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Scarface

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White Nationalists spend a lot of time analyzing the themes in movies and the impact they have on our people. However, we often ignore what lessons non-whites take. Consider the one movie that has had a greater impact on hip-hop culture (which is to say, the dominant culture of this country’s youth and underclass) than any other — Brian De Palma’s 1983 Scarface. As chronicled by books, articles, or even a simple glance at the themes in contemporary rap, no movie has a greater hold on the imagination of black and Latino youth.

The film stars Al Pacino ferociously chewing the scenery as Tony Montana. Montana is a Cuban immigrant who rises to become a prominent cocaine dealer in Miami before dramatically losing his friends, family, power, and life.

The film is noted for its extreme vulgarity, especially for the use of one particular example of Anglo-Saxon 226 times, or about 1.32 times per minute. For those who have overall questions about the plot, you can actually figure out the entire movie from just viewing every use of that one word.

The movie itself is simply a more explicit version of one of the uniquely American film genres, the gangster film. An immigrant of lowly origins rises to the top of society through unethical methods. However, in his desire to become a powerful and wealthy man, and thus a true “American,” he loses the very things (culture, family, traditions, identity), that made him who he is. Eventually, the now deracinated protagonist is destroyed, losing even the ethereal wealth and power that he once possessed.

In The Godfather Trilogy, for example, Michael Corleone, despite taking the family to new heights, dies alone and isolated, his daughter a victim of the violence he used to build his fortune, his son alienated and disgusted, his father Vito’s hopes that the Corleone family will “make it” as a prominent American family in ruins.

In Goodfellas, Henry Hill ends up betraying all of his former friends and colleagues, and is disgusted to have to live as an average, anonymous American working on the consumer plantation, without even the comfort of his old neighborhood friends.

The Sopranos television series begins with Tony Soprano bemoaning the collapse of community standards and his acknowledgment that he is fighting a losing battle to keep La Cosa Nostra going.

Scarface is a story in this vein, about an ambitious outsider caught between his old identity and the need to secure the wealth and power that modern America values far above family, patriotism, or identity. Even the hero’s name is a signal that Tony represents not Cubans per se but the universal experience of every “new American.” Montana is even an anti-Communist, butchering a former Castro confidante with a knife to earn his green card and entry into American life. In the end, though, Scarface is a cautionary tale. Tony’s mother, a humble house cleaner, sets up the conflict by saying, “You think you can come in here with your hot shot clothes and make fun of us. That is NOT the way I am, Antonio! That is NOT the way I raised Gina to be. You are not going to destroy her. I don’t need your money. Gracias! I work for my living.”

Ultimately of course, Montana does destroy his sister, and everyone else around him. He murders his best friend in a jealous rage and sees his sister killed. His trophy wife abandons him, disgusted after a flabby and drunken Tony embarrasses himself at a restaurant. He is murdered, and perhaps even worse, defeated with no friends left to avenge him. Behind the cursing and bluster, Scarface suggests that American success comes at too high a cost. At the end of the movie, Tony lies floating in his own blood, his mansion occupied by his enemies, the line “the world is yours” serving only as an ironic counterpoint. Montana’s collapse and ruin are far more complete than anything suffered even by Michael Corleone or Henry Hill.

This depressing lesson seems to have completely gone over the heads of the largely non-white fans of Scarface. When a new DVD version was released of the movie, crowds of Latinos camped outside the Best Buy in Secaucus, New Jersey like it was Black Friday. Scores of gangster rappers claim Tony Montana as a role model and an inspiration. Aaron McGruder, certainly the most perceptive critic of black culture from within the black community (and perhaps in the whole country), makes sure to characterize his pop culture-worshiping young black everyman character Riley Freeman as an outright Tony Montana wannabe. At any major city in America, T-shirt vendors can be found hawking cheap knockoffs of Al Pacino’s iconic pose, alongside images of Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and of course, Barack Obama.

The nonwhite worship of Tony Montana tells us a great deal about the values that blacks and Latinos internalize from American popular culture and what they believe America is all about. Collectively, nonwhites seem to simply block out not just Tony Montana’s defeat, but even the corruption of his career. For many, the ending needs to be changed outright. In the Scarface video game enthusiastically advertised to “urban” markets, Tony Montana’s iconic last stand is reimagined as him blasting his way out of trouble so he can rebuild his empire.

Al Pachino as Tony Montana

Why the attraction to blacks and Hispanics? Tony Montana represents not just the quintessentially American desire for money and power, but the uniquely non-European American desire to have these things without having to identify with the American nation or its institutions. Montana neatly summarizes his view of his new hometown of Miami and his adopted country with the quote, “This is paradise, I’m tellin’ ya. This town like a great big pussy just waiting to get fucked.”

Watching a news report on cocaine in Miami, Tony neatly transitions into a rant against the “bankers and politicians” who are the real bad guys. While Tony hates Communists, he also casually defines capitalism as “fuck you.” Tony accepts this, even revels in it. America is a Hobbesian jungle of all against all, with money and power as the only absolutes.

However, there is a moral code behind Tony’s bluster. In contrast to the “WASP whores” with their money and connections, Montana’s criminality is more honest and forthright. By relying on his “balls and his word,” Tony simultaneously shames all of the law-abiding, bourgeois Americans who obey a corrupt system and also the rich businessmen and politicians who are just as bad, if not worse, than drug dealers.

In the famous “bad guy” speech, Tony Montana echoes a favorite Culture of Critique theme. Tony says drunkenly to a group of shocked whites at a fancy restaurant, “You all a bunch of fuckin’ assholes. You know why? You don’t have the guts to be what you wanna be. You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your fuckin’ fingers and say, ‘That the bad guy.’ So. . . what that make you? Good? You’re not good. You just know how to hide — how to lie. Me, I don’t have that problem. Me, I always tell the truth. Even when I lie. So say goodnight to the bad guy!”

After all, if everyone is equally corrupt, no one can be good. In line with Tony’s own moral code though, the speech takes on a different meaning. All the old “mummies” with their illegitimate wealth and power are the real bad guys. They are soft, corrupt puppeteers who hide behind courts and fancy suits but don’t have the cojones to put their own bodies on the line. Tony, who earned his money with manliness and physical courage, is the real moral exemplar.

This is the moral code that elevates the drug dealer over the legitimate businessman, or the street enforcer over the snitch. This is the code celebrated in the narcocorrdios of Mexico, or the rap anthems blaring in Los Angeles or Baltimore, or the stop snitching shirts and signs displayed with pride all over the ghettos.

In fact, Tony Montana might even be a civil rights hero. Crime, murder, and crude displays of violence to show who can be the “big man,” if only for a few moments, are all ways of sticking it to the white power system. Ken Tucker, author of Scarface Nation, notes that white critics didn’t understand the movie in 1983. “But very quickly, Latino and black audiences seized on the story of Tony Montana. . . as an example of how a poor, disenfranchised ethnic person in America could improve his life in the Reagan era. That story has remained powerful.” Criminal action is not wrong, but simply a more honest and direct way of expressing one’s individuality and rage at “oppression.”

Of course, the more direct the approach the better. Contemporary hip hop culture values the direct use of force and display of masculinity rather than the more subtle strategy favored by a Don Corleone. Tony Montana does not fail to disappoint on this front as well. The most relevant example is the case of Montana’s Jewish mentor Frank Lopez, an aging drug lord with a chai necklace and a blonde shiksa mistress. Frank doesn’t want to rock the boat, and when Tony gets out of hand, Frank arranges to have him killed. But Montana, who kills him first and secures both his business and his girl, is more moral because he uses straightforward force as opposed to Semitic intrigue.

You can buy Greg Hood’s Waking Up From the American Dream here.

While the Jewish identity of Lopez probably goes over most urban audiences’ heads, the frustration at the “white” (mostly Jewish) shop owners who run small businesses in the ghettos and barrios to “exploit the community” is very real. We can imagine many blacks and Hispanics fantasize not about having to build up such a business but about being able to simply claim it, or at least try to destroy it as they did during the LA Riots.

The irony, of course, is that Tony is not ruthless enough to maintain his power. He refrains from killing women and children even though he was ordered to by Sosa, his Bolivian cocaine supplier, killing Sosa’s henchman instead. If he had done this, his downfall would have been avoided. This speaks well of Montana, indicating at least some semblance of decency. But perhaps it is more a reflection of his own machismo. After all, he had no problem working with Sosa and profiting greatly from the relationship, despite Sosa’s tactics. He also glories in his murder of Sosa’s henchman. He presents his refusal to do Sosa’s will less as a moral stand than as a display of dominance over other men.

After he shoots Sosa’s henchman, he crows, “I told you, man, I told you! Don’t fuck with me! I told you, no fucking kids! No, but you wouldn’t listen, why, you stupid fuck, look at you now.” The code of aggressive machismo, displays of dominance, and the quick resort to violence are of course all staples of contemporary urban culture. Tony Montana’s bloody last stand, after all, was not a defense of loved ones, a noble idea, or even himself, but simple rage at the people who were “fucking with him” and who didn’t realize they were “fucking with the best.”

Scarface, despite the hilarious 80s montages, comic book dialogue, and over the top accents, is actually a chilling representation of what America has become and what people value today. Perhaps the most significant dialogue is not the famous “Say hello to my little friend” or the quotable “The only thing in this world that gives orders. . . is balls” but an exchange between Tony and Elvira, his white, blonde, junkie wife that he claimed from Lopez, the mentor he killed. Elvira states, “You know what you’re becoming, Tony? You’re an immigrant spic millionaire, who can’t stop talking about money,” whereupon Tony interrupts, “Who the fuck you calling a spic, man? You white piece of bread. Get outta the way of the television.”

The display of barely concealed racial hostility, papered over with money, drugs, alcohol, and television to fill the empty hole that used to be a country, perfectly sums up what America has become. Scarface is actually a profound criticism of the American Dream, suggesting that hard work and traditional values lead to greater happiness than the pursuit of quick money through criminality.

Blacks and Hispanics, however, seem to have missed the point, seeing the antihero as an honest hero, and aspiring to be the next Tony Montana.

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Notes

This review was originally published on February 27, 2011. If you liked this article, click here and here for more like it.

 

22 Comments

  1. Used to Watch TV
    Posted May 22, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I can understand why blacks like this. What I can never understand is why they like The Honeymooners.

  2. Ambrose Kane
    Posted May 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    “Blacks and Hispanics, however, seem to have missed the point, seeing the antihero as an honest hero, and aspiring to be the next Tony Montana” – Of course they missed the point. What else would one expect from low-IQ and even lower-cultured peoples who can’t seem to avoid a prison sentence?

    Remember that in the case of blacks, they actually have to create public campaigns to urge their young men to pull up their pants (saggin’)! This is the level of stupidity and moral caliber of people that we as whites have invited into our societies!?

    In the case of Hispanics, the Puerto Ricans that have flooded New York are virtually indistinguishable from thuggish blacks, and the Mexicans who have invaded the South West have brought with them their entrenched ‘cholo’ and gang culture. Is it any surprise, then, why Tony Montana, is an icon in their so-called ‘communities’?

    As a side note, a number of years ago when I was a cop in California, I got dispatched to a house regarding a Hispanic father who was concerned about his son’s involvement in gangs. He couldn’t figure out what the problem was, and why his son wanted to associate with gangsters. I asked to see his son’s bedroom. When I walked inside, I noticed a huge poster featuring the murdered thug-rapper, Tupac Shakur, hanging from a wall. I told him there was his problem. He allowed his son to visually glorify a criminal thug whose values were completely opposite of his own. I asked him who had more moral authority in his home – himself or Tupac? He knew the answer.

    Time after time in my decades as a cop (now retired), I witnessed almost daily the stark differences between whites and non-whites. The level of racial naiveté and outright stupidity that whites have shown to invite these blacks and browns into their once grand cities staggers the mind.

    • Roscommonguy
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

      A period of compulsory service as a policeman in non-white areas would do whites a world of good. More than any other occupation, being a cop seems to bring home the stark inescapable reality of life to people.

    • Some other guy
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      ” The level of racial naiveté and outright stupidity that whites have shown to invite these blacks and browns into their once grand cities staggers the mind.”

      Absolutely correct.

  3. Alex
    Posted May 22, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    226 times seems a little bit on the low side. “ fuck Casper Gomez and fuck the fucking Diaz brothers, fuck ‘em all”. That’s 4 times in 5 seconds

  4. Lord Shang
    Posted May 22, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Good review. I saw Scarface when it first came out in the theaters in 1983. I was, well, blown away. I loved it. But I loved it for finally introducing real mayhem into the movies (maybe First Blood the year before had started the trend; The Terminator made it permanent). Also, because I have always thought Michelle Pfeiffer was one of the all time most beautiful actresses (even if she is yet another in the ridiculously long line of white esp blonde race traitor women adopting their little mud children). I used to hate the pussy ‘action’ movies I’d see in the 70s (though now I like some of them better than I did at the time of their original release, probably because with age I appreciate character more, and mayhem less).

    I (possibly naively) at the time took the movie to be … pro-White American. I was very based already, and I’d been furious about the disgusting 1980 Mariel boatlift of Castro’s criminals and lunatics that liberal ass Carter imposed on us (and which ruined South Florida). I had been talking about that very subject for years by the time of Scarface’s release. So I actually saw it as a very rightist movie, a “wakeup” call about the savages we were letting into our beautiful white country. How could any white man see that movie and not think “why are we letting this filth into OUR nation?”

    Alas, the sentimental folly of the superior/inferior white man knows no limits. Our only answer is white nationalist-exclusive secession and new sovereignty (the Ethnostate MUST be restricted to militant rightists, not all whites, or else it will succumb to ultimate liberalism like everywhere else).

    • Alex
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:10 am | Permalink

      Have you seen the Cocaine Cowboys documentary? Holy shit, I’ve never seen anything like it, the documentary is a true depiction of the havoc created by the boatlifts.

      • Lord Shang
        Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        No, thanks, I’ll check it out sometime.

  5. Fionn McCool
    Posted May 22, 2020 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    The film is noted for its extreme vulgarity, especially for the use of one particular example of Anglo-Saxon 226 times, or about 1.32 times per minute.

    Is “fuck” an Anglo-Saxon word? I don’t think it is…

    • Scott Weisswald
      Posted May 22, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      Derived from fick. Definitely Anglo-Saxon.

  6. Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    Another lesson non-whites take away from this twisted American dream story is the obtaining of a white wife and/or white women in general.

  7. Hiphop Nguyen
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:05 am | Permalink

    “Consider the one movie that has had a greater impact on hip-hop culture (which is to say, the dominant culture of this country’s youth and underclass) than any other…”

    Sorry bro , it’s the dominant youth and emerging underclass of THE WORLD .

  8. Oil Can Harry
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    The original director was Sidney Lumet and he would’ve ruined the film.

    Although (((Lumet))) was a skilled and intelligent filmmaker, he had the wrong approach: he wanted a script where the Hispanic gangsters would be the heroes and the villains would be corrupt white cops and the Reagan administration.

  9. Joe Gould
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    It’s not hard to understand why Tony Montana is an exciting role model.

    Tony Montana only has a downfall because he refuses to do the immoral act that he agreed to do for Sosa. Without that reluctance, Tony Montana would be invincible.

    If there is nothing in your heart that would recoil against this violent act, then for you the rise of Tony Montana is a genuine and thrilling invitation, but his fall is not real because it would never apply to someone like you.

  10. James O'Meara
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    After he shoots Sosa’s henchman, he crows, “I told you, man, I told you! Don’t fuck with me! I told you, no fucking kids! No, but you wouldn’t listen, why, you stupid fuck, look at you now.”

    Tony may not be all that moral after all. Joe Pesci has a similar line in Casino, where he’s about to crush a guy’s head in a vice unless he gives up the name of his partner. “Don’t make me do this! Don’t make me be the bad guy!” Like the bank robber’s “Do as I say and no one gets hurt,” it’s an attempt to transfer the guilt to you, the victim. It’s YOUR fault, you MADE me do this. The same with his restaurant rant about the “real” bad guys. The typical thought process of a sociopath.

    • Lord Shang
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Well, not being willing to kill kids is at least some small moral line. The MS-13 savages, er, helpless refugees our (((masters))) are shoving down our throats wouldn’t think twice about killing anyone.

  11. Irmin
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    The movie itself is simply a more explicit version of one of the uniquely American film genres, the gangster film.

    The film is, curiously, a largely faithful remake of Howard Hughes’ *Scarface* (1932), the story of a Capone-like Italian gangster. Most major plot elements are identical, as are the relationships among the principal characters. The 1983 *Scarface* is, however, a much different film, even though brief plot summaries of the two would be almost the same.

    I don’t like the 1983 version, which is clearly a degenerate movie, but Oliver Stone’s screenplay is weirdly impressive as a faithful yet radically different reworking of an earlier story.

    Montana is even an anti-Communist, butchering a former Castro confidante with a knife to earn his green card and entry into American life.

    Stone has a noticeable hostility to anti-Castro Cubans. They butcher former Castro confidantes; they plot to put a Texan in the White House; they support Nixon.

    • James O'Meara
      Posted May 23, 2020 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      “Stone has a noticeable hostility to anti-Castro Cubans. They butcher former Castro confidantes; they plot to put a Texan in the White House; they support Nixon.”

      Nice catch. I always liked Guy Bannister’s summary of post-war American politics (delivered by Ed Asner, of all people): “That’s what happens when you let the n*ggers vote. They get together with the Jews and Catholics and put a Irish bleeding heart in the White House.”

  12. Big Dan!
    Posted May 23, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Funny thing is I remember distinctly when it came out it was called a 1-star BOMB by the major movie reviewers: Siskel and Ebert, Leonard Maltin, etc. I presume they were compelled to reject the message. Just so dreary and soul-crushing to watch. But, bomb, huh? How much has it made exactly?
    Brian DePalma was always willing to explore new depths of humanity that were best left unexplored. He’s the same guy who brought us Carrie; maybe the first of the new generation of films where the monster can’t be killed.
    I kind of wish I’d never Scarface it … BUT …I always enjoy it when it re-runs on TV. It’s so frickin watchable.
    AND FINALLY … How do we reconcile all this with the 1932 version with Paul Muni? Still a classic.

  13. Peter Stillman
    Posted May 24, 2020 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    “However, in his desire to become a powerful and wealthy man, and thus a true “American,” he loses the very things (culture, family, traditions, identity), that made him who he is.”
    Interesting take. I always saw Tony Montana as more a Barry Lyndon-like character – an amoral swindler who powers his way through to the top, but fails to fully cut it in the higher ranks and is ultimately foiled by the one time he actually has a moral conscience.
    “Scarface, despite the hilarious 80s montages, comic book dialogue, and over the top accents, is actually a chilling representation of what America has become and what people value today. ”
    Despite? De Palma is a satirist. Its over-the-top nature reinforces its bleak worldview, with its excessive gaudiness and garish backdrops. De Palma doesn’t make films about reality; he makes films about how reality is transposed by film. Many talk of De Palma’s Hitchcock’s obsession, but overlook the influence of Godard, which is much more apparent in his earlier work, but still present throughout his career. The emptiness and hedonism of Montana’s world is expressed visually and through form. It’s part of what elevates and builds pathos for what is, at face value, the story of some lowlife thug.

    What’s amusing is that, when asked about Scarface’s influence on hip hop, De Palma smiles wryly and is completely dismissive of it.

  14. Tommy
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    One more racial aspect in this film: Alejandro Sosa, the mighty Bolivian drug-lord educated in English private schools, is clearly meant to represent the Caucasian elites who still largely rule Latin America. His final outburst of anger at Tony may well contain racial animus:

    “I told you a long time ago, you fucking little monkey, not to fuck me!”

    Is he basically calling Tony a lowly Mestizo peon, the sort of fellow who used to serve his fair-skinned hidalgo ancestors?

  15. gkruz
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    “The emptiness and hedonism of Montana’s world is expressed visually and through form. It’s part of what elevates and builds pathos for what is, at face value, the story of some lowlife thug.

    What’s amusing is that, when asked about Scarface’s influence on hip hop, De Palma smiles wryly and is completely dismissive of it.”
    That shit sails straight over the heads of most viewers, and especially non-Whites.
    I would have no trouble banning this movie from distribution in a White ethnostate. Unlike some here, I am in favor of censorship. We’ve seen the results of the free market place of ideas and treating garbage pop culture as if it deserved the same consideration as high art. The damage to society caused by degenerate junk like Scarface is no laughing matter, and no one of any race has the right to base their life on a romanticized celluloid criminal and roam free on the streets to act it out.

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