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Scarface (1983) Poster

(1983)

Trivia

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When director Brian De Palma submitted the film to the MPAA, they gave it an "X rating". He then made some cuts and resubmitted it a second time; again the film was given an "X rating" (one of the reasons apparently being that Octavio the clown was shot too many times). He yet again made some further cuts and submitted it a third time; yet again it was given an "X". De Palma refused to cut the film any further to qualify it for an R. He and producer Martin Bregman arranged a hearing with the MPAA. They brought in a panel of experts, including real narcotics officers, who stated that the film was an accurate portrayal of real life in the drug underworld and should be widely seen. This convinced the 20 members of the ratings board to give the third submitted cut of the film an "R rating" by a vote of 18-2. However, De Palma surmised that if the third cut of the film was judged an "R" than the very first cut should have been an "R" as well. He asked the studio if he could release the first cut but was told that he couldn't. However since the Studio execs really didn't know the differences between the different cuts that had been submitted, De Palma released the first cut of the film to theaters anyway. It wasn't until the film had been released on videocassette months later that he confessed that he had released his first unedited and intended version of the film.
When Scarface (1983) was re-released in theaters in 2003, the studio wanted Brian De Palma to change the soundtrack so that rap songs inspired by the movie could be used. De Palma refused.
In the scene where Tony is in the bathtub watching TV, he says to Manny, "Look at dem pelicangs fly." This line was what Al Pacino practiced with a language coach to get the Cuban accent right.
Robert De Niro was offered the lead role but turned it down.
Oliver Stone wrote this film while fighting a cocaine addiction.
The word "yeyo" is used by Tony Montana (Al Pacino) as a slang word for cocaine. This word was not in the script, and was ad-libbed by Pacino during the first drug deal scene (chainsaw scene), and Brian De Palma liked it enough to keep using it throughout the film. Pacino learned the word while learning the Cuban accent.
The international corporation set up by Saddam Hussein to launder money from his various enterprises was called Montana Management after the Scarface (1983) main character.
Gina Montana (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) actually makes her first appearance during the beach scene. At around 44 minutes, Manny Ribera (Steven Bauer) is seen observing a woman from behind. That women is Gina Montana. Director Brian De Palma states that the appearance is supposed to be the first indication of Gina's promiscuity.
In the final shootout sequence, Al Pacino grabs the gun by the barrel. Although only blanks were used, his hand was badly burned, and production had to be shut down for a few weeks.
The prop firearms were equipped with electronic synchronizing devices so that they would only fire when the camera shutter was open. The result was that the guns' muzzle flashes are much more visible and consistent than in most movies.
Al Pacino reportedly stated that Tony Montana was one of his favorites of all the characters he's played.
The cocaine used throughout the shooting of the film was supposed to be dried milk, but that couldn't be used because it didn't fit well when the scene was shot. Director Brian De Palma refuses to admit what substance was ultimately used for cocaine out of fear that it would destroy the illusion of realism.
Despite the title, Tony Montana is called "Scarface" only once throughout the movie, and in Spanish at that ("Caracicatriz").
To help stay in character, Al Pacino asked director of photography John A. Alonzo to speak to him only in Spanish.
Brian De Palma liked the script so much that he dropped out of directing Flashdance (1983) to direct this film.
Although Tony Montana is supposed to be Cuban, making his first language Spanish, he only speaks one line of Spanish during the entire movie.
Tony's "little friend" is an M16 assault rifle with an M203 40mm grenade launcher attached to the barrel.
Miriam Colon, who plays Tony's mother, is only four years older than Al Pacino.
There was a huge controversy in the city of Miami during the making of the film over whether the producers should be allowed to shoot in the city. The Miami Tourist Board decided not to allow filming, as they were afraid the movie would discourage tourism to Miami, particuarly as it showed Miami's latest Cuban immigrants as gangsters and drug dealers.
During filming F. Murray Abraham was notified that he had won the part of Antonio Salieri in Amadeus (1984) by director Milos Forman. Abraham later noted that he immediately noticed that he immediately began being treated with a great deal of respect by the crew on "Scarface" because it was a highly coveted part for which many top actors had auditioned.
This film is dedicated to Ben Hecht and Howard Hawks, the writer and director of the original Scarface (1932)).
According to the "scorecard" feature on the Platinum Edition DVD, the word "fuck" and its derivatives are used 226 times for an average of 1.32 fucks per minute.
John Travolta was considered for the role of Manny Ribera.
According to producer Martin Bregman, the only shot removed from the "chainsaw scene" was that of a dismembered arm hanging from the shower curtain rod as the camera pans over to Hector, thereby establishing his line "And now the leg, huh?" The arm is visible in a production photo of actor Al Israel (Hector).
The picture of Gen. Cocombre that the cocaine investigator shows during his interview that Sosa shows to Tony and the rest of his guests, is in fact of Col. Luis Arce Gómez, who was an actual member of the infamous "Cocaine Coup" that ran Bolivia from 1981-82.
In the opening sequence with Tony Montana (Al Pacino) and the immigration officers, Charles Durning's voice has clearly been used to overdub an actor playing one of the officers. Another of the officers is dubbed by Brian De Palma's regular Dennis Franz. If you listen carefully, Al Pacino also had to overdub his own voice at three or four different points in the same scene.
Oliver Stone named Tony Montana after his favorite football player, Joe Montana.
Body count: 42.
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.
In the film, Tony buys a Porsche to impress Elvira. In the original script, he buys a red Jaguar model XG6.
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.
Steven Bauer is the only actual Cuban in the principal cast. Among the other principal cast members who portray Cubans, Al Pacino, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and Robert Loggia are Italian-American; Miriam Colon is Puerto Rican, and F. Murray Abraham (whose character is of unspecified Hispanic or Latino descent) is Assyrian and Italian-American. Additionally, Angel Salazar, who plays Chi-Chi in the supporting cast is Cuban-American. Both Bauer and Salazar were often consulted by their co-stars and director Brian De Palma for advice on Cuban attitudes and culture.
Ranked #10 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Gangster". Scarface (1932), the version starring Paul Muni, was ranked #6 in June 2008.
Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Melanie Griffith, Kim Basinger, Kathleen Turner and Jodie Foster all turned down the role of Elvira Hancock. Brooke Shields was also offered the role, but her mother Teri Shields made her turn the offer down.
Tony Montana's frequent epithet "maricón" is a homophobic slur, equal to "faggot" in English.
Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Kelly McGillis and Sharon Stone auditioned for the role of Elvira Hancock.
The original idea was to make this film a remake of Scarface (1932), which took place in Chicago, but this proved to be impossible due to budget constraints.
Reportedly, John Travolta met with Al Pacino in New York in 1981 about appearing in this movie.
Sigourney Weaver was considered for the role of Elvira Hancock.
Producer Martin Bregman, in the book 'Scarface Nation', revealed that Glenn Close was the original choice for the role of Elvira, but he was dissatisfied because he thought she would be "only half a hooker".
One of the last four-track magnetic stereo releases (if not the last).
This film has been an influence on hip-hop culture and rap music since the late 1980s. The Houston-area rap group The Geto Boys sampled several lines into their rap songs, and one rapper (Brad Jordan aka Scarface, now the CEO of Def Jam South) in the group took the name of this film as his stage name. Many rappers, including Sean Combs claim this is their favorite film.
The signed picture of former U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew in Lopez's office is one that was commonly sent to the general public that requested one during his tenure. Very common in the collector's world, they usually sell for $20.00 or less.
Tony Montana's Porsche is an early 928. Porsche produced various versions of the 928 from 1976 to 1995.
Two of the songs played in the film--"Shake it Up" and "I'm Hot Tonight"--are performed by then-21-year-old Elizabeth Daily.
In the scene at the Sun Ray where Tony Montana meets the Colombians, there is the trademark multi-colored bag of Mothers Cookies on the dresser. Mother's cookies eventually was acquired by the Kellogg Co. and this product placement is now noted on the Mother's Cookies website.
The Spanish title of the film, "El Precio del Poder", literally translates to "The Price of Power".
David Rabe wrote an early draft of the script which was closer to the original film Scarface (1932).
Nancy Allen was considered for the role of Elvira, but Brian De Palma turned her down after the box-office failure of Blow Out (1981).
When Omar is being summarily executed by Sosa, you can see Abraham's shoe falling off his foot from the loitering helicopter.
Edward James Olmos turned down a role.
The beer that one of the two assassins drinks in the Babylon Club before the shootout is Bavarian Löwenbräu. The brewery is located in Munich, Germany, and was founded around 1383. Also, the box seen in the money-counting scene, where Tony Montana wants the money to be counted a second time, is a Löwenbräu box. Löwenbräu translates into English as "lion's brew".
Kay Lenz and Kristy McNichol both reportedly wanted the role of Elvira, but Brian De Palma turned them down.

Spoilers 

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

The only main characters who survive the film are all enemies of Tony Montana.
When Tony Montana dies, the globe says, "The World is Yours", which is what flashed on a billboard when Tony Camonte (Paul Muni) died in the original Scarface (1932).

See also

Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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