Al Pacino

Al Pacino

Why Is He Famous?

Al Pacino’s roles in The Godfather (1972), Scarface (1983), Carlito’s Way (1993), Scent of a Woman (1992), Heat (1995), and 88 Minutes (2007) put him in a very select group: He’s an Oscar winner and one of our all-time favorite actors.


Alfredo Pacino was born to Salvatore and Rose Pacino in East Harlem on April 25, 1940. At the age of 2, he quickly learned the drama of married life when his parents divorced. Al and his mother moved to his grandparents’ house, where most of his days were spent entertaining his grandmother.

At 14, Al Pacino went to the High School of the Performing Arts, but his academic record was not good enough to keep him there. Given his new situation, Al spent the next several years working odd jobs ranging from mail deliverer to theater usher. Fed up with odd jobs, Al Pacino began taking acting lessons under drama coach Charles Laughton’s wing at the Herbert Berghof Studio, until he was finally accepted to the famed Actors Studio.

al pacino in the godfather
After a couple of off-Broadway productions, Al Pacino starred in Me, Natalie (1969) and The Panic in Needle Park (1971), in which he astounded critics. After his superb performance, Al Pacino was offered his most popular role to date — that of Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather. His performance earned him instant stardom and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He soon followed with strong performances in Serpico (1973) , The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel (1972), The Godfather: Part II (1974), and Dog Day Afternoon (1975). Plus, he garnered Best Actor nominations for his roles in Serpico, The Godfather: Part II and Dog Day Afternoon.

al pacino in scarface

After a brief two-year break from the limelight, Al Pacino starred as a race-car driver in the 1977 flick Bobby Deerfield. He received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture Actor – Drama, but lost to Richard Burton.

The early 1980s were a bit of a dry period for Al Pacino, however 1983’s Scarface put him back on the Hollywood map.The film grossed over $45 million at the box office, and Al Pacino was nominated for yet another Golden Globe. He’s been known to have said in interviews many years later that Scarface was his best work.

al pacino wins an oscar for scent of a woman

In typical Al Pacino style, he took a brief hiatus from film and set his sights on theater, but returned to the big screen in Sea of Love (1989) and garnered an Oscar nomination for his work as Big Boy Caprice in the box office hit Dick Tracy (1990). In 1991, Al Pacino starred in Frankie and Johnny with Michelle Pfeiffer, who also costarred with the actor in Scarface.

Al Pacino would finally win an Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of the depressed, blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Martin Brest’s Scent of a Woman (1992). That very year, he was also nominated for the Best Supporting Actor for Glengarry Glen Ross, making Al Pacino the first male actor to ever receive two acting nominations for two different movies in the same year and to win for the lead role (as did Jamie Foxx in 2004).

al pacino in the devil’s advocate and any given sunday

In 1995, Al Pacino starred in Michael Mann’s Heat, in which he and fellow movie icon Robert De Niro appeared onscreen together for the first time. Al Pacino then went on to land the role of Satan in The Devil’s Advocate (1997) and starred in Oliver Stone’s critically acclaimed Any Given Sunday (1999), playing a pro football coach. Three years later, Al Pacino worked on the movie Insomnia alongside Robin Williams and Hilary Swank.

al pacino in ocean’s thirteen

Al Pacino starred as lawyer Roy Cohn in the 2003 HBO miniseries of Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America. He followed that up with a role as Shylock in Michael Radford’s 2004 film The Merchant of Venice. On October 20, 2006, the American Film Institute named Al Pacino the recipient of the 35th AFI Life Achievement Award — a testament to the amount and quality of work this accomplished actor has accomplished. 2007 was also turned out to be a successful year for Al Pacino, as he appeared in Ocean’s Thirteen with George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, and Scott Caan.
al pacino in 88 minutes and righteous kill

Despite his brief hiatus’ from acting as a younger man, Al Pacino hasn’t slowed down at all since the mid-1980s. In 2007, he appeared in the movie 88 Minutes, and in 2008, he worked on the suspense thriller Righteous Kill, which brought him and Robert De Niro back together again on the big screen.