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Carlito's Way (1993)

R  |   |  Crime, Drama  |  12 November 1993 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 155,634 users  
Reviews: 283 user | 96 critic

A Puerto Rican former convict, just released from prison, pledges to stay away from drugs and violence despite the pressure around him and lead on to a better life outside of N.Y.C.



(novels), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 2 Golden Globes. Another 1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Pachanga (as Luis Guzman)
Richard Foronjy ...
Jorge Porcel ...
Saso (Ron)
Frank Minucci ...
Guajiro (as John Augstin Ortiz)
Ángel Salazar ...


A Puerto Rican ex-con pledges to stay away from his former drug dealing ways but finds himself being dragged back by his past connections and the naive machinations of his lawyer and best friend. Hoping to raise enough money to get away from New York, Carlito Brigante takes on the job of running a nightclub, renews an affair with a dancer but old associates and old instincts suck him back into a world of violence and mistrust. Written by Keith Loh <loh@sfu.ca>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for strong violence, drug content, sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

12 November 1993 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Carlito's Way  »

Box Office


$30,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£1,112,190 (UK) (14 January 1994)


£2,122,432 (UK) (4 February 1994)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


Director Brian De Palma wanted to shoot the climax of the film at the World Trade Center in New York but it was the target of a bombing, and he had to shoot it in "another railway station again." (De Palma's The Untouchables (1987) also featured a scene at a railway station.) See more »


Near the end of the film when Carlito is getting his money from the lockbox under the bar, he opens it to see 2 stacks of $100 bills. The face pictured on the bills is not Benjamin Franklin, but Ulysses S. Grant, who should be on the $50 bill. See more »


[first lines]
Carlito: Somebody's pulling me close to the ground... I can sense, but I can't see. I ain't panicked. I've been here before. Same as I got popped on 104th street. Don't take me to no hospital, please. Fuckin' emergency rooms don't save nobody. Sons of bitches pop you at midnight, when all they got is a Chinese intern, with a dull spoon. Oh look at these suckers. Scrambling around... What for? My Puerto Rican ass ain't supposed to have made it this far. Most of my crew got washed a long time...
See more »


Lady Marmalade
Written by Kenny Nolan and Bob Crewe
Performed by Patti LaBelle (as LaBelle)
Courtesy of Epic Records
By arrangement with Sony Music Licensing
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Carlito's Way -- The Master of its Genre
27 October 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Al Pacino, Sean Penn, and Penelope Ann Miller create an artistic and romantic twist to the gangster genre in Carlito's way, story of a convicted gangster by the name of Carlito Brigante, known to his ex-lover as Charlie, who manages to get his way out of jail thanks to crooked drug-addicted lawyer David Kleinfield. After his release, he's convinced himself that he's never going back to his life of crime, but before he knows it, he's inevitably being pulled back thanks to his corrupt friends and family.

While Scareface centered around the action and grittiness of the gangster life more then anything else, Carlito's Way tends to lean to the romantic side, giving the film an artsy twist. For example, in one scene there is a close up shot of a revolver, the chamber slowly moving to an empty slot. There is another famous scene with Carlito inside of a dark bathroom, his back against a wall with a pistol in hand. The way the camera is placed, the way Carlito is standing, and the way the lighting reflects off of the wall and his leather jacket are all taken in to account by De Palma. To make a long story short, Carlito's Way is very beautiful, and this is all thanks to De Palma. He directs the movie very well, you can tell that he put some true dedication in to this film.

Needless to say, the acting is incredible, no matter what you might be hearing. Al Pacino is as always great, and Penelope Ann Miller is as well. But most of the time you'll find yourself deeper inside Sean Penn's character then Pacino's or anyone else's. He's steals nearly every scene he's in, if not then he steals all of them. He's almost too convincing.

The scores are very, very strong and add on to the artistic feel to the movie. Not only do they add on to that, but it adds to the tension, the romance, and the tears as well.

To sum it all up, Carlito's Way is the best gangster film ever made. I love it more and more every time I think about it.



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