Alfredo James “Al” Pacino is an American actor and filmmaker. In a career spanning over five decades, he has received several accolades, including an Academy Award, two Tony Awards, and two Primetime Emmy Awards, becoming one of the few performers to have received the Triple Crown of Acting. Profoundly inspirational Al Pacino quotes will challenge the way you think, and help guide you through any life experience.
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Famous Al Pacino Quotes
It’s easy to fool the eye but it’s hard to fool the heart. – Al Pacino
A lot of actors choose parts by the scripts, but I don’t trust reading the scripts that much. I try to get some friends together and read a script aloud. Sometimes I read scripts and record them and play them back to see if there’s a movie. It’s very evocative; it’s like a first cut because you hear ‘She walked to the door,’ and you visualize all these things. ‘She opens the door’ because you read the stage directions, too. – Al Pacino
My first language was shy. It’s only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness. – Al Pacino
Forget the career, do the work. If you feel what you are doing is on line and you’re going someplace and you have a vision and you stay with it, eventually things will happen. – Al Pacino
I’m so shy now I wear sunglasses everywhere I go. – Al Pacino
I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. – Al Pacino
All I am is what I’m going after. – Al Pacino
There’s no such thing as too far. You push everything as far as you can. You push and you push and you push until it starts pushing back. – Al Pacino
The literal, basic thing of the stage is really like a magnet. It brings me back to earth. – Al Pacino
There was a time in my life when being dishonest with women was the natural way to be. I finally said, Hey, I have to stop this silliness. – Al Pacino
Be careful how you judge people, most of all friends. You don’t sum up a man’s life in one moment. – Al Pacino
Vanity is my favorite sin. – Al Pacino
Either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals. – Al Pacino
Sometimes it’s better to be with the devil you know than the angel you didn’t know. – Al Pacino
I’m much more a European Italian than I am an American Italian, and I’ve always felt that that style of acting comedy is in me. I put comedy as much as I can into all my movies, if I can help it. – Al Pacino
Look, but don’t touch. Touch, but don’t taste. Taste, but don’t swallow. – Al Pacino
Money makes your life easier. If you’re lucky to have it, you’re lucky. – Al Pacino
Without coffee something’s missing – Al Pacino
It’s not personal, it’s strictly business. – Al Pacino
When my mother got home from work, she would take me to the movies. It was her way of getting out, and she would take me with her. I’d go home and act all the parts. It had a tremendous influence on my becoming an actor. – Al Pacino
It’s never really that much fun for me to do movies anyway, because you – you know, you have to get up very early in the morning and you have to go in and you spend a lot of time waiting around. – Al Pacino
When I was a younger actor, I would try to keep it serious all day. But I have found, later on, that the lighter I am about things when I’m going to do a big scene that’s dramatic and takes a lot out of you, the better off I am when I come to it. – Al Pacino
My movies are always being played on television, I’m very well-known and all that stuff – I go all over the world, I have access to many things, many people, many places and it’s wonderful. But now I’m at a point where…I thought it was time to show some of it, to show some of my feelings about things and what I preferred at the time. I prefer them still but not to the extent I did at the time. – Al Pacino
The hardest thing about being famous is that people are always nice to you. You’re in a conversation and everybody’s agreeing with what you’re saying – even if you say something totally crazy. You need people who can tell you what you don’t want to hear. – Al Pacino
Women have always had equal importance onstage and working with them must have altered my sensibilities. I’ve never felt sensitive to the whole issue, because being macho has never been a problem with me. – Al Pacino
Drinking and smoking grass were a part of my life as far back as I can remember. – Al Pacino
I haven’t encouraged [Julia Marie Pacino] or discouraged her. I let her go her own way. I did say to her that I thought that she had a real gift, and it’s a good idea to know that. It’s always good to go with your gift. – Al Pacino
My early career was a real rush of movies and stardom – it was almost overwhelming. – Al Pacino
If you get all tangled up, just tango on. – Al Pacino
Deep Al Pacino Quotes About Life and Love
We live in a world where the more you’re working, the more things you do. It’s a workaday world. – Al Pacino
You never open your mouth until you know what the shot is. – Al Pacino
The truth is, you know, we need our anodynes. You know that word, anodynes? We need that in life sometimes. A good warm bath can be one for you, or a whatever. – Al Pacino
I believe in one day at a time; you’ve got TODAY, that’s what you’ve got. – Al Pacino
You need some insecurity if you’re an actor. It keeps the pot boiling. I haven’t yet started to think about retiring. I was shocked when I heard about Paul Newman retiring at age 82. Most actors just fade away like old soldiers. – Al Pacino
The problem with me is, I guess, the way I express myself, you have to be with me 50 years before you can get a sense of what I’m talking about. – Al Pacino
I don’t like what’s going on in Iraq, naturally. I’m part of a large majority of people who don’t, but I do not know the whole story. I do not believe what I see on television. I believe a percentage of it, so it’s hard for me to discern. I don’t like what it’s doing to the world. – Al Pacino
If something is working, don’t fix it. Keep going. Go with the glow. – Al Pacino
When I was doing ‘Scarface,’ I remember being in love at that time. One of the few times in my life. And I was so glad it was at that time. I would come home and she would tell me about her life that day and all her problems and I remember saying to her, look, you really got me through this picture because I would shed everything when I came home. – Al Pacino
Being the actors of the craft, the trade, one of the big things you do and you learn is about repeating. There is something to the repeats. I think that is part of what is healthy to young actors. Get out and learn something just through doing that, repeating. – Al Pacino
I’ve never cared for guns. In fact, when I did ‘Scent of a Woman’ I had to learn how to assemble one. – Al Pacino
It turned out that time doesn’t heal the wound , but in its so merciful way , blunts the edges ever so slightly – Al Pacino
You’ll never be alone if you’ve got a book. – Al Pacino
If I find something and feel as though I can contribute to [it] in a way and feel I’m in it, whatever that means, I’m expressing something that I feel is a way to exercise my talent and help communicate a role as a human being in a movie, I will do that. – Al Pacino
There is only one way of surviving all the early heartbreaks in this business. You must have a sense of humor. And I think it also helps if you are a dreamer. I had my dreams all right. And that is something no one can ever take away. They cost nothing, and they can be as real as you like to make them. You own your dreams and they are priceless. I’ve been a lavatory attendant, a theatre usher, a panhandler, all for real. Now, as an actor, I can be a journalist today and a brain surgeon tomorrow. That’s the stuff my dreams are made of. – Al Pacino
I didn’t go for the needle at all. I never cared for drugs, because I saw what they did to most people. I thought that was the end of the road. – Al Pacino
I wanted to be a baseball player, naturally, but I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t know what I was going to do with my life. I just had a kind of energy, I was a fairly happy kid. – Al Pacino
In America most everybody who’s Italian is half Italian. Except me. I’m all Italian. I’m mostly Sicilian, and I have a little bit of Neapolitan in me. You get your full dose with me. – Al Pacino
I want to be interesting in an interview just as much as I want to do well in a part. – Al Pacino
Any project that I find encouraging that isn’t attached to a studio, I can go to them, which I definitely would. You have to take an interest in what you do. – Al Pacino
I had these little babies [my twins] and it gave me something so spectacular, such a feeling – I was so turned on and so excited by them that I wrote a poem. I had it on scraps of paper and the maid threw it out. – Al Pacino
Freedom, baby, is never having to say you’re sorry. – Al Pacino
The thing is doing it, that’s what it’s all about. Not in the results of it. After all what is a risk? It’s a risk not to take risks. Otherwise, you can go stale and repeat yourself. I don’t feel like a person who takes risks. Yet there’s something within me that must provoke controversy because I find it wherever I go. Anybody who cares about what he does takes risks. – Al Pacino
I don’t regret anything. I feel like I’ve made what I would call mistakes. I picked the wrong movie, or I didn’t pursue a character, but everything you do is part of you, and you get something from it. – Al Pacino
Acting is hard work. At times, it’s very energizing and enervating. It’s childish. It’s also responsible. It’s illuminating, enriching, joyful, drab. It’s bizarre, diabolical. It’s exciting. – Al Pacino
Take a look at Israel’s history and you would know who the terrorist is. – Al Pacino
There has been a lot of self-doubt and unwelcome events in my life. – Al Pacino
The actor becomes an emotional athlete. The process is painful – my personal life suffers. – Al Pacino
Pretty soon I’ll start worrying about [my fame] because [my children] carry my name and they have that exposure. The whole thing is, they never asked for it, that kingdom. – Al Pacino
I’ve always been in the theater. I’ve always gone to it. That’s been my way to cope. Early on in my career, I remember running – fleeing – to the theater as a way of coping with all the meshugaas that was going on for me. – Al Pacino
It surprised me, the feeling I got when I won the Oscar for ‘Scent of a Woman.’ It was a new feeling. I’d never felt it. I don’t see my Oscar much now. But when I first got it, there was a feeling for weeks afterward that I guess is akin to winning a gold medal in the Olympics. – Al Pacino
Playing a character is an illusion, and I feel that when you know too much about a person, possibly part of that illusion is disrupted. – Al Pacino
You take a guy like George Clooney who goes out there to Darfur, and gets things done! That’s magical. He’s done a great thing. – Al Pacino
My dad was in the army. World War II. He got his college education from the army. After World War II he became an insurance salesman. Really, I didn’t know my dad very well. He and my mother split up after the war. I was raised by my maternal grandmother and grandfather, and by my mother. – Al Pacino
If you have the opportunity to meet someone as an actor, it’s just great fodder for you. It’s wonderful source stuff that we die for. – Al Pacino
I understand the directors much more. I was always rebelling against them when I was a youngster, I didn’t want to be told what to do. I had no identification. – Al Pacino
My weaknesses… I wish I could come up with something. I’d probably have the same pause if you asked me what my strengths are. Maybe they’re the same thing. – Al Pacino
I’ve often said there’s two kinds of actors. There’s a more gregarious type and the shy type. – Al Pacino
The camera can film my face but until it captures my soul, you don’t have a movie. – Al Pacino
I found that speaking live to people, young people, about what I liked and what had been happening to me was very good for me. I was quite overtaken by success and fame. I was one of those types who responded to it in a negative way. It was not easy. – Al Pacino
To be really obvious about something, if somebody straps an M1 on your shoulder and throws you in Iraq, you’re going to get a sense of what the hell’s going on there. Boy, you’ll wake up fast when bullets are flying over your head. – Al Pacino
What’s this thing that gets between us and Shakespeare? – Al Pacino
I like women who can cook. That’s first. Love is very important, but you’ve got to have a friend first – you want to finally come to a point where you say that the women, you’re with is also your friend. – Al Pacino
Did you know I started out as a stand-up comic? People don’t believe me when I tell them. That’s how I saw myself, in comedy. – Al Pacino
There are many things my father taught me here in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. – Al Pacino
The physical stamina [in Revolution]. I was just shocked by it. I didn’t think I had it in me ever, and I wasn’t terribly young when I did it. I was in my early forties. That was the first thing I was struck by, not by the acting, not by anything else, but by the physicality. – Al Pacino
Famous Al Pacino Lines
The thing that can get you a little upset is when people say other people are better than you. That can bug you. – Al Pacino
Whether he’s doing great acting or not, you’re seeing somebody who is in the tradition of a great actor. What he does with it, that’s something else, but he’s got it all. The talent, the instrument is there, that’s why he has endured. – Al Pacino
My best advice to any young person is, if you want kids, be careful who you have them with. That’s my mantra. – Al Pacino
I am more alive in the theater than anywhere else, but what I take into the theater I get from the streets. – Al Pacino
I’m an actor, and everything about me – the way I perceive things, the way I have seen the world – has been in relation to characters and how I would want to play something or not play it. – Al Pacino
I never saw myself as a director. It’s certainly a second language but making movies for 40 years, you pick stuff up. However, this style of making movies, this documentary style, is easier for me because I gather a lot of material and with an editor, write it on screen. You try to write based on what you shot. – Al Pacino
The difference between the actor and the painter is that the actor would buy somebody a knish in order to have them watch him act. – Al Pacino
Actors are always outsiders. It’s necessary to be able to interpret – and that gets distorted when you become famous. – Al Pacino
I found out how temperamental I am, yes. And that sometimes that can be kind of off-putting. – Al Pacino
sometimes it’s better to be with the devil u know than the angel u didn’t know. – Al Pacino
They say we die twice – once when the last breath leaves our body and once when the last person, we know says our name. – Al Pacino
I destroy the painting as soon as I can see what it is. When I can make out something in it, I destroy it because it’s no longer coming from my unconscious. – Al Pacino
I once asked my oldest daughter [Julia Marie] if she thought about changing her name in school and she said, No, I’m a Pacino. That’s my name. I just wondered how it would feel, how people would treat her, but she’s adjusted so marvelously. – Al Pacino
You don’t get to know anybody in a movie until after it’s over. You work less together in a film than you do onstage. – Al Pacino
People are always asking me to do Shakespeare – at home, at colleges, on film locations, in restaurants. It’s like playing a piece of music, getting all the notes. It’s great therapy. – Al Pacino
I’m an actor, not a star. Stars are people who live in Hollywood and have heart-shaped swimming pools. – Al Pacino
Larry Grobel has the illness of all writers; he can’t help himself. You’re talking to him and all of a sudden, you say, He’s puttin’ that in his cash register! – Al Pacino
I don’t talk politics and I don’t talk philosophy or anything like that, but if you look at my work, you might get an expression of me as a person. – Al Pacino
There is no happiness. There is only concentration. – Al Pacino
After looking at Salomaybe, I don’t know who the hell the real me is. I think it’s closest now to the real me because for one thing, I’m used to this. – Al Pacino
I was watching Revolution, and the things I did in that picture, holy smokes! I can’t believe I did that, it’s like another person. It’s the thought of it, it’s just appalling to me. – Al Pacino
I’m not a violent person, never was, but I have this temperament that I’ve always displayed. I guess it has to do with my tradition and being Italian, we’re very outgoing with our emotions. – Al Pacino
Man is a little bit better than his reputation, and a little bit worse – Al Pacino
I was playing a part of someone dealing dope on a street corner – and there was a guy actually dealing heroin right there. I looked at him, he looked at me, and I got real confused. – Al Pacino
The play is the source, it is orchestrated with words. In a movie, you are not dealing with as much as that. There are machines and wires. When you’re acting for a camera, it keeps taking and never giving back. – Al Pacino
It was a compromise. There was a sense that I could write my own memoirs, and Larry [Grobel] would help me down the line, or maybe not, maybe he was too close to me. – Al Pacino
I like, for instance, ‘Serpico.’ I enjoyed playing Serpico because Frank Serpico was there. He existed. He was a real life person and I could – I could embody him. I could, you know, I could work and get to know him and have him help me with the text, the script and become him. It’s almost like a painter having a model to become. – Al Pacino
When you do these things, you sort of take the journey. The journey is all about how I can interweave the Oscar Wilde story, the story of Salome, the play itself and what it is, what it contains, and my journey as an actor, as a director, as a filmmaker, as a person struggling with whatever I’m struggling with – my own celebrity, my own life. This is semi-autobiographical in terms of my commitment to this kind of thing. – Al Pacino
Al Pacino quotes from Movies
- The actor becomes an emotional athlete. The process is painful – my personal life suffers.
- Sanitation? I told you to tell ’em that you was in a sanitarium. Not sanitation, sanitarium.
- The hardest thing about being famous is that people are always nice to you. You’re in a conversation and everybody’s agreeing with what you’re saying – even if you say something totally crazy. You need people who can tell you what you don’t want to hear.
- Say goodnight to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There’s a bad guy comin’ through! Better get outta his way!Say goodnight to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There’s a bad guy comin’ through! Better get outta his way!
- If you can identify with people, you can empathize with people and therefore you understand things.
- You wanna waste my time? Okay. I call my lawyer. He’s the best lawyer in Miami. He’s such a good lawyer, that by tomorrow morning, you’re gonna be working in Alaska. So dress warm.
- You’ll never be alone if you’ve got a book.
- My father held a gun to his head, and my father assured the bandleader that either his signature or his brains would be on the contract.
- I believe in one day at a time; you’ve got TODAY, that’s what you’ve got.
- There are many things my father taught me here in this room. He taught me: keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.
- I am more alive in the theatre than anywhere else, but what I take into the theatre I get from the streets.
- Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.
- Everything changes with age. The parts change with age, your feelings about them change, roles that I would’ve wanted to play 10 years ago, I don’t want to play now.
- Just when I thought I was out…they pull me back in.