Alfredo James Pacino was born in New York City on April 25, 1940. Pacino’s parents Salvatore and Rose divorced when he was young. His mother moved them into his grandparents’ house. Pacino found himself often repeating the plots and voices of characters he had seen in the movies, one of his favourite activities.
Bored and unmotivated in school, the young Al Pacino found a haven in school plays, and his interest soon blossomed into a full-time career. Pacino starred as Michael in The Godfather, an American gangster film that was released in 1972.
The film received wide critical acclaim, winning three Academy Awards. The performance propelled Pacino into Hollywood stardom. The following year, in 1973, he starred as the character Francis Lionel “Lion” Delbuchi inScarecrow, a film about the endearing partnership of an ex-con and a homeless man; and as Frank Serpico in Serpico, a film about real-life New York police officer who was betrayed by his fellow officers when he uncovered illegally activity within the department.
He made his feature film debut in 1969 in the film Me, Natalie in a minor supporting role, before playing the lead role in the 1971 drama The Panic in Needle Park. Pacino’s major breakthrough came in 1972 with the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
His other Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor were for Dick Tracy and Glengarry Glen Ross. In 1974, Pacino reunited with Coppola for the second part of the Godfather series, the Academy Award-winning The Godfather: Part II, again playing Michael.
A year later, he hit the big screen again, with Dog Day Afternoon, the story of a bank robbery that escalates into a hostage situation. In the 1980s, Pacino again achieved critical success on stage while appearing in David Mamet’s American Buffalo, for which Pacino was nominated for a Drama Desk Award.
Since 1990, Pacino’s stage work has included revivals of Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie, Oscar Wilde’s Salome and in 2005 Lyle Kessler’s Orphans.
He played a publicist in People I Know, a small film that received little attention despite Pacino’s well-received performance. Rarely taking a supporting role since his commercial breakthrough, he accepted a small part in the box office flop Gigli, in 2003, as a favor to director Martin Brest.
The Recruit, released in 2003, featured Pacino as a CIA recruiter and co-stars Colin Farrell, the film received mostly negative reviews,described by Pacino as something he “personally couldn’t follow”.
In Righteous Kill, Pacino and Robert De Niro co-star as New York detectives searching for a serial killer. The film was released to theatres on September 12, 2008. While it was an anticipated return for the two stars, it was not well received by critics.
Lou Lumenick of the New York Post gave Righteous Kill one star out of four, saying: “Al Pacino and Robert De Niro collect bloated paychecks with intent to bore in Righteous Kill, a slow-moving, ridiculous police thriller that would have been shipped straight to the remainder bin at Blockbuster if it starred anyone else.”
His romantic history includes a long-time romance with “Godfather” co-star Diane Keaton. With his intense and gritty performances, Pacino was an original in the acting profession.
His Method approach would become the process of many actors throughout time, and his unbeatable number of classic roles has already made him a legend among film buffs and all aspiring actors and directors.