Antonio “Tony” Montana is a fictional character and the main protagonist of the 1983 film Scarface. He is portrayed by Al Pacino in the movie, and is voiced by André Sogliuzzo in the 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours. Embodying the rise from the bottom to the top, Tony Montana has become a cultural icon and is one of the most famous movie characters of all time. In 2008, Montana was named the 27th Greatest Movie Character by Empire Magazine. He is partly based on Tony Camonte, the protagonist of the original novel and the 1932 film adaptation. By association the character is also inspired by Al Capone. According to Oliver Stone, Tony’s last name was inspired by former NFL quarterback, Joe Montana, Stone’s favorite player. A prequel novel, Scarface: The Beginning, written by L.A. Banks, was released in 2006.
In May 1980, Tony is one of the 125,000 Cubans who after seeking refuge in the Peruvian Embassy, wound up on the Mariel Boatlift to Miami. When he gets there, he is questioned by U.S. officials; he says that he was a “political prisoner” and that because he had an American father, he has the right to a green card. However, because of a trident-style tattoo on his right hand, which indicates that he was an assassin in prison, his request is denied.
Tony and his friend Manolo “Manny” Ribera are sent to “Freedomtown”, a refugee camp that holds Cuban immigrants without green cards. After one month in the camp, Frank Lopez, head of a Miami drug cartel, offers to obtain them green cards in return for murdering Emilio Rebenga. Soon after Rebenga arrives at the camp, Manny and Tony and friend take advantage of the August 11 riot, where Tony stabs Rebenga. Tony and Manny are granted green cards and released, and the two get jobs as dishwashers for a small food stand in Little Havana. In August 1980, Frank sends his right-hand man, Omar Suarez, to offer them a deal smuggling marijuana, offering $500, a small amount of pay but with low risk of arrest or gun battles. Tony demands more pay, and he and Omar quarrel. On the advice of his compatriot, Omar then offers Tony and Manny $5000 to buy cocaine from a new supplier, which is riskier than the marijuana deal but will pay much more, as it is dealing with violent Colombians.
A few days later, Tony, Manny, and their associates Angel and Chi Chi drive to a hotel in Miami Beach to make the deal with a group of Colombians. The deal goes bad; a couple of Colombian enforcers handcuff Tony and Angel to a shower pole at gunpoint, threatening to kill them with a chainsaw if Tony does not reveal the location of the drug money. Tony refuses to talk, and Hector, the enforcers’ leader, dismembers Angel. Before Hector can do the same to Tony, Manny bursts in the room, shooting an SMG. A short gunfight ensues in which Manny is shot in the arm, and Tony kills the Colombians. Tony, Manny, and Chi Chi escape with the cocaine and the money. Tony, who no longer trusts Omar, takes it to Frank personally, and he and Manny end up working for him. Meanwhile, Tony takes an interest in Frank’s girlfriend, Elvira Hancock.
Three months later, Tony pays a visit to his mother Georgina and younger sister Gina, neither of whom he has seen for five years. Gina is excited to see Tony, but his mother is ashamed of him, having long ago learned of his life of crime. When he gives his mother $1,000, his mother angrily rejects the gift and throws him out. Tony leaves, but Gina runs after him and hugs him, telling Tony she has been going to hairdressing school and helping out Mama. Tony says that a poor girl like Gina deserves to have a little fun; he slips her the $1,000 secretly and orders her not to tell Mama about it, only that Mama gets a little bit of it from time to time, through using some of it for grocery shopping or paying a utility bill.
Later, while in Bolivia, Tony and Omar go on Frank’s behalf to see drug cartel lord Alejandro Sosa. Sosa has Omar killed for being a police informant, and makes Tony his business partner. At The Babylon nightclub, Tony is shaken down by corrupt narcotics detective Mel Bernstein, who informs him he has evidence linking Tony to the murders of Rebenga and the Colombian drug dealers. Bernstein proposes to “tax” Tony on his transactions in return for police protection and information. Tony is convinced Frank sent Bernstein because only Frank would know details about the murders. While talking to Bernstein, Tony sees Gina dancing with a low-level drug dealer. Enraged, Tony beats the dealer and slaps Gina, stopping only after Manny calms him down. Manny drives Gina home and tells her she can do better than those low lives and that Tony is only looking out for her. However, when Gina admits an interest in Manny, he freezes, fearing Tony’s wrath.
That night, two men attempt to kill Tony. He escapes, and becomes convinced that Frank ordered his death. Armed with silenced pistols, Tony and Manny track Frank down to his car dealership, killing him and Bernstein. Afterward, Tony goes to Frank’s house, telling Elvira that her lover is dead and that he wants her. Over the next year-and-a-half, Tony makes $75 million off of 2,000 kilograms of cocaine that he brings to America, and is soon making $10–15 million every month in profits from his business relationship with Sosa. He marries Elvira and takes over Frank’s empire, purchasing a large mansion as well as ornate luxuries such as a pet tiger. Tony also creates many legal businesses as fronts, including a hairdresser’s managed by Gina. However, cracks in Tony’s “American dream” begin to form as both he and Elvira become addicted to cocaine. Meanwhile, Manny and Gina begin dating behind her brother’s back, afraid of Tony’s wrath should he find out.
In February 1983, Tony is arrested for tax evasion and money laundering. Tony’s lawyer, George Sheffield, tells him that although he can plea bargain away most of the time Tony faces, he will still end up serving at least three years in prison. Sosa calls Tony down to Bolivia and asks him for help assassinating a Bolivian anti-government activist, who is exposing Sosa’s dealings with Bolivian leaders. In exchange, Sosa will use his contacts in the U.S. Justice Department in Washington, D.C., to keep Tony out of prison. After returning to Miami, Tony does not tell Manny about the hit, although tries to talk Tony out of going to New York, simply citing a bad premonition he has about it. Not long after, Elvira leaves Tony for good after he insults her in a local restaurant. An intoxicated Tony starts yelling at the patrons: he tells them that they need people like him to blame—a “bad guy”.
Tony and Sosa’s associate Alberto travel to New York to assassinate the activist. Alberto plants a bomb under the activist’s car, planning to detonate it as he drives to the United Nations Building to give a speech about his activist work. On the day the assassination is to take place, Tony orders Alberto not to set off the bomb because the activist’s wife and children are in the car as well, something which is of no concern to Alberto. When Alberto tries to detonate the bomb anyway, Tony attempts to persuade him using logic and stories from his childhood in Cuba. When this does not work, Tony shoots and kills Alberto, thus double-crossing Sosa.
On December 9, 1983 Tony returns to Florida and receives a telephone call from a furious Sosa, who admonishes him for the hit’s failure. Tony attempts to locate Manny, and finds him and Gina together, both wearing nothing but bathrobes. Tony shoots and kills him in a cocaine-fueled rage, before Gina reveals that they had just married and were going to announce their matrimony to Tony. Tony and his men take a distraught Gina back to his mansion. Meanwhile, a large group of assassins sent by Sosa surround the mansion. While a distraught Tony sits in his office, snorting vast quantities of cocaine, the gunmen begin killing his guards outside. Gina enters Tony’s office wielding a Smith & Wesson Model 36, accusing him of wanting her for himself, before shooting him in the leg. Tony attempts to calm her down, before one of the assassins enters the office through the window and opens fire, killing Gina. Tony immediately kills the assassin, creating a commotion.
Deprived of the element of surprise, Sosa’s gunmen directly attack Tony’s mansion. Tony bursts from his office wielding a M16 assault rifle with a M203 grenade launcher attachment. He yells “Say hello to my little friend!” and opens fire on the henchmen, killing dozens of them despite being heavily wounded himself by return fire. The carnage continues until Sosa’s top assassin, the Skull, sneaks up behind him and shoots him in the back. Tony falls from his balcony into a fountain in the lobby below, floating face-down dead in a pool of blood and water beneath a statue of the globe carrying the inscription “The World Is Yours”.
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