Rent Scarface (1932)

3.9 of 5 from 134 ratings
1h 29min
Rent Scarface Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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Generally regarded to be the best of the classic gangster films, 'Scarface' tells the exciting story of organised crime's brutal control over Chicago during the Prohibition era. Paul Muni gives an electrifying performance as Tony Carmonte, an ambitious criminal with a ruthless drive to be the city's top crime boss. Directed by the legendary Howard Hawks, 'Scarface' was a groundbreaking film which established both Paul Muni and George Raft as major Hollywood stars, while influencing all gangland films to follow.
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Howard Hughes
Armitage Trail, Ben Hecht, Seton I. Miller, John Lee Mahin, W.R. Burnett, Howard Hawks, Fred Pasley
Universal Pictures
Action & Adventure, Classics, Drama, Thrillers
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Release Date:
Run Time:
89 minutes
English Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, French Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, German Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, Russian Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
Czech, Danish, Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, Finnish, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Spanish, Swedish
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
Release Date:
Run Time:
93 minutes
English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono, French DTS 2.0 Mono, German DTS 2.0 Mono, Italian DTS 2.0 Mono
Danish, Dutch, English Hard of Hearing, Finnish, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, Swedish
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.33:1 / 4:3
B & W
BLU-RAY Regions:
  • 2 Versions of the Film:
  • Original: The uncensored theatrical version of the film as it was originally intended by the director
  • Alternate: A censored version of the film shown in select theaters with an alternate ending
  • Introduction by Turner Classic Movies Host and Film Historian Robert Osborne
  • Alternate Ending

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Reviews (2) of Scarface

Crime Does NOT Pay! - Scarface review by Count Otto Black

Spoiler Alert

This extremely violent gangster movie may be a classic, but I'm afraid it hasn't aged quite as well as some classics. It's not exactly dull; given the number of people who shoot each other at regular intervals, it hardly could be! But there are two major problems with it, which are not entirely unconnected.

Firstly, Paul Muni's performance as the title character, who for legal reasons isn't actually called Al Capone but it's not very hard to guess who he's based on, is downright odd. He's not a bad actor, and I'm sure he's only doing what Howard Hawks told him to, but he's subtle the way Vin Diesel is shy and retiring! The "Godfather" trilogy is acclaimed as two of the best films ever made (shame about part 3) because of its Shakespearean portrayal of a good man being inexorably corrupted for reasons that to begin with aren't his fault at all. But there's nothing even slightly tragic about the downfall of Antony Carmonte (Al Capone - same initials! - see?). I'm not even sure "downfall" is the right word for someone who never rises above the gutter, and Muni plays AC as practically subhuman.

He's basically a wildly exaggerated caricature of a horrible twenties gangster who almost seems comic at times. He's at his best when he gets to be genuinely menacing in a serious context, and at his worst when he has to portray Al Capone as a bragging, ignorant, moronic clown with no taste who would be a joke if he didn't kill people. They're so determined to deprive him of any redeeming features whatsoever that they come as close as they possibly can to implying that he's capable of raping his sister (this film also comes closer than any other movie from that era I've seen to having someone say the f-word - surprisingly, not Muni). Which ties in with its other huge flaw. It's preachy, and that's never, ever good. Crime doesn't pay, therefore everybody who commits it is irredeemably vile and gets their just desserts (though the cops seem scarcely more likable). And although the opening credits inform us that every event portrayed in the film is true, Al Capone was still up and running when it was made, so everything that happens to Antony Carmonte at the end is wishful thinking. Both endings, in fact - there's a really grim alternative one available on this disc as an extra.

It's lively, it's ferocious, it's got some first-class floozies, but in the end it's too one-note to make it as a true classic. And what's with the running gag about the mentally retarded gangster who is literally too stupid to answer the phone? By the way, look out for Boris Karloff as a character who is Bugs Moran in all but name; he's almost very good apart, apart from his obvious struggle not to sound English.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

Gangster Classic. - Scarface review by Steve

Spoiler Alert

After Little Caesar, Hollywood revisited the national shame of Chicago gangs with Scarface. They are similar stories because they both draw on the life of Al Capone, and are shaped by the same pressure of censorship. Scarface stops the action for a couple of minutes while support actors representing public bodies discuss the social damage caused by organised crime.

But Scarface differs from other early gangster films in its style. Ben Hecht's script features much more comedy, usually at the expense of the idiot bootleggers. Howard Hawks paints the film in an expressionistic look, rich with raw symbolism, like the shadowy crosses that foretell each impending death. And there is more spectacle, with car chases and crashes and epic shootouts on big sets.

Paul Muni delivers a potent, unsubtle performance as the uninhibited killer who wages a one man war on his rival gangs and the police. There's a great moment when he gets his first Tommy gun, like a kid at Christmas: 'Outta my way. I'm spittin'! He is matched by Ann Dvorak as his young sister who he tortures with his incestuous jealousy. Karen Morley lacks fizz as the moll, but she's interesting as prototype of Hawks' fast talking dames.

The weakness of the film is the reactionary sermonising which criticises the national government, and suggests sending in the army, rather than finding cause in prohibition and America's economic crash. It scores with Muni's weird charisma and Hawks' atmospherics. This is a visually stunning film which shows evidence of Hollywood emerging from the inertia of early sound.

0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.

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