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Scarface (1932)

Passed | | Action, Crime, Drama | 9 April 1932 (USA)
An ambitious and near insanely violent gangster climbs the ladder of success in the mob, but his weaknesses prove to be his downfall.


(novel), (screen story) | 6 more credits »

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2 wins. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Inspector Guarino
Purnell Pratt ...
Managing Editor
Inez Palange ...
Tony's Mother
Detective Chief


Johnny Lovo rises to the head of the bootlegging crime syndicate on the south side of Chicago following the murder of former head, Big Louis Costillo. Johnny contracted Big Louis' bodyguard, Tony Camonte, to make the hit on his boss. Tony becomes Johnny's second in command, and is not averse to killing anyone who gets in his and Johnny's way. As Tony is thinking bigger than Johnny and is not afraid of anyone or anything, Tony increasingly makes decisions on his own instead of following Johnny's orders, especially in not treading on the north side run by an Irish gang led by a man named O'Hara, of whom Johnny is afraid. Tony's murder spree increases, he taking out anyone who stands in his and Johnny's way of absolute control on the south side, and in Tony's view absolute control of the entire city. Tony's actions place an unspoken strain between Tony and Johnny to the point of the two knowing that they can't exist in their idealized world with the other. Tony's ultimate downfall may be... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

9 April 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Scarface, the Shame of the Nation  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In the book this film is based on ("Scarface" by Armitage Trail), Antonio 'Tony' Camonte is born Antonio 'Tony' Guarino with his brother Ben Guarino. After several crimes the police are looking for him so he goes off to war, gets his scar, and when he returns he finds out he had been reported dead and no one recognizes him because of his scar. He becomes Antonio 'Tony' Camonte and starts a new life. This is where the film begins. That means if we're staying true to the book, Insp. Ben Guarino is his brother. See more »


Closeup of score sheet in bowling alley scene defies all rules of traditional scoring. See more »


Tony Camonte: You see that?
[a sign outside the window reads: THE WORLD IS YOURS. COOK TOURS]
Tony Camonte: Someday I look at that sign and I say, "Okay, she's mine."
See more »

Crazy Credits

"This picture is an indictment of gang rule in America and of the callous indifference of the government to this constantly increasing menace to our safety and our liberty. Every incident in this picture is the reproduction of an actual occurence, and the purpose of this picture is to demand of the government: "What are you going to do about it?". The government is your government. What are YOU going to do about it? See more »


Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »


Wreck of the Old 97
Written by G. B. Grayson and Henry Whitter
[Sung by Ann Dvorak to George Raft]
See more »

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User Reviews

Arguably superior to De Palma's remake
8 November 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Many purists would jump at this as being the definitive "Sacrface," but so much had changed in the fifty-one years between the two movies that it is nearly impossible. Whereas the Al Pacino cult classic spanned close to three hours and included almost every imaginable cause of death, this version is a mere hour and a half, give or take a few minutes, and unlike the remake, takes place entirely in Chicago.

Made as an anti-gangster film, with a message buried under the many bodies that pile up, this is a surprisingly brutal movie for its time, and got a reputation as such. This was just before the so-called "Golden Age" of cinema, and in a time like that, chances are a movie this unapologetic wouldn't get made. But it is a masterful gangster film.

Paul Muni is Tony Camonte, a pseudo-Capone psycho who believes in doing the dirty work himself, is a sleazebag. He talks in a lisp that holds him apart from the gangsters of Cagney and Bogart as a man who, even then, seems ethnic. To boot, his "secretary" is an immigrant who is only semi-literate and can't hear people well on the phone. Boris Karloff shows up as an Irish gangster, Gaffney, who falls under Camonte's gun. Aside from an entire segment where Camonte goes seemingly from point A to point B with the same tommy gun and kills off the competition, this is a brilliant milestone in the gangster genre, and probably the best of the era. Even now, it proves what people could accomplish by mere suggestion, sparing much of the language that is in movies (and, indeed, used in real life) today.

88 of 111 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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