Many events pictured in the 1983 film Scarface are based on true stories about the life of Al Capone, a Prohibition-era gangster who dominated organized crime in Chicago from 1925 to 1931 and was also known as Scarface.
Among the most notable ones were the killing of Tony Montana’s boss, which was inspired by Capone’s involvement in the murder of his first boss.
The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was the culmination of a gang war between Capone and Bugs Moran.
Scarface received generally negative reviews on its original release. In the middle of the film, Martin Scorsese turned to Steven Bauer (Manny Ribera), warning him that people in Hollywood would hate the movie because it was about them.
Roger Ebert was among the few critics who praised the film. It was controversial for all the unapologetic scenery and violence, yet Scarface is resilient.
It stays in our lexicon and will be forever remembered as one of the greatest gangster movies ever.
All sorts of exciting stuff happened in and behind the scenes of Scarface. Here are some you probably didn’t know.
10 Some Say It Was Milk Powder
Scarface is a movie about gangsters and drugs, so it is no surprise that some scenes depict how people used cocaine.
The white powder used in the film was supposedly milk powder, although director Brian De Palma never really made any official statement. There has been a long myth that Pacino snorted real cocaine on camera. No one knows for sure.
Whatever the drug stand-in was, it caused long-term issues with Pacino’s nasal passages. In 2015, he said that his nose changed.
9 Uncensored Cut
When De Palma submitted Scarface to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) for rating, the movie received an “X” rating.
De Palma then made some cuts and resubmitted it twice only to get the same rating each time. He fumed to the New York Times, saying Scarface had been rated basically as a pornographic film.
Following a hearing which also involved producer Marty Bregman, MPAA relented and gave the more suitable “R” rating. Later on, De Palma revealed he released the first cut – one with an X rating – to theaters.