Film & TV

Al Pacino's Five Best Miami Moments

© 1983 Universal Studios
UPDATE: An Evening With Pacino has been postponed to September 22.

On March 3, movie fans can spend the night with Scarface himself. At An Evening With Pacino, the Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino will take the Fillmore stage, where he will reminisce about his past, share his acting techniques, and answer questions taken from the audience.

Pacino's visit won't be his first to the Magic City, of course. The star of The Godfather trilogy and Scent of a Woman has been touring in cities across America for some time, but there's a chance he'll bring something special for his Miami date. After all, with the exception of New York, no city has been as entwined in Pacino's gloriously emotive film career than the Big Orange.

In honor of his return, here are the five greatest Al Pacino scenes set in Miami, ranked on a scale of one to ten hoo-ah's.
1. Tony Montana's love advice in Scarface. Pacino's Cuban accent in Scarface comes and goes, but throughout the film, his charisma as Tony Montana never wavers. Nowhere does he command as much attention as at the Fontainebleau when he gives his not so little friend, Manny Ribera, advice on how to get the ladies in America. “In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.” A clearer explanation of the Miami Beach ethos was never spoken. (Infinite hoo-ah's.)
2. The pregame speech in Any Given Sunday. In this scene, shot in the bowels of the old Orange Bowl, Al Pacino as football coach Tony D'Amato gives one of the best locker-room speeches this side of Pat Riley or Friday Night Lights. With the rest of the star-studded cast of the 1999 movie looking on, Pacino's forceful delivery inspires extreme loyalty. By the end, you're unsure whether football is a metaphor for life or life is a metaphor for football. If, at the close of the five-minute scene, you're not ready to run onto the football field with the rest of the Miami Sharks, you might want to have a doctor check that your heart is still beating. (Ten hoo-ah's.)
3. The chainsaw scene in Scarface. Though 1983's Scarface was set in Miami Beach, it was filmed mostly on Los Angeles sound stages. Some of the scenes, however, couldn't have been shot anywhere but here. Take, for example, the scene where Tony Montana goes to make a drug deal at a South Beach apartment. The meeting goes horribly awry and leads to Montana facing the running blades of a chainsaw. Screenwriter Oliver Stone said the scene was inspired by a news story he read in the Miami Herald. The scene recently made headlines again when news broke that the location, 728 Ocean Dr., would become a CVS. (Nine hoo-ah's.)
4. Michael Corleone's meeting with Hyman Roth in The Godfather Part II. After Pacino's Michael Corleone survives an assassination attempt in this 1974 Oscar Best Picture winner, he decides to head to Miami and sniff around the man he presumes to have ordered the hit, Hyman Roth. After taking the long way through Miami Beach, Pacino avoids the elephant turds on the front lawn and parks his car at Roth's low-key North Miami home. Perhaps because he was sharing a scene with his former acting teacher, Lee Strasberg, Pacino delivers none of the over-the-top crescendos we've come to love and expect from him. Instead, he gives a subtle, understated performance as he watches football and talks business with a man he knows wants him dead. (Seven hoo-ah's.)
5. The Miami montage in Donnie Brasco. In this 1997 drama, Pacino plays a small-time hood with "cancer of the prick" who unwittingly introduces undercover FBI agent Donnie Brasco (played by Johnny Depp) to his gangster crew. When Brasco is ordered to bring a Miami gangster into the investigation, the director decided to cut to a montage showing how much of a blast South Florida was in the '70s. It's fun to see Pacino dressed to the polyester nines, cheering on dog racing, playing tennis, and getting buried in the sand — and these scenes are a wonderful advertisement for the Miami tourism board. But because there's no dialogue from Pacino, our affection for this clip is limited. (Six hoo-ah's.)

An Evening With Pacino. Postponed to Saturday, September 22, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300; Tickets cost $83.50 to $303.50 via
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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novels, The End of the Century and Yo-Yo, are available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland

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