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Scent of a Woman (1992)


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 37
Rotten: 5

Critics Consensus: It might soar on Al Pacino's performance more than the drama itself, but what a performance it is -- big, bold, occasionally over-the-top, and finally giving the Academy pause to award the star his first Oscar.

Average Rating: 7.6/10
Reviews Counted: 9
Fresh: 6
Rotten: 3

Critics Consensus: It might soar on Al Pacino's performance more than the drama itself, but what a performance it is -- big, bold, occasionally over-the-top, and finally giving the Academy pause to award the star his first Oscar.


Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 117,665



Movie Info

Blind war veteran Colonel Frank Slade hires a young man to accompany him on a no-holds-barred trip to the big city. Pacino finally won an Oscar for his energetic performance!

Directed By:
In Theaters:
Apr 28, 1998
Universal Pictures


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Critic Reviews for Scent of a Woman

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (9) | Fresh (37) | Rotten (5) | DVD (9)

An irascible bully who proves to have a heart of gold, Pacino's character seems manufactured by a computer programmed with box-office grosses.

Full Review… | May 27, 2011
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Scent of a Woman indulgently stretches a modest conceit well past the breaking point.

Full Review… | May 21, 2008
Top Critic

Corny and heart-warming, with O'Donnell proving almost a match for the master.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The good thing is that the principals and film makers make the absolute most of a conventional opportunity.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

By the end of Scent of a Woman, we have arrived at the usual conclusion of the coming-of-age movie, and the usual conclusion of the prep school movie. But rarely have we been taken there with so much intelligence and skill.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

This is a great performance from Pacino, who has the good luck here to work with Goldman's mostly wonderful, edgy script.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Thanks to a landmark performance by Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman is an agreeably watchable film. If they'd made it half an hour shorter and re-written the ending, it could have been a great one.

Full Review… | May 27, 2011
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Pacino manages to shift smoothly from comedy to pathos, making the antipathetic character seem fascinating.

Full Review… | May 27, 2011

While fairly predictable and unoriginal, it is nevertheless entertaining.

Full Review… | May 27, 2011
Empire Magazine

Pacino's intense performance best for older teens.

Full Review… | January 1, 2011
Common Sense Media

The guiding principle of Al Pacino's flamboyant performance (for which he finally received the Oscar) is that of revelation: Every scene discloses another facet of his mysterious, multi-shaded character.

Full Review… | November 29, 2006

A great character-driven movie starring two well-rounded characters, a fun performance by Pacino, deft directing, a complementary score and plenty of human interest all the way around.

Full Review… | March 5, 2005
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Al Pacino got his ribbing for 'hoo-ahhh!'ing his way through Scent of a Woman, but underneath the scenery chewing, there's a sweet and watchable film to be seen.

Full Review… | January 15, 2005

Brilliant performances, spotty script, poor ending.

July 16, 2004
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Volcanic Pacino performance, but the drama drags

January 11, 2004
Kalamazoo Gazette

Goldman's screenplay never becomes a complete disaster, thanks to the vastly interesting and original character of Frank.

Full Review… | January 1, 2004

Great drama. Pacino rules, but O'Donnell holds his own.

August 13, 2003

A memorable drama about a young man's initiation into adluthood.

Full Review… | July 12, 2003
Spirituality and Practice

This is one of the best films of last year.

Full Review… | March 23, 2003
Laramie Movie Scope

A masterful performance by Pacino.

January 6, 2003

Shameless Oscar-Bid movie.

November 25, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Audience Reviews for Scent of a Woman

Al Pacino is magic in this film. You can't take his eyes of him. Added to this, the film is moving and carries an important message. It is a satisfying, uplifting, triumphant film that must be watched!


When things get tangled, tango on!

Great Film! The Scent of a Woman is the kind of film that many would think belongs to a bygone era. While it is frank and contemporary without sugar coating it illustrates the value of character over glitz and how small acts can have long lasting consequences. The Scent of a Woman is very satisfying on many levels. Of course the primary reason it succeeds is Al Pacino, whose Oscar was well-deserved, needless to say. Chris O'Donnell doesn't overplay his part, and in doing so is realistic and natural. The character development is superb, dialogue terrific, glamorous locations and a story line that requires the characters to show themselves to be the people they really are. The film has a lot of funny lines and great drama.

Frank is a retired Lt Col in the US army. He's blind and impossible to get along with. Charlie is at school and is looking forward to going to university; to help pay for a trip home for Christmas, he agrees to look after Frank over thanksgiving. Frank's niece says this will be easy money, but she didn't reckon on Frank spending his thanksgiving in New York.

Manu Gino

Super Reviewer

Al Pacino is one of the most respected and talented actors in the history of filmmaking. So why did it take him over 20 years in the business before he finally got his hands on one of those golden little baldies, that go by the name of Oscar? It's a question that will confound many but at least now, with this performance in 1992, it probably, proudly, rests on his mantelpiece.
In order to make some money for a Christmas trip home, impoverished college-student Charlie (Chris O'Donnell) agrees to look after Frank (Al Pacino), a blind retired Colonel for Thanksgiving. Babysitting takes on a whole new dimension when Frank decides he wants to spent the weekend living it up in New York City.
At the time of this films release Pacino had had 4 nominations for Best Actor and 3 nominations for Best Supporting Actor. He had produced such sterling work in classic films like "The Godfather", "Serpico", "Dog Day Afternoon" and "Scarface". This is only a few in a long list but, finally, no-one could argue with his bravura portrayal of a blind, hard drinking, ex-Army colonel. This isn't the type of film you'd tip for Pacino receiving an award but it's a performance that can't be ignored. Yes, grandstanding does ensue, but hey! It's Pacino, he's allowed. There's an unsettling intensity to his performance that's so powerful, it's hard to take your eyes off him. Ironically, he plays a blind man but his performance allows the audience to see. To see, what an actor can encapsulate. The film itself is a tad lighthearted and despite being overshadowed considerably, a young Chris O'Donnell handles himself well in such company. But it feels like the story itself is only a vehicle, or series of scenes, in which to allow Al to chew up. It's enjoyable stuff nonetheless and at a running time of 2hrs 30mins, you wouldn't know. The time flies by as it's so much fun. A major demerit is the Hollywood perfect, rousing, finale though. The schmaltz factor goes through the roof, leaving you feeling a bit embarrassed at the audacity in even attempting it and it seriously sells the film short.
If I was to rate this based on Pacino's performance, it would be an unquestionable 5 stars. It's one of his finest. However, the flimsy material brings the film down a notch.

Mark Walker

Super Reviewer


Very good movie. Give this man a oscar... Yeah you should have before to... And I would like to take some time to acknowledge Chris O'Donnell as well. Cause he did a damn fine job. I'm not gonna say I can relate to blindness... Cause I can't. But being blind is among the highest things on the list of things I don't wanna be. So it speaks to me. It must be hell... was a good script and well executed. Thank you for your time

Martin Sahlin

Super Reviewer

Scent of a Woman Quotes

Lt. Col. Frank Slade:
Something big may happen for that little thing of yours Charlie
– Submitted by Brendan C (20 months ago)
Lt. Col. Frank Slade:
[Frank plans to kill himself and Charlie as well but hesitates] You don't wanna die.
Charlie Simms:
Neither do you.
Lt. Col. Frank Slade:
Give me one good reason not to.
Charlie Simms:
I'll give you two. You can dance the tango and drive a Ferrari better than anyone I've ever seen.
Lt. Col. Frank Slade:
You never seen anyone do either.
– Submitted by Adam O (21 months ago)
Charlie Simms:
So give up. You wanna give up? Give up 'cause I'm giving giving up too. You said I'm through you're right I *am* through. It's all over. So let's get on with it. Let's fuckin' do it! Fuckin' pull the trigger you miserable blind motherfucker. Pull the trigger.
Lt. Col. Frank Slade:
Here we go Charlie.
Charlie Simms:
I'm ready.
– Submitted by Adam O (21 months ago)
Lt. Col. Frank Slade:
What Life? I got no life! I'm in the dark here. You understand? I'm in the dark!
– Submitted by Jase H (22 months ago)
Lt. Col. Frank Slade:
Are you listening to me, son? I'm givin' you pearls here.
– Submitted by jaswant r (23 months ago)
Lt. Col. Frank Slade:
- Out of order, I'll show you out of order! You don't know what out of order is, Mr. Trask. I'd show you, but I'm too old, I'm too tired, I'm too fuckin' blind. If I were the man I was five years ago, I'd take a FLAMETHROWER to this place! Out of order? Who the hell do you think you're talkin' to? I've been around, you know? There was a time I could see. And I have seen. Boys like these, younger than these, their arms torn out, their legs ripped off. But there isn't nothin' like the sight of an amputated spirit. There is no prosthetic for that. You think you're merely sending this splendid foot soldier back home to Oregon with his tail between his legs, but I say you are... executin' his soul! And why? Because he's not a Bairdman. Bairdmen. You hurt this boy, you're gonna be Baird bums, the lot of ya. And Harry, Jimmy, Trent, wherever you are out there, FUCK YOU TOO!
– Submitted by Ailin L (24 months ago)

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