Al pacino in The Godfather as the legendary Michael Corelone.

“You are out of order, the whole trial is out of order, they’re out of out of order” screams Arthur Kirkland in frustration in the court room during the climax of the movie “And justice for all” with the role of Arthur Kirkland forever being immortalized by the legendry Hollywood actor Al Pacino. There are very few actors currently around the world who have over the years enacted an array of roles so brilliantly on screen that they do not deserve to be termed as actors but as artists who bring to life their characters by transforming into the character and not play themselves as the character, and Al Pacino certainly does belong to this breed of the so called “Artists” which is sadly on the verge of extinction all around the world.

Al Pacino was born as Alfredo James Pacino (latter on popularly became known as Al Pacino) on the April 25th 1940 in East Harlem New York City to Italian American parents Rose and Salvatore Pacino. Unfortunately the marriage of Pacino’s parents did not have a happy ending and they divorced when Pacino was two years old. As a result of their divorce Rose along with the two year Pacino moved in with her parents Kate and James Gerardi who lived in South Bronx near the Bronx zoo in New York city. Due to the rough neighbourhood Pacino found himself living in he, very soon was under the patronage of bad influence. This resulted in him drinking and smoking marijuana at a tender age of thirteen.  Even at school he found himself fail in every subject apart from English in which he performed reasonably well. It was during this phase in his life that he was frustrated attending school and eventually, his frustration gave way and he decided to drop out of school at the age seventeen even, though his mother never approved of his dropping out from school so abruptly. Although the young Pacino did not complete his schooling it did not affect him as he had already realized that his passion was in acting. It was this burning passion for acting in Al that saw him act in basement plays in the city of New York.  This intense passion further led to him auditioning for the Actors Studio headed by the famed acting guru Lee Strasberg(coincidentally Strasberg latter on acted alongside his pupil Al Pacino in the movies Godfather part II and also the movie And justice for all) but, unfortunately he was rejected. As luck would have it as soon as he was rejected from the Actors Studio he was picked up by an acting teacher Charlie Laughton who happened to be the head of HB or Herbert Berghof Studio who as it turned out seemed to have a big impact in Pacino’s life as a mentor and a friend along with his grandfather and of course the great Lee Strasberg. Although he found an ideal place in HB studios to express himself as an actor it was still a testing time for Al and he often found him self jobless and homeless during this period. In fact there were times when he was forced to sleep on the street or spend the night at a friends place. Eventually his perseverance and passion for acting bore fruit when Al finally successfully auditioned for the Actor Studio after four fruitful years spent at HB studios and thus began his journey towards stardom as also a special bond between Lee Strasberg and Pacino was formed which in coming years helped Al to become the legend that he is considered today.

The performance of Al in the award winning play titled Does a tiger wear a neck tie for which he won his first Tony award (Prestigious award in America that rewards excellence in plays and is considered to be equivalent to the Oscars) brought him a lot of attention especially from big directors of Hollywood around that time like Francis Ford Coppola. Eventually the talent in him could no longer be overlooked and finally got a break in his film titled Me, and Natalie which was minor supporting part. Then came the major breakthrough for him in films when he got to play a heroin addict in love in the movie ‘A panic in the needle park’. The performance of Al as the heroin addict was highly intense and riveting so much so that Francis Ford Copolla who happened to watch his performance on the set was so impressed by his performance that he decided to cast him as Micahel Corleone in his next movie The Godfather which was the turning point in Al Pacino life. It was finally in 1972 that the Francis Ford Copolla directed masterpiece was released and was a huge commercial success and made Pacino an instant star. His portrayal as the cold blooded youngest son of an Italian mafia family Michael Corelone was nothing short of brilliant and stamped his mark on Hollywood as an highly intense actor. This brilliant portrayal as Micahel Corleone won him his first Oscar nomination in the best supporting actor category. The very next year he starred in another brilliant movie Serprico. In this movie he played role of real life honest undercover cop from New York. His portrayal as a cop who goes undercover to expose corruption within the department was outstanding and the stand out aspect really is the way he brings out the frustrations of his character with so much of ease. In 1974 he reprised the role of Michael Corleone in the sequel The Godfather Part II which once again proved that he is no ordinary actor but an artist who brings to life the character on screen just like a painter brings to life his picture on canvas and won him an Oscar nomination for the third time. According to Newsweek a weekly American magazine his performance was described as “Arguably cinema’s greatest portrayal of the hardening of the heart”  A year latter he acted in another path breaking movie Dog Day Afternoon in which he broke all stereotype and played an homosexual character who plans a bank robbery in order to finance his partner’s sex change operation. Another amazing performance enacted out with a lot of sensitivity and in director Sidney Lumet’s words “He took a a great risk by playing an homosexual especially when no star would volunteer to play the role”, yet again proving his versatility as an actor. In 1979 Pacino gave another outstanding performance in the intense court room drama And Justice For All as an idealistic lawyer. This performance only reaffirmed his greatness as an actor and also the fact that he was here to stay in Hollywood. Finally in 1992 he managed to win the best actor Oscar award in a royal performance as the blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade and his performance as the blind colonel was just unbelievable too good to be true. This performance truly proved to the world that Al Pacino has reached such heights that very few actors would be able to catch up with him.

Now at the ripe old age of seventy even though he is not quite active in movies he is still very active on stage with the latest play he enacted being The merchant of Venice. Thus as long as Al is living one would love to see him act in more movies and prove that acting is all about feeling the emotions from within which unfortunately in todays world not many actors are able to achieve.
“You are out of order, the whole trial is out of order, they’re out of out of order” screams Arthur Kirkland in frustration in the court room during the climax of the movie “And justice for all” with the role of Arthur Kirkland forever being immortalized by the legendry...