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Scarface (1983)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  9 December 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 495,501 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 826 user | 145 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

In 1980 Miami, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel while succumbing to greed.



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Top Rated Movies #108 | Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ángel Salazar ...
Arnaldo Santana ...
Michael P. Moran ...
Al Israel ...


Tony Montana manages to leave Cuba during the Mariel exodus of 1980. He finds himself in a Florida refugee camp but his friend Manny has a way out for them: undertake a contract killing and arrangements will be made to get a green card. He's soon working for drug dealer Frank Lopez and shows his mettle when a deal with Columbian drug dealers goes bad. He also brings a new level of violence to Miami. Tony is protective of his younger sister but his mother knows what he does for a living and disowns him. Tony is impatient and wants it all however, including Frank's empire and his mistress Elvira Hancock. Once at the top however, Tony's outrageous actions make him a target and everything comes crumbling down. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He loved the American Dream. With a Vengeance. See more »


Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 December 1983 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Caracortada  »

Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$242,821 (USA) (19 September 2003)


$44,700,000 (USA)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TV)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Sidney Lumet was the first choice to direct this film but he backed out. It was Lumet's idea to make the characters Cuban and to include the 1980 Mariel harbor boat lift in the story. See more »


When the phone is ringing, it's 3:00 AM sharp. More than six minutes have past, but when the camera spotted on Ernie, we can see it's 3:03 AM. See more »


[first lines]
Fidel Castro: ...los que no se adapten... al esfuerzo y al heroísmo de una revolución... ¡No los queremos! ¡No los necesitamos!
[in subtitles: They are unwilling to adapt to the spirit of our revolution. We don't want them! We don't need them!]
Fidel Castro: [Translation word-for-word:... the ones that won't adapt... to the effort and heroism of a revolution... We don't want them! We don't need them!]
See more »

Crazy Credits

We see a proverb at the beginning of the movie that says: "Enjoy yourself, every day above ground is a good day." ANONYMOUS, MIAMI 1981 See more »


Featured in Fresh Bait (1995) See more »


Vamos a Bailar
Performed by Maria Conchita Alonso (as Maria Conchita)
Music by Giorgio Moroder
Lyrics by Maria Conchita Alonso (as Maria Conchita)
Courtesy of A&M Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The 80's and how not to live them...
22 June 2003 | by (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews

Ya know when one looks at this Brian DePalma film today, I'm sure there has been allot of criticism about how dated it is. Also, about the violence. When I looked at this film on VHS when I was 20, I thought it was ulta-violent and gritty as well. But I didn't get 'it'.

A few decades go by and man, how I know how much I didn't get in this film!! This is a remake of an excellent film which was done back in the 30's/40's. How can you improve upon a classic? Ya don't. But you tell a tale that is brought up to date through the eyes of the "new immigrants" during the most greed ridden decade, the over indulgent 80's. DePalma, Stone and the gang present an ambitious, disturbing and darn right good film.

Yes....Disco was dying and New Wave/Punk were taking over but these immigrants from Cuba who had to make a new home in Florida couldn't tell the difference. It was exciting, it was what they wanted but how to get it???? To these immigrants, there was only one way to get it in Florida where they were..by having lots of money and to get the money, you had to take over running a drug empire.

Al Pacino was fantastic to me as Tony Montana, the "little train that could". What an amazing way to have your lead character look at America: to fight, kill, steal. lie, cheat all to get -- "the money, the women and the power."

That's what Tony saw as the American dream.

He wanted it, he wanted to live it and in his circle saw nothing wrong with how he went to get it. Tony Montana's command of the English language was heavily saturated with the "f" word but what did you expect, Emily Post's finishing school for him and his co-horts? Look at how they CAME to America, what they knew, what they were exposed to. This is the way Tony and his crew chose to "be all they can be in America." It was all about the power. Tony Montana would and did ANYTHING to achieve it..it all its violent, lying, stealing, crooked, thieving glory.

The part of the film that personified the 1980's to me, is the money laundering. Tony's crew bringing sacks of drug money to the bank. Did those around Tony and his crew care? At the clubs where he spent and drank? Nope. Money was money and with money, you get the power. Tony was living high off the hog. He and his pretty blond American trophy he married played well by Michelle Pfieffer.

After Tony Montana's rise to power, he finds out its really crappy up there. He's riddled with doubt, he's drug addicted, he's paranoid, he's surrounded by those who want to take him on in a bloody take-over, his trophy 80's American blonde drug addicted wife he finds out is a bore, he needs to keep atop of his empire because...he's going down. And down he goes in a horrific violent fashion, but again I ask, what do you expect?

This is the quintessential 1980's film telling you a warped tale of how some misunderstand the American Dream...to obsession. It's violent, bloody, overly so..but it drives the point disturbingly home. Not all Cubans thrown out of Cuba who landed in Florida in the 80's were anything like Tony Montana. Give me a break. But the showing of how miserable the 1980's were with its emphasis on greed and money as the only measures in the USA to "be somebody" and have power took its tool on these poor characters and their lives in America.

Makes you wonder -- has anything from then -- been learned today?

157 of 245 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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