More or less ever since winning an Oscar for Best Actor in Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino has seen less than his fair share of top notch roles. Luckily though, that drought ends this week with David Gordon Green’s Manglehorn, which features Pacino doing easily his best work in a long time. As such, I wanted to rank his best work to date, covering both his newest film as well as some of his most exciting early roles. Obviously, someone like Pacino has more than ten great performances under his belt, but these are what make up my personal list. I hope you enjoy!
Here now are what I consider to be Pacino’s ten best works to date:
10. Glengarry Glen Ross – He doesn’t have the most iconic role of the lot, but he certainly makes the most of his screen time. Everyone here is uniformly great, so it’s hard for anyone in the cast not to have this film on a list of their best performances. Pacino is no exception, obviously. It may not be his flashiest part, but you admire his work all the same.
9. Scent of a Woman – His Oscar winning role is one that sometimes is not given its due, but I find it to be more than a solid performance. Sure, it’s loud, but that’s kind of the point, I think. This is a brash character and Pacino never once is frightened of potential caricature. Some bad habits developed here, but he’s still very good in the role. It’s hardly a crime that he won for this one.
8. Manglehorn – On Friday you can see Pacino be quietly heartbreaking in David Gordon Green’s latest experimentation. Getting to see the master dial it back in ways he hasn’t in just about decades is truly something to behold. He hinted a bit at this with The Humbling recently, but this performance really reminds you that he’s one of the greatest at the craft of acting who’ve ever lived.
7. …And Justice for All – Pacino is perhaps best known for uttering the now iconic line of “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! The whole trial is out of order!” in this film, but it’s an overall delight to watch Al in a court room. He doesn’t chew the scenery, but instead makes the legal system theatrical in an incredibly compelling way. A very underrated title.