Some actors age like a fine wine, remaining at the top of their craft well into their senior years. Then there’s Al Pacino, who’s aging like a bottle of Pepsi from 1995. I’m not saying that Al Pacino is no longer capable of turning in a stellar performance, but the last 10 years — with the exception of a few HBO roles — have been far, far removed from 70s and 80s-era Pacino.
Al Pacino turns 74 today, and while he’s got a long list of hit movies, there have of course been some great roles he’s let slip past him. (Especially in 1977, what was the guy doing that year, still counting Godfather money???) Here are 10 roles that Pacino lost out on.
1. Midnight Cowboy (1969) – Pacino and Dustin Hoffman were nearly interchangeable in the 1970s and it’s been rumored that Pacino was slated to play Rizzo in Midnight Cowboy, but couldn’t fit it into his schedule.
2. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) – The part of Roy Neary was originally written by Steven Spielberg for Jack Nicholson, but he passed on it. Al Pacino and Gene Hackman were then considered because they were closer to the age Spielberg had in mind, but when they declined the role went to Richard Dreyfuss.
3. Star Wars (1977) – There were many Han Solos (Jack Nicholson, Kurt Russell, Nick Nolte, Christopher Walken) presented to George Lucas before Harrison Ford got the role. Pacino claims that the reason he turned it down was that he simply didn’t understand the script.
4. Slap Shot (1977) – Pacino was almost locked in for the lead coach role, but rubbed director George Roy Hill the wrong way when he asked if he was being “facetious” on whether or not he could ice skate. Paul Newman could ice skate.
5. Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) – Pacino was offered the role of divorced father Ted Kramer, but passed and Dustin Hoffman took the part.
6. First Blood (1982) – As strange as it seems, Al Pacino was once considered for the part of Rambo. The actor wanted the character to be more of a madman and decided to opt out feeling the script lost some of the book’s intensity.
7. Flashdance (1983) – Nothing kills a a gangster image quicker than taking a role in a movie called Flashdance. Pacino was offered the part of Nick Hurley, but decided it would hurt his tough guy persona and Michael Nouri got the role.
8. Pretty Woman (1990) – Pacino was considered for the role of Edward, but of course Richard Gere landed the part instead.
9. Crimson Tide (1995) – Al Pacino was originally offered Gene Hackman’s part, but for whatever reason declined.
10. The Usual Suspects (1995) – Pacino was considered for the role of detective Dave Kujan, but declined because of scheduling conflicts and he had just finished a cop role with Heat. The producers went with Chazz Palminteri — a much cheaper choice — instead.