As far as I know, an actor voice is something that does not change much, but I realized that Al Pacino's voice has changed a lot in a short amount of time.

In The Godfather, part II (1974) he has a clean voice (extract here).

However, in Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) or Heat (1995) he has a completely different voice. It doesn't even look like the same person.

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    I'm not the downvoter, but it's not a matter of the question not being clear, it's a matter of it not being a good question. How is this any different from asking why someone has visually aged faster (or slower) than you would expect? Such a question is inherently based on your expectations of how they should have aged, which is based on an opinion.
    – Flater
    Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 10:41
  • @Flater, Al Pacino is a famous actor and his voice change happened with a really noticeable way, that doesn't look natural like other people. There were a flag for "not clear". Commented Sep 5, 2017 at 10:48
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    As someone who works with professional vocalists and has an education in voice production I can assure u that Al Pacino's vocal degredation is not normal. The human voice should continue to improve until at least at 45. Commented Feb 12, 2018 at 7:38
  • "As far as I know, an actor voice is something that does not change much" — except when actors, you know, deliberately change their voice to fit a character. For an extreme example, see Christian Bale in Batman Begins. For a marginally less extreme example, see Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. Outside of superheroes, see Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Boogie Nights, Capote, and Mission Impossible 3. Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 12:59

2 Answers 2


20 years is not a short amount of time.

Regardless, Pacino's voice has changed over the years, which is natural. In addition, his acting style has changed signficantly from the early Godfather days to more "shouty" characters...at least that is what he is known for.

However, he has been a smoker for many years.

Stopped a two-pack-a-day smoking habit to protect his voice (1994). In the mid-1980s, he had been smoking four packs of cigarettes a day. He now only occasionally smokes herbal cigarettes.

IMDB Biogrpahy

It seems clear that Pacino was well aware that his voice was under threat and took steps to amend his lifestyle (at least moderately) to protect it.

  • Not sure I buy 4 packs a day. In a very bad case of limited sleep, that's 80 cigarettes in 18 hours (allowing for 6 hours of sleep). Which comes to about 5 cigarettes per hour in 18 hours. A cigarette takes roughly 10 minutes to smoke. That means he'd have to literally chain-smoke non-stop, all day long, for 18 hours per day. Commented Sep 6, 2022 at 3:00

I believe he did it to himself. Listen to his early movies. Pacino always had a whiny, nasal voice. It's not a very masculine or attractive voice. He couldn't deepen it so the next best thing was to make it raspy.

After a few years of grinding your vocal cords to get that raspy sound and your chords get damaged and you're stuck with the raspy. Clint Eastwood did the same thing. He didn't have a masculine voice so he adopted the threatening whisper.

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    With the references to "whiny" and "not a very masculine or attractive voice" this answer seems very opinionated and entirely lacking in any evidence like an interview.
    – iandotkelly
    Commented Sep 5, 2022 at 16:34

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