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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Al Pacino
Steven Bauer
Michelle Pfeiffer
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
Directors
Brian De Palma.
Screenwriters
Oliver Stone.
Running Time
162 minutes

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Scarface
Tony Montana arrives in America and develops a slight drug problem


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Plot
Tony Montana (Pacino), a Marielito freed from Castro's jails and sent to Florida along with the political prisoners taken in by the Carter administration. After a harrowing introduction to the US coke business he makes his way swiftly up the crime ladder, ruthlessly squashing anyone who dares to stand in his way, even bent cops.


Review
From its first moments, 'Scarface' is Al Pacino's movie. The opening shots of Tony Montana reveal that weíre in the presence of a truly Mephistophelean character, and one of modern cinema's great performances. The gimlet eyes flash with demonic intensity. There's the ingratiating grin, the much-imitated accent ('I am a Yankee - like choo!') and the nervy, jerky movement that suggest a man liable to erupt into violence at any moment.

It's a delicious performance from an actor who knows he's on top form, and Pacino's swaggering arrogance bleeds into the character, juicing it up even further. Pacino would play Satan much later in The Devil's Advocate, but would never come as near to instantiating pure, snickering evil on screen again.

'Scarface' was received with almost universal disdain, as critics dismissed it as heartless satire, over-the-top Grand Guignol or just plain obscene. Needless to say, with De Palma's name on it and reviews like that it soon gained cult credibility, but the depressing adoption of the film as a ghetto classic by hip-hop stars and gangsta rappers shows how badly a film can be misunderstood.

Among the other things that 'Scarface' undoubtedly is - contemporary epic, incest drama, cautionary tale of interior design run amok - it's a black-hearted satire on exactly the kind of garish, acquisitive, bling culture they personify.

From his vile shirt to the zebra-skin Cadillac, to the shots of him face down scarfing a mountain of cocaine like a truffle-hog, Montana, like many of the gold-drenched rappers who have eulogised him, is revealed as a tasteless idiot. If he has any insight at all, it's the creeping one that this endless consumption is unlikely to finally satisfy, rendering happiness an impossibility.

However, to have one's film dismissed by the critics as, among other things, inept satire and then to see it adopted as iconic by the kind of people it condemns is surely some kind of perverse validation. That sound you can hear on the breeze might well be an uncharacteristically cheerful De Palma, cackling.


Verdict
Perfomances are excellent, and despite its moralistic conclusion, the film has since become de rigueur viewing for crack barons, who know a good shoot-em-up when they see one.


Reviewed by Andy Gill


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Average user rating for Scarface
Empire Star Rating

He worked hard for the money.

Outstanding. Stunning. Epic. Scarface is an awe-inspiring and utterly unforgettable work of pure cinema genius. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Jericho117 at 18:42, 04 November 2013 | Report This Post


NO TE MUEVAS CABRONCITO

scarface and goodfellas r rock n roll flicks, the godfather and once upon a time in america are classical flicks, and whoever slates scarface knows f@ck all about movies! I BURY THOSE COCKROACHES!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hadooooooooooooooken at 11:31, 25 October 2013 | Report This Post


NO TE MUEVAS CABRONCITO

scarface and goodfellas r rock n roll flicks, the godfather and once upon a time in america are classical flicks, and whoever slates scarface knows f@ck all about movies! I BURY THOSE COCKROACHES!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hadooooooooooooooken at 11:31, 25 October 2013 | Report This Post


NO TE MUEVAS CABRONCITO

scarface and goodfellas r rock n roll flicks, the godfather and once upon a time in america are classical flicks, and whoever slates scarface knows f@ck all about movies! I BURY THOSE COCKROACHES!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hadooooooooooooooken at 11:28, 25 October 2013 | Report This Post


Scarface

It will never be forgotten ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by antosh25 at 11:00, 06 December 2011 | Report This Post


THE WORLD IS YOURS DE PALMA.

Scarface in popular culture goes by many names, the shakespearian tragedy of the drug lord tony montana, that film that goes on for nearly three hours, the film that hollywood hated then came to love, the x-rated crime film, an incest drama, or maybe just that film where Al Pacino keeps calling himself a bad guy and draws a submachine gun commenting "say hello to my little friend." Scarface, the shining and back to the future may be the three most parodied films of all time. Rightly so... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lewisb548 at 17:25, 08 August 2011 | Report This Post


Classic Stuff

Nuff Said ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by monkeyhumour at 03:09, 11 September 2010 | Report This Post


The Tragedy Of Tony Montana

Scarface is a blood-soaked Shakespearean tragedy set in 80s Miami. It oozes style, wit and terrific acting. I confess, the movie does seem more bland every time I see it but it still remains a truly great movie. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by krisjcummins at 20:11, 02 May 2010 | Report This Post


IT'S A MANS FILM !

THIS FILM HAS A MESSAGE! IF YOU WANT SOMTHING, GO AND GET IT ! Push to the limit people ! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by spartan24 at 17:56, 21 March 2010 | Report This Post


ScarFace, Easily Deserving A BIG 5FIVE5

A fantastic film that deserves all these five stars. Pacino is great at playing one of the greatest film characters of all time; Antonio Montana. The film that contains 182 "Fuck"s in it is, as it may not sound to people after hearing it has alot of fucking cursing, a great movie. You can see carefully as Tony rises to big with dealing cocaine and all that. To its great conclusion of Montana going (May I add, containing one of the ,easily, greatest film quotes of all time, "Say he... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SlasherHorrorFan at 13:15, 11 July 2009 | Report This Post


A great gangster movie that boasts a brilliant performance from Pacino and one of cinema's best climaxes ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WiseGuy101 at 05:59, 05 February 2009 | Report This Post


One of the best!

This has got to be one of the greatest films ever made! To you people who say it's shit, go watch a cartoon or something cos u dont know when you've seen a good movie you dopes!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by needhamc at 12:47, 24 October 2008 | Report This Post


shit

a piece of dog shit! crap, boring and pointless, i hate this movie. Goodfellas is much better, but scarface is incredebly over rated. 2 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JaCkT794 at 19:14, 30 September 2008 | Report This Post


shit

a piece of dog shit! crap, boring and pointless, i hate this movie. Goodfellas is much better, but scarface is incredebly over rated. 2 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by JaCkT794 at 19:14, 30 September 2008 | Report This Post


After veiwing this with high expectation I was let down by the story of the film. However Pacino manages to make the movie worth veiwing with apart from his role on the Godfather movies is his best performance. However as I have said before the film is highly overated, but if you haven't seen it yet then its woth veiwing, even if you have the ending spoiled for you ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dgribble at 12:44, 29 April 2008 | Report This Post


no... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shawshank prisoner at 12:56, 08 April 2008 | Report This Post


no... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shawshank prisoner at 12:56, 08 April 2008 | Report This Post


And The Winner Is....

Allow me to elaborate on my previous comment. While the film does contain a helluva lot of cursing, it adds a certain amount of believability to an already shockingly real script. De Palma's direction is superb, and the film is visually ravaging, as is Pacino's performance. A truly classic gangster film ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 11:11, 03 April 2008 | Report This Post


Classic

But way to much effing! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 14:01, 05 March 2008 | Report This Post


Scarface

Best character role by Pacino. He has certainly given his best performance is this film. Maybe not an outlined plot or a satisfying end, but to hell with that! This film only concerns Tony Montana. It's about him. And the way Pacino acts this role, is so satisfying and he really delivers as a Cuban immigrant. Gives credit to the crime genre. One of the must sees! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by daxpieters at 22:20, 19 January 2008 | Report This Post


A shootout even john woo would be proud of - Oh and Pacino is brilliant as usual ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 15:42, 19 November 2007 | Report This Post


A shootout even john woo would be proud of - Oh and Pacino is brilliant as usual ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by bobbyperu at 15:42, 19 November 2007 | Report This Post


Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant

How does he do it. Al Pacino in every movie he's in he creates a truly great characters. If it's Vincent O'Hanna (Heat) Michel Corleone (The Godfather) or Or Lefty (Donnie Brasco) but his best of the best is Tony Montanna. This character makes this film. The setting the acting is superb. And the lines, Say Hello To My Little Friend. Need I say more... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by scarface666brooksy!! at 07:35, 12 November 2007 | Report This Post


hey

HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND. HELL YEAH. Al Pacino you legend. Brian De Palma you created the very best movie i've ever seen. Thank You ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by scarface666brooksy!! at 03:46, 29 October 2007 | Report This Post


Infect me with your performance, Al!

Really one of the most engrossing acting performances I've ever seen. The ending we all know about but also the look on Montana's face as he realises his mate has been shagging his sister, then the look on his face again as his naked sister accuses him of incestual thinking...it's just brilliantly and powerfully engaging stuff. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dhollseed at 04:27, 18 August 2007 | Report This Post


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