Al Pacino is one of the greatest actors to ever grace the silver screen. He’s got the accolades and the fan base to prove it, too. Now, his most iconic movie is available on Netflix, and cinephiles have every right to be ecstatic. And yes, it is probably the one that immediately popped into your head. That’s right, folks: Scarface is now streaming on Netflix. The iconic movie joins overlooked gems and underrated classics on the streaming giant, which is constantly adding new content to its already expansive library.
Directed by Brian De Palma, written by Oliver Stone, and starring Al Pacino in the lead role, Scarface debuted in theaters in December 1983. It is a remake of the identically titled 1932 film, which was loosely inspired by Armitage Trail’s 1929 book. De Palma’s film initially received negative reviews because of its excessive use of violence and profanity, but it is now regarded as one of the best remakes ever. Much of that credit goes to Pacino, who turned in one of his best, most memorable performances ever and cemented himself in our collective consciousness as a performer worth celebrating.
Scarface centers around a penniless Cuban refugee named Tony Montana (Al Pacino), who eventually becomes an incredibly influential drug lord. The movie also stars Steven Bauer, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert Loggia, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio.
Al Pacino’s performance was immediately praised, but many were upset at the film’s perpetuation of stereotypes. While the movie was in production, Cubans condemned the film for its use of non-Cuban actors in harmful, racist depictions of Cubans as drug users and crime lords.
Al Pacino’s turn as Tony Montana in Scarface may be a hit with the masses now, but back when it first hit theaters, some incredibly prominent people were less than pleased with the movie as a whole. The famous chainsaw scene forced writers John Irving and Kurt Vonnegut out of the theater. Famed film critic and film historian Leonard Maltin was also not a fan of the movie, while his fellow film writer, Roger Ebert, absolutely adored what De Palma and Stone had put together. Scarface currently holds an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes, which singles out Al Pacino and director Brian De Palma as two of the movie’s most impressive aspects
In addition to his role in Scarface, Al Pacino is also known for playing Michael Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s timeless The Godfather. He has also been in countless others films and stage productions. These include Michael Mann’s acclaimed thriller Heat, in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman alongside Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro, in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, The Devil’s Advocate, and many, many other popular and/or acclaimed films. Too many for me to name here.
On stage, Al Pacino has appeared in Clifford Odets’ Awake and Sing!, Jean-Claude Van Itallie’s America Hurrah, and The Indian Wants the Bronx before making his Broadway debut in Don Petersen’s Does a Tiger Wear a Necktie? He went on to win a second Tony Award for his performance in The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel. Additionally, he has appeared/starred in Richard III, David Mamet’s American Buffalo, and, much more recently, in Eugene O’Neill’s Hughie and Oscar Wilde’s Salome.
And the guy is still going strong. Up next for Al Pacino is Ridley Scott’s next film, House of Gucci, in which he will portray former Gucci Shops Inc. chairman Aldo Gucci.
As for the awards Al Pacino has received over the years, there are so, so many. Most recently, he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his turn as Jimmy Hoffa in the aforementioned The Irishman. Years before that, he earned an Academy Award for his jaw-dropping performance in the 1992 film Scent of a Woman. He also received Academy Award nominations for his roles in Serpico, The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, and ….And Justice For All.
If you are itching to see more of Al Pacino but want something new, fret not: You can catch him in House of Gucci when it releases in theaters on November 24, 2021. Or, if you are feeling like revisiting a young Pacino, pop on over to Netflix and give Scarface another watch. It definitely holds up.