Who doesn’t love Scarface? Gangsta rappers reference it. College kids own the poster. And your mom has probably seen it twice as many times as Driving Miss Daisy. Lucky for everyone, AMC will be airing the movie for three nights in a row starting Sat., Mar. 5 at 8/7C with AMC Can’t Get Enough Scarface. And while everyone has their own reasons for loving this Al Pacino crime flick, here’s a top top list of what makes Scarface so great. Have another reason to add? Please do so..
10. Tony’s Accent
Al Pacino’s accent — what is it, exactly? It’s quite not Cuban. It’s not Italian, but it is off-the-wall, and without it Tony Montana is just another criminal. With it, he’s an outsize character, totally unique and totally authentic in his own way.
9. Eighties Miami
Neon pastels, white sands, sparkling water, palm trees as green as $1,000 bills, and warm piña-colada-scented breezes you can almost feel wafting off the screen. This is the bawdy, gaudy, rotten, seductive Miami of Miami Vice, except Scarface got there a year before the TV show aired.
8. F-word Overload
Some sources say there are 1.32 per minute (and remember the movie is nearly three hours long), some say exactly 206 from beginning to end, and still others figure the count at 182. The point is that Scarface is a pit of X-rated language, and by the end you just want to let your F flag fly.
7. Tony’s Mound of Cocaine
Best cocaine scene ever — better than Woody Allen’s ill-timed sneeze in Annie Hall and better than Ray Liotta’s blow-fueled freak-out in Goodfellas. Tony’s face-first dive into a mountain of blow as large as the Sierra Maestra and the ecstatic expression he’s wearing when he finally straightens up say everything you need to know about Tony.
6. Screenwriter Oliver Stone
Before he turned into a human conspiracy theory, Stone wrote lean, mean, mess-with-your-head scripts like Midnight Express. But Scarface is his best, hands down. Every scene buzzes like a hive of coked-up bees, and Stone gives Pacino the kind of dialogue destined to live forever, lines like, “First you gotta get the money, then you get the power, and then you get the woman.”
5. Michelle Pfeiffer
And speaking of women, the then-virtually unknown Pfeiffer is Elvira, the imperially slim blonde Tony sees as the epitome of old-money class — that is, when he’s not denouncing her as a whore. But, man, is she sexy in skintight low-cut dresses. One look at Pfeiffer and it was obvious she was destined to be a star.
4. Hip-hop Style 101
From Tony’s gold convertible to the gold chains, Champagne, crystal decanters, expensive watches, big cigars, and peacock-colored silk shirts, his taste is pure, unadulterated bling-bling. And as long there was a word for it — “narcotecture” — chez Montana was the embodiment of “If you’ve got it, flaunt it,” and multiple generations of rappers took note. Witness almost any episode of Cribs.
3. The Chain-Saw Scene
Do you need to get across the message that your bad boy isn’t just bad but totally crazy? Here’s a tip: there’s nothing like having him dismember a guy with a chain saw. While the guy’s alive. In a tiny hotel bathroom, guaranteeing that every inch of tile will be deep red by the time he’s done. That’s one scene that cannot be un-seen.
2. “Say Hello to My L’il Fren!”
Quoted and parodied ad nauseam, there’s a reason that the line is still cool: the friend in question is an an M16 with a customized grenade launcher, and Pacino delivers the line in the purest essence of “Mine is bigger than yours” dialogue. This is the type of friend you want at your fingertips, baby.
1. Al Pacino
Scarface is where Pacino unleashed his inner show-off after years of brooding parts like Michael Corleone of The Godfather: Part II and his Panic in Needle Park junkie. And Pacino unleashed is like nothing you’ll ever see: in Scarface, he plays Tony Montana with such delighted rage and aplomb that you wonder if he isn’t a little crazy himself.