There seems to be a resurgence in popularity of the 1983 drug cartel movie, Scarface. It’s rare to go into a college dorm room and not find a Scarface Tony Montana poster hanging on the wall, often with one his iconic quotes.
Tony Montana, played in the movie by the legendary Al Pacino, has become an iconic figure for money and wealth. Scarface shirts, posters, and accessories all glorify the pursuit of wealth. Lebron James is even releasing a Scarface-inspired line of shoes.
The ironic thing is, the movie is about the folly of giving up everything that matters for money and power. It’s also about how easy it is to lose all the material things we accumulate and how pointless they are.
I’m willing to bet most people with Scarface posters haven’t actually seen the movie, or maybe the whole point of it went over their heads. Either way, if you can get over the intense violence, sex, and various forms of debauchery depicted in the movie, you should be able to appreciate the movie for the themes it gets across. The acting and directing are also phenomenal.
The Cuban government, under Fidel Castro’s rule, sends 125,000 Cuban refugees to Florida by boat. Among the refugees is Tony Montana and his best friend, Manny. They are forced to live in a refugee camp in Florida but are determined to find a way out. They make a deal to murder someone to get out. After securing grueling minimum wage jobs at a restaurant, Tony realizes he wants more. He wants the world. He wants it all.
Tony and Manny begin their crawl up to the top. They take a job to collect money from a group of Colombians, but the deal goes horribly wrong.
Tony ends up with the money and impresses drug lord Frank Lopez. At Lopez’ house, Tony meets the love of his life, Elvira (played by the insatiable Michelle Pfeiffer.) He climbs the ranks and becomes powerful. One of the most iconic scenes is when he is looking out the window and sees a blimp that reads: “The world is yours.”
Tony is later betrayed by frank and comes under the wing of an even more powerful drug lord who helps him become more powerful himself. Tony promises his new employer he will never betray him.
From this point on, we see Tony’s life beginning to fall apart. His family relationships crumble, he becomes addicted to the cocaine he’s selling, gets arrested, kills his best friend in a blind fit of rage, and becomes increasingly paranoid of losing his hard-earned power. At one point, he is forced to choose between killing an entire family or betraying his new employer. His conscience wins in this case, and he is forced to wait in his giant mansion for his boss’ wrath to come.
The movie ends in one of the greatest movie shootouts ever. This is where we get the lineL “Say hello to my little friend!” Spoiler alert: is friend is actually an absurdly huge machine gun/grenade launcher.
Tony ends up being shot and killed under his giant statue. The camera pans up and we read written on it: “The world is yours.”
Why it’s awesome
Director Brian De palma did an excellent job communicating the theme of power and wealth corrupt. Tony sacrifices all his friends and family to obtain something that ended up making him miserable anyway. Nothing fulfills like having friends you can rely on and a family that cares for you.
Scarface is also one of the best examples of incredible acting and directing. Tony Montana is considered one of the best gangsters ever portrayed on film. We see the clear transition from a man with stars in his eyes and the whole future ahead of him, to a man who has it all and is miserable.
The action is also brilliantly intense. If there is no other reason to watch it, at least do it for its high entertainment value.