Scarface Movie Poster Image

Scarface

(i)

 

Extremely violent '80s crime classic with drugs, sex, etc.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: October 31, 2005
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 1983
  • Running Time: 170 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The story is about power plays among drug dealers

Positive role models

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
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Cocaine use, drinking and smoking throughout.

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:December 9, 1983
DVD release date:September 30, 2003
Cast:Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer
Director:Brian De Palma
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Drama
Run time:170 minutes
MPAA rating:R

This review of Scarface was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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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 year-old son, but it does contain extreme acts of violence (involving a M-16 machine gun, grenade launcher, pistols, uzis, knives, shotguns, and most of all a chainsaw) with tons of blood! There's not much Sex and Nudity, but there is one super quick scene of nudity (breasts, nipples, belly button, pubic hair, and vagina are visible in this scene) but goes by quick! and one implied sex scene, staring at women, and one extremely violent sexual scene involving a brother and sister (half of her breasts are scene, but you don't see any nipples, because they're half covered)! They're is a great amount of drugs and alcohol in this film (mostly drugs)! And to top it off a non-stop barrage of F-words throughout the film! Does have a good point though "Money, Fame, and Power will always some how lead to sadness and depression". Might want to watch this one with your kids
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byDKR725 February 2, 2011
My view on this movie is, why wouldn't you want your children to see it? It's such a classic and is second only to the Godfather. Sure there's some violence and language, and drugs, but the movie is so good that I find it easy to overlook those. Yes, everybody should know Scarface.
Adult Written bydarthsitkur August 2, 2012

SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!!!!!!!!!!

let's just face it, I'm a sucker for mob/gangster flicks and this is one of my all time favorite mob/gangster movies, and between this and the godfather trilogy, I've always liked this one more because it's faster paced and has perfectly timed funny moments and I like that, plus, it served as the inspiration for GTA: Vice City, how can you top that? :-), it's even influenced rap music too since certain quotes are referenced in some rap songs, and in case you ask, yes, it is a guy's flick for sure lol.

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