Carlito’s Way – ITV4

Al Pacino is Carlito Brigante, a hardened ex-con who dreams of escaping from his life of crime

Al Pacino is Carlito Brigante, a hardened ex-con who dreams of escaping from his life of crime.

Set in 1970s New York, this breathtaking gangster film’s wide-collared fashions and pulsating golden oldie soundtrack add immensely to its power, while Pacino swears, swaggers and stands up for himself in his best explosive style.

The scene with his judge, in which he declares himself to be ‘rehabiliated, reinvigorated, reassimilated and relocated’ is the first of many great moments, and the fact that his story is told as one long flashback gives it a tragic aura.

Director Brian De Palma orchestrates the action with an exquisite sense of timing and the pivotal pool room shootout and railway station chase sequences are brilliantly staged.

Under a memorably awful hairstyle, Sean Penn is agonisingly good as Carlito’s amoral lawyer friend and Penelope Ann Miller provides the tender romance as a showgirl.