Scarface (1983 film)

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Scarface - 1983 film.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian De Palma
Produced by Martin Bregman
Screenplay by Oliver Stone
Starring Al Pacino
Music by Giorgio Moroder
Cinematography John A. Alonzo
Edited by
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • December 1, 1983 (1983-12-01)(New York City)
  • December 9, 1983 (1983-12-09)(United States)
Running time
170 minutes [1]
CountryUnited States
Budget$37 million [2]
Box office$65.9 million [3]

Scarface is a 1983 American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone. [4] It is a remake of the 1932 film [5] and tells the story of Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino) who arrives in 1980s Miami with nothing and rises to become a powerful drug lord. The cast also features Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia, F. Murray Abraham, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. [4]

Brian De Palma American film director and screenwriter

Brian Russell De Palma is an American film director and screenwriter. With a career spanning over 50 years, he is best known for his work in the suspense, psychological thriller, and crime drama genres. His prominent films include mainstream box office hits such as Carrie (1976), Dressed to Kill (1980), Scarface (1983), The Untouchables (1987), and Mission: Impossible (1996), as well as cult favorites such as Sisters (1973), Blow Out (1981), Body Double (1984), Carlito's Way (1993), and Femme Fatale (2002).

Oliver Stone American film director, screenwriter, and producer

William Oliver Stone is an American filmmaker, director, writer and conspiracy theorist.

<i>Scarface</i> (1932 film) 1932 film

Scarface is a 1932 American pre-Code gangster film directed by Howard Hawks and produced by Hawks and Howard Hughes. The screenplay, by Ben Hecht, is based loosely on the 1929 novel by Armitage Trail which was inspired by Al Capone. The film stars Paul Muni as gangster Antonio "Tony" Camonte violently rises through the Chicago gangland. Meanwhile, Camonte pursues his bosses' mistress as Camonte's sister pursues his best hitman. In an overt tie to the life of Capone, one scene depicts a version of the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre.


Pacino became interested in a remake of the 1932 version after seeing it, and he and producer Martin Bregman began to develop it. Sidney Lumet was initially hired to direct the film but was replaced by De Palma, who hired Stone to write the script. Filming took place from November 1982 to May 1983. The film was shot in Louisville and in Los Angeles. The film's soundtrack was composed by Giorgio Moroder. De Palma dedicated this version of Scarface after the writers of the original, Howard Hawks and Ben Hecht. [6]

Martin Leon Bregman was an American film producer and personal manager. Bregman produced many films including Scarface, Sea of Love, Venom, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, The Four Seasons, Betsy's Wedding, Carlito's Way, Carlito's Way: Rise to Power, The Bone Collector and The Adventures of Pluto Nash.

Sidney Lumet American director, producer and screenwriter

Sidney Arthur Lumet was an American director, producer, and screenwriter with over 50 films to his credit. He was nominated five times for the Academy Award: four for Best Director for 12 Angry Men (1957), Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Network (1976), and The Verdict (1982) and one for Best Adapted Screenplay for Prince of the City (1981). He did not win an individual Academy Award, but did receive an Academy Honorary Award, and 14 of his films were nominated for Oscars, including Network, which was nominated for ten and won four.

Louisville, Kentucky City in Kentucky

Louisville is the largest city in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the 29th most-populous city in the United States. It is one of two cities in Kentucky designated as first-class, the other being Lexington, the state's second-largest city. Louisville is the historical seat and, since 2003, the nominal seat of Jefferson County, on the Indiana border.

Scarface was released on December 9, 1983 and grossed $44 million at the domestic box office and $65.9 million worldwide. Initial critical reception was negative due to excessive violence, profanity, and graphic drug usage. Some Cuban expatriates in Miami objected to the film's portrayal of Cubans as criminals and drug traffickers. In the years that followed, however, critics have reappraised it, and it is now considered by some to be one of the best films in the crime genre, and one of the greatest remakes ever. Screenwriters and directors such as Martin Scorsese have praised the film, and it has been referenced extensively in pop culture, especially in hip hop music [7] [8] as well as comic books, television programs, and video games, although over the years, the film has been regarded as a cult film. [9] [10] [11]

Martin Scorsese American-Italian film director, screenwriter, producer and actor

Martin Charles Scorsese is an American-Italian filmmaker, actor and historian, whose career spans more than 50 years. Scorsese's body of work addresses such themes as Italian-American identity, Roman Catholic concepts of guilt and redemption, faith, machismo, modern crime, and gang conflict. Many of his films are also known for their depiction of violence and liberal use of profanity.

Hip hop music music genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping

Hip hop music, also called hip-hop or rap music, is a genre of popular music developed in the United States by inner-city African Americans and Latino Americans in the Bronx borough of New York City in the 1970s. It consists of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted. It developed as part of hip hop culture, a subculture defined by four key stylistic elements: MCing/rapping, DJing/scratching with turntables, break dancing, and graffiti writing. Other elements include sampling beats or bass lines from records, and rhythmic beatboxing. While often used to refer solely to rapping, "hip hop" more properly denotes the practice of the entire subculture. The term hip hop music is sometimes used synonymously with the term rap music, though rapping is not a required component of hip hop music; the genre may also incorporate other elements of hip hop culture, including DJing, turntablism, scratching, beatboxing, and instrumental tracks.

Cult film Film that has acquired a cult following

A cult film or cult movie, also commonly referred to as a cult classic, is a film that has acquired a cult following. Cult films are known for their dedicated, passionate fanbase, an elaborate subculture that engage in repeated viewings, quoting dialogue, and audience participation. Inclusive definitions allow for major studio productions, especially box office bombs, while exclusive definitions focus more on obscure, transgressive films shunned by the mainstream. The difficulty in defining the term and subjectivity of what qualifies as a cult film mirror classificatory disputes about art. The term cult film itself was first used in the 1970s to describe the culture that surrounded underground films and midnight movies, though cult was in common use in film analysis for decades prior to that.


In 1980, Cuban refugee and ex-convict Antonio "Tony" Montana arrives in Miami, Florida, as part of the Mariel boatlift, where he is sent to a refugee camp with his best friends, Manny Ribera, Angel and Chi-Chi. The four are released and given green cards in exchange for murdering a former Cuban general, Emilio Rebenga, at the request of Miami drug dealer Frank Lopez. They become dishwashers in a diner, but a disgusted Tony proclaims that he is meant for bigger things.

Cuba Country in the Caribbean

Cuba, officially the Republic of Cuba, is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

Tony Montana fictional character from Scarface

Antonio "Tony" Montana is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the 1983 film Scarface. He is portrayed by Al Pacino in the movie, and is voiced by André Sogliuzzo in the 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours. Embodying the rise from the bottom to the top, Tony Montana has become a cultural icon and is one of the most famous movie characters of all time. In 2008, Montana was named the 27th Greatest Movie Character by Empire Magazine. He is partly based on Tony Camonte, the protagonist of the original novel and the 1932 film adaptation. By association the character is also inspired by Al Capone. According to Oliver Stone, Tony's last name was inspired by former NFL quarterback, Joe Montana, Stone's favorite player. A prequel novel, Scarface: The Beginning, written by L.A. Banks, was released in 2006.

Mariel boatlift mass migration of Cubans to the USA in 1980

The Mariel boatlift was a mass emigration of Cubans, who traveled from Cuba's Mariel Harbor to the United States between 15 April and 31 October 1980. The term "Marielito" is used to refer to these refugees in both Spanish and English. While the boatlift was incited by a sharp downturn in the Cuban economy, generations of Cubans had immigrated to the United States before the boatlift in search of both political freedom and economic opportunities.

Frank's right-hand man, Omar Suarez, sends the four to purchase cocaine from Colombian dealers, but the deal goes bad. Angel is dismembered with a chainsaw, while Manny and Chi-Chi rescue Tony and kill the Colombians. Suspecting that Omar set them up, Tony and Manny insist on personally delivering the recovered drugs and money to Frank. During their meeting, Tony is attracted to Frank's trophy wife, Elvira Hancock. Frank hires and befriends Tony and Manny. Months later, Tony is reunited with his mother Georgina and younger sister Gina, of whom he is fiercely protective. Disgusted by his life of crime, Georgina throws Tony out. Manny is attracted to Gina, but Tony tells him to stay away from her.

Cocaine strong stimulant used as a recreational drug

Cocaine, also known as coke, is a strong stimulant most frequently used as a recreational drug. It is commonly snorted, inhaled as smoke, or dissolved and injected into a vein. Mental effects may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitation. Physical symptoms may include a fast heart rate, sweating, and large pupils. High doses can result in very high blood pressure or body temperature. Effects begin within seconds to minutes of use and last between five and ninety minutes. Cocaine has a small number of accepted medical uses such as numbing and decreasing bleeding during nasal surgery.

Colombia Country in South America

Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a country largely situated in the north of South America, with land, and territories in North America. Colombia is bounded on the north by the Caribbean Sea, the northwest by Panama, the south by both Ecuador and Peru, the east by Venezuela, the southeast by Brazil and the west by the Pacific. It comprises thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogotá.

Elvira Hancock fictional character from Scarface

Elvira Hancock is a fictional character in the 1983 American mob film Scarface, portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer. This proved to be her breakthrough role. She is the mistress of Frank Lopez and after his death, becomes the wife of Tony Montana.

Frank sends Tony and Omar to Cochabamba, Bolivia to meet with cocaine kingpin Alejandro Sosa. Tony negotiates a deal without Frank's approval, angering Omar, who leaves to contact Frank. Sosa claims that Omar is a police informant and that Frank has poor judgement; Tony witnesses a beaten Omar hanged from a helicopter. Tony vouches for Frank's organization, and Sosa, taking a liking to Tony, agrees to the deal, but not before warning Tony to never betray him.

Cochabamba City & Municipality in Bolivia

Cochabamba is a city and municipality in central Bolivia in a valley in the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cochabamba Department and the fourth largest city in Bolivia, with a population of 630,587 according to the 2012 Bolivian census. Its name is from a compound of the Quechua words qucha "lake" and pampa, "open plain." Residents of the city and the surrounding areas are commonly referred to as cochalas or, more formally, cochabambinos.

Alejandro Sosa fictional character from Scarface

Alejandro "Alex" Sosa is a fictional character and the main antagonist in the 1983 American crime film Scarface and the 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours. He is a Bolivian drug dealer and the chief supplier of cocaine for Tony Montana. Only when Sosa was betrayed did his relationship with Tony Montana end. Sosa is portrayed by Paul Shenar in the film and voiced by Robert Davi in the game. He is based on the Bolivian drug trafficker Roberto Suárez Goméz.

Back in Miami, Frank is infuriated by Omar's demise and the unauthorized deal struck by Tony. Later, when Tony visits Elvira, she reveals that Tony has started his own cocaine distribution operation, separate from Frank's. At a nightclub, corrupt detective Mel Bernstein attempts to extort money from Tony in return for police protection and information. Tony angers Frank further by openly pursuing Elvira in the club. Tony spots Gina and her drug dealer boyfriend, Fernando, making out in the men's bathroom while she snorts cocaine. Both of them are beaten. Hitmen attempt to assassinate Tony, but he escapes. Tony, certain that his former boss Frank sent both Bernstein and the assassins, confronts Frank, with Manny and Chi-Chi in tow. At gunpoint, Frank confesses to the attempted hit and begs for his life, but he and Bernstein are killed. Tony marries Elvira and becomes the distributor of Sosa's product. He builds a multimillion-dollar empire, living in a vast, heavily guarded estate.

By 1983, however, Tony becomes dissatisfied with his lifestyle and cocaine addiction. His money launderer demands a greater percentage, while Manny resents Tony's growing paranoia and abusive treatment of Elvira. A sting by Federal agents results in Tony being charged with tax evasion, with an inevitable prison sentence. Sosa offers to use his government connections to keep a desperate Tony out of prison, but only if Tony assassinates a journalist intending to expose Sosa about his drug operations. Later, Tony, during a public dinner, accuses Manny of causing his arrest and Elvira of being an infertile junkie, causing Elvira to leave him. He travels to New York City to carry out the assassination with Sosa's henchman, Alberto, who plants a radio-controlled bomb under the journalist's car. However, the journalist is unexpectedly accompanied by his wife and children. Disgusted, Tony kills Alberto before he can detonate the bomb and returns to Miami.

An enraged Sosa calls Tony to promise retribution. Tony, at his mother's behest, tracks down Gina. Tony finds Manny with Gina; in a fit of rage, Tony shoots Manny dead, after which Gina tearfully tells Tony that she and Manny had just got married the day before and wanted to surprise him. A stunned and remorseful Tony returns to his mansion, bringing Gina along, and begins a massive cocaine binge by himself in his office. While Sosa's men begin attacking the mansion, a drugged Gina appears and accuses Tony of wanting her for himself and attempts to kill him, but is slain by one of Sosa's men, who is in turn killed by Tony. With Tony's men all dead and assassins outside, Tony turns a grenade launcher-equipped M16A1 on Sosa's men, mowing down many. Tony is repeatedly shot by the remaining attackers, but continues to taunt them until he is fatally shot from behind by the shotgun-wielding assassin known as The Skull. His corpse falls into a fountain below, in front of a statue with the inscription "The World is Yours".


Michelle Pfeiffer was an unknown actress when she appeared in Scarface, and both star Al Pacino and director Brian De Palma initially argued against her casting. Michelle Pfeiffer 01.jpg
Michelle Pfeiffer was an unknown actress when she appeared in Scarface, and both star Al Pacino and director Brian De Palma initially argued against her casting.

Richard Belzer portrays the Babylon Club M.C. [13] De Palma regulars Charles Durning and Dennis Franz provided uncredited voiceover dubbing of the Immigration and Naturalization Service officers who interrogate Montana in the opening scene. [14] Lana Clarkson appears as Manny's dance partner at the Babylon Club.



Oliver Stone (pictured in 1987) wrote the script for Scarface while struggling with his own addiction to cocaine. Oliver Stone 01.jpg
Oliver Stone (pictured in 1987) wrote the script for Scarface while struggling with his own addiction to cocaine.

Scarface began development after Al Pacino saw the 1932 film of the same name at the Tiffany Theater while in Los Angeles. He later called his manager, producer Martin Bregman, and informed him of his belief in the potential for a remake of that film. [12] Pacino originally wanted to retain the period piece aspect, but realized that because of its melodramatic nature it would be difficult to accomplish. [15] Sidney Lumet became attached as the director, developing the idea for Montana to be Cuban arriving in America during the Mariel boatlift. [12] [16]

Bregman and Lumet's creative differences saw Lumet drop out of the project. Lumet had wanted to make a more political story that focused on blaming the current Presidential administration for the influx of cocaine into the United States, and Bregman disagreed with Lumet's views. [17] [15] Bregman replaced him with Brian De Palma, and hired writer Oliver Stone, later stating that it took only four phone calls to secure their involvement.[ citation needed ] Stone had seen the original 1932 Scarface and didn't enjoy the film so he initially rejected the offer. [18] Only after he talked to Lumet was he convinced to accept the offer since they agreed on transforming the film from a period piece to a contemporary film, [18] saying, "Sidney had a great idea to take the 1930s American prohibition gangster movie and make it into a modern immigrant gangster movie dealing with the same problems that we had then, that we're prohibiting drugs instead of alcohol. There's a prohibition against drugs that's created the same criminal class as (prohibition of alcohol) created the Mafia." [18] Stone researched the script while battling his own cocaine addiction. [19] He and Bregman performed their own research, traveling to Miami, Florida where they were given access to records from the U.S. Attorney's Office and the Organized Crime Bureau. [17] Stone moved to Paris to write the script, believing he could not break his addiction while in the United States, stating in a 2003 interview that he was completely off drugs at the time "because I don't think cocaine helps writing. It's very destructive to the brain cells." [15] [20]


Pacino insisted on taking the lead role as Tony Montana, although Robert De Niro had been offered it and had turned it down. [12] [21] Pacino worked with experts in knife combat, trainers, and boxer Roberto Duran to attain the body type that he wanted for the role. Duran also helped inspire the character, who had "a certain lion in him", according to Pacino. Meryl Streep's immigrant character in Sophie's Choice (1982) also influenced Pacino's portrayal of Tony Montana. Bauer and a dialect coach helped him learn aspects of the Cuban Spanish language and pronunciation. [15]

Pfeiffer was an unknown actress at the time, and both Pacino and De Palma had argued against her casting, but Bregman fought for her inclusion. [12] Glenn Close was the original choice for the role, while others were also considered, including Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher, Kelly McGillis, Sharon Stone, and Sigourney Weaver. [22]

Bauer got his role without even auditioning. During the audition process, casting director Alixe Gordin saw Bauer and instantly noted that he was right for the role of Manny, a judgment with which both De Palma and Bregman agreed. He was the only actual Cuban in the principal cast. John Travolta was considered for the role. [12] [21] [23]


Pacino was injured during rehearsals for a gunfight when he grabbed the barrel of a prop gun which had just been used to fire several dummy bullets. His hand stuck to the hot barrel and he was unable to remove it immediately; the injury side-lined him for two weeks. The gunfight scene also includes a single camera shot directed by Steven Spielberg, who was visiting the set at the time. [24] During filming, some Cubans objected to the film's Cuban characters being portrayed as criminals by non-Cuban actors. To counter this, the film features a disclaimer during its credits stating that the film characters were not representative of the Cuban-American community. [23]

Despite its Miami setting, much of the film was actually shot in Louisville and Los Angeles, as the Miami Tourist board was afraid that the film would deter tourism with its depiction of the state as a haven for drugs and gangsters. [25] Tony's opulent Miami mansion was portrayed by El Fureidis, a Roman-styled mansion in Santa Barbara, California. [26] The picture was shot over 24 weeks from November 22, 1982 to May 6, 1983. [27] [28] The special effects were performed by Ken Pepiot and Stan Parks. [29]


Scarface was given an X rating in America three times for extreme violence, frequent strong language, and hard drug usage. [30] The restrictive rating was more associated with pornography at the time, and it both limited the number of cinemas willing to screen such a film and restricted promotional advertising, which could affect any box office takings. One cause of the X rating was the notorious scene early on, where Montana's associate Angel is dismembered with a chainsaw off screen. De Palma made edits to the scene and resubmitted it to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) but was again given an X rating. He made further edits and resubmitted it from three to five times before refusing to further edit the film, telling Universal to either release it in its current form or fire and replace him with someone who would edit it. Universal opted to appeal the MPAA's decision. Studio president Robert Rehme attended the hearing which was presided over by his friend MPAA President Jack Valenti. Among those speaking on behalf of the film during the appeal were film critic Roger Ebert, the head of Florida's Broward County organized crime division, and the head of a major theater chain named Alan Friedberg. MPAA member Richard Heffner later admitted that he could have fought harder to retain the X rating, but he believed that Valenti did not support the decision, as he did not want to alienate the big film studios. The decision was overwhelmingly in favor of releasing the film with a less restrictive R rating.

In response, De Palma argued that his original version should be rated R if the latest version was now considered an R, rationalizing that the edits which he made were minor. The MPAA told him that only his latest edit would be certified as an R. De Palma believed that the changes were so slight that no one would notice if he released his original version anyway, which he ultimately did. [31] [32]


Instead of using music from the period in which the film was set, the generic music in Scarface was produced by Academy Award-winning Italian record producer Giorgio Moroder. Reflecting Moroder's style, the soundtrack consists mostly of muzak-like synthesized new wave, electronic music. De Palma says that he has repeatedly denied Universal's requests to release the film with a "pop" score because he feels that Moroder's score is adequate. [33]


Scarface premiered on December 1, 1983, in New York City, where it was initially greeted with mixed reaction. The film's two stars, Al Pacino and Steven Bauer, were joined in attendance by Burt and Diane Lane, Melanie Griffith, Raquel Welch, Joan Collins, her boyfriend Peter Holm, and Eddie Murphy, among others. [34] The limited, 20th anniversary theatrical re-release in 2003 boasted a remastered soundtrack with enhanced sound effects and music.

Box office

Scarface was released theatrically in North America on December 9, 1983. The film earned $4.5 million from 996 theaters during its opening weekend, an average of $4,616 per theater, and ranking as the second-highest-grossing film of the weekend behind Sudden Impact ($9.6 million), which debuted the same weekend. It went on to earn $45.4 million in North America and $20.4 million from other markets, for a total of $65.8 million. This figure made Scarface the 16th highest-grossing film of 1983, and seventh highest grossing R-rated film in North America for 1983. [3] [35]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds a 81% approval rating based on 68 reviews, with an average rating of 7.42/10. The website's critics consensus reads, "Director Brian De Palma and star Al Pacino take it to the limit in this stylized, ultra-violent and eminently quotable gangster epic that walks a thin white line between moral drama and celebratory excess." [36] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 65 out of 100 based on 9 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". [37]

The initial release of Scarface was met with a negative critical response, [12] and drew controversy regarding the violence and graphic language in the film. [38] The New York Magazine defined it as an empty, bullying, and overblown B movie. [39]

It has been reported that Cher loved the film; Lucille Ball saw the film with her family and hated it because of its strong language and graphic violence; and Dustin Hoffman was said to have fallen asleep. [40] Writers Kurt Vonnegut and John Irving were among those who allegedly walked out in disgust after the notorious chainsaw scene. [41] At the middle of the film, Scorsese turned to Bauer and told him, "You guys are great – but be prepared, because they're going to hate it in Hollywood ... because it's about them." [42]

Roger Ebert rated it four stars out of four in his 1983 review, and he later added it to his "Great Movies" list. [43] Ebert wrote, "DePalma and his writer, Oliver Stone, have created a gallery of specific individuals, and one of the fascinations of the movie is that we aren't watching crime-movie clichés, we're watching people who are criminals." [44] Vincent Canby praised the film in The New York Times : "The dominant mood of the film is... bleak and futile: what goes up must always come down. When it comes down in Scarface, the crash is as terrifying as it is vivid and arresting." [45]

Leonard Maltin was among those critics who held a negative opinion of Scarface. He gave the film 1½ stars out of four, stating that Scarface "wallows in excess and unpleasantness for nearly three hours, and offers no new insights except that crime doesn't pay. At least the 1932 movie moved." Maltin included an addendum to his review in later editions of his annual movie guide, stating his surprise with the film's newfound popularity as a cult-classic. [46]

In his review for Newsweek , David Ansen wrote, "If Scarface makes you shudder, it's from what you think you see and from the accumulated tension of this feral landscape. It's a grand, shallow, decadent entertainment, which like all good Hollywood gangster movies delivers the punch and counterpunch of glamour and disgust". [47] Jay Scott writes in his review for The Globe and Mail , "For a while, Al Pacino is hypnotic as Montana. But the effort expended on the flawless Cuban accent and the attempts to flesh out a character cut from inch-thick cardboard are hopeless." [48] In his review for The Washington Post , Gary Arnold wrote, "A movie that appeared intent on revealing an alarmingly contemporary criminal subculture gradually reverts to underworld cliche, covering its derivative tracks with outrageous decor and an apocalyptic, production number finale, ingeniously choreographed to leave the antihero floating face down in a literal bloodbath." [49]


Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Al Pacino Nominated
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Steven Bauer Nominated
Best Original Score Giorgio Moroder Nominated
Motion Picture Sound Editors Golden Reel Award for Best Sound EditingMaurice SchellNominated
Golden Raspberry Award Worst Director Brian De Palma Nominated
Satellite Award Best Classic DVD ReleaseNominated

The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

Notably Scarface is the only remake to appear in the same AFI 10 Top 10 list as the original film. It is #10 while the 1932 original is #6.

Home media

Scarface was initially released by MCA Home Video on VHS, CED Videodisc, Laserdisc, and Beta in the summer of 1984 – a two-tape set in 1.33:1 pan and scan ratio – and quickly became a bestseller, preluding its cult status. [53] A 2.39:1 Widescreen VHS would follow years later in 1998 to coincide with the special edition DVD release. The last VHS release was in 2003 to counterpart the 20th anniversary edition DVD.

The television version of Scarface premiered on ABC on January 7, 1989. [54] 32 minutes of violence, profanity and sex were edited out, and much of the dialogue, including the constant use of the word "fuck", which was muted after the beginning of "f-" or replaced with less offensive alternatives. [55]

The film received a North American DVD release on the film's fifteenth anniversary in 1998 featuring a non-anamorphic widescreen transfer, a "Making of" documentary, outtakes, production notes, and cast and crew biographies. This release was not successful, and many fans and reviewers complained about its unwatchable video transfer and muddled sound, describing it as "one of the worst big studio releases out there". [56] In 2003, a 20th anniversary re-release, featured two documentaries — including a new interview with Steven Bauer and another produced by Def Jam Recordings featuring interviews with various rappers on the film's cult status in the hip hop world.[ citation needed ]

Scarface was released on Blu-ray on September 6, 2011, in a two-disc, limited edition, steelbox package. [57] The set contains a remastered, 1080p widescreen transfer of the film in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound, as well as a digital copy. Disc two is a DVD of the 1932 Scarface, featuring a TMC-produced introduction by Robert Osborne and an alternate ending. Bonus features include The Making of Scarface documentary, and a new retrospective documentary: The Scarface Phenomenon. [58]

A special gift set, limited to 1,000 copies, features the Blu-ray set housed in a cigar humidor, designed by humidor craftsman Daniel Marshall. The humidor box set retailed at $999.99. [59]

Universal also launched a "National Fan Art Contest" via Facebook. The top 25 submissions selected by Universal were entered in a poll where fans voted on their 10 favorite works to be featured as art cards in the Blu-ray set. The Grand-Prize winner had their artwork featured on a billboard in a major US city in order to promote the release. To celebrate the release of Scarface on Blu-ray, Universal Studios and Fathom Events teamed up to make a Scarface Special Event. The event included Scarface coming back to select theaters nationwide for one night only on Wednesday, August 31, 2011. A twenty-minute documentary on how the film impacted the world today also featured.[ citation needed ]

A standard 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray [60] and limited [61] editions are set were released on October 15, 2019. [62]


Mural of Pacino's "Tony Montana" character in Wynwood in 2012 Tony Montana - Scarface - Graffiti.jpg
Mural of Pacino's "Tony Montana" character in Wynwood in 2012

Pacino was already an established successful actor, but Scarface helped launch Pfeiffer's and Mastrantonio's careers, both of whom were relatively unknown beforehand, and both went on to individual successes. [23] Entertainment Weekly ranked the film #8 on their list of "The Top 50 Cult Films," [63] and Empire Magazine placed it among the top 500 films of all time, at #284. [64] In 2010, VH1 rated the movie at number 5 in its list of 100 greatest movies of all time.[ citation needed ] In 2009, Total Film listed it at number 9 on their list of the 30 Greatest Gangster movies. [65] Scarface was among the earliest films in which the expletive "fuck" is used persistently, 226 times in total. [66] The company set up by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein to launder money was named Montana Management after Pacino's character. [67]

The release of Scarface coincided with the rise of hip hop music, and the film has had a lasting influence on hip hop artists. [68] American rapper Nas compared himself to Tony Montana and compared rapper Jay-Z to Manolo, both characters from Scarface, on Nas' track "Last Real Nigga Alive" from his album God's Son , during the time of the high-profile feud between the two. [69]

In 2010, artist James Georgopoulos included the screen-used guns from Scarface in his popular Guns of Cinema series. [70] Dark Horse Comics' imprint DH Press released a novel called Scarface: The Beginning by L. A. Banks. [71] [72] IDW publishing released a limited series called Scarface: Scarred For Life. It starts with corrupt police officers finding that Tony has survived the final mansion showdown. Tony works at rebuilding his criminal empire, similar to the game The World Is Yours. [73]

Among other films, Scarface served as a major inspiration for the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City , which took place in a representation of 1980s' Miami and featured music from the film's soundtrack, as well as a recreation of Montana's mansion. [74] [75] [76] Scarface got its own direct tie-in with the 2006 video games Scarface: The World Is Yours and Scarface: Money. Power. Respect. .

The quote "Say hello to my little friend!" from the film's climactic scene has become a pop culture staple, and ranked 61 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes list.

WWE Hall of Famer Scott Hall described the characters Tony Montana and Manny Ribera as an inspiration for his gimmick Razor Ramon. Ramon's nickname (The Bad Guy) and catchphrase ("Say hello to The Bad Guy") derive from Montana's quotes: "Say hello to my little friend" and "Say goodnight to the bad guy".

Canceled sequel and remake

Canceled sequel

In 2001, plans were made for hip hop artist Cuban Link to write and star in a sequel to Scarface titled Son of Tony. [77] The plans drew both praise and criticism and, after several years, Cuban Link indicated that he may no longer be involved with the project as the result of movie rights issues and creative control. [78]


Universal announced in 2011 that the studio is developing a new version of Scarface. The studio stated that the new film is neither a sequel nor a remake, but will take elements from both this version and its 1932 predecessor, including the basic premise: a man who becomes a kingpin in his quest for the American Dream. Martin Bregman produced the 1983 remake and would produce this version also, [79] with a screenplay by David Ayer, [80] and David Yates in talks to direct the film. [81]

On March 24, 2014, TheWrap reported that Pablo Larraín was in negotiations to direct the film, along with Paul Attanasio writing the film's script. The film's update will be an original story set in modern-day Los Angeles that follows a Mexican immigrant's rise in the criminal underworld as he strives for the American Dream. [82] Jonathan Herman was set in March 2015 to rewrite both drafts of the script. [83]

On August 10, 2016, Deadline Hollywood reported that Antoine Fuqua was in talks to direct the film. [84] On September 28, 2016, Variety reported that Terence Winter would be penning the script for the film. [85] In January 2017, Fuqua left the project and Diego Luna was cast in the lead role. [86] On February 10, 2017, it was announced that the film would be released in theaters on August 10, 2018, with the film's script being written by the Coen brothers. [87]

On March 30, 2018, it was announced that Fuqua will direct the new film with Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer writing the screenplay. [88]

On August 9, 2018, the film had not been released in theaters as originally planned and filming had been announced to start in October 2018. Filming would take place in Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Mexico. [89] However, as of March 2019, filming has yet to begin.[ citation needed ][ dubious ]

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