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Scarface (1983)

R   |    |  Crime, Drama


Scarface (1983) Poster

In Miami in 1980, a determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel and succumbs to greed.

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8.3/10
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  • Al Pacino in Scarface (1983)
  • Al Pacino in Scarface (1983)
  • Michelle Pfeiffer and Brian De Palma in Scarface (1983)
  • Scarface (1983)
  • Joe Manganiello at an event for Scarface (1983)
  • Al Pacino and Brian De Palma in Scarface (1983)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


19 December 2005 | Aditya_Gokhale
10
| "You wanna play rough?? OKAY!"
"Scarface" has a major cult following even now, 22 years after its release.

It has also been widely criticized as being very tacky, unrefined, over-the-top and all bloated up! These are people who compare Scarface to The Godfather movies. It is true that on the technical front, (cinematography, screenplay, direction, etc.) Scarface is way behind 'The Godfather'.

But it is also true, that what Scarface has and some other gangster movies lack, is the rawness, the sheer crude approach of the gangsters. The Latino gangsters in this movie look much more menacing and real than any of the polished Italian or Irish gangsters from other gangster classics like 'The Godfather' or 'Goodfellas'. This is one of the major winning points of Scarface and I strongly believe that this fact has been written off as "tackiness" by most critics! I have seen the original 1932 Scarface, and I must say that both these movies are way too different from each other and should be seen as two different movies instead of praising the original over the "remake"!

Al Pacino has been criticized to be over-the-top and loud in this movie. But how about considering that that is precisely the way the film-makers wanted Tony Montana's character to be! He is this angry young man who takes hasty decisions and throws fits of tantrum every other minute! He is not the calm Michael Corleone here. He is Tony Montana, a very tacky, uneducated individual who doesn't really think much and gets angry all the time!

There is definitely a very 80s feel to this movie. The soundtrack is all 80s! I love some of the songs, including 'Gina and Elvira's theme', 'Push it to the limit' and the title track instrumental.

There are some memorable and beautifully shot sequences, including the famous chainsaw scene, the Rebenga hit, the first meeting with Sosa and Tony's visit to his mother's.

About the performances: Al Pacino is brilliant as the angry Cuban refugee. He has reportedly mentioned that he enjoyed playing Tony Montana the most in his entire career. And it really does seem like he has enjoyed himself thoroughly in all his scenes! One wonders what "Scarface" would be like without Pacino. I just couldn't imagine anyone else portraying Tony Montana and in all probabilities, the film wouldn't be as effective without him!

Steven Bauer shines as Tony's friend Manny.

Robert Loggia is wonderful as Tony's boss, Lopez. So is F. Murray Abraham (as Omar) in a small role.

Then there is some eye-candy in the form of Elvira played by Michelle Pfeiffer. She looks beautiful and is adequate in her role.

The director does go a bit overboard during a particular part in the climax. Without revealing anything, I would only say that that was the only little part that suffers due to improper handling.

"Scarface" is definitely one of the most entertaining and one of the best gangster movies to ever come out. Enjoy it for what it is: a raw portrayal of the Drug Lords and their gangland!

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song "Dance Dance Dance" was performed by Beth Anderson, who later provided the background vocals for the theme from The NeverEnding Story (1984), which was also composed by Giorgio Moroder.


Quotes

Fidel Castro: ...los que no se adapten... al esfuerzo y al heroísmo de una revolución... ¡No los queremos! ¡No los necesitamos!


Goofs

When Tony and the guys are following the white car outside the United Nations building to blow it up remotely, there are two beer cans and two food containers on the dashboard of their car. In the exterior shots of Tony and the guys in the car, the beer can closest to Tony is partially crumbled. But in the interior shots of Tony's point of view, the crumbled beer can is perfectly straight and not crumbed. The beer can is crumbled in the exterior shots and undamaged in the interior shots.


Crazy Credits

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'."


Alternate Versions

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 section: Tony in a phone booth trying to call his sister Gina; Angel looking in a phone book for his brother Pablo; extended conversation between Tony and Manny about getting out of Freedom Town; Tony and Manny watching television.
  • 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 girlfriend Gabriela;
  • Tony's first meeting with his lawyer George;
  • when Alberto is planting the bomb under the car in N.Y., Tony sees cops nearby and distracts them by pretending to be looking for his missing dog.


Soundtracks

Tony's Theme
Performed by
Giorgio Moroder
Music by Giorgio Moroder

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Crime | Drama

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