There’s a lot of ways you can look at Scarface, and while many rappers look up to Tony Montana as a hero, the film stands as one of the best anti-drug stories ever made. It’s a classic story of how a man gains the world and loses his soul to cocaine and greed, and it still packs a powerful wallop today.
*Oliver Stone wrote the screenplay for Scarface, and it was his way of saying goodbye to his cocaine habit. He sobered up to write the script and as Maxim reports, “some scenes were even inspired by his own experiences” with the drug. He also researched the drug trade with the DEA, which inspired the infamous chainsaw scene. (Stone was told of a drug lord who chopped up a snitch this way.)
*In making Scarface, director Brian DePalma wanted to show the brutal truth of the drug trade, which is why the film was so violent. In fact, Scarface was initially given an X rating for violence, but it finally won the R on an appeal. (The head of the MPAA, Jack Valenti, voted for the R, and said he would allow his daughter to see it because it had a strong anti-drug message.)
*To play a woman emaciated by drugs, Michelle Pfeiffer also lost a ton of weight from a diet of “tomato soup and Marlboros,” to the point where the crew was worried about her health and brought her food.
*Scarface was not a success when it was originally released, but it proved very influential over time, and it can be applied to a lot of areas of life, including the business world. While the movie is now thirty-five years old, it still has a strong anti-drug message, and it still has a lot to say about addiction and the war on drugs today. As Oliver Stone said, “Scarface was definitely on the money, it was right on. It was exaggerated, but it was close to the truth and nobody got it at the time. Miami Vice plunged in right where we left off.”