11 Best Al Pacino Movies (Ranked)

Al Pacino is one of the most iconic actors who never fails to impress moviegoers. In whatever movie he is in, he manages to move the audience. If you want to see just how good he is, here are the 11 best Al Pacino movies you should watch.

Get To Know Al Pacino

Get To Know Al Pacino

Talented actors have a way of embracing and embodying every character they play. Take Al Pacino as an example. But beyond his great acting chops, who is the man Al Pacino exactly? Al Pacino, whose full name is Alfredo James Pacino, has been active in showbiz for over 50 years. He was born on April 25, 1940, in New York City. His parents were from Sicily, Italy.

When Al was a young teenager, he developed a liking for acting. He got into the High School of Performing Arts. However, he dropped out at the age of 17 due to poor performance. He went on to enroll at Herbert Berghof Studio. He was also able to get into the Actors Studio.

One of his earliest acting jobs was for a play called Hello, Out There in 1963. Al Pacino appeared in a play entitled Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? in 1969. It can be considered one of his big breaks because he won a Tony Award. Another big break came through his role in 1971’s The Panic in Needle Park in 1971.

Francis Ford Coppola was in the process of casting for his movie adaptation of Mario Puzo’s The Godfather. He chose a young Al Pacino to play the role of Michael Corleone.

Al Pacino’s groundbreaking role in The Godfather would kickstart more iconic roles in the 1970s, including Scarecrow, Serpico, and Dog Day Afternoon. In 1983, Pacino starred in Tony Montana, which became another iconic role for him. In the same decade, he appeared in some movies that did poorly commercially and critically. He bounced back with the release of Sea Of Love in 1989.

In 1993, Al Pacino finally won an Academy Award for Lead Actor in his role in Scent Of A Woman, Throughout his career, he has won numerous accolades and critical acclaim. He has also dabbled in producing and directing as well. There is still no stopping this acting legend anytime soon. He continues to make more movies, so watch out for more Al Pacino!

1. The Panic In Needle Park (1971)

English 1h 50m IMDb
The Panic In Needle Park (1971)


Director: Jerry Schatzberg

Stars: Al Pacino, Kitty Winn, Alan Vint

If you want to see one of Al Pacino’s earliest works, then this is the movie you should check out. He plays Bobby, a heroin addict who falls in love with Helen. They both fall deeper into the addiction, leading their lives to fall apart.

Al Pacino and Kitty Winn deliver stellar performances. This was Al Pacino’s second film but he made his mark. This movie does not glamorize addiction. It is hard and real. While it might be a little outdated now, you can’t deny its relevance when it was first released.

2. The Godfather (1972)

English 2h 55m IMDb
The Godfather (1972)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan

The Godfather is one of the most celebrated films in history. It’s been 50 years since its release. However, it remains a well-loved classic. It’s no wonder it’s one of the greatest movies ever made.

The movie is based on Mario Puzo’s crime novel. Francis Ford Coppola delivered a fascinating albeit violent movie. The cinematography is beautiful and it perfectly fits the mood of the film. If you are a movie buff, this is one movie you should not miss.

Marlon Brandon leads the amazing cast. A young Al Pacino also made a great impression in the movie.

3. Serpico (1973)

English 2h 10m IMDb
Serpico (1973)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Stars: Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe

Serpico is based on a true story. Frank Serpico is a cop who fights corruption and refuses to fall into corrupt ways. Even when Frank’s life was in danger, he never wavered and stood his ground.

After his success with The Godfather, Al Pacino signed up for Serpico. And in this movie, he proves just how good of an actor he is. He might have been young when this came out, but it was evident just how prolific he was on screen as Frank Serpico.

Apart from the great acting, the movie also boasts great directing and cinematography.

4. The Godfather Part II (1974)

English 3h 22m IMDb
The Godfather Part II (1974)

Director: Francis Ford Coppola

Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall

Al Pacino reprises his role as Michael Corleone in the Godfather II. This movie is an amazing sequel to The Godfather. Francis Ford Coppola has, once again, directed a great film. You don’t have to worry about this sequel failing to live up to the first movie.

There are flashback scenes here, but it doesn’t take away from the movie’s flow. It even adds more depth to the storyline as it gives us a glimpse of the history of Italian immigration to the US in the 20th century.

5. The Merchant Of Venice (2004)

English 2h 11m IMDb
The Merchant Of Venice (2004)

Director: Michael Radford

Stars: Al Pacino, Joseph Fiennes, Lynn Collins

If you want to see a movie adaptation of a William Shakespeare play, then check out 2004’s The Merchant Of Venice. Al Pacino plays Shylock. And in true Al Pacino fashion, he was able to deliver and reveal the complexity of Shylock.

Apart from Al Pacino’s performance, Jeremy Irons as Antonio and Joseph Fiennes as Bassanio were superb in their roles.

This is a highly-produced adaptation that makes you feel like you are really watching the characters in Venice. It was able to portray the social injustices and prejudices that Shakespeare wrote about.

6. The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

English 2h 24m IMDb
The Devil’s Advocate (1997)

Director: Taylor Hackford

Stars: Keanu Reeves, Al Pacino, Charlize Theron

Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino star in 1997’s The Devil’s Advocate. This suspense movie centers on Kevin Lomax, a Florida lawyer, who moves to New York City to work for John Milton. Once he is in New York with his wife, Kevin succumbs to power, temptation, and everything in between.

Something is spellbinding and beguiling about this movie. Perhaps it’s the excellent acting of the movie’s main cast and how they are with each other. It is one movie that will captivate the audience until the end. And speaking of the ending, you might want to watch out for a twist!

7. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

English 2h 5m IMDb
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Director: Sidney Lumet

Stars: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen

Sidney Lumet directed this classic crime drama film that came out in 1975. Dog Day Afternoon is based on a true to life story. It was a reunion film of Lumet and Al Pacino.

Sonny, played by Al Pacino and Sal, his sidekick, planned to rob a bank, but things don’t go as planned. And apart from the mishap, things get even more interesting when it’s revealed that motive for robbery was for a sex reassignment surgery.

Everything about this film delivers – from the story, acting, and mood. Al Pacino and John Cazale play off each other well.

8. The Irishman (2019)

English 3h 29m IMDb
The Irishman (2019)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Stars: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci

Imagine a Martin Scorcese film starring Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, and Robert de Niro. Well, there’s no need to imagine because they are together in 2019’s The Irishman.

The Irishman is about a man who reminisces about the things he has done in the past, including working with a mob boss and a union leader. Scorcese has done a lot of mob movies. However, with this one, it is less flashy. It’s also slower, but the movie has depth and melancholia that draws you in. Don’t let the film’s length, about three and a half hours, drive you away from seeing it.

9. Scarface (1983)

English 2h 50m IMDb
Scarface (1983)

Director: Brian De Palma

Stars: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer

You might have heard of Tony Montana if you are a film buff. He is the main character in 1983’s Scarface. Al Pacino brought this classic and iconic character to life like no other! It’s up there as one of Pacino’s best works. If you have any doubts, just go watch the film!

Brian De Palma and Oliver Stone paired up to deliver this riveting and compelling movie. It is one of the best movies of its kind! It’s considered a classic and for good measure.

10. Carlito’s Way (1993)

English 2h 24m IMDb
Carlito’s Way (1993)

Director: Brian De Palma

Stars: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller

In the 1980s, Brian De Palma and Al Pacino teamed up for Scarface. In the 1990s, they reunited and gave us Carlito’s Way.

Al Pacino plays an ex-convict who plans to free himself from his old ways. However, life has other plans and he finds himself in a new set of trouble after getting caught in his lawyer’s (Sean Penn) mess.

This classic film gives us a realistic view of what goes on in a gang and the violence, corruption, and mayhem that goes with it. The ensemble cast, headed by Pacino, was excellent.

11. Danny Collins (2015)

English 1h 46m IMDb
Danny Collins (2015)

Director: Dan Fogelman

Stars: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner

Danny Collins (Al Pacino) is an ageing rock star who gets a new lifeline after receiving a letter from John Lennon sent four decades ago. This movie is based on the story of Steve Tilston. If you have a penchant for character-driven movies, go watch this movie. Al Pacino transforms into the character perfectly well. You can see another side of Pacino’s acting range here.

This movie is not just about an aging rockstar. It looks into how our struggles and how to overcome them.


No One Like Al Pacino

If you check out Al Pacino’s filmography, it screams L-E-G-E-N-D. And that is what he is. And if you want to see just how prolific his career as an actor is for over five decades, go through some of his films, including the 11 best Al Pacino movies.

Leave a Comment