I like Al Pacino more than Robert De Niro

Make him and offer...
Make him and offer...

I recently filled out one of these circulating lists, asking me to mark each movie on the list I had seen. Apparently if you had seen more than 85 films, “you had no life.” Out of 243 on the list, I had seen… (wait for it)… 167 (or just shy of 2x no life).

I love movies. I am the guy that buys a dvd rather than rent. I’ve taken my collection and put it into a database so I can find movies more easily and to help prevent me from buying duplicates (which has sadly happened). Although, this probably falls more into the “Fred is a geek” category than “Fred loves movies.” (Hopefully the Harley counters it)

Anyway, the title here reflects something I’ve spent way too much time contemplating. When you ask most of my friends who their favorite actor is, the most common answer is either Al Pacino or Robert De Niro. Me? I have a hard time answering with just one. I’d most likely give a list of my top three — Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks, and Al Pacino.

Sometimes I change my mind about the placement on the list. If I happened to re-watch Forrest Gump, Tom Hanks might jump up a notch. If I saw Godfather II, De Niro rises. So the list constantly gels (lets not forget Morgan Freeman of course), but in all, the top 3 always seem to be Tom Hanks, Robert De Niro, and Al Pacino.

Yet, I digress. The bottom line here, is that after long and serious contemplation (well, as serious as arbitrary thought can provide), I’ve decided that simply, I like Al Pacino more than Robert De Niro.

Let me say this again… Robert De Niro is one of my favorite actors. Let’s face it, without De Niro, some of my favorite movies would just be horrible. Midnight Run proved De Niro could be funny (sure he was funny in others, but Midnight Run is just that good). In Raging Bull, there’s no way you can’t be awed by what the man brings to the screen. Godfather II? I mean, to take a Marlon Brando character and make it even better… wow. The list goes on, and we can talk for hours about De Niro’s performances… but in the end, I like Al Pacino more.

I’ve always joked that if I could ever make a movie, I’d want Al Pacino to give a speech. In my opinion, no one (and I mean no one) can top an Al Pacino speech. From the Scent of a Woman honor tirade to the pep talk in Any Given Sunday, from the funeral in City Hall to the end of The Devil’s Advocate, if there’s a speech in a movie, no one will deliver it better than Pacino.

Both De Niro and Pacino have range, sure… I mean what De Niro did in A Bronx Tale was fantastic, but to me… when you look at Donnie Brasco and The Godfather(s)… I mean wow. To go from Michael Corleone to Lefty? Forget about it.

So why do I like Pacino more? For a while, I didn’t. For many years I thought De Niro was simply the finest actor in the world. Then, as I grew older, I noticed that I re-watched Pacino moves more often than De Niro’s. From Serpico to Godfather to Donnie Brasco to Glengarry Glen Ross to you name it… I re-watch Al Pacino movies more than I re-watch De Niro films.

If you can watch a performance over and over again, there must be a reason. And to me, that reason is Mr. Al Pacino.


Fred Posner 2009-02-14 Reply

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P 2009-02-16 Reply

My wife and I were watching a movie, and I started doing Al Pacino speeches as Samuel L. Jackson, and Samuel L. Jackson speeches as Al Pacino. I couldn’t keep going because I was laughing so hard at myself. So now, I can’t see either without thinking of the other doing it. Everyone always talked about the amazingness of having Pacino and DeNiro together, but I think there is a glorious opportunity being missed for Pacino and Jackson to have a unnecessarily loud monologue-off. Wrapped up in gahbage bags! Yes they deserved to die! And I hope they burn in hale! He’s the ABSENTEE LAND LORD! I’ve had it with these motherfuckin’ snakes on this motherfuckin’ plane! It’s a fun little game.

Rick Pallisso 2009-02-17 Reply

Well stated, and I agree. De Niro is amazing, but Pacino just has something Bobby (as his friends call him) doesn’t. I’m surprised you didn’t mention two of Pacino’s great performances…..Sea of Love and Carlito’s Way….great flicks. Huuah!

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