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Scarface (1983)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  9 December 1983 (USA)
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 486,929 users   Metascore: 65/100
Reviews: 824 user | 145 critic | 9 from

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



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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 was Tony Montana. The world will remember him by another name...SCARFACE. 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?


A majority of the film was shot in Los Angeles, California, standing in for Miami, Florida. This was done because production would have been endangered by protests from angry Cuban-Americans over the film's reported subject matter. Streets and buildings used for shooting were redressed by the art directors to have the "feel" of Miami. See more »


In the money laundering scene, when the undercover cops are arresting Tony, he is almost smoking his cigar. When he is against the wall there is no cigar in his hands. 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

Scarface is a fiction account of the activities of a small group of ruthless criminals. The characters do not represent the Cuban/ American Community and it would be erroneous and unfair to suggest that they do. The vast majority of Cuban/Americans have demonstrated a dedication, vitality, and enterprise that has enriched the American scene. See more »


Referenced in Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Freshman (1999) See more »


Rush Rush
Performed by Deborah Harry
Music by Giorgio Moroder
Lyrics by Deborah Harry
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

The Real Scarface.
28 January 2007 | by (Sundance, Utah) – See all my reviews

"A Classic is something that everybody wants to have read but nobody wants to read. A classic is also something that everyone praises but no one has read." -Mark Twain

'Classic' seems to be the word used to describe "Scarface", Brian DePalma's 1983 film about opulence, self surrender, greed, and danger among Florida's drug ring. People and critics (and rappers for that matter) deem this film 'an epic gangster classic' or 'eptiome of gangster films.' When it is anything but. It is praised for all the wrong reasons. Scarface is a terrific film that deserves praise from all over, but not all the praise it gets from audiences today, and therefor the fine points it so poignantly makes are missed by the general public.

First off, the film is about a Cuban refugee, with a past of wanting to escape communism grasp and find happiness. Simple? Yes. But the layers of De Palma's directing genius, and the great story written by Oliver Stone (yes I know, he actually wrote a real good one here) play into all of it. The characters are all looking for an escape, as escape is a natural element dealt with in the film by all. Each character has something to offer, that makes them likable by everyone who could appreciate this film. They are entwined in a world of mystique and money, but all that has a price, as they all learn. Each character thinks they are getting better chances in life, when in true dramatic irony, they are actually getting worse. 'Tragedy' would be a better word to describe this movie. All those who praise the film for it's drug usage, it's violence, it's dialog, totally missed the point. There is nothing really positive about the film besides the characters positive expectations of themselves. And that is why the film works so well. The devastation through out the film serves to deliver the message of the film, not to look cool or attract viewers. Brian De Palma doesn't make movies for cult gangsters, or brainless action fans.

Next on, the film is an adult drama. It is not a 'gangster film'. It has it's share of action, but the action is plotted very carefully, so it has a point. It's not like "Aliens"- an example of a big dumb action film, and most audiences perceive this film as a big dumb action gangster film about doing drugs and shooting people. Ridiculous. Hogwash. If this film is about that, then it is about how bad it is. Not a promotion of it.

This being said, the film is indeed a great film. It has great cinematography that pulls you into the story. It has a very dramatic score (in true Giorgio Moroder style), which simply could give you chills, or bring you to tears. The film is rather lengthy, but it is a story, and each moment counts. The acting is terrific. Al Pacino - enough said. He can do any role that he puts his mind to, and this was no exception. Pretty boy Steven Bauer, as Manny. I didn't think much of him in other films he did, but he actually makes you like him when he goes under maestro De Palma's direction. Michelle Pfeiffer is a true gem as Elvira. Popping' fresh off the heels of a sort of embarrassment in "Grease 2" she got her ticket to ride performing a no holds barred performance of a beauty that is more than meets the eye. But the three true diamonds in this rough are Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio as Tony's sister Gina, who when she smiles, or cries, we see her soul and her fresh way of living, and watch it deteriorate; Paul Shenar as Alejandro Sosa, a drug lord, who runs deeper than a river, and Shenar portrays him as so; and Miriam Colom as Tony and Gina's torn mother. These three dig the film as deep as it can go.

This reviewer learned one main thing when watching "Scarface" for the first time. Always go into a film unsuspecting. All the hype and talk of this film cannot possibly prepare you for what you really see. Only knowing De Palma (like I do) can give you even a glimpse of what this film holds. So ignore the rap crap, ignore the mindless violence supporters, and fix yourself a glass of Bailey's on the rocks, and indulge yourself in an emotional viewing of a great film, the real "Scarface."

272 of 362 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Michelle Pfeiffer, gorgeous here, or....? NikkiFromSiberia
Time for another remake. eden820
What do you think happened to Elvira? chainsawfamily
One bit i never understood.... ticope87
Why so much love for this pile of crap? eneman23
Better than The Godfather? amrowntree
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