Scarface was released on 9 December 1983. The American crime drama was written by Oliver Stone and directed by Brian de Palma.

The film grossed $66 million on a budget of $37 million. It was based on the work of Howard Hawks with the same name. Most of the filming was done in Los Angeles, as the Miami Tourist Board objected that the production would deter tourism to the city.

Critics were quick to point out that the film is portraying Cuban refugees as criminals.

Theatrical poster

The motion picture association of America gave the movie an X Rating even before its release, citing excessive violence and language. By this time de Palma already cut the film three times, stating:

 “I said I’ve had it with these people, I’m not taking any more out.”

After appealing, the movie received an R-rating.

The Movie

The movie is set in 1980 Miami. The Cuban government allowed a brief window for refugees to leave Cuba and join their relatives in the USA. Many of these, however, were dangerous criminals.

One of these refugees was ex-convict Tony Montana (Pacino). Arriving in Florida he quickly and ruthlessly rose through the ranks of the drug lords. He builds a drug empire with the help of Columbian cartels.

Montana’s good fortunes came to an end when undercover federal agents manages to corner him for tax evasion. In turn, the Columbian cartel bosses offer to help him if he assassinates a whistleblower.

Tony refuses to take out the target when he is spotted with his children and decides to go against the cartels.

Dozens of armed men are sent to his estate to kill him. A firefight breaks out as Tony’s men are taken out one by one. The last man standing, Tony kills several of the gunmen before dying in a hail of bullets.

The Cast

  • Al Pacino as Tony Montana
  • Steven Bauer as Manny Ray
  • Michelle Pfeiffer as Elvira
  • Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Gina
  • Robert Loggia as Frank Lopez
  • Míriam Colón as Mama Montana
  • F. Murray Abraham as Omar
  • Paul Shenar as Alejandro Sosa
  • Harris Yulin as Bernstein
  • Ángel Salazar as Chi Chi
  • Arnaldo Santana as Ernie
  • Pepe Serna as Angel
  • Michael P. Moran as Nick the Pig
  • Al Israel as Hector the Toad
  • Dennis Holahan as Banker
  • Mark Margolis as Shadow
  • Michael Alldredge as Sheffield
  • Ted Beniades as Seidelbaum


Originally the movie was snuffed by critics as being too violent and hollow. However, Pacino was superb. The role was offered to Robert de Niro but he turned it down. Michelle Pfeifer was relatively unknown then, and the movie helped launch her career. The film was nominated for three Golden Globe Awards. A remake is in the works since 2011.

Movie Trailer


Scarface (1983 film) – Wikipedia