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Scent of a Woman

4.7 out of 5 stars 1,260 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Al Pacino won his first "Best Actor" Oscar for his brilliant portrayal of an overbearing, blind retired Lieutenant Colonel who hires a young guardian (Chris O'Donnell), to assist him. It's a heart-wrenching and heartwarming tale of opposites attracting when they embark on a wild weekend trip that will change the lives of both men forever.


Hoo-ah! After seven Oscar nominations for his outstanding work in films such as The Godfather, Serpico, and Dog Day Afternoon, it's ironic that Al Pacino finally won the Oscar for his grandstanding lead performance in this 1992 crowd pleaser. As the blind, blunt, and ultimately benevolent retired Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, Pacino is both hammy and compelling, simultaneously subtle and grandly over-the-top when defending his new assistant and prep school student Charlie (Chris O'Donnell) at a disciplinary hearing. While the subplot involving Charlie's prep-school crisis plays like a sequel to Dead Poets Society, Pacino's adventurous escapades in New York City provide comic relief, rich character development, and a memorable supporting role for Gabrielle Anwar as the young woman who accepts the colonel's invitation to dance the tango. Scent of a Woman is a remake of the 1972 Italian film Profumo di donna. In addition to Pacino's award, the picture garnered Oscar nominations for director Martin Brest and for screenwriter Bo Goldman. --Jeff Shannon

Special Features

  • Production Notes
  • Cast and Filmmakers

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Al Pacino, Chris O'Donnell, Gabrielle Anwar, Philip Seymour Hoffman, James Rebhorn
    • Directors: Martin Brest
    • Writers: Bo Goldman
    • Producers: Martin Brest
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Subtitled, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Widescreen, NTSC
    • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), French (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
    • Subtitles: English, Spanish
    • Dubbed: French
    • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
    • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
    • Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment
    • DVD Release Date: April 28, 1998
    • Run Time: 157 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,260 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: 0783226845
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,100 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
    • Learn more about "Scent of a Woman" on IMDb

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By A Customer on February 16, 2003
    Format: DVD Verified Purchase
    When I first heard of this movie, I had no clue what it was about. My friend and I saw a teaser poster with Al Pacino and Gabrielle Anwar dancing the tango labeled "Scent of a Woman". Putting two and two together, we went into the theater thinking we were watching a love story until the movie started. Whoops. Despite my misgivings in the beginning, I was pleasantly surprised. What I found was a riveting story of mentor-mentee relationship. I love movies that involve the master taking young grasshopper under his wing. Except master is not Mr. Perfect himself. Both the student and the teacher learn from each other's weaknesses. And despite Lt Col Slade's struggle with his misfortunate blinding accident, his Army core values were still in tact. Hard-working and willing to give up a Thanksgiving weekend to look after an embittered retiree, Slade sees an underlying goodness in Chris O'Donnell's fragile, fence-sitting character, Charlie. Like most young men his age, he was susceptible to peer pressure and could easily choose the wrong path as his friends had. Slade is blind but easily sees the temptation to compromise the boy's integrity and future. "This old bat has sharper radar than the Nautilus" Slade tells his young league. He lays all the cards out for Charlie to see, but knew instinctively it was up to the boy to make his own decision. Charlie eventually shows his true colors in the face of adversity. Like a good soldier, he never leaves his commander's side even when the danger is self-inflicting. Character like that is a rarity in anyone and must be preserved! This prompts Slade to reciprocate his support for Charlie who is enrolled in a prestigious school reknowned for producing some of the most important figure heads in America.Read more ›
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    Format: DVD
    Little is said about the tango scene, thus far. That allows me the pleasure of being the first to talk about the interesting things that are going on there.

    Frank, an ardent admirer of the beauty of women, and an afficionado of the Tango, finds himself with an opportunity for a special moment, a situation, in which he proceeds to charm a sweet flower of a young woman, so well embodied in Donna, with his manner and his words. Tango music is swaying in the background, compellingly played by The Tango Project.

    Frank asks Donna if she can Tango; she had wanted to learn, but her Michael didn't. Frank offers her a lesson, then and there. She hesitates, blushes, smiles, and finally submits to his " seduction." They escort each other to the dance floor. Aware of Frank's blindness, Donna instinctively holds him closer.

    "Por un Cabeza" begins. Frank leads her, gently and masterfully, through the beautiful ritual of the Tango. She seems to move as one with him. Effective camera work reveals Frank's dramatic and romantic execution of the Tango, and Donna's pleasure and surprise at her ability to follow him, effortlessly, through this colorful dance that she has long wished to do.

    They leave the dance floor. One gets the sense that what transpired was more than simply a dance lesson. They were both deeply fulfilled by the experience; Frank, by being with a beautiful woman, doing his beloved Tango, and Donna, by finally doing a Tango with a charming man.

    I would add that Donna was not mildly smitten by Frank, as betrayed by her glances toward him during the brief conversation that followed, and as she was being led away by Michael, who had joined them. She was obviously not very willing to say goodbye. A small tragedy is perceived in the fact that Frank could not see and reap the reward of the attraction of a beautiful woman; there is no doubt that he sensed it, but he would have been very pleased to see it.
    4 Comments 53 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: VHS Tape
    Of all the movies that I have seen that has moved me, Scent of a Woman was the one that did it. A highly emotional movie which starred Academy Award Winning Actor, Al Pacino who portrayed Ret. Lt. Col. Frank Slade, and Chris O'Donnell as the young fresh faced student of the prestigious Baird School, Charlie Simms.
    Charlie(O' Donnell) takes a job caring for Slade(Pacino), a washed-up, decorated military man who clings to his Jack Daniels, so he can earn enough money to go home for the Christmas Holidays. Along the way, Slade takes the young man through different turns during the Thanksgiving Day weekend in New York City not knowing what the boy will expect. While the unpredictable occurs, Charlie contemplates his fate with his school honor--a conflict of interest with who is your real friends and who are not.
    The entire movie wraps around relationships and how strangers can make a difference in a little over 2 hours and 37 minutes. For one weekend, Charlie and Slade discover that they need each other more than they thought, with different circumstances. You'd have to see the movie to know what I'm talking about, especially the finale.
    The director, Martin Brest(Beverly Hills Cop and Meet Joe Black), has the knack of bringing out the best in the characters even in unpleasant situations. The soft sides always show in those who don't appear to have it.
    If this film had a theme it would be, living is worth living.
    1 Comment 80 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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    Format: VHS Tape
    I have probably watched "Scent of A Woman" thirty times. I find it one of those movies that becomes hypnotic a few minutes into it. Al Pacino is absolutely outstanding in the role of Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade, retired from the U.S. Army. Slade, blinded by a drinking/grenade game he was playing with one of his drinking buddies, is now living as an embittered alcoholic with an adult niece, her husband and two little children. He is an arrogant, angry man used to issuing orders and not displaying very much gratitude or affection.
    Charlie Simms, played well by Chris O'Donnell, is a scholarship at a nearby prep school in the same town in New Hampshire where Slade lives. Charlie's trying to earn some money over the Thanksgiving weekend so that he can travel home to his parents in Oregon at the Christmas break.He discovers an ad placed by Slade's niece to care for her blind uncle over the Thanksgiving break so that she can travel with her husband and kids to Albany, New York for Thanksgiving with her in-laws.Charlie answers the ad and the adventure quickly develops.
    Slade has his own plans for Thanksgiving. A last big blowout in New York City before killing himself.
    He is abusive to Charlie at first and acts as if he is one of his military aides. He doesn't let him in on his plans until it's practically time to leave for New York -- while Charlie had been told by Slade's niece that the weekend would be at her home looking after her uncle.
    A beautiful bonding begins as Slade and Simms interact and except for his anger and bitterness, it is obvious that Slade is not particularly handicapped by his blindness as he has developed an extra few "senses" which make him seem remarkable.
    Read more ›
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