Most people want untold wealth and have dreams and ideas about how to get it. But that same lot wouldn't do what Tony Montana does in Brian De Palma's 1983 "Scarface." Few sacrifice reputation, love and respect to actualize a fantasy that very well may lead to an early death.
"Scarface" the movie won't die. Al Pacino is 71-years-old. Michelle Pfieffer is 58. Manny (Steven Bauer) is 56. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Montana's sister Gina, is 53. Each actor immortalized in a film that critics said was too violent, unfairly typecast, and filled with far too many "F" words.
"Scarface" and its popularity has surpassed Mario Puzo's "The Godfather" and Coppola's film as the ultimate iconic story on the American Dream. Robert De Niro's Oscar winning moral character, the father of a deathly ill son and rooftop murderer, rides shotgun to Pacino's Tony Montana who watched his friend Angel take his last breath after a chainsaw severs his limbs.
In a reunion last night to celebrate the Blu-Ray release, Bauer told cameras that "Scarface" was such a big and popular movie because every scene was wild with action. Each scene outdid the next heightening drama and suspense.
Manny's death some twenty to thirty minutes before the film ends is the story's denouement. The "Scarface" plot takes a dramatic turn when Montana kills Manny in cold blood. Manny secretly married Gina (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), Montana’s baby sister. Tony, in a big frenzy with Columbian drug lord Alejandro Sosa (Paul Shenar) and depressed after his wife, Elvira Hancock (Michelle Pfieffer) splits, shoots Manny dead without asking any questions.
The death of the best friend in gangster movies is a scene often repeated, particularly in the trail of gangster hip hop films that followed. "New Jack City's" Wesley Snipes off his main man, G-Money on a rooftop. When the gangster kills his best friend and partner in crime, something happens in theaters that is less than magical, that kills the fantasy ride. Suddenly the gangster's fast life is hard, real,painful, cold and undesirable. Suddenly our normal lives and normal cars and friends who aren't paranoid or who may possibly kill us are desirable.
When asked about the film's influence on the hip-hop community, Pacino credited hip hop and the participants in the 2003 documentary, "Scarface: Origins of a Hip Hop Classic" for helping the film and its stars a lot. Pacino also said he could relate to the hip/hop community's adulation of Montana because Tony Montana is the hero who reaches for the impossible without ever giving up.
Hip hop, like Tony Montana's world, is a lucrative business where the hungriest and most skilled are rewarded and inducted into a society filled with everything Tony Montana's world is and more. Like Montana, hip hop artists suffer from the fame and the money and either fade into the limelight or go out in an awful glory like Tupac and Biggie.
The Daily Mail has a boatload of photographs from last night's red carpet event. Check the photos and 1983 trailer out here.
The Daily Mail claims Pfieffer wasn't there, but ITN captures her smiling for photographers briefly in its clip below.
The Blu-Ray edition of "Scarface" releases in September.