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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
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  • German: Dolby Digital Mono
  • English: Dolby Digital 4.0 Surround
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  • 3 Theatrical trailer - 2 x Scarface 1x Carlito's Way
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • Production notes
  • Photo gallery
  • Awards/Nominations
  • Outtakes - 17 minutes


Universal/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 163 mins . R . PAL


I won't bore you to death with an essay about the history of Scarface. Most know the story, and for the few that only know the lines but not the person spouting them, Tony Montana is a Cuban refugee with a criminal past, forced out of Cuba by Castro along with many other thousands. Starting from the bottom rung in his new home of Miami he does whatever he thinks necessary to rapidly rise to the top of a flourishing drug empire. However, the remorseless nature of the drug trade engulfs him and the lives of everyone around him leading ultimately to a disastrous downfall.

"You wanna f**k with me? Hokay! You wanna play rough? Hokay! Say hello to my leettle friend…"

It's wrong to say that Al Pacino simply plays Tony Montana. Without a doubt, he IS Tony Montana, a character which has become so firmly entrenched in our minds as someone who just doesn't care for anything other than himself, what he wants, how he's going to get it, and how many people he has to dispose of along the way.

With the superb script by Oliver Stone, masterful direction of Brian DePalma and that ominous repetitive score by Giorgio Moroder, everything falls firmly into place for a riveting 163 minutes that some might find too violent, too foul mouthed or too in-their-face, but others will find simply one of the most enthralling movies ever made.


Damn, this one is hard to review. First, I want to be objective and serve up the facts, then I'll finish on a subjective note. While the picture is infinitely better than that on my played to death VHS copy, it’s still short of ideal. We get off to a good start with the appearance of its bright gaudy 80’s Miami Vice colouring as good as it has ever looked. Though not the sharpest and most detailed print, it still reveals a level of detail that paints a much better picture of clarity than you may have seen in this film outside of a theatrical release. So far so good. However, it's when the distracting aliasing kicks in that your attention is yanked from the story and you wish they had taken a little more care and attention with it. This release deserved better and it seems unfortunate that this and Carlito's Way, both highly regarded Pacino films which perfectly bookend his fantastic career, have been served up with such average transfers.

On a more personal note, I have to admit that the flaws still aren't enough for me to totally reject such as fantastic film on the basis of some video faults. If you expect a Gladiator level transfer and are not tolerant to visual imperfections for whatever reasons, then this may not be for you initially. The reason I say initially is because you always have the option of renting this title first to decide whether or not to lay out your hard earned cash on a copy. I've said in the past that I don't consider most grain, nicks, scratches, minor blemishes etc etc etc to be a reason for berating a dvd, as I consider some of these elements an inherent part of the film experience and some people are just too arrogant, over zealous and demanding for their own and the general publics good. I have found that two separate viewings of this dvd in a week have left me with the overall satisfaction of a great film that overcomes it's visual flaws due to the strength of the story and superb performances.


From comparative listening to the audio characteristics of the VHS version, the DD4.0 mix on this dvd appears identical with the obvious added clarity afforded by DD. It is mainly a front heavy mix with only faint hints of panning and separation amongst the front three channels leading to the impression of a mostly center heavy mono mix. Although available for use, it doesn’t really make much of an attempt of really integrating the rear channel. Where this transfer does excel is in the clarity. In this regard it's a bit of a godsend compared to my video version which was virtually indecipherable at times. In comparison, with this dvd I could follow all the dialogue faultlessly, even with some of Pacino’s thick slurred accented dialogue.


Diving straight into the "Makings Of.." doco, a nice surprise is discovered. When you access the chapter listing for this extra, a couple of unlisted extra Extras are revealed. Although they amount to just a stills gallery (which also includes some notes and is good for a quick flick through), and a bonus trailer for Carlito's Way (jolly good thinking chaps) it’s nice to see them here. Back to the doco, it covers a lot of ground in 52 minutes, touching on television censored version, theatrical ratings/censorship debacle (we got the original cut of the film without realizing it), Oliver Stones script and obvious influence and inspiration from the 1932 original (including similarities footage) to name but a few. Plenty of stuff to keep fans interested and the majority of it isn't just "fluff" for a change.

Aside from the cast and crew bio's and production notes, the most notable extra (other than the doco) is the inclusion of 17 minutes of deleted scenes. While some of them don't really amount to much, what I did find interesting is how a couple pre-date the snappy dialogue element that directors such as Tarantino infuse their scripts with. This aspect highlights just how much quotable dialogue Scarface actually contains, which is part of it's allure.


Like I said earlier, I looked beyond the flaws in the video presentation of Scarface and enjoyed it immensely. The final choice is really up to you, rent first if you must, but don’t deprive yourself of experiencing this amazing film. An absolute powerhouse performance by Pacino and some striking scenes combine to create an enduring piece of movie magic.

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      And I quote...
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    - Vince Carrozza
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