Al Pacino: His 5 Most Iconic Roles

Al Pacino In a time when the box office is driven by special effects, super heroes, remakes and reboots, it€™s easy to forget when movie magic was predicated primarily on the power of a great performance over all other concerns. Each year the Oscars and other awards ceremonies try to remind us that there are still actors working today who are committed to mastering their craft, but arguably the golden age of the €œScreen Actor€ €“ rather than merely the €œHollywood Star€ €“ was in the 1970s, when a new-wave of unconventional male leads broke through, who had little interest in being magazine pin-ups, like their heroes Brando or Newman, yet who did share those pioneers€™ passions for honesty and integrity in characterisation. Few were more successful in this than legendary New York actor, and champion of the Lee Strasberg Method, Al Pacino, who can rightly consider himself one of the most celebrated and accomplished American leading men of the last fifty years. As Al Pacino celebrated his 73rd birthday last week, here€™s a timely reminder of five iconic screen moments in his career. With an actor so committed to variety, it€™s a list that might prove somewhat controversial in its omissions, of course, but that is all part what makes the legendary Al so compelling...

5. Lieutenant Vincent Hanna €“ Heat (1995)

Heat Although Pacino and De Niro had starred in €˜The Godfather: Part II€™ twenty years previously, the two Italian-American actors actually shared no screen time together, since De Niro€™s part of the movie was entirely in flashback. When it was announced that the two men would finally be seen playing against each other in Michael Mann€™s sleek, sinewy crime thriller, €˜Heat€™, critics and fans went into a frenzy of anticipation. Yet when the film was finally released, it still only featured one scene in which the actors really meet face-to-face, when cat and mouse, hunter and hunted, share an edgy, unrehearsed, coffee together. Despite this, it€™s a moment that has since become one of the most iconic face-offs in 1990s cinema €“ and the rest of the film isn€™t bad either. Pacino and De Niro would reunite again thirteen years later in the lacklustre, €˜Righteous Kill€™, but for sheer star magic, as two heavyweight actors go head-to-head in a knockout bout, €˜Heat€™ is a defining moment in Pacino€™s later career.
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Since studying Film and Art History at University, I’ve been an actor, movie stand-in and journalist. I have contributed to a number of media websites, worked on national daily newspapers, written fiction of all kinds and worked as a gravedigger.