These are the top 5 best Al Pacino movies according to film critics and movie fans alike. Any true movie fan will know that Al Pacino is one of the greatest actors in Hollywood who has worked with the likes of De Niro, James Caan, Diane Keaton, Michelle Pfeiffer, Cameron Diaz, director Martin Scorcese and even the late great Marlon Brando. Although he has only won one Academy Award for Best Actor his acting prowess and CV speaks for itself. All these movies listed below are entirely opinion based and they are not chosen by number of awards or by box office success.

  1. Scarface:

Directed by: Brian De Palma | Starring: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.

Synopsis: After getting a green card in exchange for assassinating a Cuban government official, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) stakes a claim on the drug trade in Miami. Viciously murdering anyone who stands in his way, Tony eventually becomes the biggest drug lord in the state, controlling nearly all the cocaine that comes through Miami. But increased pressure from the police, wars with Colombian drug cartels and his own drug-fuelled paranoia serve to fuel the flames of his eventual downfall.

Opinion: Possibly my favourite Al Pacino movie of all time. This film makes for a great shoot-em-up action that one can visit from time to time and never get bored of. With a few bad parts here and there making little to no sense at all it is still downright captivating, thrilling due to effective performances most importantly by Pacino! If rough and tough actions where little to no thought is required or you want to forget about real-life for a little while then this movie is for you. The first of many of Al’s brilliant, loud-mouthed “hoo-ha” performances.

  1. The Godfather:

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola | Starring: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, and Diane Keaton.

Synopsis: Widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time, this mob drama, based on Mario Puzo’s novel of the same name, focuses on the powerful Italian-American crime family of Don Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando). When the don’s youngest son, Michael (Al Pacino), reluctantly joins the Mafia, he becomes involved in the inevitable cycle of violence and betrayal. Although Michael tries to maintain a normal relationship with his wife, Kay (Diane Keaton), he is drawn deeper into the family business.

Opinion: Commanding performances by Brando and Pacino along with a strong supporting cast this incredible film (the first in The Godfather trilogy) is largely considered the greatest film of all time for all the right reasons from cinematography to the tone and mood. Although it may be long for some of you I guarantee your eyes will be glued to the screen as you watch and bare witness to the trials and tribulations of an aging Don and a young reluctant heir to the Corleone throne.

  1. Heat:

Directed by: Michael Mann | Starring: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Val Kilmer, Amy Brenneman, and Natalie Portman.

Synopsis: Master criminal Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro) is trying to control the rogue actions of one of his men, while also planning one last big heist before retiring. Meanwhile, Lieutenant Hanna (Al Pacino) attempts to track down McCauley as he deals with the chaos in his own life, including the infidelity of his wife (Diane Venora) and the mental health of his stepdaughter (Natalie Portman). McCauley and Hanna discover a mutual respect, even as they try to thwart each other’s plans.

Opinion: It may be an unpopular opinion placing this film so high among other ones but as a personal favourite along with some of my favourite actors/actresses in it I had no choice. This movie shows how cops and robbers aren’t so different after all and how one can admire the other and their craft. At nearly 3 hours long and jam packed with action and famed Hollywood shootouts this movie should keep you entertained as one man tries to outsmart the other.

  1. And Justice For All:

Directed by: Norman Jewison | Starring: Al Pacino, Christine Lahti, Jeffrey Tambor, and Jack Warden.

Synopsis: A satirical drama in which an idealistic lawyer who tries to win cases for clients trapped in a hypocritical and corrupt legal system finds himself defending a venal and self-righteous judge accused of rape. The judge wrongly assumes the lawyer’s ideals and disdain for the courts will drive him to get an acquittal, despite the evidence and the loathing they have for each other.

Opinion: I placed this at number four because after watching this film and understanding the plot it’s hard not to. With a lot of unnecessary parts here and there Pacino’s acting and tone remains consistent right throughout until the very crux of the film at the end. He has reluctantly agreed to defend a judge who has been accused of rape and assault of a young female. With new evidence landing in his lap from an old client which contradicts the judge’s supposed claims of innocence, Pacino battles morally whether to defend a guilty man or speak the truth and get disbarred never to practice law again.

  1. Serpico:

Directed by: Sidney Lumet | Starring: Al Pacino, Tony Roberts, Cornelia Sharpe, and Barbara Eda-Young.

Synopsis: Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) is an idealistic New York City cop who refuses to take bribes, unlike the rest of the force. His actions get Frank shunned by the other officers, and often placed in dangerous situations by his partners. When his superiors ignore Frank’s accusations of corruption, he decides to go public with the allegations. Although this causes the Knapp Commission to investigate his claims, Frank has also placed a target on himself. The film is based on a true story.

Opinion: One of Pacino’s subtler yet powerful performances this makes for a great film to watch when you spend a night in on the couch. With all corruption going on in todays police force this movie is as relevant today as the year it was made. Battling his values and beliefs Serpico is a gritty police expose film that shows the personal toll it takes on one man who tries to blow the lid on the crooked activities that surround him daily.

Honourable Mentions:

The Godfather part II

The Godfather part II

Scent of A Woman

Donnie Brasco

Dog Day Afternoon

Carlito’s Way

Any Given Sunday

And many more…