Johnny Lovo rises to the head of the bootlegging crime syndicate on the south side of Chicago following the murder of former head, Big Louis Costillo. Johnny contracted Big Louis' bodyguard, Tony Camonte, to make the hit on his boss. Tony becomes Johnny's second in command, and is not averse to killing anyone who gets in his and Johnny's way. As Tony is thinking bigger than Johnny and is not afraid of anyone or anything, Tony increasingly makes decisions on his own instead of following Johnny's orders, especially in not treading on the north side run by an Irish gang led by a man named O'Hara, of whom Johnny is afraid. Tony's murder spree increases, he taking out anyone who stands in his and Johnny's way of absolute control on the south side, and in Tony's view absolute control of the entire city. Tony's actions place an unspoken strain between Tony and Johnny to the point of the two knowing that they can't exist in their idealized world with the other. Tony's ultimate downfall may be...Written by
This is one of the first films to feature the Thompson submachine gun, known to history as the "tommy gun." The characters never call it anything other than "machine gun," except when Poppy calls it a "bean shooter" and Tommy refers to the gun as a "typewriter" when he first sees one. Another name for a "tommy gun" was "Chicago typewriter." See more »
When Poppy visits Tony, she holds the flower, but Tony has it in the next shot. See more »
"This picture is an indictment of gang rule in America and of the callous indifference of the government to this constantly increasing menace to our safety and our liberty. Every incident in this picture is the reproduction of an actual occurence, and the purpose of this picture is to demand of the government: "What are you going to do about it?". The government is your government. What are YOU going to do about it? See more »
It's not just that SCARFACE is far superior to the remake; it's also the fact that it was one of the most daring and controversial movies of its era (though there were compromises: the scene in the editor's office, where the "moral" is spelled out, was added after the film was completed, to appease the various censor boards), and it's still a fast, often startlingly funny, and vicious gangster movie. It doesn't ask you to feel sorry for the characters: rather, the movie assumes that you're fascinated because these characters live fast, hard, dangerous lives. Paul Muni was never better than in this movie (certainly, it's one of his toughest, most direct, least mannered pieces of work), and he's matched by a wonderful supporting cast, especially Ann Dvorak's sly, insinuating performance as his sister. Howard Hawks's direction is amazingly kinetic, and Lee Garmes's cinematography is dazzling (as layered and beautiful as his work for von Sternberg). Simply one of the great American classics!
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