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Film / Scarface (1983)

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The World is His.

"All I have in this world is my balls and my word, and I don't break 'em for no one."
Tony Montana

Scarface is a 1983 crime film directed by Brian De Palma, written by Oliver Stone and starring the great Al Pacino. 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 1983 film is dedicated to).

The film centers on Antonio "Tony" Montana (Pacino), 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. The film covers Tony's violent rise to the top of Miami's drug trade and his eventual Descent into Addiction and paranoia that alienates him from his friends and family.

Scarface's graphic violence and language originally drew controversy and was originally panned by most, if not all critics, but has since been not only reappraised but also developed a cult following and become an influential popular work, especially in Hip-Hop culture.

In 2006, two spinoff video games were released, based on What If? scenarios that avert the film's Downer Ending. The first, The World Is Yours, is a Third-Person Shooter that allows players to control Tony in sandbox-style gameplay as he seeks to rebuild his reputation and empire after losing everything. 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 a similar premise. In December 2016, Tony Montana was made a playable character in, of all things, PAYDAY 2, as part of some potential early cross-promotion for a remake of this film that is currently in the production stages. His mansion from the film also makes an appearance as a playable heist.

Say hello to my little tropes:

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  • The '80s: The movie takes place from 1980 to 1983.
  • '80s Hair: Tony's sister Gina sports a massive hairdo even by the era's standards.
  • Abuse Mistake: When exiting the restroom after slapping Gina in the restroom, Tony is met by a bunch of shocked faces.
    Tony: What the fuck you want? You want something?
  • Abusive Mom: Tony's mother Georgina. She disapproves of Tony's criminal career, even rejecting a generous offer of $1,000 from her son.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Tony is trying to charm Elvira after she rebuffs his advances, he asks if she'll kiss him if he wears her hat. Despite trying to keep her Ice Queen demeanor, the sight of him in her hat breaks her into laughter.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The film takes some basic plot elements and characters from the original and expands on them greatly.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Tony Montana is certainly easier on the eyes than Tony Camonte.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Tony Montana has far more moral standards and likable characteristics than his original counterpart Tony Camonte. For one thing, it's pretty hard to imagine Camonte even having any second thoughts about something killing children and putting any sense of morality before self-interest in the same that way Montana does. Even their last stands are quite a bit different from each other. In the original film, Camonte fights and goes down fighting against the police, whereas Montana fights off but ultimately loses to a rival druglord's death squad. Furthermore, Montana's incestuous feelings toward his sister are far more ambiguous here, while Camonte leaves little to nothing to the viewers' imaginations.
  • Adaptational Name Change:
    • Tony and Francesca Camonte -> Tony and Gina Montana
    • Guido Rinaldo -> Manny Ribera
    • Poppy -> Elvira Hancock
    • Johnny Lovo -> Frank Lopez
    • Ben Guarino -> Mel Bernstein
    • Tom Gaffney -> Omar Suarez
    • Louis Costillo -> Hector the Toad
  • Adaptational Villainy: Mel Bernstein is an openly-corrupt cop who solicits bribes from Tony and is happily on Lopez' payroll, nothing like the incorruptible Inspector Ben Guarino of the original film.
  • Addiction-Powered: Just before the climactic confrontation with Sosa's goons, Tony takes a huge dose of cocaine. Combined with the adrenaline of the ensuing firefight, he's able to withstand being shot multiple times and takes out several of his attackers, even taunting them as they pepper him with bullets. It takes The Skull shooting Tony in the back with a shotgun to finally kill him.
  • An Aesop: Crime doesn't pay.
  • Anadiplosis: Tony Montana sums it up:
    "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."
  • Anger Born of Worry: Happens when Tony's mother tells him to go to Gina's house to find out what is going on, since she knows Gina is being secretive and she believes that Tony is responsible for this behavior. After getting so angry at Tony that she forgets how to speak English and starts yelling at him in Spanish, Tony's mother is seen crying in the doorway.
  • Animal Metaphor: Tony has a pet tiger and calls Elvira a tiger.
  • Anyone Can Die: After Tony kills Alberto, people Tony cares about start dropping like flies, and then Tony himself.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Frank Lopez desperately pleads for forgiveness from Tony after failing to assassinate him, even offering him $10 million and Elvira to spare his life. It sort of works, as Tony decides not to kill him, but ultimately fails when Tony instead has Manny do it to make his demise ironic.
  • Alliterative Name: Mama Montana
  • Alas, Poor Villain:
    • Tony gets shot in the back after losing everything and descending to madness trying to stay in power. Shortly before that, he picks up the phone on his office desk for a moment, then sets it back down. There's nobody left to call: Manny and Gina are dead, Frank is dead, Sosa wants him killed, his mother has disowned him, and Elvira has left him for good. Tony has absolutely nobody left.
    • Poor, poor Angel. It's horrifying the way Hector saws him off-screen.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The film climaxes with a massive assault on the Montana compound.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Are Tony's feelings for his sister Gina really incestuous (subconsciously or otherwise)? Or, on the other hand, are they simply obsessive, overzealous (and ultimately dangerous) protectiveness because he views Gina as the one true source of light within his life?
    • Twice over. Tony has some suspicions that Omar was responsible in some manner for the deal with the Colombian dealers going sour, which resulted in his friend Angel's death. However, he never acts on this suspicion and Omar is later on killed for an unrelated accusation: being a police informant. This too is never given any definitive proof beyond Sosa's own words and a brief phone call Sosa's henchmen takes, and Frank at least is not convinced.
    • Sosa claims that Omar Suarez was a police informant who had put other gangsters in prison after he kills by hanging him from a helicopter. But other than his own statements, and the brief phone call we see him take from his henchmen Alberto, the audience is never given any definitive proof of this otherwise. Though it's not as if Tony cares, since he never liked Omar and he may have sent his friend Angel to his death. If Omar wasn't a rat, then one has to wonder; what other motivation could Sosa have to want to kill him? For what it's worth, Sosa did actually name the names of those that Omar had presumably put behind bars.
    • Did Sosa really know that the journalist would have his wife and kids with him? If he did, then it seems like he would have bothered to mention this little fact to Tony and Alberto beforehand, and possibly find a different, more subtle way to kill him.
    • Will Sosa go to prison for his crimes? Or will he continue to carry out his criminal activities unscathed? Though when he calls Tony just before the climax, the tone of his voice shows that he is clearly not happy with the turn of events. Regardless, he still takes down Tony's empire in revenge.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: People not familiar with the fact that Miami has a significant Cuban Jewish community (or that there are Cuban Jews)note  might miss that Frank Lopez references a Yiddish word ("chazzer") for "pig" and wears a Chai necklace.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Ambition is what drives Tony's criminal impulse during his rise.
  • Animal Lover: Tony seems to like tigers. He has tiger-print seats and even has one as a pet. He also seems to like flamingos.
    Tony: (changing the channel to a nature documentary about flamingos) Manny, look at the pelican fly. Come on, pelican!
  • And This Is for...: Frank Lopez to Rebenga via Tony and his knife.
    Tony: Rebenga! From a friend you fucked!
  • Arc Words: "The world is yours". Tony sees it on a Goodyear blimp note  and he adopts it as his own motto.
  • Artistic License – Law: If Tony's father really was an American, he should have no issue entering the country legally as he would have dual citizenship.
  • Artistic License – Pharmacology: This movie seems to take place in an alternate reality where no one overdoses on cocaine... On the other hand, it is pretty realistic in regard to the long-term effects of cocaine use, namely paranoia.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Elvira asks Tony "What makes you so much better than me?". Tony has no response.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign:
    • Tony tells Alberto "¡Olvida! Matamos este tipo solo. Sin mujer, sin hijos." which is subtitled as "Forget it! We kill this guy alone. No wife, no kids." A native Spanish speaker would have said “¡Olvídalo! Matamos solo a este tipo. No a la mujer ni a los niños”.
    • A more straight example when Manny tries Hiding Behind the Language Barrier talking to Tony in Spanish to prevent Elvira from understanding; what he says is impossible to make out even for native speakers.
  • Asshole Victim:
    • All of Tony's victims with the exception of Manny fall into this, especially the backstabbing snake Frank Lopez. There's a reason Tony calls him a "piece of shit" when he orders Manny to kill him. And then there's Hector, whom no one feels sorry for.
    • Frank's right-hand man Omar Suarez, who gets exposed as a police informant and killed when he angrily decides not to go with Sosa and Tony's business dealings. He shows signs that he'd look down on others regardless of the profession. Suarez tried to get Tony killed when Hector was planning to turn on him, so nobody feels any sorrow at the moment Suarez meets his demise.
    • Marta. Considering she helped Hector kidnap Tony and Angel, and even pointed a gun at them while the latter was carved up with a chainsaw by Hector, you're not likely to feel bad for her when Manny kills her to save Tony.
  • At Least I Admit It: As noted under Evil Versus Evil, Tony throws this in the face of Sosa and his men. Given what Sosa does, Tony's not totally wrong.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Tony is the embodiment of this trope in the second half of the movie. In general, he's more than ready to use lethal weapons, mostly guns.
    • Hector the Toad as well, who kills Tony's associate with a chainsaw.
  • Badass Boast: Some of the most famous lines from the movie.
    Tony: D'you wanna fuck with me? Okay. You little cockroaches... D'you wanna play rough? OK, SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!
  • Bait-and-Switch: After Tony and Manny kill Frank and Mel, Manny asks Tony "What about Ernie?". Ernie starts sweating bullets and fidgeting in terror… until Tony asks him if he wants a job.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: Tony delivers one to an immigration officer.
    Immigration Officer: Ever been in a mental hospital, Tony?
    Tony: Yeah, on the boat coming over.
  • Bald of Evil:
    • Alberto is balding and is one of Sosa's more ruthless thugs.
    • Frank is balding and tries to have Tony assassinated.
  • Being Evil Sucks: This trope is definitely made all the more obvious in this version than in the original. If you think that being a drug dealer like Tony is a cool thing, then you're out of your fucking mind.
  • Berserk Button: Tony does not like it when guys put the moves on his little sister. Played in a tragic way after he finds Manny with Gina. He also reacts violently when he learns that Sosa expects him to be okay with killing women and children.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: The Skull and Alberto don't speak much, if at all, and are merciless.
  • BFG: Tony's "little friend", an M16 with an M203 grenade launcher.
  • Big Bad:
  • Big Brother Instinct: A creepy and malicious example with Tony Montana:
    • He beats up Fernando after seeing him groping Gina's ass, then scolds Gina and slaps her.
    • He shoots Manny when he finds out he has been sleeping with Gina.
  • Big Fancy House: Most notably, Tony buys a huge mansion with a famously gaudy interior and decor.
  • Big "NO!": Frank gives out several of these just seconds before Manny shoots him in the face.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
  • Blatant Lies: Tony hands his mom a thousand dollars. His mom, knowing him all too well, asks him who he killed for it. He insists that he didn’t kill anyone and is working for an anti Castro group where he gets a lot of political contributions.
  • Blood Is Squicker in Water: Tony Montana's death.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Massively so compared to the 1932 original. Even with the laxer censorship standards over the 50 years that had passed between the two, this was considered an exceptionally violent film that shocked audiences when it was first released.
  • Boom, Headshot!: Happens several times.
  • Boring Insult: After Tony Montana makes it big, his wife Elvira tells him he's become boring because all he talks about is money.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: When talking about the other to Tony, Sosa, and Frank do make good points about each other.
    • Sosa’s words aren’t without truth regarding Frank; that Frank could possibly have spies infiltrating his own crime syndicate shows that Frank is an idiot who, for all his talk of flying low, has no idea how to keep his men in order and effectively run a business. Subverted in that Sosa isn’t known for being honest, and the fact that Omar may have been a stoolie could have been intentional due to the fact that Frank has law enforcement working under his thumb so Omar could have easily been one of those cops under his thumb at some point who he ordered to help keep his rivals out of the way in the same way he had Mel try to keep Tony out of his way.
    • Frank Lopez’s warning to Tony about Sosa holds more water; when he mentions that Sosa would send a hit squad after him if the Bolivian crime lord didn't get his way and that in general Sosa kills anyone who isn't 100% obedient to him. This was shown to be true after Sosa's fury with Tony over the death of Alberto as he killed all of Tony's members and the crumbling drug lord himself in retaliation.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Uzi submachine guns are shot as though they had a several-foot-long belt in their magazines. Gun barrels would go red hot after so many bullets in one go note ; the Uzis don't. Tony's own M16 seems to have the equivalents of Phalanx CIWS ammunition domes for magazines, too. However, it should be noted that in the final shootout, Tony is shown reloading his rifle multiple times.
  • Bowdlerise: The TV version, to wonderful extents.
    • Where'd you get that beauty scar, tough guy? Eating pineapple?
    • This town's like a great big chicken just waiting to get plucked.
    • Why don't you try... sticking your head in the toilet.
    • On some channels, the chainsaw scene was cut completely, skipping to him running outside.
  • Break the Haughty: Elvira has a breakdown in the restaurant.
  • Brick Joke: Manny tells Elvira that Tony has been dragging him to the zoo to look at tigers and saying he's been thinking of buying one. In the "Push it to the Limit" montage, a tiger is shown tethered to a tree like a dog in Tony's yard.
  • Briefcase Full of Money: Or duffel bags, in this case — several of them. This is how Tony and his crew deliver cash to the bank for laundering.
  • Broken Bird:
    • Gina. After Tony kills Manny, she completely loses it and tries to kill him.
    • Elvira as well. She gives off a vibe of deeply regretting many of her choices in life, as she bitterly refutes Tony's claim that America is the "land of opportunity". And, of course, there's her devastating and on-point "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Tony in her final scene in the restaurant.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Gina was fully willing to look the other way at Tony's criminal activity (and as Tony found out, she wasn't exactly an angel herself). But as time went on, she realized what a terrible person he really was at least becoming.
    • Sosa to Tony. He considered Sosa as his equal partner and enjoyed their working relationship. But when Sosa offers to make Tony's legal problems go away if he carries out a hit on his cartel's behalf, Tony takes it as a personal insult and that Sosa always regarded him as a thug. Seeing no other options though (and refusing to even consider jail time), he complies under duress.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Borderline with Frank Lopez. While Frank has the typical Cuban English accent, he can sometimes berate Tony with a New York accent, as well, with phrases like "coño my ass."
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Tony's violent protectiveness toward Gina has serious elements of this. She throws it in his face towards the climax after he killed Manny and had her brought to his house: she pretends to force herself onto Tony so she can kill him. It's more ambiguous than in the original film though.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Tony says that his father was American.
  • The Cameo: Richard Belzer as The Babylon Club emcee.
  • Canon Foreigner: Alejandro Sosa doesn't have an equivalent character in the original film, though he bears some resemblance to Inspector Guarino insofar as he becomes Tony's ultimate antagonist and the cause of death. In the original, Tony successfully killed off all potential rivals, and his death was at the hands of the police instead of other criminals.
  • The Cartel: Led by Sosa from Bolivia, and it is from there that Tony gets most of the drugs that he distributes, is given a last chance mission to avoid jail time, and after he fails it, it is Sosa's cartel who send their men to kill Tony at the climax of the film.
  • Celebrity Paradox: One of Tony's men brags about once working with Marlon Brando on a movie. This is an obvious allusion to The Godfather, in which Pacino played Brando's son, Michael Corleone.
  • Chainsaw Good: Tony's friend Angel is killed with a chainsaw during his first drug deal in the States.
  • Chekhov's Gunman:
    • According to an interview by De Palma, Gina appears for the first time as the woman in the pink bikini in the beach scene, who Manny spots as she's walking away and points out to Tony (who hasn't seen Gina since she was a child and didn't recognize her at first), long before she appears more conservatively-dressed at the family house. According to De Palma, the scene was supposed to be a subtle indicator of Gina's promiscuity.
    • Two of Sosa's top killers, Alberto and "The Skull," appear briefly during Omar and Tony's visit to Sosa in Bolivia. They're the ones who beat Omar bloody and hang him from a helicopter. Alberto is later sent to do the New York assassination with help from Tony, and the Skull is the one who finally kills Tony.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Tony's history as a soldier is mentioned twice at the beginning of the movie and becomes relevant in the finale when Tony is able to kill nearly twenty of Sosa's men.
  • The Chessmaster: Sosa, pretty much from his first scene. It's very heavily implied (e.g., by killing Omar on a questionable pretext) that his entire plan was to use Tony as his Miami distributor and to squeeze out existing rivals. He appeared to already have a massive hit squad practically ready and waiting in Miami to attack Tony's mansion at a moment's notice.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The entire movie. This video sums it all nicely.
    • Lampshaded by Elvira when she complains about Tony's swearing; at that point, it's the 107th f-bomb in the movie.
    • Notable for being the first movie ever to have over 200 uses of the word.
  • Collective Death Glare: Tony receives this from the other restaurant patrons after his wife Elvira throws a fit and leaves.
  • Companion Cube: Tony refers to his rifle as his "little friend".
  • Conditioned to Accept Horror: Tony barely reacts to seeing Angel get dismembered with a chainsaw.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: "Hector the Toad", as well as Thug army < Tony < The Skull
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Tony goes all in for this after he takes over Lopez's operation. A huge mansion, tigers, and gaudy statuary on the grounds, a beauty salon for Gina, the works.
  • Contrast Montage: The movie cuts between scenes of the fun and raucous party in the nightclub and the boring conversation between Manny and Gina in the car.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The day Tony and Alberto are supposed to assassinate the journalist just happens to be the same day the journalist decides to take his wife and kids with him. Chi Chi, who has been spying on him for a while, tells Tony that the wife and children usually take the other car and has no idea why they're taking his car today. An ambiguous example since it's not clear if Sosa knew the target's wife and kids would be in the car with him.
  • Composite Character: The character of Tony Montana is based on a combination of fictional and real-life individuals. Here are the real people and fictional characters who influenced the creation of Tony Montana:
    • Al Capone: Tony Montana's character is partly based on Al Capone, the notorious American gangster and boss of the Chicago Outfit. Capone's rise to infamy and his involvement in various criminal activities served as inspiration for the character of Tony Montana.
    • Tony Camonte: The 1932 film "Scarface" starring Paul Muni featured a character named Tony Camonte, who was based on Al Capone. Tony Montana's character was also influenced by Tony Camonte.
    • Tony Guarino: The character of Tony Guarino from the 1929 novel, which the 1932 film was based on, was a loose fictionalization of Al Capone. Tony Montana's character can be traced back to Tony Guarino.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Tony's mother accuses Tony of "destroying" Gina.
  • Crowd Panic: Happens at the nightclub when Frank tries to have Tony assassinated. Several people start freaking out and evacuating.
  • Dark Reprise: The music that plays when Gina is trying to kill Tony is her main theme of the movie, but in a darker and more eerie tone.
  • Dead Guy on Display: Alejandro Sosa tells Tony Montana that his colleague Omar Suarez is a police informant. Sosa hands Montana binoculars so he can watch Suarez being thrown from a helicopter with a rope around his neck.
  • Deadly Euphemism: Tony tells Bernstein he's getting him a first class ticket to the resurrection.
  • Death by Irony: Tony falling from a relatively high ground over people around him into the swimming pool, next to a statue carrying a globe with his "The World Is Yours" motto.
  • Death Glare: Tony does this twice.
    • First, when he sees Fernando groping Gina.
    • Second, when he finds out Manny has been sleeping with Gina.
  • Death Seeker: Arguably Tony in the end. He probably knows that the film's climax will be his last stand. The biggest hint is that, just before grabbing the M16, he tells the body of his recently-dead sister "I'll see you soon, okay?"
  • Defensive "What?": Tony does this in response to the other restaurant patrons staring at him after Elvira throws a fit and leaves him.
    Tony Montana: What you lookin' at?
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Played with. It's made clear that Elvira doesn't love Tony so much as she tolerates him. He ends up taking her along after Frank's death, and the "Push It To The Limit" montage shows that she's more interested in indulging in her drug/alcohol habits instead. She later looks at their marriage and life as them being "losers" and leaves, despite Tony's efforts to make her stay. But there were times when they started to get along - a key scene in support of this trope is when Tony succeeds in making Elvira laugh in spite of herself when he puts on her hat.
  • Dehumanizing Insult: Sosa calls Tony a monkey over the phone after the latter screws him over.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Tony slapping Gina would shock many viewers, but machismo is deeply rooted in Hispanic culture. It's why Manny barely reacts when he witnesses this.
  • Descent into Addiction: Tony and Elvira become addicted to cocaine as he rises up the ranks of the dealers/distributors.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When Tony sees Manny and Gina together, he kills Manny in a fit of anger. The reason why it technically fits here instead of Moral Event Horizon is that, during his Villainous Breakdown, he subliminally regrets acting on impulse like that. He truly cements it when one of Sosa's men kills Gina, culminating in an Unstoppable Rage.
  • Deuteragonist: Manny Ribera, Tony's best friend and right-hand man.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Tony shows up at his mother's house in a fancy suit, not thinking this will raise suspicion as to how he got the money to buy that as an illegal immigrant.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the original 1932 version, Tony Camonte meets his end when the police gun him down. However, in the remake, Tony Montana's demise comes at the hands of Sosa's minions who shoot him to death.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Tony shoots Manny when he finds out the latter has been sleeping with Gina.
  • Dirty Cop: Mel Bernstein, narcotics cop who's in league with Lopez.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: Averted, Tony does not kill the Bolivian anti-drug activist. Later played straight however, with the circumstances leading to Tony's death.
  • Downer Ending: Where to begin? Tony was disowned by his mother, his sister and his best friend are dead (with the latter by Tony's hands), his empire is in ruins, and he finally dies after a massive shootout against Sosa's men.
  • The Dragon:
    • The Skull, for Sosa.
    • Manny Ribera becomes Tony's right-hand man in his emerging drug empire. He's relatively tame for a villain.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: When Manny puts Gina in the friend zone because he wants her to find a decent guy and stay away from the gangster life, she asks him if he's afraid of Tony and then asks him if he's afraid of her.
    Manny: Hey! I'm not afraid of anybody, ok? That's not the point here!
  • Drone of Dread: The score uses this, particularly whenever Tony sees his sister Gina cavorting with another man.
  • Drugs Are Bad: Everything starts going downhill for Tony when he starts getting high on his own supply.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Manny's reaction to being told by Tony to stay out of the Siedelbaum negotiation.
    Manny: What the fuck are you talking about, okay? I'm your partner, okay? You're not gonna trust me with that kind of thing, who the fuck you're gonna trust?
  • Dying Alone: Tony gets shot in the back after losing everything and descending to madness trying to stay in power. Shortly before that, he picks up the phone on his office desk for a moment, then sets it back down. There's nobody left to call: Manny and Gina are dead, Frank is dead, Sosa wants him killed, his mother has disowned him, and Elvira has left him for good. Tony has absolutely nobody left.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome:
    • A coked-up Tony, armed with an M16 with a 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.
    • When given the opportunity to escape from Sosa’s assassins, Nick instead opts to stay behind and briefly attempts to hold some of them off with just a pistol before being murdered by The Skull.
  • Ending by Ascending: Inverted. The movie ends with The Skull descending Tony's staircase.
  • Epic Launch Sequence: The eponymous boats leaving Mariel harbor.
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Tony seems like a harmless petty crook at the beginning of the movie… until he stabs Rebenga.
    • Tony sees that Sosa is not to be messed with when the latter has a man hung from a helicopter.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Tony tries to take care of those he loves even as he becomes an increasingly bigger criminal and acts like a general jerk. His affection for Gina, in particular, is very strong, although laced with incestuous implications. Subverted and deconstructed later in the film, as he eventually becomes a malignant presence in their lives when he drives Elvira away, kills Manny because he proposed to Gina, and locks Gina up in his own mansion out of an obsession with "protecting" her.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Tony tries to provide for his mother, but the relationship is strained due to her being aware of Tony's criminal activities. She refuses any money and demands he leave.
  • 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]."
    • Ernie is clearly horrified and even a little bit choked-up when he sees that Tony has just impulsively murdered Manny.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Tony has a dark sense of humor.
    Tony: I kill a communist for fun, but for a green card... I'm gonna carve him up real nice.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Tony is no saint, but Sosa and the other gangsters are worse.
    Tony Montana: What you lookin' at? You all a bunch of fuckin' assholes. D'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!
  • Exact Words: Frank begs Tony not to kill him right before the latter takes control of his entire operation, and Tony tells Frank to relax since he's not going to. Frank is so relieved that he's not going to die. Then we get the following gem.
    Tony: Manolo, shoot that piece of shit!
  • The Exile: Tony and Manny. The movie begins with them and a bunch of other criminals being exiled from Cuba.
  • Face Death with Dignity:
  • Face Palm: Shortly after Tony kills Manny, Tony buries his face in his hands and says "Oh Manny. Why'd the fuck I do that?"
  • Fade to Black: Happens after Tony sees the "The World is Yours" blimp.
  • 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, drugged-up on pills and nearly naked (wearing only panties and a bathrobe), confronting Tony with extreme hate, no longer willing to live and wanting him dead, too.
  • Fatal Flaw: Tony's moral code against killing women and children is what leads to his death.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Alejandro Sosa is a superficially affable drug lord who always keeps a polite tone even as he hangs Omar Suarez from a helicopter.
  • First-Name Ultimatum:
    • Tony's mom only ever calls him "Antonio".
    • Manny is referred to as "Manolo" whenever things get serious.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Tony tells Gina's corpse "You wait here, okay? I'll be with you. I'll be back." foreshadowing his own death.
  • Flippant Forgiveness: After Tony kills Manny leaving Gina distraught, she walks into his office partially nude with a pistol in her hand, pretends to forgive him, and pretends she's inviting him to fuck her.
    Gina: Is this what you want Tony? You can't stand for another man to be touching me. So you want me, Tony?
    Tony: What you talking?
    Gina: Oh, is that it? I'm all yours now, Tony. I’m all yours now!
  • Food Slap: Elvira throws a glass of water in Tony's face during their argument in the restaurant.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • When Frank tells Tony that Sosa will send a squad of hitmen after him if he doesn't make good on the new deal that Tony negotiated with Sosa on his behalf. Guess what happens to Tony at the end?
    • While Frank and Tony hit it off famously at first, Tony privately tells Manny later that while he likes Frank, he thinks that Frank's too soft to be a major player for long. Tony is proven to be correct.
    • An immigration officer points out Tony's pitchfork tattoo and says it means "an assassin or something". Tony is soon revealed to be a ruthless serial killer.
  • Forced from Their Home: Shortly after letting him inside and seeing that he hasn't given up his criminal ways, Tony's mom kicks him out and tells him she doesn't want him in her house.
  • Forced to Watch: Tony is cuffed to a shower pole and forced to watch Angel get dismembered with a chainsaw.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Chi Chi. He gives his life defending Tony, which elicits absolutely no reaction from the latter due to a combination of grief and cocaine. Tony then steps over his corpse to begin his Last Stand without any acknowledgement of his loyal friend.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: Used several times throughout the movie:
    • "'Cause you've got your head up your culo [Spanish for buttocks], that's why."
    • "Coño" (Spanish for cunt/damn) is said 15 times.
    • "Last chance, pendejo [motherfucker in Spanish]!"
    • "Maricón" (Spanish for faggot) is said twice.
    • "I'm no fucking criminal. I'm no puto [Spanish for male prostitute] or thief."
    • "¡Quieto! ¡No te muevas, cabroncito!" (Spanish for "Stop! Don't move, you little motherfucker!")
  • Foreign-Language Tirade: After berating Tony for corrupting Gina, Tony's mom starts yelling at him in Spanish.
  • Foreign Remake: Bollywood's Agneepath 1990, albeit somewhat loosely.
  • Friendless Background: Subverted with Elvira. Tony assumes she has no friends and offers to be hers, but she tells him she has enough friends.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Tony goes from being a dish cleaner to being the most feared drug dealer in Miami.
  • Funny Background Event: As the sound dulls while Tony is shown to be eyeing Elvira for the first time in Frank's apartment, Manny can be heard going on in a low voice to Frank, talking about how the girl sitting on the bed during the botched drug deal with Hector at the motel looked like a "witch".
  • George Lucas Altered Version: The soundtrack was revamped for the movie's 20th anniversary, with some music removed and all gunshot sounds being replaced. Up until the release of the Blu-ray, this mix was utilized in all future releases of the film (and to its credit, the Blu-ray release presents the original mix as a 2.0 stereo track).
  • Genre Savvy:
    • Elvira seems to be the only one (other than maybe Sosa) who seems to have any understanding about how stories like Tony Montana's always end, and as such she gets out of the game while she still can, and is one of the few major characters who successfully manages to survive the events of the film.
    • Tony's mom to a lesser extent. She disowns him out of concern that he will have a bad influence on Gina. She ends up being right.
  • Get Out!: When Tony catches Gina in the restroom with Fernando, he grabs Fernando and tells him to get out.
  • Getting High on Their Own Supply: The Trope Namer, and quite possibly the Trope Codifier, as Tony Montana is arguably the most well-known victim of this trope in fiction. The name, as mentioned in the description, is taken from a line in the movie where Tony Montana is given advice from Elvira Hancock and Frank Lopez. Advice Tony would ignore, which resulted in the series of Tragic Mistakes that would lead to his downfall.
    Frank: Lesson number one: Don't underestimate the OTHER guy's greed!
    Elvira: Lesson number two: Don't get high on your own supply.
  • Gilligan Cut: When Tony gets busted in a sting, complete with laundering on camera, he boasts to the agents that his lawyer will easily get him off the hook and that the feds will soon be working in Alaska, so "dress warm". The next scene has Tony's lawyer admitting that the case against Tony would be so airtight that the best he could do for Tony would be 3-5 years in prison.
  • Gold Digger: Elvira only seems to be interested in men who are rich. Starting out as Frank's mistress, then later became Tony's wife after his newfound wealth.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: The poster is half black and half white to symbolize Tony's ambiguous morality.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Subverted. Tony has a huge scar on one side of his face; at the very beginning of the film, he says he got it in an accident when he was a child.
  • Good-Times Montage: Push it to the limit! The LIMIT!
  • Gory Discretion Shot:
    • The chainsaw scene is a shining example; not even DePalma would include such a violent act in his movie. It's easy to forget that we don't actually see what the chainsaw does to Angel.
    • When Nick the Pig begins to fire on Sosa's men invading the compound, The Skull sneaks up on him, levels his shotgun mere inches from Nick's head, and the camera moves Nick out of frame before The Skull kills him.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Plenty of Spanish words are casually inserted among otherwise English dialogue and phrases.
  • Grenade Launcher: Tony's M203 in the final battle.
    Tony Montana: Say 'ello to my little friend!
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: The "unshattered glass" version of the trope shows up when Tony shoots Alberto to keep him from blowing up a car containing their target's wife and kids; blood and brain matter appears on the window behind the assassin, but the glass stays perfectly intact.
  • Gut Feeling: During the drug deal, Hector initially acts overly friendly, but his body language shows he is quite nervous. Tony picks up on this, as well as Marta's stoic gaze, that something is not right here.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper:
    • Tony is aggressive and is almost always on the brink of a cocaine-fueled rage. Nearly everything sets him off, especially people who go near his sister. Not even his best friend Manny is safe from this, as Tony kills him on the spot as soon as he sees them together.
    • Omar tries to pull a gun on Tony after their first altercation.
  • Handguns:
    • Tony's weapon for most of the film is a Beretta 81 in .32 ACP, which he uses to kill Hector. He also kills two assassins at the Babylon Club with it. He doesn't pick up the M16 until the final battle of the film.
    • Manny's weapon, which he uses to kill Frank, is a Beretta 951 with a silencer.
  • The Hero Dies: More like The Villain Dies. Tony does indeed die at the end.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Chi Chi dies fighting off Sosa's assassins.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tony and Manny.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier:
    • It's evident that most people at the refugee camp don't understand English since nobody reacts to Tony and Manny's conversation about getting green cards.
    • At the beach, Tony calls a bikini-clad woman "sabrosura" (tasty).
    • After Elvira tells Tony that Frank never talked about money, Manny says something to Tony in Spanish.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Mel arrogantly plays both sides in the growing Lopez/Montana feud, trying to shake down both men simultaneously and then doing nothing to protect Lopez when Tony gets the upper hand. Even after Tony has Lopez killed in cold blood, Mel continues to assume his job title makes him untouchable. Wrong.
  • Hookers and Blow: The film pretty much runs on this trope, given the nature of Tony Montana's work and... leisure activities.
  • Hope Spot: The end of the film. Tony looks like he might be able to hold out against the gangsters besieging his mansion, even standing up to a hail of gunfire. Then the Skull empties a barrel of a shotgun into his back.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Tony. He rages at his sister Gina for partying at the same nightclub he does and at Elvira for abusing drugs despite snorting mountains of cocaine himself and previously not doing anything to stop her.
      • He cuts ties with Jerry and his bank because he doesn't want to pay extra, and yet when Tony gets busted in a sting operation, not only does he pay a five million dollar bail he offers to double his lawyer's initial fees because he's that desperate to avoid any jailtime (which his lawyer bluntly informs him is impossible).
    • Elvira, to a lesser extent. She tells Tony that becoming a millionaire has made him unable to stop talking about money, but the only reason she married him in the first place was because of his newfound wealth.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point:
    • While Tony rages at Gina for going to the same nightclub he goes to, he did do her a favor as she was about to have unprotected sex with a drug dealer.
    • It's not like Elvira would be together with Frank or marry Tony if they weren't rich and powerful like a drug lord, but she's not wrong when she points out what an asshole Tony has become as time has gone on.
  • I Have No Son!:
    Tony's Mother: Son? I wish I had one! He's a bum! He was a bum then and he's a bum now!
    Tony: Forget Papa. We never had one.
  • I Just Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Manny's reason for initially rejecting Gina is that he thinks she's too good for him.
  • I Just Want to Be Free: Before he gets involved in the Miami drug trade and becomes greedy and power-hungry, all Tony wants is freedom.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: After witnessing the deaths of Frank and Bernstein, Ernie (one of Frank's men) is sure he'll be next. When Tony offers him a job instead, he picks up a bottle of whiskey and takes a long pull from it.
  • Ice Queen: Elvira. She's aloof and sarcastic, making plenty of jabs at Tony and Lopez. Given that both men are powerful drug dealers, one can understand her disdain (hypocritical though it may be).
  • Idiot Ball: Deliberately ignoring Tony's warnings about getting it on with his sister was never going to end well for Manny. And by this point, he was well aware that his friend had a hair-trigger temper that could go from zero to murder in the span of moments.
  • An Immigrant's Tale: Tony Montana is an illegal immigrant who was exiled from Cuba and arrives in Miami, Florida.
  • Implacable Man: Tony in the end, from the huge amounts of cocaine he took.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: Thanks to Tony's firm, if twisted, moral code.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When Tony is already in a bad mood, he hears the nightclub stand-up comedian say "But my favorite Cuban of all time has to be Ricky Ricardo", which only makes him feel worse.
  • Instant Death Bullet:
    • In the chainsaw scene, two of the mooks are killed instantly by single bullets when Tony's friends come to save him.
    • Tony has Manny kill Frank after the failed hit on Tony at the nightclub. He is killed with a single shot from a silenced pistol.
    • Tony Kills Sosa's hitman "Shadow" before he can remotely detonate the bomb in the car of an activist threatening to expose Sosa. Tony shoots him through the head, killing him instantly.
    • The final scene where Sosa's army of hired killers storm Tony's mansion, killing Tony's men, several on both sides are felled by single instant death bullets.
    • Tony kills many of Sosa's men directly in his retaliatory rampage after Gina is killed by one of Sosa's assassins coming through Tony's office window. Tony, despite wildly firing from the hip on full auto from an M-16, manages to kill several of Sosa's men instantly with a single shot each.
    • There are several aversions throughout the film where certain characters are killed with multiple gunshots. The most notable example is Tony's own death at the very end receiving several gunshot wounds before he is killed by a final shotgun blast in the back.
  • Insulting from Behind the Language Barrier:
    • After Alberto refuses to go with Tony's suggestion to wait until the journalist is alone so they can kill him without killing his wife and children, Tony tells Ernie and Chi Chi "This fucking guy" since he knows Alberto doesn't understand English.
    • Zigzagged at the climax. Tony switches between insulting the assassins (who only understand Spanish) in Spanish and English.
  • In the Back:
    • After taking numerous machine gun bullets during the climax, Tony is finally put down by a shotgun blast to the back from the enigmatic henchman the Skull.
    • Chi Chi gets shot in this fashion when he tries desperately to pound on the door to Tony's office, as Sosa's henchmen attack the compound.
  • Ironic Echo: In introducing him to the world of crime, Frank tells Tony that Nacho Contreras is a "Chazzer", a Yiddish word for "pig" which describes someone who doesn't fly straight. Tony repeats the description to Frank after surviving the latter's attempt to have him killed.
    Tony: You know what a Chazzer is, Frank? That's a pig that don't fly straight.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Tony's motivation for marrying Elvira is to show everyone he can conquer her, and his overprotectiveness of Gina stems from her being the only pure thing in his life.
    • Elvira almost entirely motivated by self-interest and material wealth, caring neither about Frank or Tony for who they are as people, and only about the status she gets from them.
  • It's Cuban: Tony becomes such a powerful and wealthy drug lord that he can afford Cuban cigars.
  • It's Snowing Cocaine: Near the climax of the film, Tony is seen surrounded by piles and piles of cocaine (which makes sense since he's a dealer), and uses it to take and inflict a lot of punishment before he goes down.
  • Jerkass: Several examples.
    • Tony. Despite having some noble tendencies here and there, one can still easily see him at his absolute worst as one of these. His drug-dealing game, along with some other objectionable things he does, has led to some viewers having a big problem with him. He has shown jealousy and recklessness, is harsh with his sister when she starts making love to a guy she met at a club, mouths off at bankers and such who he feels would short-change him, was gearing up to execute a man he did not know as he became more drunk with power until children's lives were on the line, and his anger has been a danger towards others, including himself, and ultimately kills his best friend in a blind fit of rage. He appears to fight with just about everyone sooner or later except his mother (who herself is very much sickened by his criminal habits), but still...
    • Elvira. More so than Gina and Tony would act, as she's aloof, snide and unpleasant, at least if rubbed the wrong way. Though she can be respectful if approached with enough respect, as seen when there are times when Tony and when start to get along.
    • Omar. He starts out not believing in Tony's potential and rubbing it in unprovoked. Although to his credit, he acts cordial enough on rare occasions until Tony steps on his toes.
  • Just in Time: Manny and Chi Chi arrive and shoot Hector and Marta just when the former is about to kill Tony with a chainsaw.
  • 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 the journalist who would have implicated him.
    • Manny, briefly. He talks Tony into switching bankers to Seidelbaum, who turns out to be an undercover cop who gets Tony into the legal trouble that indirectly leads to his downfall. Manny could legitimately have been killed for that alone. Of course, none of this matters once Tony sees him and Gina together.
    • Inverted with Mel, who thinks he's getting off easy after Tony and Manny kill Frank in retaliation for an assassination plot. Then Tony decides to pop a sudden bullet in his stomach, then gives him a second shot in the heart to finish him off for good.
  • Karmic Death: Frank Lopez dies in almost the exact same scenario he had tried to kill Tony in: he has someone else do the job for him.
  • Kick the Dog: Sosa's henchmen Alberto and the wife and children that would have been in the exploding car.
  • Killed Offscreen:
  • Lady Looks Like a Dude: Tony tells Gina that the last time he saw her, she looked like a little boy.
  • Language Fluency Denial: Discussed. Tony tells Manny he should have kept his mouth shut during the immigration interview.
  • The Last Dance: Tony's last stand.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Sosa has Omar Suarez killed after presumably discovering that he was a police informant in order to keep himself clean, then commissions Tony to attempt to kill a journalist who is trying to take down his cocaine empire, then after the Journalist survives and makes his speech at the UN, has Tony himself killed in retaliation for fucking up the hit and letting the journalist live.
  • Lighter and Softer: Beneath the gallons of blood and swearing, the film is actually lighter in tone compared to the 1932 version, largely because of its protagonist: Tony Montana, for all the acts he commits, has lines he won't cross and makes a good point about how society needs people like him to blame for their own failings. Tony Camonte, the protagonist of the 1932 film, has no such moral lines or sentimentality. Montana's Large Ham tendencies and macho posturing are in stark contrast to Camonte's animalistic leering and barely-restrained rage. Camonte's relationship with his sister was more overtly incestuous as well, whereas this film leaves it more ambiguous.
  • Lonely at the Top: In spades. Even Tony lampshades this when he's sitting miserably in a restaurant with his wife and the closest he had to a proper friend who can barely stand him at this point.
  • Love at First Sight: After laying eyes on Gina for the first time, Manny tells Tony she's beautiful and wonders why Tony never mentioned her.
  • Made of Iron:
    • Tony at the end, due to being seriously coked-up. Tony snorted so much coke that it dulled the pain receptors in his body to the point where he took hundreds of bullets and was still standing. That said, he sure as hell felt a shotgun blast to the back.
    • Absorbs roughly half of a magazine from Manny's submachinegun, and then falls three stories out of a window. He still just barely has enough left in him to walk a short distance before Tony finds him and finishes him off in the street.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Tony Montana is shot a number of times through the torso. As he is currently high on cocaine, it just makes him angry.
  • Malaproper: During his first meeting and initial negotiations with Sosa, Tony describes how smuggling coke over the waters of Panama is so much riskier because of Naval surveillance. He states that "it's no duckwalk anymore" (as opposed to "cakewalk").
  • Meaningful Name: The surname "Montana" is Spanish for "mountain".
  • Mondegreen Gag: When Tony asks Manny how his immigration interview went, we get this exchange:
    Tony: So? What'd you tell them?
    Manny: I told 'em what you told me to tell 'em, Tony. I told 'em I was in sanitation. They didn't go for it.
    Tony: Sanitation?
    Manny: Yeah.
    Tony: I told you to tell them you was in a sanitarium, not sanitation. Sanitarium.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Tony's reunion with his family goes downhill when his mom asks him “Who did you kill for this, Antonio?” after he hands her a wad of cash, which she rejects and then starts yelling at him before kicking him out of the house.
    • Tony is almost assassinated at the nightclub.
  • Montage: The song appears in the film in the montage sequence that demonstrates Tony Montana's rise in wealth and position after he kills Frank Lopez (Robert Loggia) and takes over as the head cocaine trafficker in Miami.
  • Morton's Fork: Even if Alberto wanted to spare Gutierrez' family, it's not like he had a whole lot of choice in the matter - missing their shot would've probably just put him in Sosa's crosshairs along with Tony.
  • Motor Mouth: Tony. He likes to talk for whoever is in earshot. Lampshaded by Alberto, who tells him to shut his mouth when he's talking about how sick it is to kill a mother and her children. At this point he's speaking in English, a language that Alberto doesn't understand but Ernie and Chi Chi do.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Manny's girlfriend/hookup doesn't do much for the story but gives male viewers a nice ass to look at.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Tony murders his partner 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.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: When Tony fully realizes that he killed Manny in a rage, he immediately wishes he could take it back.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits: Gina, according to Tony.

  • Nebulous Criminal Conspiracy: When Sosa meets with Tony in Bolivia to plan the assassination of the journalist, others present are several high-ranking political, military, and business figures in Bolivia and their "friend from Washington," and it's stated that other "friends" they have in Washington can make sure Tony doesn't have to do any jail time on the charges he's facing.
  • Never Going Back to Prison: What motivates Tony into a new deal with Sosa, as Tony can't stomach jail anymore, not even a short three-year stint.
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Tony follows this rule.
    Tony: I never fucked anybody over in my life that didn't have it coming to 'em.
  • Never Trust a Title: There's a very brief exchange of two lines of dialogue in the opening scene calling attention to Tony's facial scar. It's never mentioned again and the fact that he has a scar has no bearing on anything else that happens in the movie. It's just there to justify the title of the film, which is of course a loose remake of the 1932 Scarface that was much more obviously about an Al Capone stand-in.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Sosa asks Tony to assist Alberto with the assassination of a journalist, since the latter doesn't understand English. What Sosa didn't count on was that the target's wife and kids would be with him. Tony calls off the assassination, telling Alberto they should wait until the journalist is alone so they can kill him without killing his wife and children. Alberto refuses to go with Tony's suggestion, saying that if Sosa says they do it now, they should do it now. Tony obeys Alberto but kills him just before the latter can blow up the car. While Tony's intent was only to save the wife and children, Sosa mentions that the journalist found the bomb under his car and has hired security and will expose his drug operation on national television.
  • No Antagonist: All of the conflicts in the movie come from Tony's ambition and self-destructive tendency. All of his enemies (with the exception of Hector the Toad) are former friends whom he betrays on his own accord. Frank was a Benevolent Boss who took Tony in when he had nothing and only turned on him when Tony undermined his authority too many times. Sosa was his closest ally and protected him from the laws, only for Tony's Honor Before Reason tendency to blow it and land his own friend in hot water. Even Tony's legal troubles come solely from his greed and ego preventing him from just paying the money launderer his cut.
  • No Full Name Given: Several examples.
    • Hector the Toad.
    • Alberto the Shadow.
    • Subverted with Tony's mom. Her first name is given as Georgina in the Closing Credits.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Tony commits exactly two semi-decent acts over the course of the entire film, both of which kick back on him. He tries to give some money to his mother, only for her to disown him. Later, he refuses to help kill the journalist's wife and kids, leading Sosa to declare war on him.
    • Frank takes Tony in when he was a two-bit dishwasher and gives him his start in the crime business. In return, Tony makes a dangerous deal behind his back, possibly colludes with a rival to kill his right-hand man (Tony didn't, but Frank has no way of knowing that), tries stealing his girlfriend and then openly disrespects him in front of said girlfriend. It's no wonder that Frank feels the need to have Tony killed to protect his authority and his business.
  • No, You: Elvira does when Tony tells her she is stoned. He is, but so is she.
    Tony: Go home. You're stoned.
    Elvira: I'm not stoned. You're stoned.
  • Noodle Incident: We never do learn how Tony got that scar... though given his nature, there are many plausible scenarios. In the novelization of the film script, however, we learn that Tony got it from the husband of a woman he was having an affair with back in Cuba.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Sosa calls Tony a monkey. Tony's reaction? To start chimping out.
  • Not What It Looks Like: After killing Angel, Hector tries to kill Tony and is shot several times by Manny but survives and manages to escape the building. Tony runs outside, catches him up to him, and shoots him in the head, much to the shock of several bystanders. To them it looks like a Conspicuously Public Assassination, but it is actually a revenge shooting that just happened to be in public.
  • Novelization: By Paul Monette.
  • Number Two: Manny to Tony.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Gina tells Tony that got married with Manny.
  • Offscreen Villainy: Rebenga's background as a military Torturer in communist Cuba is only ever mentioned and is never shown onscreen.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Not said, but Ernie and Chi Chi definitely looked at each other to convey this when Tony blew Alberto's head off to effectively call off the hit they were supposed to perform.
    • Tony's banker displays a more subdued type of this expression during the Good-Times Montage. At first, when Tony and the crew bring huge duffle bags full of cash into the bank, he's eager to meet with them and start up a business relationship. As they keep making visit after visit, though, he stares out the window at them with a completely stunned look on his face, since the bank is a legitimate business and the effort to launder Tony's obscene wealth would draw the wrong kind of attention.
  • One-Man Army: Tony becomes this in the final scene.
  • One-Word Title: As in the original movie, which in and of itself is based on another famous nickname for a renowned gangster whose name is almost an anagram of Al Pacino.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Sosa's top henchman is only known as The Skull.
  • Only Sane Woman: Tony's mother. She's the most level-headed character in the movie.
  • Oppressive Immigration Enforcement: The movie begins during the "Mariel Boatlift" in the early 1980's, a mass exodus of Cuban refugees caused by several factors, including an economic downturn in Cuba, former immigrants trying to bring their families to the U.S, and the Castro regime seeing an opportunity to get rid of their "undesirable" citizens. Regardless of origin, the refugees end up herded into poorly funded camps like "Liberty City" in Miami and are generally treated as subhuman, especially by immigration officials, who see them as Fidel Castro "dumping his garbage" on the United States. However, while most of the refugees are portrayed as innocent victims of xenophobia and racism, others, such as Villain Protagonist Tony "Scarface" Montana, Manny Ray, Angel and Chi-Chi, who are all genuine criminals with no legitimate claim for citizenship.
  • Out-of-Context Eavesdropping: It isn't really clear if the assassin who killed Gina understood English since even if he did, he didn't have the context that Gina was Tony's sister or that Tony had just killed her husband, and she never really says anything that makes it clear that she's trying to kill Tony.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Mama Montana is last seen crying at her doorstep, so it's very likely she lives to the end. Her children Tony and Gina, however, do not.
  • Overcrank: The scene where Tony kills Manny is in slow motion.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tony's father has left the family.
  • Pet the Dog: Tony giving Ernie a job after blowing away Frank and Mel Bernstein right in front of him. Also, Tony killing Alberto rather than letting him blow up a car with two children in it.
  • Please Wake Up: Tony and Gina in the end. Though Tony's world was crashing down, and he'd just done about a kilo of cocaine.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: According to Tony, he does not like working with Colombians. He also derisively refers to Italians as "Guineas" (which is funny considering Pacino himself is an Italian American). In everyday life, he is a foulmouthed drug-dealing guy with increasing amounts of prick characteristics and was this close to officially being a wife beater in an argument at a restaurant.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: The famous quote under Memetic Mutation.
  • Prepare to Die: Tony when he kills Alberto.
    Tony: You die, motherfucker!
  • Profane Last Words: All shown from Bernstein, Gina, and Tony himself.
  • Psycho Serum: The partial-Implacability through cocaine.
  • "Psycho" Strings: The creepy tune that picks up every time Tony notices a guy hanging around Gina a little too closely.
  • The Quisling: The comedian at the nightclub seems to really be sucking up to Cuba, most likely due to this movie taking place shortly after the Mariel boatlift.
  • Race Traitor:
    • A reoccurring element throughout the film is Tony being treated like crap for being a poor migrant on account of being fresh off the boat - it's what motivates him to move into crime. Later, he meets drug kingpin Sosa, an upper-class, white Bolivian snob who speaks English perfectly and hob-nobs with other elites and treats Tony like a guard dog - a useful, loyal tool. Upper-class non-mestizo in Latin America are stereotyped to be backstabbing elitist asshats. Sure enough, when Tony is facing prison, Sosa forces Tony into an unwinnable situation that either forces him to commit a heinous deed against his morals for a crime he'll likely go to jail for anyway, or betray him.
    • Tony's mother accuses him of giving Cubans everywhere a bad name, and one of the cops who arrest him for money laundering tells him, "You call yourself a Cuban? You make a real Cuban throw-up!"
  • Railing Kill:
    • One of Sosa's Mooks topples over a railing after getting shot by Tony in the climax.
    • Tony himself crashes through a railing into a pool when The Skull shoots him.
  • Rasputinian Death: Tony takes an improbable number of bullets to the torso in the final shootout with Sosa's death squad and isn't even fazed, but this might be explained by the fact that he had his face buried in a mountain of coke just before. It takes a shotgun blast at close range from behind and a fall off a balcony to finally kill him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • During dinner with her husband and Manny at some fancy restaurant, Elvie gets tired of Tony's continuous taunting and fires right back at him. And then she walks out on him and is not seen again. After that, Tony himself gives quite an epic one towards the crowd while he's drunk (see Evil Versus Evil above).
    • Tony's mom screams at him when Gina goes missing about how he's worthless and a bum and got Gina into this situation in the first place.
  • Red Is Violent: Tony is wearing red when he stabs Rebenga.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Zigzagged. Tony Montana is shown to be not-so-bad when he refuses to make a hit that will involve children in the collateral and pays for it when Sosa orders him killed. But he also kills his best friend and sister's future husband.
  • Repeat Cut: When Tony shoots Manny, the shot is repeated from Gina's perspective.
  • Rewatch Bonus: According to an interview by Brian De Palma, Gina appears for the first time as the woman in the pink bikini during the beach scene, who Manny spots as she's walking away and points out to Tony (who hasn't seen her since she was a child and didn't recognize her at first) long before she appears more conservatively-dressed at the family house. According to De Palma, the scene was supposed to be a subtle indicator of Gina's promiscuity.
  • Riddle for the Ages: We never do find out if Sosa's assassins know English.
  • Riddled and Rattled: At the film's climax, Tony Montana gets into a shootout with Sosa's hit squad, with them at ground level and Tony at the top of the staircase leading to his office. He gets shot a couple of times, and eventually ends up standing in plain sight screaming and cursing at the gang members as he takes at least a half dozen hits in rapid succession, although at this point he's running on adrenaline, fury, and the massive dose of cocaine he took shortly before the hit squad arrived, so he's able to shrug off the pain. He's then shot in the back with a double-barrel shotgun at point blank range by "the Skull", Sosa's chief enforcer, and falls dead into the fountain below the stairs.
    Go ahead! I take your fucking bullets! You think you kill me with bullets? I take your fucking bullets! Go ahead!
  • "Rise and Fall" Gangster Arc: The film depicts Tony making a name for himself in the cocaine trade, eventually becoming a fabulously wealthy drug kingpin. However, his addiction to cocaine, fits of rage, and impulsive behavior ultimately leads to his undoing and death.
  • 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.
  • Ruder and Cruder: The Trope CodifierScarface was one of, if not the, most profanity-laced films of its time, and its popularity and acclaim helped to normalize the use of frequent profanity in any film production up to that point.
  • Same Language Dub: The two immigration officers that interview Tony at the start of the film were dubbed by Charles Durning and Dennis Franz.
  • Sanity Slippage:
    • Tony gets more crazy and insane every passing week or month due to his coke addiction.
    • Gina loses it after Tony kills Manny without realizing that the two are now married.
  • Say My Name: When Tony reunites with his family, his mom says "Antonio?" and Tony says Gina's name upon seeing her.
  • Scare Chord: The soundtrack suddenly gets eerie when Tony snaps at Manny for calling Gina beautiful.
  • Scars Are Forever: Tony Montana has a scar across his right eye from a knife fight as a kid.
  • 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.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In Elivra's last appearance, she decides that she's had enough and tells Tony, "I'm not going home with anybody! I'm going home alone. I'm leaving you. I'm leaving you. I don't need this shit anymore."
  • Serendipitous Survival: Manny leaves the nightclub to take Gina home right before the assassination attempt on Tony.
  • Setting Update: Keeping in line with how the 1932 version was set contemporary to its release, the remake takes place in its own "today," the early 80s.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Tony is ravaged by all of them, save maybe Sloth. Among these, his most fatal flaws are Wrath and Pride.
  • Shout-Out: Tony Montana was named after football star Joe Montana.
  • Shown Their Work: Brian De Palma made it clear that he had done his research on the Mariel boatlift and the Miami drug trade through various elements in the movie and his interactions with real-life individuals involved in these events. Here are some ways in which De Palma demonstrated his research:
    • De Palma and screenwriter Oliver Stone visited the Mutiny Club, a real-life drug hangout in Miami, during their research for the film. Stone mentioned in an interview that he took De Palma to the Mutiny Club, which was a popular spot frequented by drug dealers and celebrities during the cocaine heyday of the 1970s-80s.
    • During the filming of the movie, De Palma, Stone, and actor Al Pacino stayed at the Mutiny Hotel, further immersing themselves in the environment and culture associated with the Miami drug trade.
    • De Palma and the filmmakers drew inspiration from real-life figures involved in the Miami drug trade. For example, the character of Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, bore a resemblance to Mario Tabraue, a Cuban exile and chairman of a smuggling operation. Tabraue's extravagant lifestyle, including owning a zoo with big cats, mirrored aspects of Tony Montana's character in the film.
    • While much of movie was shot in Southern California, the filmmakers saved one of the most violent scenes for South Florida's iconic Ocean Drive on South Beach. This choice of location added authenticity to the portrayal of the Miami drug trade.
  • The Siege: The final siege of the mansion at the end of the movie.
  • Signature Line: "Say hello to my little friend!"
  • Small Role, Big Impact:
    • Jerry the banker updates Tony on the various government agencies cracking down on drug money and the need for further discretion. He's also the only character other than Sosa who can shield Tony from a tax evasion charge, so Tony's refusal to pay him his dues effectively dooms him.
    • Rebenga's military torturer background, along with his killing of Frank Lopez's brother are what get him targeted for termination by Lopez, who conscripts Tony and Manny to kill Rebenga, thus allowing the latter two and their friends to get their hands on green cards so as to have free passage into the United States, and also go into business with Lopez's drug empire. Also, his murder is used as leverage by Mel Bernstein to extort Tony and his friends later on.
  • Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter: Invoked by Tony himself, where his restriction of jobs to kitchen duty leads him to continue down the path to a life of crime. And again during the finale when he yells at his attackers as he gets shot many times in the mansion, just before The Skull kills him.
  • The Sociopath: Alejandro Sosa, a cartel boss who thinks nothing of having a man hanged from a helicopter, ordering a lawyer's wife and child killed to make sure he's eliminated, or sending an army of goons to kill the man who stops it.
  • So What Do We Do Now?: Ernie and Chi Chi ask Tony this after he screws Sosa over and kills Manny.
  • Spiteful Spit: Tony spits at Hector the Toad while he's captured and verbally attacked by him and his henchmen.
  • Starting a New Life: Tony and his friends at the beginning of the film, coming over to America in order to start a new life for the better.
  • Stealth Pun: Tony says “Say hello to my little friend!” while high on cocaine. One possible side effect of cocaine is erectile dysfunction.
  • Stock Footage: The opening sequence is accompanied with shots from the actual Mariel boatlift.
  • Stock Shout-Outs: "Say hello to my little friend!", when pulling out a BFG.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Sosa believed Omar to have been this and dealt with him thusly.
  • Stunned Silence: Tony goes silent after killing Manny immediately regretting what he did.
  • Sudden Principled Stand: Throughout the film Tony has been a drug lord, and 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.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Alberto has no dialogue until he is paired with Tony for an assassination mission.
  • Sunglasses at Night: The Skull, the assassin who kills Tony.
  • Tagline: Several.
    • He was Tony Montana. The world will know him by another name... SCARFACE.
    • The world is yours.
    • He wanted to live the American Dream until the end.
    • He loved the American Dream. With a vengeance.
  • Talking to the Dead: Happens twice.
    • Tony rants angrily at Alberto's corpse after killing him.
    Tony: What do you think I am huh?! What do you think I am, a fucking worm like you?! I told you man, I told you! Don't fuck with me! I told you, no fucking kids! No but you wouldn't listen, why, you stupid fuck, look at you now.
    • After Gina is gunned down, Tony goes into denial and starts talking to her corpse.
    Tony: Look at your face. It's all dirty. Please talk to me! Don't be mad at me. Come on, Gina. I love Manny, you know? I love him. And I love you too, you know? Give me a smile.
  • Tattooed Crook: While it wasn't as obvious as the other examples, Tony Montana has a tattoo on his hand showing that he was in prison.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Omar and Tony hate each other's guts pretty much from the moment they meet. But they work as associates to get the deal with Sosa on the table (despite bickering amongst themselves a lot more than actually negotiating with Sosa). Of course, Sosa kills Omar, thinking him an informer, and to send a message to Tony not to screw with him. Tony really couldn't care less that Omar is gone.
  • Terms of Endangerment: Tony hostilely calls Frank "amigo", which is Spanish for "friend".
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Greeting Tony at the door while wearing nothing more than a bathrobe was a really bad way for Manny to tell Tony that he and Gina were seeing each other, especially given Tony's temper and his earlier warnings to stay away from her.
    • Frank. For a gangster, he doesn't take security very seriously. Anyone can walk up to his unlocked office, which has a single henchman as its solitary line of defense, and whack him on the spot. This is precisely what Tony does after Frank sends a failed hit after him.
    • Alberto tries to go ahead with blowing up Gutierrez and his family, even when it's become very clear to him that Tony won't do it. Next moment, his brains are all over the passenger side window.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Tony starts out the film as a crook, but it's not until he gains power that he allows himself to become a cocaine-addicted wreck. He constantly curses and acts like a cantankerous prick towards even his possible friends, and gets called out on it by almost everyone close to him.
  • Tragedy: A classical crime tragedy. Tony is shown to be a ruthless criminal who nonetheless has redeeming qualities, is loyal to his friends, and cares for his family. However, his many flaws and an increasingly severe cocaine addiction bring a swift end to his criminal empire and in the end, Tony loses everything he built and everyone who ever cared about him is either dead or hates his guts. Even at the end, it's generally hard not to feel bad for Tony.
  • A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: Tony Montana's aggressiveness certainly didn't win him any allies, but you know he's doomed when he calls off the hit on the journalist by killing Alejandro Sosa's henchman, Alberto the Shadow. It was for a good reason, but if he'd thought out his actions he could have avoided the situation without antagonizing the only person who could have fixed the mess he was in. Then later, instead of trying to fix the situation, he kills Manny Ribera (his best friend), in a fit of rage, driving Gina (his own sister), to try to kill him.
  • 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.
    • Getting high on his own supply brought its own set of problems, among them an impaired sense of judgment. This, combined with his increasingly violent protectiveness about his sister, resulted in him gunning down his right-hand man Manny, who had just married Gina.
    • Frank was absolutely correct: the guys that survive in this business are the ones who manage to stay underneath the radar. Those that want it all make powerful enemies and are noticed by the police - which is exactly what happens.
  • Tranquil Fury: Tony does this when he kills Manny out of rage for sleeping with his sister, Gina before she revealed that they're married. In fact, instead of yelling, he looks at him in furious silence and shoots him without saying a word.
  • Trophy Wife: Elvira is this to Tony.
  • Two-Act Structure: The movie is split into two distinct acts. The first act is about Tony rising to the top of the Miami underworld. The second act is how everything goes to hell for Tony and everyone around him.
  • Uncertain Doom: Tony sabotaging his assassination attempt on a reporter leaves his criminal acts exposed. Whether or not he escapes or faces prosecution is not confirmed before the film ends, but he makes damn sure that Tony goes down no matter what happens to him.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Played straight then subverted at the mansion siege. It's also one of Tony's easily-seen traits.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Riding high as a kingpin, Tony gets fed up with his money launderer's high fees (on what by that point is only score-keeping the money) and goes shopping for cheaper. Unsurprisingly, the cheap one is also a federal sting. Everything else bad in the second half more or fewer flows from this.
  • Uptown Girl: Subverted. Tony is attracted to Elvira because of her wealth, but it soon becomes clear that they don't love each other.
  • Uriah Gambit: It is very heavily implied that Omar Suarez knew Hector and crew were likely to turn on Tony and sent him on the "job" so he'd be killed.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Frank Lopez. He's a friendly-acting, gregarious philanthropist who sponsors a little league baseball team. Too bad that he's also a murderous drug kingpin.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Tony in the last several minutes of the movie. He is left alone in his office, coked out of his mind, being hit with the Heel Realization of killing his best friend Manny. Seeing Sosa's men on the security monitors, he tries to recover. He tries to gather his thoughts, muttering to himself "We gotta get organized", but there's no one to listen. He picks up a phone but drops it without dialing as there's nobody to call. He needs someone he can trust to help him, but he's either driven away or killed everyone that fits that profile. He's all alone and about to die and almost only has himself to blame. The only thing that snaps him out of it is when Gina gets gunned down by said men, and even then it's only enough to make him decide to kill as many of them as he can in blind fury and coke high.
  • Villainous Friendship: Tony and his eventual Dragon Manny Ribera start out the film as apparent friends, which doesn't change as they start a criminal empire in Miami. Manny eventually gets fed up with Tony's more malicious behavior, like beating up his sister's touchy boyfriend. When Manny secretly elopes with Tony's sister his friend goes nuts and kills Manny in a cocaine-fueled rage.
  • Villainous Incest: Tony can't have his sister and consequently doesn't want anyone else to have her. This is thrown back at him right before she's gunned down.
  • Villainous Valour: There's a variation of this trope for Tony Montana. In by far the most famous scene in the movie, he gets high on cocaine, grabs an M16, and takes on a veritable army of goons alone. Even when badly injured by gunfire, he stands and taunts his assailants. It takes a shotgun shell to the back at point blank range to finally put him down for good.
  • Villain Protagonist: Tony, a crass criminal drug dealer, and occasional hitman, murders his boss to get to the top, is a controlling misogynist who becomes a cocaine-addicted wreck, and burns all his bridges on his power trip.
  • Villains Never Lie: It's never proven outside of Sosa's claims that Omar Suarez was an informant for the police, but the only one who casts doubt on the claims is Sosa's rival, Frank Lopez.
  • When She Smiles: Elvira only smiles once in the entire movie.
  • White-Collar Crime: Tony enlists a bank manager to launder his drug money. When the manager later tries to charge a higher percentage, Tony drops him and turns to a different office, only to end up getting busted by the feds for tax evasion and violation of the RICO statute, specifically money laundering.
  • 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.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Tony smacks his sister after standing up to a man he sees groping her ass and taking her to the men's bathroom to do cocaine and make out.
  • Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Tony Montana refuses to carry out a hit that would also kill the target's wife and kids. Tony's moral code allows him to kill only in defense or retaliation (in his words "I ain't never fucked nobody that didn't try to fuck me first"). His willingness to take part in that hit in the first place (the target being an activist who'd done nothing to him) showed that his principles were on the decline. His fellow mobsters don't share the same moral views which results in his downfall.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Tony tells Alberto in Spanish that they should wait until the journalist is alone so they can kill him without killing his wife and children. Alberto disagrees, saying that if Sosa wants them to carry out the assassination now, they should do it now.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: How Tony proves he's not so bad. 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 was becoming worse and 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 spends the first half of its duration challenging our sympathies for the protagonist, then it hits the audience in the face that at least some people in the general public need people like him to point out who's the "bad guy".
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: When asked by an immigration officer if he likes men or likes to dress up like a woman, Tony can only respond "What the fuck is wrong with this guy, mang?"
  • You No Take Candle: Tony sometimes forgets how to speak English properly.
    Tony: What you talking?
  • Younger Than They Look: Gina looks very mature for a 19-year-old. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio was actually 24 when she played her.


Video Example(s):


No Wife, No Kids

Tony Montana may be a murderous, drug dealing crime boss who will not hesitate to eliminate anyone who gets in his way, but even he draws the line at killing kids in a hit.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (29 votes)

Example of:

Main / EvenEvilHasStandards

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