Critics Consensus

This Scarface foregoes his "little friend" and packs a different kind of heat, blending stylish visuals, thrilling violence, and an incredible cast.



Total Count: 37


Audience Score

User Ratings: 25,929
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Scarface Photos

Movie Info

In this film, based on Armitage Trail's novel, Paul Muni stars as prohibition-era mobster Tony Camonte. The homicidal Camonte ruthlessly wrests control of the bootlegging racket from his boss Johnny Lovo. However, Tony does have a soft spot in his heart for his sister Cesca.

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Paul Muni
as Tony Camonte
Ann Dvorak
as Cesca Camonte
George Raft
as Guino Rinaldo
Osgood Perkins
as Johnny Lovo
C. Henry Gordon
as Insp. Guarino
Inez Palange
as Tony's Mother
Edwin Maxwell
as Commissioner
Tully Marshall
as Managing Editor
Harry J. Vejar
as Big Louis Costillo
Bert Starkey
as Epstein
Maurice Black
as Sullivan
John Lee Mahin
as MacArthur of the Tribune
Purnell Pratt
as Publisher
Charles Sullivan
as Bootlegger
Harry Tenbrook
as Bootlegger
Hank Mann
as Worker
Paul Fix
as Gaffney Hood
Howard Hawks
as Man in Hospital Bed, Man on Bed
Dennis O'Keefe
as Dance Extra
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News & Interviews for Scarface

Critic Reviews for Scarface

All Critics (37) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (37)

  • Scarface is one of best of the early gangster movies; its wit and building velocity speeds it past Little Caesar and keeps pace with Public Enemy.

    Jul 30, 2014 | Full Review…
  • By far the most visually inventive and tonally anarchic movie that Hawks made.

    Jul 30, 2014 | Full Review…
  • A grisly, exciting gangster picture.

    Mar 2, 2010 | Full Review…
    TIME Magazine
    Top Critic
  • Howard Hawks's 1932 masterpiece is a dark, brutal, exhilaratingly violent film, blending comedy and horror in a manner that suggests Chico Marx let loose with a live machine gun.

    Mar 2, 2010 | Full Review…
  • Scarface contains more cruelty than any of its gangster picture predecessors, but there's a squarer for every killing. The blows are always softened by judicial preachments and sad endings for the sinners.

    Oct 18, 2008 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Top Critic
  • Its seminal importance in the early gangster movie cycle outweighed only by its still exhilarating brilliance, this Howard Hughes production was the one unflawed classic the tycoon was involved with.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Paul Taylor

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Scarface

  • Feb 07, 2018
    If you're in the mood for a classic gangster film with a lot of action and violence, this one may suit you. Paul Muni is in the role of Tony Camonte, an up and coming gangster with a scar on his face that resembles a giant cross. He's far from saintly though, and aggressively pushes to expand his territory, piling up bodies as he goes, and lusting after both his boss's girlfriend (Karen Morley) and his own sister (Ann Dvorak). Muni exaggerates his facial expressions a bit too much, but he's fantastic in some scenes, such as the one where he fixes an icy stare at his boss (Osgood Perkins), when he finds he's been betrayed. As an aside, some of his expressions reminded me of James Franco; see if you agree. As for the rest of the cast, it's a mixed bag. Perkins (incidentally, Anthony Perkins' father) isn't all that convincing as his boss, he's just not tough enough. It's interesting to see Boris Karloff (and in one scene, bowling no less), but he doesn't quite seem to fit. Ann Dvorak is strong as his sister who has just turned 18 and is looking for a good time. My favorite scene with her is when she tries to get Muni's right-hand man (George Raft) to dance. Raft turned in what I thought was the best performance, understated but tough, flipping a coin menacingly (so iconic!), and really looking the part. Most of the scenes director Howard Hawks gives us aren't all that special from my perspective. The ones that stand out are the St. Valentine's Day massacre execution shot, which had seven shadows on a wall mowed down by machine gun fire, and then later, a body dumped out of a moving car with the ominous note "stay out of the North Side." The political messages in the film are heavy-handed, but it's interesting in that they span both sides of today's political spectrum, arguing for tougher gun control laws, while at the same time, to deport illegal immigrants. It's also interesting that while the film ostensibly states it purpose is to show true events to spur action against gangsters and violence, it seems to do a fair bit of glorifying them, just as 'The Public Enemy' had the year before. Oh, how America loves its guns and gangster films, and how well this film fits in with understanding its character, and a long history of violence. This is certainly a decent film, especially if you like the genre, though I liked 'The Public Enemy' better, mainly because of Cagney. Muni himself is far better in 'I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang' which he also did in 1932, and I would recommend it over 'Scarface' as well.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 19, 2014
    One of the defining gangster films, this is a classic of the genre, one of the first films to really establish the gangster film and adding elements of visceral violence, which for its time was ahead of its time. Scarface is a phenomenal film, a film that is well acted, entertaining and well paced and manages to be a highly captivating film that is well worth your time if you enjoy the genre. The performances here are great and each actor brings something that elevates the film significantly. Plenty of gangster films have been released since then, but Scarface has a secured place as one of the finest examples of what a crime film should be. Simple, yet effective in its execution, this is a great film, a masterwork of cinema, one that showcases brilliant acting and storytelling that is never boring, and with that being said, it's quite impressive to see a film like this having been made during this period. The film is action packed with the right blend of drama and thrills to make it a worthwhile and memorable experience for viewers that enjoy a solidly paced gangster film. For its short run time, Scarface does a lot more than most genre films that are nearly three hours in length. This is filmmaking at its very best and it's a movie that is sure to appeal to any film buff that enjoys a well crafted picture. Scarface still holds quit well by today's standards, and it's one of the defining films that has helped shape the gangster genre.
    Alex r Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2013
    I can't compare the original Scarface to the De Palma version, since I haven't seen that one, but I can say that I was underwhelmed by this film. It was one of the weaker gangster I've seen, which is a genre I typically enjoy. I felt that the acting got over the top at points, and the film had no consistency. At some points I was very engaged, while at others I was in my own world. For example the secretary scene was classic, I was wearing a big grin the whole way through. Then a scene not to long after, The Dance hall scene, had me bored as all hell. The ending wasn't touching for me, and I was always expecting more. It has its classic strong suits, but not comparable to later gangster movies.
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Nov 06, 2012
    If you're planning on watching this film, I recommend viewing it well before even thinking of setting your eyes on the uncompromising and excessively brilliant Brian DePalma-helmed and Al Pacino-led 1983 version. Pacino's tour de force performance makes Paul Muni's campy efforts seem little more than negligible, and the film's relatively tame screenplay does little in way of shocking the viewer in the same ways that DePalma's gangster epic did scene after scene.
    Kristijonas F Super Reviewer

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