The Godfather himself turns 72 today, and in lieu of taking a knee and kissing the ring, I offer my picks for his Top 10 films along with my favourite scenes.
Now some on this list may not show up in most Al Pacino Top 10 lists, but each one of these always warrants a re-watch in my book. Ranking is too difficult (mostly because of The Godfather Trilogy), so here they are chronologically.
1) The Godfather – 1972
In real life Al Pacino’s relatives emigrated from Sicily to New York (just like mine did) so my infatuation with his mobster roles starts there. Let’s kick this off with Michael Corleone’s first major move before becoming The Don.
2) Serpico – 1973
Pacino’s first Acadamy Award nomination for Best Actor came from his portrayal of Frank Serpico, the corruption fighting New York City cop in the 60’s and 70’s. Here’s a compilation of the director and crew’s favourite scenes….definitely worth a download if you haven’t seen this one.
3) The Godfather Part II – 1974
The combination of Al Pacino and Robert De Niro (who won his first Academy Award in this film) makes this one of the best films of all time. The first sequel to ever win Best Picture explains the origins of the Corleone Family and glamorizes the growing of a criminal empire stretching from New York , Las Vegas, Havana, and Sicily. Even after dozens of viewings this climax scene always delivers.
4) Dog Day Afternoon – 1975
Pacino scooped up three best actor awards and nominations for his role in this bank robbery/hostage thriller flick.
5) Scarface – 1983
“All I got in this world is my balls and my word, and I don’t break them for no one.” Can’t really argue with that. Scarface movie posters can still be seen in college dorm rooms across the U.S.. Even 30 years later you’d be hard pressed to find a movie character tougher than Tony Montana. Now say hello to my LITTLE FRIEND!
6) Dick Tracy – 1990
This was the first Pacino film I saw, and I remember fighting with my mother to let me go see it when I was 8 because it was too violent. Don’t mess with Alphonse ‘Big Boy’ Caprice!
7) Glengarry Glen Ross – 1992
Every business school kid has seen (and over-quoted) this office drama. Pacino plays the company’s top closer – watch him work over a client in this classic monologue.
8) Scent of a Woman – 1992
My favourite outside of the Godfathers…HOOAH!
9) The Devil’s Advocate – 1997
Who else could really pull off playing the devil??
10) Two for The Money – 2005
My odd-ball pick. The gambler in me can’t help love Pacino’s slick gambling enthusiast character in this movie. Watch below as he psychoanalyzes people down on their luck while looking for gambling clients at a Gambler’s Anonymous meeting….nice.