Scarface


2h 50m 1983
Scarface

Brief Synopsis

About a Cuban refugee and the crime empire he built in Florida.

Film Details

Also Known As
El precio del poder
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Crime
Biography
Release Date
1983
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Location
Dade County, Florida, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 50m

Synopsis

A determined Cuban immigrant takes over a drug cartel while succumbing to greed in this adaptation of "Scarface" (1932).

Crew

Andy Aaron

Sound Effects

Stephen A Abrums

Makeup

Maria Conchita Alonso

Song Performer

Maria Conchita Alonso

Song

John Alonzo

Director Of Photography

Beth Anderson

Song Performer

James M Arnett

Stunt Coordinator

Sidney R. Baldwin

Photography

Arthur Barrow

Song

Arthur Barrow

Music Arranger

Bobby Bass

Stunts

Pete Bellotte

Song

Edward Beyer

Sound Editor

Charles Bond

Sound

Clay Boss

Stunts

Janet Brady

Stunts

Janice D Brandow

Hair

Martin Bregman

Producer

Jophery Brown

Stunt Coordinator

Jerry Brutsche

Stunts

Chere Bryson

Stunts

David Burton

Stunts

Dave Cadiente

Stunts

Steve Chambers

Stunts

Laura Civiello

Assistant Director

Gary Combs

Stunts

Gil Combs

Stunts

David Concors

Consultant

Robert Cornett

Sound Editor

E. G. Daily

Song Performer

Steve M Davison

Stunts

Tim A Davison

Stunts

Michael Deluna

Stunts

Justin Derosa

Stunts

Eddy Donno

Stunts

Jay Dranch

Sound Editor

David Hans Dreyfuss

Titles

Tom Elliott

Stunts

David Ellis

Stunts

Paul Engemann

Song Performer

Eurlyne Epper

Stunts

Gary Epper

Stunts

Mike Ferris

Camera Operator

Daryl Fong

Production Assistant

Michael Fottrell

Other

Michael Fottrell

Production Assistant

Jack Garsha

Color Timer

Lennie Geer

Stunts

Alan Gibbs

Stunts

Alixe Gordin

Casting

Lou Graf

Sound Editor

Jerry Greenberg

Editor

Barbara Guedel

Makeup

Casey Hallenbeck

On-Set Dresser

James Halty

Stunts

Bill Hansard

Other

Deborah Harry

Song Performer

Deborah Harry

Song

Ray Hartwick

Unit Production Manager

Bud Heller

Key Grip

Jim Henrikson

Music Editor

Linda Henrikson

Costumes

James Herbert

Assistant Director

Phil Hetos

Consultant

Freddie Hice

Stunts

Steve Hodge

Audio Consultant

Amy Holland

Song Performer

Bill Hooker

Stunts

Buddy Joe Hooker

Stunts

Hugh Hooker

Stunts

Geoff Hubbard

Set Designer

Ray Hubley

Assistant Editor

Thomas J Huff

Stunts

Gary Hymes

Stunts

Michael Jacobi

Sound Editor

Al Jones

Stunts

Laurie Kanner

Music Coordinator

Donna Keegan

Stunt Man

Donna Keegan

Stunts

Jan Kemper

Script Supervisor

Michael Kirchberger

Sound Editor

Charles Darin Knight

Sound Mixer

Buzz Knudson

Sound

Hal Landaker

Consultant

Ed Lang

Stunts

Tom Laughridge

Camera Operator

Kevin Lee

Sound Editor

Shari Leibowitz

Production Coordinator

Sylvester Levay

Music Arranger

Buck Mcdancer

Stunts

Gary Mclarty

Stunts

Lori Meeks

Production Assistant

John C. Meier

Stunts

Giorgio Moroder

Song

Giorgio Moroder

Music

Giorgio Moroder

Song Performer

Giorgio Moroder

Music Arranger

Joe Napolitano

Assistant Director

Paul Neshamkin

Editor

Patricia Norris

Costume Designer

David Oakden

Assistant Editor

Alan Oliney

Stunts

Ronald Oliney

Stunts

Brad Orrison

Stunts

Bill Pankow

Associate Editor

Stan Parks

Special Effects

Gregory B Pena

Costumes

Kenneth Pepiot

Special Effects

Chuck Picerni Jr.

Stunts

Frank Pierson

Location Manager

Don Pulford

Stunts

Mark Rathaus

Sound Editor

David Ray

Editor

Brian Reeves

Audio Consultant

Edward T. Richardson

Art Director

David Rideau

Audio Consultant

J. N. Roberts

Stunts

Mario Roberts

Stunts

Sandy Robertson

Stunts

Thomas Rosales Jr.

Stunts

Michael Runyard

Stunts

Blake Russell

Set Designer

Peter F Saphier

Coproducer

Anthony J Scarano

Costumes

Ferdinando Scarfiotti

Consultant

Sharon Schaffer

Stunts

Maurice Schell

Sound Editor

Kristian Schultze

Music Arranger

Steven Schwartz

Set Designer

Spike Silver

Stunts

Eddie Bo Smith

Stunts

Chris Soldo

Assistant Director

Peter Stader

Stunts

Tom Steele

Stunts

Ron Stein

Stunts

Oliver Stone

Screenplay

Louis A. Stroller

Executive Producer

Keith Tellez

Stunts

John Toll

Camera Operator

Paul Trejo

Sound Editor

Jack Verbois

Stunts

Toni-ann Walker

Hair

Will Waters

On-Set Dresser

Bruce Weintraub

Set Decorator

Danny Weselis

Stunts

Glenn Wilder

Stunts

Scott Wilder

Stunts

John Zemansky

Props

Jerry Ziesmer

Assistant Director

Dick Ziker

Stunts

Richie Zito

Music Arranger

Susan Zwerman

Location Manager

Film Details

Also Known As
El precio del poder
MPAA Rating
Genre
Drama
Action
Crime
Biography
Release Date
1983
Distribution Company
Universal Pictures
Location
Dade County, Florida, USA

Technical Specs

Duration
2h 50m

Articles

Scarface (1983)


Among his New Hollywood peers (among them, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and George Lucas), Brian De Palma was the last to make good, as measured by the only barometer that counts in Old Hollywood: the bottom line. With the 1-2-3 punch of Carrie (1976), The Fury (1978), and Dressed to Kill (1980), De Palma was deemed worthy of discussion in the same breath as his fellows, who had changed the shape of American cinema with The Godfather (1972), Jaws (1975), Taxi Driver (1976), and Star Wars (1977). As if soured on the notion of inclusion by his long struggle for acceptance (or perhaps simply because he was born that way), De Palma would maintain his outsider status even while being courted and curried by the studios. Riding high on the success of his Hitchcock pastiche Dressed to Kill, De Palma shooed away offers to direct studio product while he labored over his Antonioni pastiche Blow Out (1981). Among the projects De Palma turned down was an offer from producer Martin Bregman to remake the classic Hollywood gangster picture Scarface (1932) as a vehicle for Al Pacino.

Bregman turned instead to Sidney Lumet, who suggested updating the Prohibition-era tale to contemporary Miami and using the rise and fall of a Reagan era gangster to reflect the then-recent troubles with the "Marielitos," Cuban refugees who flooded Miami as part of the 1980 exodus from Cuba's Mariel Harbor. Bregman and Lumet hired Oliver Stone to rework an earlier screenplay by playwright David Rabe; then struggling with a debilitating cocaine addiction, Stone proved to be the perfect choice to chronicle the devastating effects of the drug trade on Miami in the early Eighties, a blight personified in the corporeality of Tony Montana, a petty criminal of no particular talent who, through sheer determination and ruthlessness, becomes a criminal kingpin. Source novelist Armitage Trail had based his antihero on Chicago mobster Al Capone but had called his Scarface Tony Guarico. The Howard Hughes-Howard Hawks film adaptation in 1932 had changed the character's surname to Camonte while Stone elected to change the name yet again, in honor of pro footballer Dan Montana. Eventually Stone's highly personal and explosive additions/alterations to the material drove the thoughtful, modulated Lumet out of the picture, leaving Scarface (1983) without a director.

The failure of Blow Out at the box office brought Brian De Palma back to the table and soon producer Bregman had his production team, with Al Pacino signed to play Tony Montana. With casting underway, many A-list actresses vied for the role of Tony Montana's gun moll Elvira Hancock (among them, Glenn Close, who shelled out for a professional makeover), a role that went to relative newcomer Michelle Pfeiffer (fresh from the featherweight Grease 2, 1982). Though De Palma's frequent leading man John Travolta was considered for the role of Tony Montana's right hand man, the part went instead to Cuban-American actor Steven Bauer, whose insights into the Cubano lifestyle were plumbed by Pacino during production; Pacino also based his performance on leonine pugilist Roberto Duran and, strangely enough, on Meryl Streep's Academy Award winning performance as an immigrant in Sophie's Choice (1982). With considerable trepidation voiced by the city fathers of Miami, who feared how the film would reflect on their beleaguered municipality, principal photography for Scarface began in Los Angeles in the spring of 1983, with Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Santa Barbara standing in for various Florida locations. Filming wrapped in May after shooting exteriors in Miami and Key Biscayne, Florida, where key members of the production team received death threats from local underworld figures wanting a piece of the action... or else.

Scarface's syllabus of beatings, shootings, stabbings, strangulations, chainsaw amputations, and grenade launcher eviscerations was too much for the Motion Picture Association of America, whose ratings board threatened to brand the December 1983 release with an X for violence and profanity (in the form of over two hundred f-bombs). Coming to the film's defense was a small army of psychoanalysts, narcotics experts, and even MPAA president Jack Valenti himself, who argued that rating the film "for adults only" would deny the young and impressionable the service of its anti-drug message. However unlikely, the tack worked and Scarface went before American moviegoers with an R-rating. If the production team had skirted disaster at the hands of the Marielitos, they were not so lucky with the critics. Andrew Sarris branded Scarface "... so much more a disaster than an outrage" while David Denby sloughed it off as "a sadly overblown B-movie." Brickbats also came from John Simon, Pauline Kael and Rex Reed but there were dissenting opinions. In The Chicago Sun Times, Roger Ebert awarded Scarface four out of four stars. In the New York Times, Vincent Canby found the film "a revelation..." and in Time Richard Corliss claimed "Pacino creates his freshest character in years."

If Scarface fell short of its true potential as a box office earner during the Christmas holidays of 1983 (outpacing it was Clint Eastwood's fourth go-round as maverick cop Dirty Harry in Sudden Impact), the film found its audience mid-decade during the VHS boom. Repeat viewings gave Scarface cult credibility, as its dialogue zingers ("Say hello to my little friend!") trickled down into popular culture, parroted in hip-hop and rap videos and even spoofed on the animated satire The Simpsons. Tony Montana became Al Pacino's signature performance, more endearing to his legion of international fans than even Serpico (1973) or Michael Corleone from The Godfather and its sequels. When the twentieth anniversary of its original theatrical premiere was marked with the release of a commemorative DVD, Scarface sold over 2,000,000 copies in only a matter of weeks. Graphic novel and video game incarnations soon followed, imagining that Tony Montana survives his well-earned demise at the end of Scarface and goes on to rebuild his shattered empire, while the film figures into many Top Ten lists generated by The American Film Institute. Rights holder Universal Pictures has announced a remake of Scarface, without the blessing or participation of Brian De Palma, but whether that property gets the green light or goes into turnaround one thing remains certain: Tony Montana lives.

By Richard Harland Smith

Sources:
Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and How It Changed America by Ken Tucker (St. Martin's Griffin, 2008)
Al Pacino: In Conversation by Lawrence Grobell (Simon & Schuster, 2008)
Al Pacino: A Life on the Wire by Andrew Yule (Sphere Books, 1992)
Brian DePalma interview by Lynn Hirschberg, 1984
Scarface (1983)

Scarface (1983)

Among his New Hollywood peers (among them, Francis Ford Coppola, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, and George Lucas), Brian De Palma was the last to make good, as measured by the only barometer that counts in Old Hollywood: the bottom line. With the 1-2-3 punch of Carrie (1976), The Fury (1978), and Dressed to Kill (1980), De Palma was deemed worthy of discussion in the same breath as his fellows, who had changed the shape of American cinema with The Godfather (1972), Jaws (1975), Taxi Driver (1976), and Star Wars (1977). As if soured on the notion of inclusion by his long struggle for acceptance (or perhaps simply because he was born that way), De Palma would maintain his outsider status even while being courted and curried by the studios. Riding high on the success of his Hitchcock pastiche Dressed to Kill, De Palma shooed away offers to direct studio product while he labored over his Antonioni pastiche Blow Out (1981). Among the projects De Palma turned down was an offer from producer Martin Bregman to remake the classic Hollywood gangster picture Scarface (1932) as a vehicle for Al Pacino. Bregman turned instead to Sidney Lumet, who suggested updating the Prohibition-era tale to contemporary Miami and using the rise and fall of a Reagan era gangster to reflect the then-recent troubles with the "Marielitos," Cuban refugees who flooded Miami as part of the 1980 exodus from Cuba's Mariel Harbor. Bregman and Lumet hired Oliver Stone to rework an earlier screenplay by playwright David Rabe; then struggling with a debilitating cocaine addiction, Stone proved to be the perfect choice to chronicle the devastating effects of the drug trade on Miami in the early Eighties, a blight personified in the corporeality of Tony Montana, a petty criminal of no particular talent who, through sheer determination and ruthlessness, becomes a criminal kingpin. Source novelist Armitage Trail had based his antihero on Chicago mobster Al Capone but had called his Scarface Tony Guarico. The Howard Hughes-Howard Hawks film adaptation in 1932 had changed the character's surname to Camonte while Stone elected to change the name yet again, in honor of pro footballer Dan Montana. Eventually Stone's highly personal and explosive additions/alterations to the material drove the thoughtful, modulated Lumet out of the picture, leaving Scarface (1983) without a director. The failure of Blow Out at the box office brought Brian De Palma back to the table and soon producer Bregman had his production team, with Al Pacino signed to play Tony Montana. With casting underway, many A-list actresses vied for the role of Tony Montana's gun moll Elvira Hancock (among them, Glenn Close, who shelled out for a professional makeover), a role that went to relative newcomer Michelle Pfeiffer (fresh from the featherweight Grease 2, 1982). Though De Palma's frequent leading man John Travolta was considered for the role of Tony Montana's right hand man, the part went instead to Cuban-American actor Steven Bauer, whose insights into the Cubano lifestyle were plumbed by Pacino during production; Pacino also based his performance on leonine pugilist Roberto Duran and, strangely enough, on Meryl Streep's Academy Award winning performance as an immigrant in Sophie's Choice (1982). With considerable trepidation voiced by the city fathers of Miami, who feared how the film would reflect on their beleaguered municipality, principal photography for Scarface began in Los Angeles in the spring of 1983, with Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, and Santa Barbara standing in for various Florida locations. Filming wrapped in May after shooting exteriors in Miami and Key Biscayne, Florida, where key members of the production team received death threats from local underworld figures wanting a piece of the action... or else. Scarface's syllabus of beatings, shootings, stabbings, strangulations, chainsaw amputations, and grenade launcher eviscerations was too much for the Motion Picture Association of America, whose ratings board threatened to brand the December 1983 release with an X for violence and profanity (in the form of over two hundred f-bombs). Coming to the film's defense was a small army of psychoanalysts, narcotics experts, and even MPAA president Jack Valenti himself, who argued that rating the film "for adults only" would deny the young and impressionable the service of its anti-drug message. However unlikely, the tack worked and Scarface went before American moviegoers with an R-rating. If the production team had skirted disaster at the hands of the Marielitos, they were not so lucky with the critics. Andrew Sarris branded Scarface "... so much more a disaster than an outrage" while David Denby sloughed it off as "a sadly overblown B-movie." Brickbats also came from John Simon, Pauline Kael and Rex Reed but there were dissenting opinions. In The Chicago Sun Times, Roger Ebert awarded Scarface four out of four stars. In the New York Times, Vincent Canby found the film "a revelation..." and in Time Richard Corliss claimed "Pacino creates his freshest character in years." If Scarface fell short of its true potential as a box office earner during the Christmas holidays of 1983 (outpacing it was Clint Eastwood's fourth go-round as maverick cop Dirty Harry in Sudden Impact), the film found its audience mid-decade during the VHS boom. Repeat viewings gave Scarface cult credibility, as its dialogue zingers ("Say hello to my little friend!") trickled down into popular culture, parroted in hip-hop and rap videos and even spoofed on the animated satire The Simpsons. Tony Montana became Al Pacino's signature performance, more endearing to his legion of international fans than even Serpico (1973) or Michael Corleone from The Godfather and its sequels. When the twentieth anniversary of its original theatrical premiere was marked with the release of a commemorative DVD, Scarface sold over 2,000,000 copies in only a matter of weeks. Graphic novel and video game incarnations soon followed, imagining that Tony Montana survives his well-earned demise at the end of Scarface and goes on to rebuild his shattered empire, while the film figures into many Top Ten lists generated by The American Film Institute. Rights holder Universal Pictures has announced a remake of Scarface, without the blessing or participation of Brian De Palma, but whether that property gets the green light or goes into turnaround one thing remains certain: Tony Montana lives. By Richard Harland Smith Sources: Scarface Nation: The Ultimate Gangster Movie and How It Changed America by Ken Tucker (St. Martin's Griffin, 2008) Al Pacino: In Conversation by Lawrence Grobell (Simon & Schuster, 2008) Al Pacino: A Life on the Wire by Andrew Yule (Sphere Books, 1992) Brian DePalma interview by Lynn Hirschberg, 1984

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States December 1983

Released in United States Winter December 9, 1983

Re-released in United States on Video February 20, 1996

Re-released in United States on Video January 28, 1997

Shown at 1979 New York Film Festival (Retrospective).

Remake of "Scarface" (1932) directed by Howard Hawks and starring Paul Muni.

Formerly distributed by MCA Home Video.

Selected in 1994 for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry.

Released in USA on laserdisc December 1988.

Re-released in USA on laserdisc (Signature Collection Letterboxed Special Edition) August 27, 1996.

Re-released in United States on Video January 28, 1997

Re-released in United States on Video February 20, 1996

Released in United States December 1983

Released in United States Winter December 9, 1983