Alfredo James "Al" Pacino (born April 25, 1940) is an American film and stage actor and director. He is famous for playing mobsters, including Michael Corleone in The Godfather trilogy and Tony Montana in Scarface, though he has also appeared several times on the other side of the law — as a police officer, a detective and a lawyer.
Instantly on the scene is robbery and homicide detective Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), who is able to generate the skimpiest of leads due to the crime's nearly flawless execution. But instead of cranking up a premature cat-and-mouse scenario, film takes its time to elaborate on the characters' domestic lives and inner drives, to splendid effect.
I think anyone can identify with Tony. I really do. It’s the theme of aspiration, of desire. Dreams of making something of yourself. It’s the Robert Browning quote: “But a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?” Also, the rappers have kept the movie alive in pop culture. I give them a lot of the credit.
Pacino, though, is the one whose excess brings Scarface to a different level of praise as an instant cult classic. With a lisp-y, jaw-protruded Cuban accent (that I have been told is not particularly accurate), Pacino renders even the most dramatic scenes practically laughable. His wildly over-the-top monstrosity is so hotheaded it could very well fuel a battle between The Academy and The Razzies. He creates a character that is a liar, but with morals. Conniving, but with a sense of loyalty. His traits contradict one another so frequently that it should come as no surprise to the viewer that Montana becomes his own worst enemy.
But Lumet's film is also a study of a fascinating character: Sonny, the bank robber who takes charge, played by Al Pacino as a compulsive and most complex man. He's street-smart, he fought in Vietnam, he's running the stick-up in order to get money for his homosexual lover to have a sex-change operation. He's also married to a chubby and shrill woman with three kids, and he has a terrifically possessive mother (the Freudianism gets a little thick at times). Sonny isn't explained or analyzed -- just presented. He becomes one of the most interesting modern movie characters, ranking with Gene Hackman's eavesdropper in "The Conversation" and Jack Nicholson's Bobby Dupea in "Five Easy Pieces."
I'm beginning to feel like the cop he plays in Insomnia who loses his mind through lack of sleep and too much conscience. My pupils are getting bigger and bigger, and less and less discriminating. All I'm seeing is the guns, all I'm hearing is his screaming. His voice seems to get louder and louder in his later films. As Michael Corleone in The Godfather Part II, the movie that really made him, you could barely hear his voice. Pacino, so young and grave, did the "Method" - he didn't act so much as inhabit his characters. He expressed himself in the tiniest gestures. He showed ambiguity with consummate economy, saying one thing with his voice and something completely different with his eyes.
One of the jewels in the crown of the 70s cinema (as some describe it, the Golden Decade), The Godfather tells the story of the Corleone family. Itialian immigrants, caring people, and mafioso. From the first frame in which you see Marlon Brando's face lit from in front and above like a dark angel to the last frame of the last film in which Al Pacino's wineglass falls out of his hand as he slumps, the family gone and destroyed, The Godfather is the holy trinity of mob films. Every film after it has its influences in it, and, much like some people look towards the Star Wars trilogy for an answer to every question, many people do so for The Godfather.
But he should have seen Al Pacino, 72, shoot up from his dinner table in Central Park next to the Delacorte Theater on Monday night. He was being honored at Shakespeare in the Park’s 50th anniversary gala.“I got up here real fast before you stopped applauding,” he told the 900 guests sitting under the trees. With the brio of a young actor, he recalled the Public Theater’s acclaimed 2010 production of “The Merchant of Venice,” in which he played Shylock. He recited the “speak the speech trippingly on the tongue” line from “Hamlet,” too.
I come from the South Bronx--a true descendant of the melting pot. I grew up in a really mixed neighborhood; it was a very integrated life. There were certain tensions that usually had to do with one's income situation. Being an only child, I had difficulty with competition. I wasn't allowed out until I went to school at about six; that's when I started to integrate with other kids. I was very shy. It wasn't very pleasant going to school at that age and having the feeling that you might get beat up any day. I think a lot of kids suffer from that kind of tension. I didn't know how to protect myself very well, because I had never learned it. I didn't have brothers or sisters, so when I first went to school it was rough...
Oscar-winning director John Schlesinger envisioned a cast of Pacino, Julie Christie and Laurence Olivier for Marathon Man (1976). Pacino has said that the only actress he had ever wanted to work with was Christie, who he claimed was "the most poetic of actresses." Producer Robert Evans, who disparaged the vertically challenged Pacino as "The Midget" when Francis Ford Coppola wanted him for The Godfather (1972) and had thought of firing him during the early shooting of the now-classic film, vetoed Pacino for the lead. Instead, Evans insisted on the casting of the even shorter Dustin Hoffman! On her part, Christie -- who was notoriously finicky about accepting parts, even in prestigious, sure-fire material -- turned down the female lead, which was then taken by Marthe Keller (who, ironically, became Pacino's lover after co-starring with him in Bobby Deerfield (1977)). Of his dream cast, Schlesinger only got Olivier, who was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Pacino has yet to co-star with Christie.