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A gangster movie starring Al Pacino directed by Brian De Palma

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Scarface - 1983

  • Mar 5, 2009
Pros: Pacino, Bauer, and a hot Pfeiffer

Cons: none for me

The Bottom Line:
“A devil in the flesh a rebel at its best
No complaining we live in hell and I'm blessed, Scarface”
~Lil Wayne

Scarface tells the story of small time hood, Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant that arrived in Miami during the big humanity transfer that Castro initiated. Using the guise of joining families that had been separated, Castro took the opportunity to clear out their jails of criminals and dump them on American soil. At first it appears Montana might meet some problems but performing a ‘little favor’ for someone with a some pull, he was granted his green card and asylum in the U.S.

It isn’t long before he began to work his way up the ranks but he is never satisfied with simply being a workhorse for the big guys. The easiest way to solve that problem is remove the big guys that are in your way, as is the credo of these gangsters.

Even as vile as he was, Tony still had some morals. He refused to harm women and children but I guess it never occurred to him what his onslaught of cocaine was doing to families. He ended up with the bosses girl, after he killed the boss, and all the riches he could ever dream of but in reality he never lost that small time hood attitude. He also broke two major rules in the drug trade; never sample what you sell and never screw over the head honcho.

Al Pacino played, no, lived the part of Tony Montana. He wore this role like a second skin. This was a beautiful performance even if it is swamped in nasty behavior and a vile temper. He uses those incredibly dark eyes for some amazing eye work, staring blankly at you and never blinking when he pulled the trigger. Steve Bauer played his sidekick, Manny, who was as beautiful as Montana was foul. He had a pretty boy face that he used to gain the babes attention but, in the end, he grabbed the attention of the wrong girl. Bauer is also the only actual Cuban in the film.

All the write-ups said that Michelle Pfeiffer carried a small part in the movie as Elvira Hancock [what a name for such a dish], the mob bosses girl and then Tony’s wife. Actually, I thought she was rather predominant in the movie. Not as much, certainly as Pacino and Bauer, but definitely a presence. And, damn, she was slinky as hell. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio played Tony’s sister, Gina, with a small role but a decided impact on the ending and Robert Loggia played Frank Lopez, Tony’s former boss that he, uh, exterminated.

This was an extremely bloody movie at times. But this was at the height of the drug wars between the Cubans and Colombians, before the Mafia got involved and turned it into a business. These people didn’t believe in taking any prisoners, male or female.

Overall I thought it was fairly well done for a movie of this genre and for the time it was released. Look at the people involved, Brian DiPalma and Oliver Stone. You just knew it was going to be opulent and overboard. It was nominated for 6 awards and naturally carries an R rating that they fought mightily for.

For those that keep track of these things, the scorecard on the platinum edition DVD shows the F word used 226 times, or 1.32 F’s per minutes. I think White Men Can’t Jump beat that didn’t it? In the first 3 minutes … lol … Also, for the score keepers, 42 dead bodies in the film. Not bad for a non-war flick.



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More Scarface (1983 movie) reviews
review by . August 19, 2009
Scarface as everyone already knows is a part of American pop culture. This remake of the gangster picture has "modernized" the original plot and pumped up the violence and at the time set the record for obscenity in a major Hollywood production. Instead of being an Italian immigrant, this time Tony his a refugee from Cuba, instead of Beer it's Cocaine (during this time period American was in the midst of a major cocaine hangover that spread from the late 70's and into the 80's). The film …
review by . January 02, 2004
The 20th Anniversary release of SCARFACE reminds us that our movies of today that deal with violence have not grown more intense than the older films like THE GODFATHER for Italian organized crime and SCARFACE for Cuban/Colombian organized crime. It is difficult to watch this well made movie because of its ultravivid bloodshed, but once past this obstacle there are reasons to revisit Brian DePalma's interpretation of Oliver Stone's screenplay. Al Pacino gives a mighty performance as the title character, …
review by . September 11, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
Having seen the previous Scarface (starring Paul Muni) many years ago, I was curious to see what director Brian De Palma would do with what I incorrectly assumed to be essentially similar material. In fact, De Palma co-authored a script (with Oliver Stone) and created a film which shares almost nothing in common with its predecessor. Al Pacino is brilliant as Tony Montana, a vicious and impoverished Cuban immigrant who eventually becomes a wealthy drug lord in Miami. Along the way, he eliminates …
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Brian De Palma's blood-and-sun-drenched saga of a Cuban deportee's rise to the top of Miami's cocaine business has become something of a popular classic since its release; it's been referenced in rap songs and subsequent gangster movies and quoted the world over. Despite this lovefest with the dialogue, the film's brutal violence and lack of positive characters still make it controversial and disliked by certain critics. Al Pacino stars as Tony Montana, whose intelligence, guts, and ambition help him skyrocket from dishwasher to the top of a criminal empire but whose eventual paranoia and incestuous desire for his kid sister (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) prove his undoing. Michelle Pfeiffer plays Tony's neglected coke-addicted trophy wife, and Steven Bauer is his concerned friend. F. Murray Abraham, Robert Loggia, and Paul Shenar are some of Tony's sleazy business partners and potential killers. Oliver Stone wrote the expletive-packed screenplay, based on Howard Hawks's 1932 version--which was ostensibly...

Remake of the Howard Hawks film .

The film had to be submitted several times to the MPAA to obtain an R rating.

Budget was over $25 million dollars.

Two video gamea based upon the movie was made, Scarface" The World is Yours and Scarface: Money, Power and Respect.

The script was written by Oliver Stone when he was in rehab for cocaine use.
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