Scarface Movie Review


He loved the American Dream. With a Vengeance.

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Oliver Stone researched the subject for two dangerous months in which time he interviewed federal agents, investigators and detectives with the Miami PD. Stone also met up with some of the young "bandidos" hired to unload contraband from freighters, dealers who cut and peddled the goods and even got close to some of the big suppliers: "I felt my life was on the line. Most of my work, for obvious reasons, was done between midnight and dawn. That's not the safest time to be out alone..." (Oliver Stone)

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Al Pacino owned the 70s, diversified in the 80s and continues to be one of the most versatile character actors in movies today.

After being denied an Oscar for his outstanding performance in "The Godfather Part II", the man decided against sending a horses head to members of the academy and instead found himself collaborating with Brian De Palma ("The Untouchables") and an embittered young screenwriter by the name of Oliver Stone ("Platoon").

Pacino had already established himself as a great young actor willing to take risks with films "Dog Day Afternoon", "Serpico" and "Cruising".

Scarface, by comparison, was a low key reworking of the 1932 Howard Hawke's classic, an atypical gangster movie in terms of it's political statements about Castro's Cuba and the futility/hypocrisy of the drugs war (also explored in "Traffic").

Scarface is about a Cuban refugee who builds a powerful cocaine empire through a ruthless reign of ultra violence and business savvy. Tony Montana believes that "…first you get the money, then you get the power and then you get the woman…"

Pacino's partner in crime is an old friend from Havana called Manny Ray (the excellent Steven Bauer) together they fight their way out of a refugee camp, take out rival dealers and eventually whack the bosses to become the main men in downtown Miami... But hedonism and the pursuit of absolute power leads to paranoia and psychosis.

In the end, it all goes up in a hail of bullets and hellfire: Tony 'Scarface' Montana was a man so obsessed with the American dream, that he didn't realise it had consumed him in every way possible.

Author: Kashif AhmedUpdate This Review


A modern gangster classic if ever there was one, up there with "Goodfellas", "The Godfather" Trilogy, "Casino", "Mean Streets" and the underrated "Things To Do In Denver When You're Dead".

Pacino's manic performance as the coke fuelled killer rates as one of the finest in cinema, whilst Michelle Pfeiffer does some excellent acting as his hopelessly addicted wife Elvira; Her laconic style and the way in which she conveys the soulless nature of their marriage shows how good an actress Pfeiffer can be.

Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is also frighteningly realistic as Tony's sister Gina; empathic characterisation makes this a complex study about corruption and greed, an operatic melodrama about the rise and fall of a real "bad guy" who, in contradiction to other frauds, was an "honest" criminal…

And for anyone who thinks the action is a little sporadic, just wait until you "…say hello to my lill' friend" in one of, if not the best, shootouts of all time.

Cinematic excellence, with a classic 80s musical montage during "Push It To The Limit". A must see for everyone.

Great performance by Al, flawless direction by DePalma and some endlessly quotable lines.
Some of the violence may be too graphic for those of a sensitive disposition.

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The Movie Data

Key Crew

Director: Brian De Palma
Writer: Armitage Trail, Ben Hecht, Howard Hawks, Oliver Stone
Producers: Martin Bregman, Peter Saphier, Louis A. Stroller
Locations Manager: Frank Pierson, Susan Zwerman

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Release Date: 09 Dec 1983
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Universal Pictures
Production: Universal Pictures
Genre: Drama

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The Movie Trailer
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1983 Universal Pictures
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