Scarface (1983) Review

Verdict: Pretty Powerful

Great acting with interesting portrayals.


Tony Montana (Al Pacino) has just migrated to America by being a hitman for someone his friend Manny (Steven Bauer) knows. Once there his ambition propels him forward in the drug business, with Manny as his right hand man. Tony eyes Elvira (Michelle Pfeiffer) and most likely because she ‘belongs’ to his boss Frank (Robert Loggia), he feels the need to win her over. While rising up the ladder, he must also protect his sister, Gina (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) from apparently any man she comes into contact with. Directed by Brian De Palma.

There are many elements to this film, and many factors to consider when talking about it, but for this review, I won’t go into so much depth like I do in my film studies courses, and instead will try to review this as any other normal film.

There is a lot of action in the film, and quite a few gory scenes which are gory enough for me to turn my head away. Considering the subject matter however, there was not as much violence as I thought there would be. What makes this movie stand out for me, is that there is structure which follows Montana’s rise to success as a drug lord and when there is violence, the violence is explained. I wouldn’t say that the violence is justified, but unlike many other action films nowadays with pointless fighting, this film doesn’t have that.

The acting in the film is pretty great. Al Pacino does a marvelous job at playing Tony Montana. His gradual character change from ‘fun bobby’ to intense, paranoid, control freak is done so subtly that it is hard to believe he is in character. Steven Bauer and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio are great in their roles too. Michelle Pfeiffer’s character did not depict much emotion, as she was probably stoned all the time, so I guess Pfeiffer did well in her role too.

This film perfectly depicts the American dream, as Tony proves with hard work (and crime activity), you can come from the bottom and reach the top. However the film also criticizes capitalism, through the rise and fall of Tony. There is no such thing as having enough, and once greed takes over, an unhappy ending is pretty much guaranteed.

There is also a great deal many things that I find confusing (for example, his relationship with his sister), and that I dislike (the portrayal of women), but overall it was quite an engaging film.

To sum-up:
PROS: Acting, not too much violence, progressive story
CONS: American dream, portrayal of women

I give this a 8/10.

Have you seen Scarface? Rate it out of 5 stars above or leave a comment below!

P.S. If you did not know, Tony Montana is loosely based on a real drug lord at the time, based in Chicago.


One thought on “Scarface (1983) Review

  1. Pingback: Gomorrah (2008) Review | championangels

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