I did it. It took about two months and about 100 hours of movie-watching, but I have ranked every single Al Pacino movie simply by how much he yells in them. I tried to find shortcuts — trust me, I tried — but the problem is that Pacino’s third movie was The Godfather, which means he became a huge star right at the beginning of his career, thus making him the lead in most of his movies. As a result, I had to watch the majority of his movies from start to finish, which amounted to about 40 of the 55 films he’s appeared in.
How to count the screams also required some thought, as Pacino movie screams are not all equal. If I was going to be truly scientific about this, I had to account for the volume of the scream as well as how long it lasts. For volume, I developed a system where I could measure his screams on a scale from 1 to 10. The lowest screams — a 1 — would simply be his voice a little above a normal speaking volume, like how someone talks when talking over traffic. At the top of the scale — a 10 — is the highest possible scream that Pacino is capable of, as featured in a handful of his movies.
This, my friends, is the Pacino Scream-O-Meter, or, more simply, the Pacinometer, which features a sample line at every stage from 1 to 10. This guide is what I used to measure the volume of every single scream in Pacino movie history, which I then tracked in an Excel spreadsheet.
As for sustainability, I decided that any yelling that lasted for more than one sentence would be multiplied by five, so that it would properly account for the extended nature of the yelling. So if Pacino were to deliver an entire speech at a level 9 — as he does in Dick Tracy – then I’d count that as a 45. At the end of each movie, I totaled up the yells, giving each movie an objective “Pacinometer Score,” which determined where the movie fell in the ranking.
So, without any further ado, here it is, a highly scientific ranking of every single Al Pacino movie ever, determined only by how much Pacino screams in the movie. Enjoy! Or should I say, ENJOY.
55) We Are Not Animals (2013)
Pacinometer Score: N/A
Pacino has appeared in 55 motion pictures (not including documentaries), and while I managed to track down every other movie he’s been in — including two that required the purchase of rare DVDs — I had zero luck finding even a YouTube clip of No Somos Animales (as the movie was originally titled). All I know about this movie is that it’s an Argentinian film written by and starring John Cusack, and that Pacino makes an uncredited cameo appearance as a Hollywood agent. Given the fact that this is a mere cameo, the film may very well belong at the bottom of this list, but if anyone out there happens to find We Are Not Animals, please let me know immediately, as this list will be properly updated (as it will also be with the release of all future Al Pacino films until he dies or I die — whichever comes first).
54) Me, Natalie (1969)
Pacinometer Score: 0
Pacino’s first appearance on film was as an asshole who asks a girl he just met if she “puts out” as he dances with her. Given that he’s onscreen for less than a minute, it’s not surprising that the film falls at the bottom of the list, as Pacino never raises his voice enough to register on the Pacinometer.
53) The Pirates of Somalia (2017)
Pacinometer Score: 2
Pacino makes little more than a cameo in this film, playing a veteran journalist who mentors a young journalist trying to make a name for himself. With a soft-spoken manner and limited screen time, Pacino only raised his voice twice in the film, and both times it was very mild.
52) Stand Up Guys (2012)
Pacinometer Score: 3
Paired with Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin, Pacino plays an elderly ex-con in this old-guy heist movie. It’s a pleasant-if-forgettable action comedy, and Pacino’s character is surprisingly quiet, only raising his voice mildly three times. At one point though, the 71-year-old Pacino consumes some Viagra, then utters the line, “Mount Everest just moved into my pants,” to which I let out a scream of disgust that registered at about a 7.
51) Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood (2019)
Pacinometer Score: 6
Limited screen time is once again the culprit for Pacino’s low score in this recent Tarantino film. As producer Marvin Schwarz, Pacino never really raises his voice too much, except for when he first sees DiCaprio’s character — where he lets out a 2 on the Pacinometer — followed by a few minor 1’s during their conversation.
50) Two Bits (1995)
Pacinometer Score: 8
Two Bits is a boring-as-fuck movie where Pacino portrays a boring-as-fuck grandpa. I made the mistake of watching this one after dusk, fell asleep multiple times and had to rewatch scenes over and over again. Anyway, Pacino does a boring grandpa whisper throughout the whole boring film, but — along with a handful of 1’s — he does manage to register a 5 when he’s choking and dying at the end of the movie.
49) Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Pacinometer Score: 20
In this delightful romantic classic set around a Manhattan diner, we get mostly 1’s out of Pacino as he’s delivering lines over the diner’s kitchen noise. While Johnny is a fairly reserved character, he does orgasm at a 7 during the movie’s sex scene.
48) Misconduct (2016)
Pacinometer Score: 21
Immediately after watching this film, I forgot everything about it. I think it might be about lawyers or something, I don’t fucking know. Fortunately, I was keeping track of Pacino’s screams as I watched the film, and he did hit a 6 and a 7 as well as a few 1’s and 2’s on the Pacinometer. Outside of that, I honestly can’t tell you a single thing about this movie.
47) Danny Collins (2015)
Pacinometer Score: 32
In the horribly miscast Danny Collins, Al Pacino plays an aging rockstar, a role that I assume he took because there were no roles about aging New York cops available that week. Anyway, it’s a fairly quiet picture as far as Pacino movies go, with the occasional scene of Pacino shout-singing at a 5.
46) The Son of No One (2011)
Pacinometer Score: 38
Over the past decade or so, Pacino has appeared in a number of lousy films where he seems to be simply loaning out his fame for a day or two so that the filmmakers can say they’ve made an “Al Pacino Movie” when really, they’ve just made a shitty, formulaic cop movie in which Al Pacino spends five minutes onscreen. The Son of No One is one of these movies, and Pacino only appears on screen for maybe 10 minutes tops. To make up for his meager screen time though, Pacino does shout quite a bit, even hitting an 8 at one point. Here’s the trailer in Spanish, in part because this version shows the best example of Pacino’s yelling, and also because it makes the movie seem infinitely more exciting than it actually is.
45) Cruising (1980)
Pacinometer Score: 39
In this super-quiet cop drama, Pacino is an undercover officer pursuing a serial killer targeting gay men. Even when it came out, the movie was considered offensive due to its shady depiction of the gay community, so it’s not surprising that, 40 years later, the movie fares no better. As for the screams, there are only five in the entire picture — all of them count however, as each registers at a 6 or above.
44) The Godfather (1972)
Pacinometer Score: 43
After nearly 50 years of Pacino being a household name, it’s ironic that he is now known for his screaming, especially when you look at the role that made him famous to begin with. Unlike much of Pacino’s later work, Michael Corleone is quiet, thoughtful and reserved, which is why the three-hour epic — and probably Pacino’s best role — appears so low on this list. The only time he really gives a good shout is when his first wife, Apollonia, is about to be blown up, to which the future don lets out a full 10.
43) Hangman (2017)
Pacinometer Score: 47
If you watch Pacino’s eyes in this predictable-as-fuck cop drama, you can just feel the man’s boredom. So bored is he that he can barely let out more than a 2 or a 3 in his muddled Georgia accent.
42) Bobby Deerfield (1977)
Pacinometer Score: 50
“I’m not screaming,” Bobby Deerfield whispers to Lillian. “Why?” she asks, to which Bobby replies, “Because I don’t want to.” About 97 hours into my Pacinothon, this exchange seemed to speak directly to me, as I sat there with my spreadsheet ready to jot down every Pacino line where he raises his voice. In this particular film, Pacino plays a tight-lipped racecar driver, who finally does raise his voice a little toward the end of the film.
41) The Local Stigmatic (1990)
Pacinometer Score: 56
My sincere apologies to anyone reading this who happens to be British, but I regret to inform you that Pacino once did a British accent for an entire 53 minutes. While that may seem like a short runtime for a movie, it’s an unbearably long time to listen to Pacino’s calamitous cockney.
The thing about Pacino and accents is that, being that he grew up in the Bronx, he is really quite good at any accent that he absorbed within a 10-mile radius of that area. You tell me he’s a gangster from Little Italy? He’s great. A Brooklyn Jew? I buy it. He’s even okay at being a Puerto Rican (Carlito’s Way) and a Cuban, though he certainly hams up the latter in Scarface. But when you venture beyond those voices that are plentiful to the five boroughs, Pacino’s accents just fall apart, which is why his Southern accent — which he only seems to do when he’s really bored with a movie — is all over the place and this British accent is, well, bloody awful.
40) Insomnia (2002)
Pacinometer Score: 59
In the Christopher Nolan film that everyone forgets is a Christopher Nolan film, Pacino plays a cop (surprise!) hunting down a killer who turns out to be Robin Williams. There’s not a whole lot of yelling in this one but for the occasional “freeze” and other typical cop lines that Pacino has to deliver.
39) Manglehorn (2014)
Pacinometer Score: 63
Yet another one that couldn’t really hold my attention. I think he plays a locksmith in this one and he might be magical. I really don’t know. I did make sure to keep my radar up for any yelling though, and Pacino did occasionally raise his voice in this one, racking up a score of 63, composed mostly of some 1’s plus the occasional 7 or 8 when Pacino drops stuff and gets pissed off.
38) Righteous Kill (2008)
Pacinometer Score: 70
Ah, Righteous Kill, the movie that perfectly sums up everything that has been wrong with both Pacino’s and Robert De Niro’s careers for the past 20 years.
Dull and formulaic, Righteous Kill makes me wish that Pacino and De Niro did what Gene Hackman did and retire from the business rather than fuck up their legacy with these lazy, middling, bullshit films. Anyway, Pacino racks up a total of 70 points in this cop drama, and I honestly think I deserve a fucking commendation for sitting through this entire movie.
37) Donnie Brasco (1997)
Pacinometer Score: 79
Pacino’s “Lefty” is a fairly quiet criminal, but he does let out a nice level 6 shout when he receives a pet lion.
36) People I Know (2002)
Pacinometer Score: 83
Another movie where he’s inexplicably Southern, Pacino plays a good-ol’-boy press agent who shouts only occasionally, the best example of which is when he pukes at a 3.
35) Sea of Love (1989)
Pacinometer Score: 90
Can you guess what Pacino plays in this one? Yup, he’s once again a New York City cop! Fortunately, this movie is pretty good, in large part because the ever-lovable John Goodman is also in it. Pacino lets off a few good shouts, the very best of which is when he yells, “I’m everybody’s daddy!”
34) Revolution (1985)
Pacinometer Score: 101
Pacino can play many things, but he cannot play a soldier in the Revolutionary War.
33) The Humbling (2014)
Pacinometer Score: 104
With all due respect, I think Pacino has already humbled himself far too much by starring in way too many sub-standard motion pictures, of which 2014’s The Humbling is also one. No, Mr. Pacino, you no longer need to humble yourself. Instead, I recommend inflating your ego a bit and telling your agent that you’re far too good for the shit he’s been sending you (that, or, you know, read a fucking script first).
32) Gigli (2003)
Pacinometer Score: 114
Don’t worry, I didn’t actually watch Gigli all the way through. Instead, I just fast-forwarded to the Pacino scenes, of which there are very few. He does make up for lost time though and belts out a few good ones at Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez.
31) You Don’t Know Jack (2010)
Pacinometer Score: 118
The HBO biopic about Dr. Jack Kevorkian is a bit louder than what you’d expect from the fairly soft-spoken “Dr. Death,” but because there are several courtroom scenes, it’s louder than you might think. The best yell might be a sustained argument between Kevorkian and his sister, played by Brenda Vaccaro.
30) Ocean’s 13 (2007)
Pacinometer Score: 118
In this movie and a few others, I noticed that Pacino yelling can sometimes be contagious, in that some actors seem to feel compelled to out-yell Pacino. In Oceans 13, Elliott Gould catches the shouting syndrome, trying to bark down Pacino when he discovers that Pacino is screwing him over. For the most part, it seems that Gould does yell more in this movie, but Pacino still racks up a score of 118, which he impressively accomplishes with limited screen time.
29) Glengarry Glen Ross (1992)
Pacinometer Score: 127
Holy shit, I love this movie. Written by David Mamet, Glengarry Glen Ross is mostly about real estate agents yelling at each other, though surprisingly, Pacino isn’t even the biggest yeller of the bunch (that distinction probably goes to Jack Lemmon or Ed Harris). Still, Pacino does get some good ones in there, including “Fuck you, John!” at that slimeball Kevin Spacey.
28) City Hall (1996)
Pacinometer Score: 127
Pacino plays the mayor of New York City in this one, and while he’s fairly quiet, he does deliver some speeches that are delivered at a sustained 1, 2 or 3, which inflates this one a bit. Still, my mission wasn’t to justify or mitigate shouts, it was simply to measure them as scientifically as possible.
27) The Godfather Part II (1974)
Pacinometer Score: 144
Michael gets a little more pissed off in this one, which is no surprise — after all, his own brother betrayed the family. Still, he reserves most of the yelling for his wife, during the argument about her abortion.
26) Paterno (2018)
Pacinometer Score: 148
HBO offers a behind-the-scenes look at coach Joe Paterno during the Penn State scandal, where it’s revealed that Paterno was indeed totally indifferent to the multiple sexual assaults that went on right under his nose. Occasionally, he even delivers an impassioned mini-speech about just how much he doesn’t care.
25) 88 Minutes (2007)
Pacinometer Score: 154
For such a ham-handed, shitty action movie, the least you think the director could do is honor the film’s title and make the movie under 90 minutes, but no, it’s 108 minutes of a boring crime story. In this one, Pacino isn’t a cop, but he plays a forensic psychologist who acts like a cop, complete with the occasional cop-like shouting. God, this movie sucks.
24) The Panic in Needle Park (1971)
Pacinometer Score: 163
In his first starring role, Pacino plays an addict in a downward spiral. While it’s far from being one of his best movies, the movie does offer an almost prescient preview into Pacino’s later work, including his quirky, quiet side as well as opportunities for him to fly off the handle.
23) The Godfather Part III (1990)
Pacinometer Score: 167
This is probably the only list of Pacino movies that places the third Godfather above the other two. That’s because this sleepy installment of the Corleone saga needed some livening up via the occasional Pacino shout. The best of these is undoubtedly at the end, when Michael Corleone lets out an extended scream at the death of his daughter. Much of it is silent, but that still counts, as Pacino did scream here, and I wouldn’t want to undercut his efforts just because the director chose to silence those screams later.
22) The Merchant of Venice (2004)
Pacinometer Score: 178
I’m not always the best audience for Shakespeare, so I went into this movie fearing it would be a two-hour shout-fest in iambic pentameter. Fortunately, Pacino delivers a really great, nuanced performance as Shylock, including a great rendition of “Hath not a Jew,” delivered at an extended 7 on the Pacinometer.
21) Heat (1995)
Pacinometer Score: 178
While Heat is far from Pacino’s most shout-filled movie, I do believe it was instrumental in making his screams notorious. Not only does it contain some of his best yells ever — especially “She got a GREAT ASS!” — but his yells in this movie are just plain weird. While I like the movie and think Pacino delivers a fine performance, his shouts come out of nowhere: He’ll be delivering a line like normal, but then he’ll suddenly scream out the next sentence. Why did he make this choice? I really don’t know, but without it, I wonder if Pacino yells would be the legend they are today.
20) Simone (2002)
Pacinometer Score: 190
While “prescient” might be a good way to describe this movie about a digital actor, you could also describe it as “cheesy,” “corny” and “completely fucking asinine.” As for the shouts, there are a few here and there, but the most memorable one comes when Pacino is arrested for murdering the aforementioned digital actor, having become jealous of her fame after she won Best Actress twice at the same Oscars ceremony (I told you this movie was fucking stupid).
19) Two for the Money (2005)
Pacinometer Score: 196
There are plenty of okay screams in this forgettable movie, but when I watched Two for the Money, I have to admit that it confused the shit out of me. See, just before this, I watched The Devil’s Advocate, in which Pacino plays the devil disguised as a lawyer and Keanu Reeves plays a country lawyer brought to the big city by Pacino. In Two for the Money, Pacino plays a guy who runs a sports gambling firm who brings country boy Matthew McConaughey into the big city to join his firm. Naturally, I kept thinking that Pacino was going to turn into the devil again, which made this picture far more exciting than it actually is.
18) Scarecrow (1973)
Pacinometer Score: 202
While much of this exercise was a miserable slog through mediocre movies, there were some real bright spots in the journey as well. Not only did I get to experience Pacino movies that I should have seen already — like Serpico — I also got to watch good movies I’d never heard of, like Scarecrow. While not top-tier Pacino, Scarecrow is a sweet buddy movie with Pacino and Gene Hackman where they play a pair of wandering tramps. Hackman is the louder of the two, but Pacino delivers some really sad, cathartic screams when he gets some bad news at the end of the movie (I won’t ruin it for you, it’s worth seeing).
17) Author! Author! (1982)
Pacinometer Score: 205
Along with Bobby Deerfield, this was the only other Pacino movie not available digitally, so I had to spend $30 for a rare DVD on eBay. It’s really too bad because Author! Author! is a sweet, endearing movie about a playwright trying to keep his family together. As for the yelling, most of it comes via arguments with his estranged wife, which totals up to quite a bit once the movie is all over.
16) Chinese Coffee (2000)
Pacinometer Score: 258
Another case of dueling screamers, this time Pacino faces off against Jerry Orbach, who definitely shouts more than Pacino does. For Pacino, his best yell is when he tells Orbach, “Don’t fuck with my mind!”
15) Salomé (2013)
Pacinometer Score: 264
Pacino directed this one, a play that was put to film. As such, much of the lines are shouted instead of simply being delivered, which is why this movie is so high up on the list.
14) The Recruit (2003)
Pacinometer Score: 291
Easily my favorite part of this movie about CIA recruiting is when Pacino shouts “I’m obsolete! I’m irrelevant!” at the very end, probably because that’s pretty much how I feel about most of his roles after the 1990s.
13) Carlito’s Way (1993)
Pacinometer Score: 293
Of course, this movie would be better off had it hired an actual Puerto Rican actor for the role of Carlito, but I still fucking love when Pacino screams “Where’s my money!? I cut your fucking liver out!” (which is just one of dozens of great shouts in this movie).
12) Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Pacinometer Score: 293
Probably my personal favorite Pacino film, I expected this bank heist flick to be in the Top 10, especially since it’s where Pacino shouts “Attica! Attica!” and screams demands at police officers. But Sonny is a fantastically nuanced character, capable of screams, whines and everything in between.
11) Phil Spector (2013)
Pacinometer Score: 299
While I know that Spector is a real person, there is certainly a larger-than-life quality to that despicable man, which Pacino plays well in this HBO fictionalization of the court drama. This movie, as well as several others in the Top 10, end up ranking high because Pacino almost never speaks normally in the role. Instead, he shouts just about every line, which inflates the scores to new levels of insanity. In Phil Spector, there are a number of all-shouting scenes, including this one where he screams his head off at those who are doing a mock trial for him.
10) The Insider (1999)
Pacinometer Score: 305
Pacino plays a producer for 60 Minutes who gets undermined by CBS when they won’t air an interview exposing some of the evils about the tobacco industry. Throughout the movie, Pacino delivers a number of high-volume, self-important speeches, which is why an otherwise nuanced film ends up in the Top 10 of Pacino’s Screaming-est Movies.
9) Jack and Jill (2011)
Pacinometer Score: 340
While I wouldn’t consider myself a fan of Jack and Jill, I always love when an actor is willing to make fun of himself, which Pacino does in spades in this movie. In the otherwise abysmal Adam Sandler flick, Pacino plays himself in hilariously cartoonish fashion, delivering just about every line at shouting level and playing Bronx-style stickball in his swanky mansion. The most amazing, magical part of the movie, though, comes when he stars in a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial. If you somehow haven’t seen this yet, you truly owe it to yourself.
8) Scarface (1983)
Pacinometer Score: 464
It should be no surprise that Scarface would be one of the Top 10 movies for Pacino screams, since just about every iconic scene involves Tony Montana screaming or arguing in some regard. The most famous scream is, of course, “Say hello to my little friend!” But surprisingly, the delivery of that line only registers at a 5 in the system I created. So, while Montana does scream a lot, he still lets the guns do the talking.
7) The Irishman (2019)
Pacinometer Score: 515
Like Phil Spector, Jimmy Hoffa was a larger-than-life egomaniac, which is why Pacino’s rendition of him in the otherwise sleepy Scorsese film ranks so high. The absolute best yelling in the movie is when Hoffa refers to a roomful of his people as “you dumb motherfuckers” and rants about “that fucking cocksucker Kennedy!”
6) Serpico (1973)
Pacinometer Score: 532
Frank Serpico hates dirty cops. He hates dirty cops so much that his hatred has turned him into a ranting, raving, screaming psychopath who flies off the handle every chance he gets. It was because of these utterly epic outbursts that I halfway expected the 1973 cop drama to grab the top spot on this list, especially since it racked up more 10’s on the Pacinometer than any other film. But, perhaps because the movie is based on a true story, Pacino balances his performance with the quieter, quirkier side of the real New York City police detective, who Pacino met with in preparation for the role.
Even with dashes of subtlety, there’s no doubt that Serpico’s screams still border on the cartoonish, making the movie ripe for parody (as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia would illustrate). But even a goof on Serpico can’t quite capture the unhinged lunacy of Pacino’s first role as a police officer.
5) And Justice for All (1979)
Pacinometer Score: 546
Just check out the ending speech of And Justice for All and you’ll understand why this courtroom drama rakes in the screams. Much of it also takes place on the streets of Manhattan, which means many regular conversations are conducted at a near-shout.
4) The Devil’s Advocate (1997)
Pacinometer Score: 556
Before we find out he’s the devil, Pacino appears to be a prominent Manhattan lawyer who has to yell many of his lines over the city street noise. But when he reveals his true self, Pacino screams so much he literally bursts into flames, which probably means that it’s Pacino’s single greatest scream ever.
3) Any Given Sunday (1999)
Pacinometer Score: 622
This movie was a fucking nightmare to track. If you’ve never seen Any Given Sunday, I invite you to take a look at this poster from the movie, as no movie poster ever in the history of cinema better summarizes a film.
While the other actors are trying their damnedest to look super cool, a giant fucking Pacino head is screaming above them like some sort of crazed animal — that is Any Given Sunday.
In the movie, Pacino plays a football coach who spends most of his scenes shouting like a goddamn madman from the sidelines. It’s a role Pacino was born to play, as any other actor would likely have done permanent damage to their larynx. What was his best scream in the movie? Honestly, I don’t know — there are so goddamn many of them it would be like choosing the best blade of grass from someone’s lawn. It’s worth noting, though, that Pacino delivers several screaming locker room speeches in the movie and people seem to like this one the best:
2) Dick Tracy (1990)
Pacinometer Score: 665
I watched Any Given Sunday early in my Pacinobinge and it held the top spot for weeks, so I was shocked when a movie where Pacino merely plays a supporting role would clock in at a few points higher. The thing with Dick Tracy is that Pacino pretty much plays a cartoon character, so every line is delivered at some level of screaming madman. The only reason why this isn’t the number one movie is that Pacino doesn’t have more screen time. Unquestionably though, Pacino’s “Big Boy Caprice” is absolutely his loudest role ever.
1) Scent of a Woman (1992)
Pacinometer Score: 711
I know, I know, how the fuck can this be? How can Pacino’s Oscar-winning role as a blind man outrank a bank robber, a football coach, a comic book villain and about 600 police officer roles? Well, it’s a combination of factors that put Scent of a Woman on top. First of all, much of the movie is set in Manhattan, so again, there’s some inherent shouting just to communicate. Also, there are several impassioned speeches, particularly at the end, where Pacino delivers his “I’m just getting warmed up!” speech.
But Lt. Col. Frank Slade is also one of the quirkiest characters Pacino has ever played. With little outbursts of “Hoo-ah!,” “Heh!” and even “Yabba Dabba Doo!,” the shouts come out at a rapid-fire pace. Also, Frank Slade is almost always yelling at least a little bit due to what an obnoxious asshole he is, so that really put things over-the-top. What’s weird is that, while loud, obnoxious and utterly bizarre, his Lt. Col. Frank Slade is also an incredibly balanced performance, and it’s clear why Pacino snagged his overdue Oscar for it back in 1993.
This role pretty much sums up what has always made Pacino a truly great actor. While he may have made some real clunkers — particularly in the past two decades — when Pacino is given a script worthy of his talent, he makes bold, interesting and unpredictable choices. And more importantly, he goes loud as fuck as often as he can get away with.