Scarface Movie: More Than Just a Shooter Film

Even for those that have not seen the Scarface movie, directed by Brian De Palma, it would be a rare event to find someone who was not aware of Scarface’s influence and popularity, and especially of the infamous line “Say hello to my little friend!”

The Scarface movie, released in 1983, was an instant hit, feeding into the public’s constant craving for action and violence on the big screen. The film follows the story of Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino, a Cuban refugee who is placed in a cramped and dirty refugee camp located under a maze of freeways in Miami, Florida. He is also detained there with his close friend Manny, a character far more carefree and relaxed compared to the focused and ambitious Tony.

They are only able to obtain a green card by assassinating a government official from Cuba under the orders of a drug lord from Miami, Frank Lopez. After they are able to leave the camp and start their lives in Miami, they are only able to land a job as fry cooks in a small food truck, spending their hours scraping stovetops and cooking greasy food in the Florida heat. At this point, Tony decides to move up in the world, no matter what it takes.

Scarface Movie Review

scarface movie

This decision in the Scarface movie leads to a series of increasingly risky events for Tony and Manny. They enter the drug trade, starting as lowly dealers and slowly building their way up to top Miami drug lords, killing anyone in the way of their paths to success. They achieve a life of ultimate luxury, but for anyone familiar with the film, it is well known that their story ends in tragedy. While many remember the film for its exciting wealth, violence, and abundance of beautiful women, these overtones disguise a deeper subject: the rise and fall of a man powered solely by his own ambition.

At his lowest point as a fry-cook, Tony puts all his focus into raising himself up into a higher position, not caring what that may take. Despite the droves of armed men found throughout the film, perhaps the most dangerous thing in the movie is Tony’s own ambition. He plays against the rules of the drug trade from the very beginning after not being satisfied with working as a simple drug dealer working for Frank Lopez. Whenever he cannot naturally climb the staircase of success, he forces his way up. On one occasion, Frank sends Tony to Colombia to meet with an important cocaine producer, Alejandro Sosa, with whom Tony makes a deal without Frank’s knowledge or approval. Sosa agrees to the deal as long as Tony promises never to betray him.

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After returning to Miami, Tony moves beyond Frank’s power and becomes a drug lord in his own right. He truly and entirely overpowers Frank after killing him and taking his trophy-wife, Elvira, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, as his wife. From then on, with no one immediately in his way, Tony distributes cocaine from Sosa and quickly becomes a multi-millionaire. His job as a fry-cook is forgotten in the luxury of his new mansion, his landscaped and manicured land, expensive suits, and pet tiger with a gold chain.

The Details

However, despite how much he has achieved in the Scarface movie so far, it was still not enough. His ambition continued to burn and it was, perhaps, stronger than ever. More than that, he has become a cocaine addict, the drug fueling is already fervent desire to work and become more powerful. Cocaine fills every aspect of his life, both professionally and personally. His wife Elvira is also addicted to the drug. Of course, no one is truly aware how the drug is maliciously affecting them. Tony especially only cares how the drug has given him countless riches and how it makes him feel unstoppable.

However, the cocaine in combination with his ambition is what starts to destroy his life. High on cocaine in a restaurant with Elvira, he insults her as being an addict and blames her addiction for her not being able to have children. Elvira finds this behavior unforgivable and leaves Tony for good. Tony is escorted out of the restaurant for his brash behavior, disheveled and appearing insane to the rest of the crowded restaurant. This is the first break in the supposedly impregnable golden wall Tony built for himself. One person dear to him has vanished from his life, and Elvira would not be the last.

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Federal agents finally catch Tony for tax evasion and money laundering and he would have absolutely gone to prison if not for Alejandro Sosa’s intervention. Sosa uses his connections in the government to keep Tony out of prison, but only if Tony kills an activist attempting to expose Sosa’s drug business. He travels to New York City to do this with one of Sosa’s men named Shadow who was to detonate the bomb planted on the activist’s car. However, when Tony discovers that the activist has a wife and children entering the car, Tony decides to call the assassination off, killing Shadow in the process as to prevent him from detonating the explosive. When he is next in contact with Sosa, Sosa is enraged as the activist was able to start the process of exposing his cocaine operations. At once, Sosa, once the largest source of Tony’s riches, becomes his most dangerous enemy.

What to Know

We must not forget Tony’s sister, Gina, an innocent figure in this story and someone of which Tony has always been extremely protective. Once finding her flirting with a man in a night club, he attacks the man and slaps Gina for their behavior. On an earlier occasion, when his friend Manny first sees Gina and expresses interest in her, Tony snaps at him and turns violent, warning Manny to never get near her. Gina is obviously the only pure, good thing that Tony sees in his life and doesn’t want anything harming or corrupting her. It is unlikely that Tony ever foresaw that it would be himself to bring about his sister’s downfall.

One night, after traveling to Manny’s mansion, he finds Gina there dressed only in a robe. Believing that Manny was only using Gina for a fling, Tony enters an irremediable, thoughtless rage, and shoots his best friend dead at the front door. Gina screams and cries, rushing to Manny, telling Tony that they had just been married and were going to surprise him with the news. Tony, looking like an empty shell of the man he had been, returns to his own mansion, not sure what to do next. He turns to cocaine yet again, binging it in sickening amounts while huge numbers of hitmen sent from Sosa invade his guarded estate.

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Gina appears to Tony in his office, delusional, believing that Tony has desired her for himself and that is the reason why he never let her be with any other men. She shoots at him with a gun but misses. A hitman instead shoots and kills Gina, the hitman then killed by Tony immediately after. In a single night, not only is Tony’s best friend killed at his own hands, but his sister is as well. After all his work trying to keep Gina away from the danger of his world, she is enveloped in it and destroyed anyway. And if Tony had not been so quick to judge Manny, he might have been able to hear the news of his and Gina’s marriage, a secure union he may have approved of if he had been in his right mind rather than intoxicated with cocaine. Instead, he destroyed every possibility of a happy future for everyone around him, including himself.

The Scarface Movie Finale

After Gina’s death, Tony quickly becomes aware of all of Sosa’s men closing in on him, their only goal to kill him. Fueled by shocking amounts of and insane rage, Tony kills as many hitmen as he can, eliciting the famous “Say hello to my little friend!” as he blows up the door to his office and the many men beyond it with grenade launcher. He exits his office, shooting every man in sight. Tony himself is shot multiple times, but still, fueled with immense and uncontrollable power, he attacks, killing many more men. It is only when a hitman sneaks up behind him and shoots Tony in the back that he finally dies, falling into a large fountain in the center of his mansion donning a statue reading “The world is yours.”

True, the world was Tony’s for a brief time, or at least it felt like it to him. So much money, so much power, and so much cocaine made him feel invincible, unstoppable. In a way, he was on top of the world alongside his best friend and his stunning wife, believing that things would only get better. Indeed, he must have had the delusion that he could have had a sustainable, happy life for he had the desire to have children with Elvira.

Instead, Tony brought the destruction of everything around him, including himself, all due to his own overzealous desire for more; more of everything. He could never be satisfied with what he already had. Much like an overgrown star, he grew into something immense and powerful, but because of all that power, he burned himself out too fast. His decline was inevitable because it was his own drive that caused all his tragedy.

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