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Best and worst Al Pacino movies

  • #9. Donnie Brasco (1997)

    Directed by Mike Newell

    - IMDb user rating: 7.8
    - Votes: 256,034
    - Metascore: 76
    - Runtime: 127 min

    Directed by Mike Newell, “Donnie Brasco” tells a fictionalized version of the experience of Joseph D. Pistone, an undercover FBI agent who infiltrated New York’s Bonanno crime family in the1970s under the alias Donnie Brasco. Pacino stars as Lefty, a real-life Cosa Nostra mobster who befriended and mentored the agent, played by Johnny Depp. The film was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay, and Pacino’s performance was praised.

  • #8. The Insider (1999)

    Directed by Michael Mann

    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 150,208
    - Metascore: 84
    - Runtime: 157 min

    “The Insider,” which tells the fictionalized story of a real-life whistleblower in the tobacco industry, was a rare example of a film that did poorly in terms of commercial success yet received exceptional reviews and critical praise across the board. Although it flopped at the box office, only earning $60.3 million of its $90 million budget, it received seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture. Pacino plays Lowell Bergman, the journalist who the story is based on.

  • #7. Carlito's Way (1993)

    Directed by Brian De Palma

    - IMDb user rating: 7.9
    - Votes: 186,185
    - Metascore: 65
    - Runtime: 144 min

    Directed by Brian De Palma—the same director who made “Scarface” with Pacino 10 years earlier—“Carlito’s Way” is a crime drama is about a convict who tries to go straight after getting out of prison but gets roped back into his old ways. Although Pacino received a David di Donatello award for Best Foreign Actor, the overall reception of the movie was fairly mixed. Some reviewers felt that it too closely resembled “Scarface,” while others criticized Pacino’s accent in the film.

  • #6. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

    Directed by Sidney Lumet

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 219,021
    - Metascore: 86
    - Runtime: 125 min

    “Dog Day Afternoon” is a 1975 crime drama based in part on a LIFE magazine story about a Brooklyn bank robbery. One of the more famous projects of his career, Pacino plays one of the main robbers, Sonny Wortzik, whom many people think is based on the real-life criminal John Wojtowicz. The hugely popular film was nominated for seven Golden Globes and six Oscars, winning the latter for Best Original Screenplay.

  • #5. Scent of a Woman (1992)

    Directed by Martin Brest

    - IMDb user rating: 8.0
    - Votes: 233,958
    - Metascore: 59
    - Runtime: 156 min

    In this 1992 film about New England prep school student Charlie Simms, Pacino plays the role of Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, a blind man who Simms is charged with caring for temporarily. It was a well-received, highly rated movie—the only one that Pacino has ever won an Oscar for. He nabbed the Academy Award for Best Actor, as well as a Golden Globe for the same category. The film also won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

  • #4. Heat (1995)

    Directed by Michael Mann

    - IMDb user rating: 8.2
    - Votes: 526,108
    - Metascore: 76
    - Runtime: 170 min

    Directed by Michael Mann, this 1995 crime drama is about a homicide detective charged with finding a group of bank robbers after a bloody holdup. Pacino plays detective Lt. Vincent Hanna, while Robert De Niro plays Neil McCauley, one of the key thieves. The movie was notable not only because it got good reviews but because it marked the first time that Pacino and De Niro performed scenes together on screen.

  • #3. Scarface (1983)

    Directed by Brian De Palma

    - IMDb user rating: 8.3
    - Votes: 668,598
    - Metascore: 65
    - Runtime: 170 min

    One of Pacino’s most iconic movies ever, “Scarface” tells the story of fictional drug lord Tony Montana, played by Pacino, who arrives in Miami as a Cuban refugee and claws his way to the top of a powerful cartel. It is the source of the famous line, “Say hello to my little friend,” which Pacino shouts before opening fire on a room full of adversaries. The movie was nominated for three Golden Globes.

  • #2. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

    Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

    - IMDb user rating: 9.0
    - Votes: 1,007,842
    - Metascore: 90
    - Runtime: 202 min

    “The Godfather: Part II” is the second installment in the series, and also the second-rated film in which Pacino reprises his role as mobster Michael Corleone. It was well-received, marking the first time a sequel ever won an Oscar for Best Picture. Roger Ebert praised the subtly of Pacino’s performance, which earned him an Oscar for Best Actor, saying he spent the film “suggesting everything, telling nothing.”

  • #1. The Godfather (1972)

    Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

    - IMDb user rating: 9.2
    - Votes: 1,449,453
    - Metascore: 100
    - Runtime: 175 min

    At the top of the list of the best Al Pacino movies is Francis Ford Coppola’s first installment of the infamous mobster trilogy—the first time Pacino played Michael Corleone, the role for which he’ll always be remembered. Many critics maintain to this day that the film, which has been called a “masterpiece, carved into the Mount Rushmore of film history,” was the best in the series. “Artfully constructed on every single level of production, epic and yet deeply personal, both of its time (the time it was made, and the time it is set) and utterly timeless,” IndieWire said of the movie. 

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