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The best of Al Pacino
Best of Al Pacino

10) "Serpico" (1973)

If his other iconic character from the early '70s, Michael Corleone, was a study in how power corrupts, even when the power falls on someone reluctant to take it, Pacino's portrayal of whistle-blowing cop Frank Serpico, based on a then-famous real-life character and case, was a demonstration of how crazy being pure of heart can make you. And how much it can make you give up, even though you've got no choice. In this near-epic directed by urban master Sidney Lumet, Frank Serpico is a straight arrow whose determination to stop police graft turns him into a kind of holy fool. Pacino gives the character an integrity that burns with white-hot strength throughout the struggles and the betrayals and the near-death encounters. It's Dostoevsky in the Village, still harrowing and raw and sometimes funny. Pacino is bolstered by a cast of New York's then-finest, not many famous faces but familiar ones from years of character-acting gigs. And Al rocks the hippie look pretty credibly.

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(Everett Collection/Rex Features)

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