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
Steven Spielberg and De Palma had been friends since the two began making studio movies in the mid-1970s, and they made a habit of visiting each other's sets. Spielberg was on hand for one of the days of shooting the Colombians' initial attack on Tony Montana's house at the end of the movie, so De Palma let Spielberg direct the low-angle shot where the attackers first enter the house. See more »
The amount of bubbles in the bathtub Tony lies in diminishes as he talks to Manny and Elvira. But as soon as Manny leaves the room, the tub is suddenly full of fresh suds. 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!]
See more »
In the opening we see a crawl text (with narrator) that reads: "In May of 1980, Fidel Castro in an effort to normalize relations with the Carter Administration opened the harbor at Mariel, Cuba with the apparent intention of letting some of his people join their relatives in the United States. Within seventy-two hours, 3,000 U.S. boats were headed for Cuba. In the next few weeks, it became evident that Castro was forcing the boat owners to carry back with them not only their relatives but the dregs of his jail population. By the time the port was closed 125,000 'Marielitos' had landed in Florida. An estimated 25,000 had criminal records. This is the story of that minority those they call 'Los Bandidos'." See more »
Network TV version deletes or edits all violent scenes for censorship reasons and adds some extra footage:
the introduction text about Cubans fleeing from Mariel is slightly different from the text shown in the theatrical version (a disclaimer stating that the events are fictitious has been added);
extended Freedom Town scene: Tony in a phone booth trying to call his sister Gina; Angel looking in a phone book for his brother Pablo by dialing every Fernandez name and getting hung up on; extended conversation between Tony, Manny and Angel about getting out of Freedom Town; Tony and Manny watching television in their tent.
Tony's first visit to his mother's house is longer. Tony opens a bottle of champagne and makes a toast to America.
before Tony's first visit to Sosa, the onscreen text has been changed from "Cochabamba, Bolivia" to "South America";
during that visit, Tony is introduced to Sosa's wife Gabriela who is riding on horseback;
Tony's first meeting with his lawyer George;
when Alberto is planting the bomb under the car in New York, Tony sees a police car nearby and distracts the cops by pretending to be looking for his missing dog.
Every great gangster movie has under-currents of human drama. Don't expect an emotional story of guilt, retribution and despair from "Scarface". This is a tale of ferocious greed, corruption, and power. The darker side of the fabled "American Dream".
Anybody complaining about the "cheesiness" of this film is missing the point. The superficial characters, cheesy music, and dated fashions further fuel the criticism of this life of diabolical excess. Nothing in the lives of these characters really matter, not on any human level at least. In fact the film practically borderlines satire, ironic considering all the gangsta rappers that were positively inspired by the lifestyle of Tony Montana.
This isn't Brian DePalma's strongest directorial effort, it is occasionally excellent and well-handled (particularly the memorable finale), but frequently sinks to sloppy and misled. Thankfully, it is supported by a very strong script by Oliver Stone (probably good therapy for him, considering the coke habit he was tackling at the time). The themes are consistent, with the focus primarily on the life of Tony Montana, and the evolution of his character as he is consumed by greed and power. The dialogue is also excellent, see-sawing comfortably between humour and drama. There are many stand-out lines, which have since wormed their way into popular culture in one form or another.
The cast help make it what it is as well, but this is really Pacino's film. One of his earlier less subtle performances (something much more common from him nowadays), this is a world entirely separate from Michael Corleone and Frank Serpico. Yet he is as watchable here as ever, in very entertaining (and intentionally over-the-top) form. It is hard to imagine another Tony Montana after seeing this film, in possibly one of the most mimicked performances ever. Pfeiffer stood out as dull and uncomfortable on first viewing, but I've come to realize how she plays out the part of the bored little wife. Not an exceptional effort, but unfairly misjudged. The supporting players are very good too, particularly Paul Shenar as the suave Alejandro Sosa.
Powerful, occasionally humorous, sometimes shocking, and continually controversial. "Scarface" is one of the films of the eighties (whatever that might mean to you). An essential and accessible gangster flick, and a pop-culture landmark. 9/10
421 of 501 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this