A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.
Robert De Niro,
A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive, compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast living and fast loving socialite.
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
In creating the Freedom Town sequence, Brian De Palma and visual consultant Ferdinando Scarfiotti researched actual events and found that in 1980, newly arrived Marielitos were housed in a hastily constructed camp beneath a Miami freeway. For the movie, the camp was erected in Los Angeles, beneath the intersection of the Santa Monica and Harbour freeways. The final riot in Freedom town called for some linguistic agility, as many of the six hundred extras spoke Spanish; thus safety required careful translation prior to each set-up. See more »
In the original version, when the "police" were about to arrest Tony, they are helping him count the money (for the second time). The cameraman's thumb can be seen briefly. 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 »
To get a 16 rating in West Germany, most of the violence and profanity were toned down. See more »
A Potpourri of Vestiges Review: Pacino gives a heart-wrenching performance as the modern-day Macbeth
Brian De Palma's Scarface depicts cinema at its most macabre, and not for a second does Stone's cut-throat screenplay go awry in its unforgiving attempt to limn the naked reality associated with drug mafia and the kingpins who govern it. Brian De Palma's unquenchable thirst to mimic the gore reality on the celluloid didn't go well with the MPAA, which rated even the highly censored third cut of the movie as 'X'. Brian De Palma and the producer Martin Bergman arranged a hearing with the MPAA and roped in a panel of experts including some narcotics officers, who testified the movie's verisimilitude to the conditions prevalent in the drug underworld. Their testimonies greatly convinced the members of the rating board, who eventually condescended to give an 'R' rating to the aforesaid third cut of the movie. Brian De Palma used the pervasive kerfuffle as a subterfuge to release the unedited original version of the movie instead of the curtailed one and kept this fact surreptitious for months until the movie was released on videocassettes.
A remake of a 1932 classic of the same name, Scarface portrays the life of a young, tempestuous Cuban émigré named Tony Montana, highlighting his sanguinary journey from being a thug to becoming a kingpin of drug mafia. Montana's story is one of rise and fall, trust and deceit, love and hatred, greed and lust, but most importantly: life and death. He is a hapless victim of the vicissitudes of his time; a product of his tainted conscience and naked ambition. As the modern-day Macbeth, Montana is the quintessential anti-hero of American cinema: he adores his friends and folks, and is unforgiving to his foes.
Brian De Palma took yet another calculated risk by choosing Al Pacino, who was then going through a lean patch in his career, to play Montana's part. Pacino took few months off to prepare himself for the role and to perfect his Cuban accent. Chagrin driven, Pacino uses all his talent and guile to give Montana an ineffable charm and an element of frenzy, which not only brings Montana to life, but also makes the portrayal, singularly remarkable. Pacino's breathtaking performance, which is arguably his best, manages to hold the viewer in a transfixion right from the inception to the finale. In fact, it's clear from the very first scene itself (the first scene in which Pacino is interrogated by the police for being a Cuban emigrant) that Pacino is on an inexorable mission to outperform not only his contemporaries, but also himself. He punctiliously takes care of the nuances and the subtleties in mannerisms needed for an exorbitant portrayal such as Montana's. As Tony Montana, Pacino not only substantiates his acting prowess and answers his critics once and for all, but also establishes Montana as a cult figure in American cinema. The entire cast has given a thorough performance with a special mention of Michelle Pfeiffer and Steven Bauer. Pfeiffer is absolutely ravishing in her intense portrayal of the quintessential, uber-sexy mobster's moll. The chemistry between Pfeiffer and Pacino is scintillating and at times, awe-inspiring.
The movie is a highlight reel of some of the most graphic and grotesque sequences ever caricatured in cinema. The scene in which Tony Montana asseverates his innocence and loyalty to the drug kingpin Frank Lopez elevates cinema to a new zenith, while the Macbeth like climax gives the movie an operatic feel that is seldom associated with cinema.
Scarface marked the upsurge of a new force in cinema: the triumvirate of De Palma, Stone and Pacino. Almost three decades have passed since Scarface, but Al Pacino, Brian De Palma and Oliver Stone still enjoy a global iconic status as they continue to enthrall the audiences worldwide with their idiosyncratic cinematic styles.
PS. Scarface has become a prototype in modern cinema and is one heck of a cinematic experience, but is not meant for the faint-hearted, or the sycophantic adherents of conservative cinema. 9/10
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