A Delicate Bravado: The Duality of Al Pacino

A video celebrating the legendary career of Al Pacino? Don't mind if we do.

Al Pacino Serpico

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web.


Who’s your favorite Al Pacino? Is it the sensitive, reserved Pacino of The Godfather? The insistent, honorable Pacino of The Insider? The frantic, romantic Pacino of Dog Day Afternoon? The humanized, loyal-to-a-fault Pacino of The Irishman? All of the above? (Al of the above?⁠ — we’ll see ourselves out).

Whichever iteration of the actor you prefer, there’s just no denying it: no one does it like Pacino. The man is a singular talent⁠, an actor who has, over the course of a 50-year film career, established and weaponized the intrinsic qualities of his onscreen presence to deliver some of the most iconic performances in cinema.

The video essay “Al Pacino: Underneath the Bravado” works through Pacino’s filmography, unpacking how the actor has made a career out of manifesting two apparently oppositional extremes: vulnerability and bravado. The video unspools a highlight reel of his work, from vulnerable young men to social outcasts, to experienced authorities, to swaggering braggadocios. As we move through Pacino’s performances, it’s clear that the actor’s two key warring sensibilities are, in fact, two sides of the same coin; bonded by the particularities of how Pacino approaches a character.

You can watch “Al Pacino: Underneath the Bravado” here:

Who made this?

This video essay comes courtesy of The Discarded Image, a video series created by Julian Palmer that deconstructs film. The series began with a deconstruction of how Steven Spielberg creates suspense with the beach scene in Jaws and has steadily grown from there. You can check out The Discarded Image’s video essays here.

More Videos Like This

Burgeoning wine mom and talented napper. Secretly just three toddlers in a trenchcoat.