- AFI's 100 Years... Series:
- California Doubling: Most of the film was shot in Los Angeles, California instead of Miami, as the Miami Tourist Board refused to allow the film to be shot on-location due to the film's subject matter.
- Creator Breakdown: Oliver Stone wrote the script while fighting a cocaine addiction.
- Executive Meddling:
- When Brian De Palma submitted the film to the MPAA, they slapped the film with the "X" ratingnote . His next two cuts also got the "X" rating for unclear reasons. Frustrated, De Palma refused to cut the film any further, and it took a panel of experts arguing in the film's favor for the MPAA to relent and give the third cut the "R" rating. However, De Palma had the last laugh by sneaking the first cut to theaters (see Writer Revolt).
- For the 2003 re-release, the studio wanted De Palma to replace the soundtrack with rap songs the film had inspired. De Palma refused to, and the film kept its original soundtrack.
- Fake Nationality: Steven Bauer and Ángel Salazar are the only actual Cubans in the cast.
- Life Imitates Art: The international corporation set up by Saddam Hussein to launder money from his various enterprises was called Montana Management.
- Old Shame: Michelle Pfeiffer isn't proud of the film, and is why she refused to appear in the video game adaptation.
- Star-Making Role: However, this was also the movie that put Pfeiffer on the map.
- Throw It In!: During the scene where Tony and Elvira are sitting in the Cadillac at the car dealership, Al Pacino surreptitiously slips on the hat that Michelle Pfeiffer was wearing while she was looking away, which was not scripted. When she turns back and sees him wearing it, her amused reaction was genuine and to her credit, she stayed in character and ad-libbed a line. Brian De Palma decided to keep that unscripted exchange in the movie to show Elvira's gradual warming up to Montana.
- Unintentional Period Piece: Between the clothing, cars, and synthesizer heavy music, this 1983 movie does a pretty nice job of capturing the 1980s in general.
- Vindicated by Cable: The film was panned by critics when it was first released. During its preview screening, its violence and strong language inspired walk-outs by several celebrities, including Kurt Vonnegut, himself no stranger to dark fiction. However, it found a new following when it was released on home video, and the film is now considered one of the more iconic crime films made since The Godfather.
- What Could Have Been:
- The original idea was to make this film a straight remake of Scarface (1932), but this proved to be impossible due to budget constraints and so it was given a Setting Update to 1980's Miami.
- Robert De Niro was offered the lead role but turned it down.
- Sidney Lumet was the first choice to direct this film but he backed out. It was Lumet's idea to make the characters Cuban and to include the 1980 Mariel harbor boat lift in the story.
- John Travolta was supposed to play Manny.
- A lot of actresses were considered for Elvira, such as Brian De Palma's regular collaborator Nancy Allen, who was turned down after the box-office failure of Blow Out. Al Pacino wanted Glenn Close to play Elvira, but the producers didn't think she was sexy enough. Geena Davis, Carrie Fisher and Sharon Stone auditioned for Elvira, but didn't get the part. Rosanna Arquette, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Melanie Griffith, Kim Basinger, Kathleen Turner, and Jodie Foster all turned down the role. Sigourney Weaver was also considered.
- Edward James Olmos turned down a role.
- Writer Revolt: After being forced to cut the film to placate the MPAA, De Palma decided to sneak the first cut to theaters anyway, believing that the cuts were minor enough that the executives would not notice. He was right; His deception was only found out when he admitted to it on the home video release.
Trivia / Scarface (1983)