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Bruce, Keanu and Charlize honour Al Pacino

23 October 2005
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Movie legend Al Pacino has been honoured for a lifetime in film at a star-studded gala in Beverley Hills. Before an audience that included Charlize Theron, Keanu Reeves and Bruce Willis, the 65-year-old screen veteran was feted for performances in classics such as The Godfather, Scarface and Heat.

Fighting back tears, the emotional actor told guests at the 20th annual American Cinematheque Awards: "You think you're going to be able to speak at something like this but I'm overwhelmed."

The North Country  actress almost stole the show in a dazzling figure-hugging gown at the black-tie ceremony. After making her glamorous entrance, the 30-year-old went on to pay a warm tribute to her The Devil's Advocate co-star. It was an evening full of reminiscences as performer after performer stepped up on stage to share memories of a career that has garnered eight Oscar nominations, including a win for 1992's Scent Of A Woman.

James Caan, who played Al's big brother Sonny in the mafia trilogy The Godfather, recalled how director Francis Ford Coppola had to fight to get Pacino cast. Those who couldn't be at the ceremony had sent in pre-recorded messages. Speaking in a taped statement, Meryl Streep told him: "I'm still in awe of you as an actor. There's nobody fiercer - you are relentless in your pursuit of a character."

Handing him the award, a nattily-dressed Bruce Willis - who was also honoured with the prize in 2000 - revealed that Al's 1972 performance in The Godfather inspired his decision to become an actor. "When you're in films where people walk around their house doing scenes and lines from your movies, then you've made it."

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Photo: ©
Bruce Willis, who received the American Cinematheque Award in 2000, was there to hand over the honour to this year's winner Al Pacino
Photo: © Rex
Photo: ©
Charlize Theron and Keanu Reeves, who both starred with Al in The Devil's Advocate
Photo: © Getty Images