“Say Hello To My Little Friend!”
It’s one of cinema’s most uttered lines – from one of the most notorious, explosive and wildly entertaining gangster films ever!
As I look at some of the seminal films of the last 50 years, I always try to celebrate an anniversary – but when I realized that the classic “Scarface” was out 39 year ago – NOT 40 as I thought – I just decided to showcase it anyway, because it’s just that good!
Brian DePalma is one of America’s greatest living Directors. Yet he doesn’t win Oscars, he doesn’t get much attention lately, and it’s a shame, because he has made some of the best movies of our generation.
DePalma was one one of the 70’s true “new generation” movie masters: Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas were his contemporaries – yet at one point he was more successful than all of them. I will be posting an additional list of his “classics”, which include “Carrie”, “Dressed To Kill”, “Phantom Of The Parade” and “The Untouchables” among MANY more, but first I wanted to warm everyone up with his 80’s masterpiece!
This film was, of course, very controversial when released originally, and it was thanks to the VHS revolution that it picked up a cult following that has grown every year!
Here is an inside look at the movie – let’s get started with the trailer:
“Scarface” is a modern day classic, but when it was released, it was very controversial – for many reasons, not the least of which was Al Pacino’s depiction of young Cuban refugee Tony Montana, who wants to rule the world. And pays the ultimate price when he does…
The film’s plot begins when Fidel Castro opened the harbor at Mariel, Cuba, sending 125,000 Cuban refugees to reunite with their relatives in the United States. Among all the refugees, there is one who wants it all, and his name is Tony Montana.
Tony and his friend Manny arrive in the United States and after showing his street smarts, Tony meets with drug kingpin Frank Lopez and falls for his boss’s girlfriend, Elvira. She is played with icy perfection by Michelle Pfeiffer.
Tony knows what it takes to make in the US:
“In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.”
Michelle Pfeiffer is perfect as the icy cold “girlfriend” to a mob boss…and of course, Tony has no problem trying to push him out – there are so many great set pieces in the film, but none better than early in the film when a drug deal goes bad in a motel shower:
This notorious “chainsaw” scene is beautifully directed – and shockingly violent as well…but Tony survives and becomes a kingpin – then the excess begins to destroy him:
Another of the film’s most memorable scenes involves Tony’s “enjoyment” of the product he sells:
“Say Hello To My Little Friend!”
It all leads to one of the greatest endings in cinema, with that famous line!
According to IMDB, which has a ton of great trivia about the movie, the word “yeyo” is used by Tony as a slang word for cocaine. This word was not in the script, and was ad-libbed by Pacino during the chainsaw scene, and DePalma liked it enough to keep using it throughout the film. Pacino learned the word while learning the Cuban accent.
THE TONY MONTANA ACTION FIGURE!
Yes, of all of the many pop culture tie-ins to the film, I think this action figure is the most hilarious!
According to the “scorecard” feature on the Platinum Edition DVD, the word “fuck” and its derivatives are used 226 times for an average of 1.32 fucks per minute.
THE ICONIC DIALOGUE!
And of course, here is the entire line:
“You wanna fuck with me? Okay. You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend!”
Tony’s “little friend” is an M16 assault rifle with an M203 40mm grenade launcher attached to the barrel.
THE X-RATED “R” RATED SCARFACE!
THE BEST TRIVIA COURTESY OF IMDB – if you saw the film when it was originally released, you saw an X-rated cut!
As they report:
“When director DePalma submitted the film to the MPAA they gave it an “X rating”. He then made some cuts and resubmitted it a second time; again the film was given an “X rating”. He yet again made some further cuts and submitted it a third time; yet again it was given an “X”. DePalma refused to cut the film any further to qualify it for an “R”. He and producer Martin Bregman arranged a hearing with the MPAA. They brought in a panel of experts, including real narcotics officers, who stated that the film was an accurate portrayal of real life in the drug underworld and should be widely seen.”
This convinced the 20 members of the ratings board to give the third submitted cut of the film an “R rating” by a vote of 18-2. However, as IMDB.com notes:
“DePalma surmised that if the third cut of the film was judged an “R” than the very first cut should have been an “R” as well. He asked the studio if he could release the first cut but was told that he couldn’t. However since the Studio execs really didn’t know the differences between the different cuts that had been submitted, DePalma released the first cut of the film to theaters anyway!”
It wasn’t until the film had been released on videocassette months later that he confessed that he had released his first unedited and intended version of the film!
Pacino’s “Real” Hot Gun Reaction!
In the final scene when Tony’s house is being raided, he attempts to grab a gun and then lets go immediately. What happened was that the gun was so hot, it actually burnt Pacino’s hand and he was unable to perform for a week or more! DePalma used that time to shoot scenes of the assassins moving through the house.
Brian DePalma is a modern master of cinema – here are some of this greatest hits, and under-appreciated gems worth seeking out:
As I said, “Scarface” quickly became a cultural phenomenon – leading to this hilariously entertaining mashup of many films, including “Scarface”, that all used nightclub scenes!
Click here to see the video:
Later in the 80’s, Pacino had another terrific film; “Sea Of Love”. Click here to see more about this thriller!
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Happy 39th birthday to “Scarface!”