On Location...
On Location...

Scarface Filming Locations

AKA:
Scarface Picture
1983



Locations Manager(s): Frank Pierson, Susan Zwerman

On Location

The opening montage sequence is real newsreel coverage of the Mariel Boatlift in summer 1980. It would all have originally been shot on 16mm film, which accounts for the grainy quality and soft focus when enlarged to 35mm.

The panning shot of the olive green Immigration bus was filmed on Interstate 95 in Miami, approaching the bridge over the Miami River.

The 'Miami Freedomtown' location was under the intersection of Interstate 10 and Interstate 110 in Los Angeles. Twelve years later Al Pacino would return to this spot to play LAPD Robbery Homicide Detective Vincent Hanna in Michael Mann's 'Heat'. It's where the armoured van heist was filmed. [Thanks to John Stedman and Jeremy Lane]

The 'El Paraiso' sandwich bar where Tony and Manny wash dishes - and the 'Little Havana' club opposite – were definitely in the Little Tokyo district of Los Angeles, but their exact location is still unclear. The area has been extensively reworked since 1983 and the buildings may have been redeveloped or changed beyond recognition. [Thanks to John Stedman]

En route to the SunRay Motel, Tony and his gang pass many famous Art Deco hotels along Ocean Drive, including the Carlyle, the Colony and the Beacon. In 1983 these were in poor condition, and targeted for demolition. However, in the 1990's they were restored, and now form a key part of Miami's eclectic character.

The SunRay Motel and SunRay Apartments were real businesses at 728 Ocean Drive, South Beach. The building still exists in its original form but has been extensively refurbished. The ground floor is now a Johnny Rockets restaurant and the top floor front room was the HQ of the Irene Marie model agency from 1989 to 2009. [Thanks to Steve Richie and John Stedman]

The infamous 'chainsaw scene' was filmed on a set at Sound Stage 12 in Universal City Studios in Los Angeles, and not on location in Miami. Several details make this clear: the on-set bathroom is larger than the real thing, the air conditioning box in the window was positioned further north on the set than in reality, and the high overhead camera angle would not have been possible in the real building, which had ceiling heights of only around nine feet. [Thanks to John Stedman]

In the SunRay Motel the TV is showing the 1974 disaster movie 'Earthquake' starring Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner. The sets for that film were built on Sound Stage 12 at Universal City LA. Nine years later, the sets for 'Scarface' were built in exactly the same place. [Thanks to John Stedman]

The dusk scene where Tony phones Omar was shot on the MacArthur Causeway in Miami, with the affluent Star Island in the background.

The front entrance of the Frank Lopez residence was filmed at The Atlantis, a high-rise condominium building at 2025 Bricknell Avenue, Miami. It was one of the first designs to start the trend for postmodern architecture in the city.

The interiors of the Frank Lopez house were filmed at 485 Matheson Drive, Key Biscayne, Florida. This is the location where Tony first sees Elvira descending in the lift, and where he returns to propose to her on the pool deck. The film-makers stayed true to this property and all the scenes that were supposed to take place there were filmed there. These included the sequence where Tony wakes Elvira, and then looks up at the Goodyear blimp and sees the sign 'The World Is Yours'. I spend a lot of time at this house, that's how I know! [Thanks to 'B' and Lauren Carnes]

The exterior shots of the Babylon Club were filmed at 3501 Southwest 130th Avenue, Davie, Florida. At that time the building was called the Kapok Tree Inn. The caryatids (classical Greek female statues used as columns) ere real but the entrance canopy was added by the 'Scarface' Art Department. None of this remains today: the site is now occupied by the Long Key Nature Center. [Thanks to John Stedman]

The interior of the Babylon Club was a very large set on Sound Stage 12 at Universal City in LA. Over 50 mirrors were mounted on the walls, which made it very difficult for the film crew to avoid reflections of themselves and their equipment. The mirrors were designed with soft foam backing and covered with transparent acrylic so that they could be safely destroyed during the shootout where Tony is wounded.

Tony and Manny discuss strategies for picking up women outside the Fontainebleau Hotel at 4441 Collins Avenue, Miami. Many other films, notably the James Bond movie 'Goldfinger', have been made here. The terrace, pool and buildings still look exactly the same today. The building is now a cherished historic site. [Thanks to John]

Alejandro Sosa's 'Bolivia' estate was real, but situated less than three miles away from the building used for the exteriors of Tony Montana's 'Miami' mansion. Both are actually in the wealthy suburb of Montecito in Santa Barbara, Southern California. The open layout of the Sosa house allowed for smooth tracking shots between inside and outside. However, the 'Montana' house interior was not thought to be imposing enough by Brian DePalma, who added an upper floor extension representing Tony's office. This was removed when filming was completed. Both the 'Sosa' and 'Montana' houses remain unchanged today, but are privately owned and not open to visitors. However, they are visible on Google Earth, at 656 Park Lane and 631 Parra Grande Lane respectively. [Thanks to John Stedman and Esnad Eco]

The scene where Tony meets Gina at his mother's home was filmed in Torrance, California, near the junction of West 190th Street and Crenshaw Boulevard. The oil refinery in the background can also be seen in the movies 'Set It Off', 'Blow' and Tequila Sunrise'. [Thanks to Mike Flores]

The 'front' business operated by Frank Lopez was a real Mercedes dealership at 8825 Wiltshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. The showroom is still there, though much extended and painted white, and is now operated by BMW Beverley Hills. [Thanks to John Stedman]

The 'Porsche Boutique' where Tony takes Elvira in his yellow Cadillac really was a Porsche dealership, at 8425 Wiltshire Boulevard LA. It is still there today. Buy a 911, not a 928. [Thanks to John Stedman]

The maintenance workshop where Elvira watches Tony deciding on the 'bulletproofing' of his proposed Porsche 928 was at the rear of the Mercedes showroom at 8825 Wiltshire Boulevard LA. This is the same building used for the exterior shot of 'Lopez Motors'. [Thanks to John Stedman]

Three of the buildings seen in the 'Push It To The Limit' montage are situated within sight of each other in LA. 'Montana Management' was at 8623 West Sunset Boulevard, 'Montana Travel' at 8619 Sunset Boulevard, and 'Gina's' was at 8648 West Sunset Boulevard. The buildings are all still there, largely unchanged. [Thanks to Luc and John Stedman]

The bank where Tony's crew unload bags of cash was at 16000 Ventura Boulevard LA. The bank is still there today, and still deals with large money deposits. The building and the street outside look just as they did in the movie. [Thanks to John Agayan]

The restaurant where a bloated Tony finally drives Elvira out of his life and then delivers his 'Say goodnight to the bad guy' tirade was Perino's at 4101 Wiltshire Boulevard, Los Angeles. It was once the haunt of Frank Sinatra, Bette Davis and Cole Porter. The interior was based on New Orleans styles and was filmed largely 'as is' by Brian DePalma. Perino's closed its doors in 1986 and was demolished in 2005. [Thanks to John Stedman]

The night scene in New York where Alberto plants a bomb was filmed at 5 Tudor City Place. Tony then follows the Citroen up First Avenue to the UN Building. After 'cancelling Alberto's contract' he makes a call from a payphone near East 62nd Street, with the Queensboro Bridge in the background.

The massive two-storey interior set of Tony's Entrance Hall and Office was built on Sound Stage 12 at Universal Studios in LA. It was specifically designed around the choreography of the climactic 'shootout' scene. Careful study of the set will show that it is much larger than the actual building that was supposed to contain it. [Thanks to John Stedman]

Editors Note: Eternal thanks are due to "Scarface" expert John Stedman for much of the info and all of the editorial talent on the locations info above.

Can you help? Do you know any of the S. California (or any other) filming locations used for Scarface? [Please send them in]


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