Legendary actor Al Pacino, star of some of the greatest dramas in Hollywood history, turns 74 today, April 25. Pacino is one of the most acclaimed actors in the industry. Aside from being one of only 11 actors to get nominated for 2 Oscars in the same year, he has been nominated for 8 Oscars in all, winning in 1993 for Scent Of A Woman.
However, he has also been nominated for 16 Golden Globes for his work in films and beloved made for TV movies, of which he's won four times and received the honorary Cecil B. DeMille award. He's also been nominated for 3 Emmys and won 2 of those as well.
In honor of Al Pacino's long and illustrious career, and the resonating impact that career has had on film, here is a brief look at his five highest-rated films, according to their Rotten Tomatoes score…
#5. Glengarry Glen Ross
RT Score: 94%
In the brilliant Glengarry Glen Ross, adapted for the screen by David Mamet from his own play of the same name, Al Pacino plays Ricky Roma, the top seller at a real estate firm. It was the film he was also nominated for, alongside Scent Of A Woman, in 1993.
Pacino's nomination was the only Oscar nom the film received, but it is still widely regarded as one of the great American dramas. In an ensemble filled with actors like Ed Harris, Jack Lemon, Alec Baldwin, Alan Arkin and Kevin Spacey, Pacino still managed to shine without having to go overboard.
#4. The Insider
RT Score: 96%
In The Insider, Pacino plays a television news producer named Lowell Bergman who receives a mysterious whistle-blower package, sent by Russell Crowe, that blows the lid off a massive conspiracy by the tobacco industry. It's a powerful performance that Pacino brings a vulnerable but diligent energy to.
The film was also one of Crowe's most celebrated films, and even earned him a Best Acting nomination. Aside from that, it was also nominated in six other categories for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Editing and Best Sound.
#3. Dog Day Afternoon
RT Score: 97%
Dog Day Afternoon is one of Pacino's most beloved films. In it, Pacino plays Sonny, a first-time crook who robs a bank with his partners in crime Sal and Stevie. Things go wrong from the start, and quickly spiral out of control. Soon, the police are on the scene and it is revealed that the reason for the robbery is so that Sonny can pay for his lover's gender reassignment surgery. Things get worse and worse for the sympathetic criminals as the film progresses.
Dog Day Afternoon received six Oscar nominations, winning one for Best Original Screenplay. Pacino received his fourth nomination for the role of Sonny. It was also nominated for Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Best Director and Best Editing.
The film is also notable for being one of actor John Cazale's only films. Cazale, who plays Sonny's criminal partner Sal, only appeared five films before his untimely death from lung cancer. The films were The Godfather, The Conversation, The Godfather: Part II, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter. Every film John Cazale appeared in was nominated for Best Picture.
#2. The Godfather: Part II
RT Score: 99%
In this sequel to The Godfather, Pacino, playing Michael Corleone, the head of the Corleone crime family, is now in power and running the family with a brilliantly savage tactical mind. It's one of Pacino's most memorable roles, with some of the franchises most brilliant lines.
The Godfather is one of those rare sequels that many consider to be better than the first. And it would appear that the Oscars agree. Both films were nominated for 11 Oscars, however The Godfather: Part II won 6, while The Godfather won only 3.
#1. The Godfather
RT Score: 100%
Rotten Tomatoes, on the other hand, seems to contradict the Oscars. Winning by a slim margin, The Godfather is one of those rare films that has 100% on the popular review site. The consensus reads, "One of Hollywood's greatest critical and commercial successes, The Godfather gets everything right; not only did the movie transcend expectations, it established new benchmarks for American cinema." And it's hard to disagree.
The film follows Michael Corleone, the youngest and yet most responsible son of mafia kingpin Vito Corleone. Long ago he rejected his father's life and his family's illegal business, and became a Marine to fight in World War II, returning home a war hero. However, he slowly gets sucked back into the mob underworld as his father's life is put in jeopardy and his brothers become targets. Almost unwittingly, Michael becomes the new don.
It's one of Pacino's earliest roles and easily still one of his best. With his brilliantly nuanced and reserved performance, it's almost unbelievable that Pacino was only nominated, and not awarded, the Oscar for this role. He was beaten by Joel Grey for his role as the MC in Bob Fosse's Cabaret.
Despite not taking home Oscar gold for Pacino, the film won for Best Picture, Best Actor, for Marlon Brando's performance as Vito Corleone, and Best Adapted Screenplay, and is second place on the AFI Top 100, behind Citizen Kane, for a reason: It's simply one of the best movies ever made.