Tony Montana day!

A Retrospective on Al Pacino's Iconic Role in Scarface

On this day in 1983, scarface had it's movie premiere.

Scarface was among the earliest films in which the expletive F@#k is used persistently, 226 times in total!

In movie history, there is no character quite like Tony Montana. The ruthless drug dealer from Scarface made a lasting impact on the cinematic landscape, inspiring countless imitators and becoming a central figure of pop culture. Apart from being one of the most quoted characters ever in film (Say hello to my little friend), he also stands out as one of the most compelling because of how much raw emotion Pacino manages to pour into playing him. It’s hard to think of another actor who could have brought Tony to life as effectively as Al did. There is a rawness and viciousness that few actors could pull off.

Scarface is an American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma and written by Oliver Stone that was released in 1983. Based on the same-named 1929 novel and serving as a loose remake of the Howard Hawkes 1932 film. Pacino was such a massive fan of Paul Munis portrayal, he became interested in a remake of the version after seeing it.

Tony Montana rose from nothing, a Cuban immigrant who made his way to Miami, became a powerful drug dealer, and eventually got his own empire. If there was one thing that defined Tony Montana, it was that he lived the American dream (or nightmare). He came to the country with nothing and, through sheer force of will…a machine gun and greed, made his way up to the top, becoming the drug kingpin in Miami. 

The American dream is often associated with being self-made, rising above the poorest of circumstances and making something of yourself. Tony Montana is the embodiments of that dream. 

The fall of Tony Montana came more from arrogance, greed and a ton of coke. Tony was a powerful and successful man, but he was also very prideful. He was very much the kingpin of Miami, but he was never satisfied with what he had. He always desired more, and he was never afraid to show it.  Montana also loved to flaunt his power and wealth. He liked to show off his status, and he became more and more arrogant over time as he showered himself in money and power. Pacino performance was a ruthless and powerful one, but he also becomes a bit of a caricature at times. 


Image: Last year's artwork that I created.

The soundtrack of Scarface is one of the most iconic in movie history. Composed by Italian record producer Giorgio Moroder with the likes of “Rush Rush”by Debbie Harry released as singles. The soundtrack is filled with classic ’80s synth tracks that perfectly suit the violent nature of the movie. Tony’s flashy lifestyle, the drug deals, the crime, and the glitz of Miami are all perfectly reflected in the soundtrack. The soundtrack also perfectly represents the decade, playing as a homage to the pop and synth sounds that dominated the decade. "Push it to the limit" features in a brilliant montage which is halfway through the movie and just as Tony's power is at its peak.

Five songs from the soundtrack were also featured on the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto III (2001), on its fictional Flashback 95.6 radio station and then would influence video game history by it's sequel Vice City. GTA Vice city look, particularly the clothing and vehicles, reflect its 1980s setting. Many themes are borrowed from the major films Scarface (1983) and Carlito's Way (1993).

I love the vibe of the movie, from the cinematography to the music. Every year for the past 3 years I've completely made up my own national holiday of Tony Montana day, where I have the day off, drink Mojitos, eat Cuban Sandwiches, listen to the soundtrack, draw art related to the movie and of course end the evening watching the film.

Scarface remains one of the most iconic movies ever made for a number of reasons. It is a violent, beautiful, and unforgettable piece of cinema. The cast is splendid ( Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Robert Loggia), but the movie belongs to Pacino’s Tony Montana. He is one of the most memorable villains ever put on film, and his performance will go down in history as one of the best ever captured on film. Although initially panned on its release it gained a cult following and is now regarded as one of the best gangster films of all time. It is a timeless film that will see its 40th anniversary next year (I might have to take Tony Montana day to the next level!).


This week's art...

"So, you got the money?"

"Yep. You got the stuff?"

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