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Scarface

Scarface

Genders: Crime, Drama

Director: Brian De Palma

Writer: Oliver Stone

Actors: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Year: 1983
Run time: 2h 50min
IMDB score: 8.3
Updated: one month ago

Movie infomation

Movie name: Scarface

Genders: Crime, Drama

Imdb Score: 8.3

Runtime: 2h 50min

Released: 09 Dec 1983

Director: Brian De Palma

Writer: Oliver Stone

Actors: Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio

Box Office: $0.7M

Company: Universal Films

Imdb Link

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Trailer


Review

"You wanna play rough?? OKAY!"

10/10 "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!

one year ago

Exceed to Excess

9/10 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

one year ago

Grandiose, bloodyminded and implacable

10/10 This is one of my all time favorites.

If the movie has a flaw, it's that it comes at you like a raging bull. It doesn't so much engage the viewer as assault him. ''Scarface'' is as voracious and unyielding a production as Tony Montana himself. Nothing is left to the viewer's imagination.

Moroder's languorous synthpop fits the action to a tee. Like the chorus in a Greek tragedy, it wails and gnashes, broods and tugs, a constant reminder of Tony's inexorable fate.

Not so much a tale of caution as a disaster in progress, ''Scarface'' rips across the screen with the unstoppable force of a runaway train.

one year ago

This is GREAT

10/10 Directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone, "Scarface" is a movie that will not be forgotten. A Cuban refugee named Tony Montana (Pacino) comes to America for the American Dream. Montana then becomes the "king" in the drug world as he ruthlessly runs his empire of crime in Miami, Florida. This gangster movie is very violent, and some scenes are unpleasant to watch. This movie has around 180+ F-words and is almost three hours long. This movie is entertaining and you will never get bored. You cheer for the Drug-lord, and in some scenes you find out that Montana isn't as evil as some other Crime Lords. This is a masterpiece and i recommend that you see this. You will not be disappointed. 9/10

one year ago

The Real Scarface.

10/10 "A Classic is something that everybody wants to have read but nobody wants to read. A classic is also something that everyone praises but no one has read." -Mark Twain

'Classic' seems to be the word used to describe "Scarface", Brian DePalma's 1983 film about opulence, self surrender, greed, and danger among Florida's drug ring. People and critics (and rappers for that matter) deem this film 'an epic gangster classic' or 'eptiome of gangster films.' When it is anything but. It is praised for all the wrong reasons. Scarface is a terrific film that deserves praise from all over, but not all the praise it gets from audiences today, and therefor the fine points it so poignantly makes are missed by the general public.

First off, the film is about a Cuban refugee, with a past of wanting to escape communism grasp and find happiness. Simple? Yes. But the layers of De Palma's directing genius, and the great story written by Oliver Stone (yes I know, he actually wrote a real good one here) play into all of it. The characters are all looking for an escape, as escape is a natural element dealt with in the film by all. Each character has something to offer, that makes them likable by everyone who could appreciate this film. They are entwined in a world of mystique and money, but all that has a price, as they all learn. Each character thinks they are getting better chances in life, when in true dramatic irony, they are actually getting worse. 'Tragedy' would be a better word to describe this movie. All those who praise the film for it's drug usage, it's violence, it's dialog, totally missed the point. There is nothing really positive about the film besides the characters positive expectations of themselves. And that is why the film works so well. The devastation through out the film serves to deliver the message of the film, not to look cool or attract viewers. Brian De Palma doesn't make movies for cult gangsters, or brainless action fans.

Next on, the film is an adult drama. It is not a 'gangster film'. It has it's share of action, but the action is plotted very carefully, so it has a point. It's not like "Aliens"- an example of a big dumb action film, and most audiences perceive this film as a big dumb action gangster film about doing drugs and shooting people. Ridiculous. Hogwash. If this film is about that, then it is about how bad it is. Not a promotion of it.

This being said, the film is indeed a great film. It has great cinematography that pulls you into the story. It has a very dramatic score (in true Giorgio Moroder style), which simply could give you chills, or bring you to tears. The film is rather lengthy, but it is a story, and each moment counts. The acting is terrific. Al Pacino - enough said. He can do any role that he puts his mind to, and this was no exception. Pretty boy Steven Bauer, as Manny. I didn't think much of him in other films he did, but he actually makes you like him when he goes under maestro De Palma's direction. Michelle Pfeiffer is a true gem as Elvira. Popping' fresh off the heels of a sort of embarrassment in "Grease 2" she got her ticket to ride performing a no holds barred performance of a beauty that is more than meets the eye. But the three true diamonds in this rough are Mary Elizabeth Mastrontonio as Tony's sister Gina, who when she smiles, or cries, we see her soul and her fresh way of living, and watch it deteriorate; Paul Shenar as Alejandro Sosa, a drug lord, who runs deeper than a river, and Shenar portrays him as so; and Miriam Colom as Tony and Gina's torn mother. These three dig the film as deep as it can go.

This reviewer learned one main thing when watching "Scarface" for the first time. Always go into a film unsuspecting. All the hype and talk of this film cannot possibly prepare you for what you really see. Only knowing De Palma (like I do) can give you even a glimpse of what this film holds. So ignore the rap crap, ignore the mindless violence supporters, and fix yourself a glass of Bailey's on the rocks, and indulge yourself in an emotional viewing of a great film, the real "Scarface."

one year ago