Scarface

Movie review by
David Gurney, Common Sense Media
Scarface Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Extremely violent '80s crime classic with drugs, sex, etc.
  • R
  • 1983
  • 170 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 15 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 51 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The story is about power plays among drug dealers

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are drug dealers and criminals.

Violence

Constant point blank shootings and sadistic torture scenes.

Sex

Mostly implied, but there is a rather disturbingly violent sexual scene between a sister and brother.

Language

Constant use of the word "f--k," also "p---y," and everything else.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cocaine use, drinking and smoking throughout.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Scarface is extremely violent from start to finish and is not recommended to anyone under the age of 17. It has developed a cultlike following, especially among teenage males. Despite the main character's death due to his violent criminal behavior, his dramatic outbursts may appeal to angsty teens. Additionally, the obscenity-filled dialogue is some of the most quotable in film history, with many lines having been incorporated into hip-hop lyrics of the past 20 years. Tony treats his wife quite poorly, verbally lashing out at her. Cocaine is a constant presence in the film.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17-year-old Written bySircjalot July 18, 2018

A classic crime movie! If Grand Theft Auto was influenced by this movie, then you know it's a strong R rating!

A very brutal violent movie with a lots of swearing and drug use! One scene where man was tortured in front of his brother "tony" with a chainsaw, the... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 and 13-year-old Written bySuperParent August 30, 2009

Al Pacino is Terrific!

I love this film, best gangster film ever made, me and my 13 year-old son saw this movie together! and we both loved it! i'm think of showing it to my 10 y... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byimryantran May 7, 2020

Absolutely violent and profane, not a kids movie.

My mother has seen this film many times before, but due to the extreme violence and profanity of this movie, it is not for children. Thank goodness this film d... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byDeannyboy March 23, 2020

Really good message

Although this film has a lot of nudity, drugs and a sex scene. I think it has a good message that could teach children why they should never do drugs. All round... Continue reading

What's the story?

The powerful triumvirate of director Brian DePalma, screenwriter Oliver Stone, and actor Al Pacino came together to create this 1980s soaked reworking of the classic Howard Hawks gangster film, SCARFACE. It's the story of Cuban refugee, Tony Montana (Al Pacino) who climbs to the top of Miami's cocaine scene, eventually falling prey to both addiction and his own assassination. As Tony's wife Elvira, Michelle Pfeiffer plays the role drugged out and disinterested, convincingly enough to make her appeal to Tony almost unfathomable. In a holdover from the 1932 version, Tony's overbearing relationship with his sister Gina (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) has tones of incestuous desire; only in this version, Gina actually confronts him about this in a shockingly violent manner.

Is it any good?

Al Pacino gives his first of many truly over-the-top performances with gusto in Scarface. This film's reputation stands up there with Pulp Fiction (1994) as a "must see" for hip teens (especially males) who love their violence spiked with copious amounts of darkly humorous dialogue ("Say hello to my little friend.").

Every bit of the film, from the camera moves to the set design is excessively done, like Tony's life, and in that sense, the film is imbued with a feeling of 1980s self-indulgent immorality. This film is extremely violent and is not recommended to anyone under the age of 17.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Tony's story is a rise-and-fall scenario, and how it makes the obvious point that the decadent lifestyle of a drug kingpin can crumble very easily. Does Al Pacino's character make his violent lifestyle more attractive than it really is?

  • Is the graphic and verbal violence necessary to convey the story, or is it overindulgent?

  • What can be said of Tony's troubled relationships with women? Does Tony ever even appear to be happy or content for a moment of the film? For that matter, do any of the characters?

Movie details

For kids who love drama

Our editors recommend

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