in about 100 words or less
US 170m, Colour
Director: Brian De Palma; Cast: Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Robert Loggia, F. Murray Abraham, Harris Yulin
Cited during its initial release as an accurate portrayal of the Miami drug underworld, and fiercely criticized for its explicit violence and ethnic stereotypes, Scarface has become a cult favorite which is both lauded and reviled. In either case, it is most assuredly one of the most memorable and violently graphic gangster films ever made. Now widely copied and even parodied, the film has lost some of its original edginess, and feels almost campy at times, particularly because of its dated soundtrack. Although Scarface shares a lot in common with exploitation style B-movies, the film’s real worth rests with Pacino’s brilliant performance as the despicable Tony Montana, whose violent rise through the mob is bookended by his inevitable demise in his hyper-violent cocaine-induced last stand, M16 in hand (Klaus Ming April 2011).