A mentally unstable Vietnam War veteran works as a night-time taxi driver in New York City where the perceived decadence and sleaze feeds his urge for violent action, attempting to save a preadolescent prostitute in the process.
Robert De Niro,
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 Colombian 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
Often unnoticed, in the scene outside the Porsche boutique, as Tony enters in the Cadillac, moving from a medium shop to a close up, there's a reverse dolly zoom shot in the transition you can notice from the more compressed car in the background. See more »
A bullet squib on one of Hector's goons' chest goes off, without a sound effect, just before a cut to Chi Chi, who shoots him. See more »
...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!]
[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!]
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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 »
"Scarface" has a major cult following even now, 22 years after its release.
It has also been widely criticized as being very tacky, unrefined, over-the-top and all bloated up! These are people who compare Scarface to The Godfather movies. It is true that on the technical front, (cinematography, screenplay, direction, etc.) Scarface is way behind 'The Godfather'.
But it is also true, that what Scarface has and some other gangster movies lack, is the rawness, the sheer crude approach of the gangsters. The Latino gangsters in this movie look much more menacing and real than any of the polished Italian or Irish gangsters from other gangster classics like 'The Godfather' or 'Goodfellas'. This is one of the major winning points of Scarface and I strongly believe that this fact has been written off as "tackiness" by most critics! I have seen the original 1932 Scarface, and I must say that both these movies are way too different from each other and should be seen as two different movies instead of praising the original over the "remake"!
Al Pacino has been criticized to be over-the-top and loud in this movie. But how about considering that that is precisely the way the film-makers wanted Tony Montana's character to be! He is this angry young man who takes hasty decisions and throws fits of tantrum every other minute! He is not the calm Michael Corleone here. He is Tony Montana, a very tacky, uneducated individual who doesn't really think much and gets angry all the time!
There is definitely a very 80s feel to this movie. The soundtrack is all 80s! I love some of the songs, including 'Gina and Elvira's theme', 'Push it to the limit' and the title track instrumental.
There are some memorable and beautifully shot sequences, including the famous chainsaw scene, the Rebenga hit, the first meeting with Sosa and Tony's visit to his mother's.
About the performances: Al Pacino is brilliant as the angry Cuban refugee. He has reportedly mentioned that he enjoyed playing Tony Montana the most in his entire career. And it really does seem like he has enjoyed himself thoroughly in all his scenes! One wonders what "Scarface" would be like without Pacino. I just couldn't imagine anyone else portraying Tony Montana and in all probabilities, the film wouldn't be as effective without him!
Steven Bauer shines as Tony's friend Manny.
Robert Loggia is wonderful as Tony's boss, Lopez. So is F. Murray Abraham (as Omar) in a small role.
Then there is some eye-candy in the form of Elvira played by Michelle Pfeiffer. She looks beautiful and is adequate in her role.
The director does go a bit overboard during a particular part in the climax. Without revealing anything, I would only say that that was the only little part that suffers due to improper handling.
"Scarface" is definitely one of the most entertaining and one of the best gangster movies to ever come out. Enjoy it for what it is: a raw portrayal of the Drug Lords and their gangland!
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