In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.
— Tony Montana
In the spring of 1980, the port at Mariel Harbor was opened and thousands set sail for the United States. They came in search of the American Dream. One of them found it on the sun-washed avenues of Miami...wealth, power and passion beyond his wildest dreams. His name was Tony Montana. The world will remember him by another name...SCARFACE.
Scarface is a 1983 film directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone. That combination alone is Crazy Awesome. It is a loose remake of the 1932 film of the same name directed by Howard Hawks and written by Ben Hecht (both of whom the film is dedicated to). That movie is itself loosely based on the life of Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone.Scarface centers on Antonio "Tony" Montana, played by the great Al Pacino. Tony is a Cuban refugee deported to Miami during the Mariel Boatlift of 1980, during which Fidel Castro sent off not only the relatives of Cuban-Americans abroad, but also the dregs of his jails. After arriving in America, Tony gets his green card by killing a former Castro official who tortured several people to death, including the brother of a Miami drug cartel boss named Frank Lopez.Tony and his buddy Manolo "Manny" Ribera take on a job for Frank's right-hand man Omar Suarez, which involves dealing with Colombian drug dealers. The job goes straight to hell, and in a memorably violent scene, Tony is forced to watch as another friend is killed with a chainsaw. Manny rescues Tony and they kill the dealers, getting away with both the money and the cocaine.Tony and Manny, having proven themselves in Lopez's eyes, go to work for him. Tony meets Elvira, Frank's mistress, and starts getting eyes for her himself. He starts to develop aspirations for taking over Frank's business, and gets the chance to move up in the ranks when he meets Bolivian drug kingpin Alejandro Sosa, who fills him with dreams of greater things and also has Suarez executed for being a police informant. Tony's new way of handling things causes a falling-out with Frank, who sends a corrupt cop to intimidate him and a couple of hitmen to kill him. Tony kills the hitmen and escapes. Tony and Manny confront Lopez and the corrupt cop in Lopez's conference room and kill them both.With Lopez gone, Tony wastes no time in skyrocketing right to the top of Miami's drug trade. He's got it all — money, power, and a beautiful wife in Elvira. But not everything is well and good in Tony's new kingdom. His success has attracted the attention of law enforcement, his family wants nothing to do with him, and he's becoming increasingly addicted to his own product, which feeds an ever-increasing paranoia that alienates everyone around him, which culminates in him gunning down Manny after catching him with Tony's sister Gina, whom Manny had married just prior and who Tony is very protective of. The protectiveness is so extreme it carries incestuous overtones — an element inspired by the earlier movie.Tony's world comes crashing down when he gets caught in a major sting operation. Forced to assist in a hit orchestrated by Sosa to get his name cleared, Tony has a change of heart after seeing the target's wife and children get into the car to be destroyed and kills the hitman rather than kill innocents.Sosa responds by sending an army of assassins to take Tony and his operation down. They besiege Tony's opulent mansion and kill everyone in it, including Gina. With no way out, Tony decides to go out with all guns blazing, and in a furious final stand preceded by the most famous quote of the movie, he blows away a score of Sosa's assassins with an M-16 and an M-203 grenade launcher before they finally take him down for good.Scarface's graphic violence and language drew controversy and was panned by most critics, but has since developed a cult following and become an influential popular work. It was especially influential on Hip Hop culture.In 2006, two spinoff video games were released, based on the premise that Tony managed to kill all of the attackers in the movie-ending shootout and escape with nothing left. The first, The World Is Yours, allows players to control Tony in sandbox-style gameplay as he seeks to rebuild his reputation and empire. It culminates in a visit to Bolivia where Sosa gets his comeuppance. The second, Money. Power. Respect., is a Turn-Based Strategy game where players make strategic decisions and command groups of minions. An unconnected comic series, Scarred for Life, follows the premise that Tony survived the supposedly-fatal shots.Check the character sheet.
Say Hello to my list of tropes!
The original 1932 film contains examples of the following tropes:
Easily Forgiven: Although she initially plans to kill him, Cesca is rather quick to forgive Tony for killing Guido when it comes down to it.
Executive Meddling: The studio forced a disclaimer at the start of the film denouncing gang activity, and forced a new ending to be filmed- the original shootout ending was abandoned for one in which Tony is arrested and tried for his crimes. Paul Muni was not present for the filming of this new ending. This alternate ending was present as an extra feature on the DVD.
The 1983 film contains examples of the following tropes:
Adaptation Expansion: The '83 movie takes some basic plot elements and characters from the original and expands on them greatly.
Addiction Powered: Tony's cocaine allowed him to take a lot of punishment before going down.
Affably Evil: Frank Lopez. He's a friendly, gregarious philanthropist who sponsors a little league baseball team. He's also a murderous drug kingpin.
American Dream: A Cuban refugee/criminal gains his previously denied green card by renting his sociopathic nature to a contract-killing, the implication being the (naturalization) system is easily corrupted. After a brief stint as a dishwasher he just embarks on a Better Living Through Evil quest. His downfall ensues not from law enforcement but from a rival kingpin.
Arc Words: "The world is yours". Tony sees it on a Goodyear blimp and he adopts it as his own motto.
Asshole Victim: Just too many of them, but the most prominent ones were Omar, Frank and Mel. It's very hard to feel any sympathy for any of them as they meet their respective fates.
Ax Crazy: Tony is the embodiment of this trope in the second half of the movie.
Bottomless Magazines: Uzi submachine guns are shot as though they had a several-feet-long belt in their magazines. Heavy machine gun barrels would go red hot after so many bullets in one go; the Uzis don't. Toni's own M-16 assault rifle seems to have the equivalents of Phalanx CIWS ammunition domes for magazines, too.
Dying Moment of Awesome: A coked-up Tony, armed with an M-16 assault rifle with grenade launcher, singlehandedly battles a small army of hitmen while shouting obscenities before a shotgun blast to the back kills him. It's easily the most iconic scene in the movie.
Even Evil Has Standards: Tony does not kill women or kids, which gets him in serious trouble with Sosa. Carries over to The World Is Yours. Men too, so long as they're "not stupid enough to fuck with [Tony]."
Tony Montana: What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of fuckin' assholes. You know why? You don't have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin' fingers and say, "That's the bad guy." So... what that make you? Good? You're not good. You just know how to hide, how to lie. Me, I don't have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say good night to the bad guy! Come on. The last time you gonna see a bad guy like this again, let me tell you. Come on. Make way for the bad guy. There's a bad guy comin' through! Better get outta his way!
Fan Disservice - As a large group of heavily armed men sent by Sosa slowly surround Tony's villa, Gina shows up in front of Tony, nearly naked wearing only panties and a bathrobe, and confronts Tony with extreme hate, no longer willing to live and wanting him dead, too.
Jerkasses: Everyone in this movie, especially Tony and Elvira. Made particularly obvious because they all frequently swears. However, Sosa is a big one.
Karma Houdini: Sosa... until the games and Scarred For Life.. However, it can be inferred that Sosa would have been arrested since he failed to assassinate that journalist who would have implicated him.
Kick the Dog: Sosa and the wife and children that would have been in the exploding car.
Lonely at the Top: In spades. Even Tony lampshades this when he's sitting miserably in a restaurant with his wife and best friend who can barely stand him at this point.
Made of Iron: Tony at the end, due to being seriously coked-up.
Moral Myopia: Tony dislikes the fact that he had to kill a journalist, along with his family in the car, yet he is a drug dealer himself.
Murder the Hypotenuse: Tony murders his best friend Manny, believing that he slept with his sister, Gina, for whom he harbors secret desires himself. However, she reveals that she and Manny are married.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Sosa's army is storming his mansion, Tony is too coked up and too depressed from how badly his life has gone to do anything to stop them...until one of the hitmen shoots his little sister Gina.
Same Language Dub: The two immigration officers that interview Tony at the start of the film were dubbed by someone else. They were dubbed by Charles Durning and Dennis Franz.
Sanity Slippage: Tony gets more crazier and insanier every passing week or month due to his coke addiction.
Gina loses it after her brother killed Manny, her newlywed husband.
Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Tony's mother when he briefly reunites with her and offers her and his sister some money he had gotten... from less than honest ways.
Its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto III, had a radio station that consisted of songs from the Scarface soundtrack.
The Stool Pigeon: Sosa believed Omar to have been this and dealt with him thusly.
Sudden Principled Stand: Throughout the film Tony has been a drug lord, a murderer, generally getting worse and worse. But seeing Sosa's hitman about to kill the target while the man's wife and kid are in the same car makes him draw the line.
A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: If Tony had thought out his actions he could have avoided the situation without antagonizing the only person who could have fixed the mess he was in.
Tragic Mistake: Tony killing Sosa's hitman resulted in antagonizing the one person who could have helped him out of his mess. Granted, the hitman deserved it, but that one act triggered Tony's downfall.'
Villainous Breakdown: In the last several minutes of the movie. Tony is alone in his office, coked out of his mind, being hit with the Heel Realization of killing his best friend ("What did I do? Oh Manny, what the fuck did I do?"). He sees Sosa's men on the security monitors and tries to recover. "We gotta get organized," he mumbles, trying to gather his thoughts, but there's no one to listen. He picks up a phone, but drops it without dialing; there's nobody to call. He needs someone he can trust to help him, but he's driven away or killed everyone that fits that profile. He's all alone and about to die and only has himself to blame.
Villainous Incest: Tony can't have his sister and consequently doesn't want anyone else to have her. This is lampshaded by her right before she's gunned down.
Villain Protagonist: Let's not sugarcoat it. Tony himself isn't exactly one of the movies' saintly protagonists. He is a criminal who sells drugs, kills other drug dealers like him to get to the top, being a misogynist who came off as rather too controlling towards his own sister, not a nice mafia boss to work for, as Manny finds out, and not to mention, being a dickhead who frequently curses.
White Shirt of Death: Played straight when Tony stabs Rebenga and when Manny was shot by Tony. Inverted at the ending, Tony wears a black suit over his white shirt at the ending's shootout.
It's an interesting example, because protecting children by killing Sosa's assassin leads directly to Tony's death. On the other hand, he's only in that situation because he agreed to help kill an innocent man who'd done nothing to him. The moral of that particular story is left ambiguous.
You Bastard: The movie itself spend the first half of its duration challenging our sympathies for the protagonist, then it hits the audience in the face that they need people like him to point out about who's the "bad guy".