Scent of a Woman (1992) - Rotten Tomatoes

Scent of a Woman (1992)



Critic 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.

Scent of a Woman Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Driven by an extravagant, tour-de-force performance by Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman is the story of Frank Slade (Pacino), a blind, retired army colonel who hires Charlie Simms (Chris O'Donnell), a poor college student on the verge of expulsion, to take care of him over Thanksgiving weekend. At the beginning of the weekend, Frank takes Charlie to New York, where he reveals to the student that he intends to visit his family, have a few terrific meals, sleep with a beautiful woman and, finally, commit suicide. The film follows the mis-matched pair over the course of the weekend, as they learn about life through their series of adventures. Though the story is a little contrived and predictable, it pulls all the right strings, thanks to O'Donnell's sympathetic supporting role and Pacino's powerful lead performance, for which he won his first Academy Award. Scent of a Woman is based on the 1975 Italian film Profumo Di Donna.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Bo Goldman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 28, 1998
Universal Pictures


Al Pacino
as Lt. Col. Frank Slade
Chris O'Donnell
as Charlie Simms
James Rebhorn
as Mr. Trask
Philip Seymour Hoffm...
as George Willis Jr.
Richard Venture
as W.R. Slade
Nicholas Sadler
as Harry Havemeyer
Todd Louiso
as Trent Potter
Matt Smith (XI)
as Jimmy Jameson
Frances Conroy
as Christine Downes
June Squibb
as Mrs. Hunsaker
Ron Eldard
as Officer Gore
Sally Murphy
as Karen Rossi
Michael Santoro
as Donny Rossi
Alyson Feldman
as Francine Rossi
Erika Feldman
as Francine Rossi
Julian Stein
as Willie Rossi
Max Stein
as Willie Rossi
Ahn Duong
as Sofia
Leonard Gaines
as Freddie Bisco
Baxter Harris
as George Willis Sr.
Francie Swift
as Flight Attendant
Michel Simon
as Oak Room Waiter
William Beckwith
as Oak Room Maitre d'
J.T. Cromwell
as Ballroom Waiter
Peter Carew
as Bootblack
Paul Stocker
as Doorman
Michael Lisenco
as Cab Driver
Divina Cook
as Night Maid
Matt Smith
as Jimmy Jameson
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Scent of a Woman

Critic Reviews for Scent of a Woman

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (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

When all Pacino's demons are bared, they don't add up to the poignant punchline you were set up for.

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

Audience Reviews for Scent of a Woman


Pacino is on fine form with a dazzling performance but it's not enough to make this film shine in my eyes!

Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

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!

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer


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

Scent of a Woman Quotes

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– Submitted by Adam O (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Jase H (2 years ago)

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