Tags: Hollywood | al pacino | role | michael corleone | iconic

Al Pacino as Michael Corleone: 8 Quotes About Iconic Role

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 07:08 PM

Playing Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” was Al Pacino’s breakout role, and one with which he is forever welded in the minds of movie fans. Here are what eight people, including Pacino, had to say about a role that, difficult as that is to believe decades later, was not a sure thing:

1. “No one wanted me. Except for (Francis Ford) Coppola who was, I thought, a bit mad. He just wanted me. Even I said, ‘What are you doing, Francis? They don’t want me.’ Of course Warner Brothers said, ‘Who is this kid?! Why do you like this kid? What do you see?’”
Al Pacino, in a Loaded magazine interview

2. “Cast Al Pacino because he undresses you with his eyes.”
Marcia Lucas, after editing the screen tests of Pacino as Michael as told by "The Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola.

3. “As Michael plots his careful, lethal moves, the recurring, unforgettable image is of his eyes growing colder, until they finally go dead to the horrors around him.”
Richard Schickel, Time magazine, reviewing “Godfather: Part II.” For Schickel, it was still all about the eyes.

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4. “As the college-educated son who takes over the family business and becomes, in the process, an actor worthy to have Brando as his father.”
Vincent Canby, The New York Times, said the actors in "The Godfather" were too many to mention but nevertheless singled out Pacino.

5. “Pacino's masterstroke across three acts is to create a character that inspires ambivalence. We like Michael and dread him in equal parts. By the trilogy's operatic conclusion, when Michael ends his days a lonely, broken man, Pacino has also made us pity him.”
Joanna di Mattia, Sydney Morning Herald, in a 2014 "Godfather" retrospective 

6. “Pacino is very good at suggesting the furies and passions that lie just beneath his character’s controlled exterior.”
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, review of "The Godfather: Part II"

7. “None of Pacino’s peers was able to realize their particular role over quite so much historic time, geographic space, and emotional frontier. None of them had an entire movie to use as a flying head start. And few have so fully dominated a film.”
John Anderson, Variety, on "The Godfather: Part II" in 2007:

8. “Michael Corleone (Pacino), his face now a creased mask of implacable hatred, has exacted vengeance on all his enemies — and then we suddenly cut back 20 years to the fresh-faced young Joe College, still capable of a boyish grin, startling his brothers over the dinner table by announcing he's joined the army, and stoutly defending his patriotism. It's a stunning narrative flourish: mysterious and moving.”
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian, writing about the 40th anniversary re-release of “Godfather II”  and described what he called “the greatest single final scene in Hollywood history”

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Playing Michael Corleone in “The Godfather” was Al Pacino’s breakout role, and one with which he is forever welded in the minds of movie fans. Here are what eight people, including Pacino, had to say about a role that, difficult as that is to believe decades later, was not a sure thing.
al pacino, role, michael corleone, iconic
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2015-08-15
Wednesday, 15 Apr 2015 07:08 PM
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