen Ross (1992 – Nomination)
- Scent of a Woman (1992 – Academy Award)
- Carlito’s Way (1993)
- Donnie Brasco (1997)
In addition to these Academy Award nominations, Pacino has been honored many other times for his work. He has received three Golden Globe, two Emmy, and two Tony Awards. Entertainment Weekly named him the number 41 movie star of all time, and his performance in Dog Day Afternoon was voted by Premiere Magazine as the number 4 performance of all time, and his Sonny Corleone in Godfather Part II is number 20.