Tony Montana

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tony Montana
Al Pacino as Tony Montana in the 1983 film
First appearanceScarface (1983)
Last appearancePayday 2 (2016)
Created byOliver Stone
Based onTony Guarino
Tony Camonte
Portrayed byAl Pacino
Voiced byAndré Sogliuzzo (The World Is Yours)
In-universe information
Full nameAntonio Montana
OccupationSoldier (formerly)
Drug lord
FamilyGina Montana (sister)
Georgina Montana (mother)
SpouseElvira Hancock
NationalityCuban / American

Antonio "Tony" Montana is a fictional character and the villain protagonist of the 1983 film Scarface. This character is portrayed by Al Pacino in the film and is voiced by André Sogliuzzo in the 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours. Embodying the possibility of a person rising from the bottom of society to the top, Tony Montana has become a cultural icon, as well as one of the most iconic film characters of all time.

In 2008, Montana was named the 27th Greatest Movie Character by Empire magazine.[1] The character is partly based on Tony Camonte, the protagonist of the 1932 film; Camonte was, in turn, an adaptation of Tony Guarino from the 1929 novel, which in turn was a loose fictionalization of real-life Italian-American gangster Al Capone, who was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1899.[2] In contrast to Guarino and Camonte, who were Italian immigrants, Montana is a Cuban immigrant. According to Oliver Stone, Tony's last name was inspired by then-NFL quarterback Joe Montana, Stone's favorite player. A prequel novel, Scarface: The Beginning, written by L. A. Banks, was published in 2006.[3][4] Montana has a large scar on his face, which explains why he is known as Scarface. This is the same type of scar that Al Capone received from a bar fight in 1917 at the Harvard Inn.[5][6]


Pacino insisted on taking the lead role in Scarface.[7][8] Pacino worked with various trainers for the role, including experts in knife combat and boxer Roberto Durán. Durán also helped inspire the character, who had "a certain lion in him", according to Pacino. Meryl Streep's immigrant character in Sophie's Choice (1982) also influenced Pacino's portrayal of Tony Montana. His co-star Steven Bauer, and a dialect coach, helped him learn aspects of the Cuban dialect and pronunciation.[9]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Before the events of the film, Tony grew up in a poor Havana neighborhood of Spanish immigrants, his maternal grandparents having been Isleños, while his father's side of the family were of Italian descent.[10] He obtained his signature scar fighting a Cuban army officer, whom he killed with a shotgun when he was 13.[10] After being arrested as a young man, Tony joined the Cuban army and served in Angola, where he went AWOL and boarded a cargo ship to France. There, he was arrested for shoplifting and deported back to Cuba in the late 1970s, where he was imprisoned.[10]

In May 1980, Tony is among the 125,000 Cubans on the Mariel boatlift to Miami. When he arrives, he is questioned by U.S. officials and says that he is a "political prisoner". Tony claims that because he has an American father, he has the right to a green card. However, his request is denied because of a trident-style tattoo on his right hand, which indicates that he was an assassin in prison.

Tony and his friend Manolo "Manny" Ribera are sent to "Freedom town", 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 green cards in return for murdering Emilio Rebenga, a one-time Cuban official who had tortured people to death (Lopez's brother among them), only to have Castro turn on him. Soon after Rebenga arrives at the camp, a riot breaks out in Freedom town on August 11, 1980. Manny and Angel Fernandez take advantage of the bedlam to stalk Rebenga, who leaves his tent. Tony is waiting outside and stabs Rebenga in the stomach. Tony and Manny are reconsidered and granted green cards, later being released. The two get jobs as dishwashers for a small food stand in Little Havana. Sometime later, Frank sends his right-hand man, Omar Suarez, to offer them a job that pays $500 each for a few hours of work unloading smuggled marijuana from a boat. While Manny is impressed with the offer, Tony is enraged about being offered less than the minimal pay for such a job, and he and Omar quarrel. On the advice of his companion, Omar then offers Tony and Manny $5,000 to buy cocaine from a new supplier, which is riskier than the marijuana deal, as it requires dealing with Colombians who are notorious for being violent.

A few days later, Tony and Manny, and their associates Angel and Chi Chi, drive to a hotel in Miami Beach to make a deal with the group of Colombians. The deal goes badly. A couple of Colombian enforcers handcuff Tony and Angel to a shower pole at gunpoint, threatening to kill them with a chainsaw if Tony doesn't reveal the location of the drug money. Tony refuses to talk, causing Hector, the enforcers' leader, to dismember Angel. Before Hector can do the same to Tony, Manny bursts into the room, shooting a machine pistol. 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. Frank is impressed by this act and offers Tony and Manny the opportunity to work for him. During this time, Tony becomes interested in Frank's girlfriend, Elvira Hancock.

Three months later, Tony pays a visit to his mother, Georgina, and younger sister, Gina, neither of whom has seen him for five years. Gina is excited to see Tony, but his mother is ashamed of him, having been aware of his life of crime. When he gives his mother $1,000, she angrily rejects the gift and throws him out. Tony leaves, but Gina runs after him and hugs him, telling him that she has been going to hairdressing school and helping out Mama. Tony says a poor girl like Gina deserves a little fun. He secretly slips her the $1,000 and orders her not to tell Mama about it, only that Mama gets a little bit of it occasionally, through using some of it for grocery shopping or paying a utility bill. Manny, who had been waiting for Tony in the car, is taken with Gina, only for Tony to tell Manny to stay away from her.

Later, while in Bolivia, Tony and Omar go on Frank's behalf to see a drug cartel lord, Alejandro Sosa. Sosa kills Omar 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 that 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 that 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 lowlifes and that Tony is only looking out for her. However, when Gina admits an interest in Manny, he freezes, remembering Tony's tirade.

Later that night, two men attempt to kill Tony. He escapes and becomes convinced that Frank ordered his death. Tony and Manny track Frank down to his car dealership and kill him and Bernstein with silenced pistols. 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 from the 2,000 kilograms of cocaine he brings to America. He soon makes $10–15 million monthly in profits from his business relationship with Sosa. He marries Elvira and takes over Frank's empire, purchasing a large mansion and other luxuries, such as a pet tiger. Tony also creates many legal businesses as fronts, including a hair salon managed by Gina. Cracks in Tony's "American dream" begin to form, however, as he and Elvira become addicted to cocaine. His banker demands more money, warning that it is getting increasingly more difficult to hide drug money. Meanwhile, Manny and Gina begin dating behind her brother's back, being afraid of Tony's wrath should he find out.

When Tony finds a new banker, he turns out to be an undercover policeman who arrests Tony for money laundering and tax evasion. Tony's lawyer, George Sheffield, tells Tony that although he can plea bargain away most of the time he's facing, he'll still end up serving at least three years in prison. Sosa calls Tony down to Bolivia and asks him to help assassinate a Bolivian anti-government activist who threatens to expose 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. However, Manny tries to talk Tony out of going to New York City, simply citing having a bad premonition about it. When Tony makes a scene at a fancy restaurant by insulting Elvira's inability to bear children, let alone do anything else with her life, she lashes out and leaves him.

Tony and Sosa's associate Alberto travel to New York to assassinate the activist. Alberto plants a bomb under the activist's car. He is ordered to detonate it before the activist can implicate Sosa's criminal network in a speech at the United Nations Building. On the day set for the assassination, a woman and two children are unexpectedly seen getting into the target's car. Tony objects to carrying out the hit, not wanting to kill anyone other than the intended victim. Alberto reminds Tony of Sosa's demands, and Tony reluctantly begins to tail the target. However, Tony's disgust at possibly killing an innocent woman with her two kids grows while Alberto concentrates on activating the explosive. Before Alberto can detonate the car bomb, Tony angrily shoots and kills Alberto, thus double-crossing Sosa.

Tony returns to Florida and receives a telephone call from a furious Sosa, who chastises him for the failed hit. He says the bomb was found, and the whistleblower is under heavy guard, making it almost impossible for them to try another hit. Tony's mother then says she cannot find Gina and accuses him of corrupting her. Tony attempts to locate Gina and finds her with Manny. When he sees them wearing bathrobes, Tony thinks they must be having sexual intercourse. An enraged Tony shoots and kills Manny in a cocaine-fueled rage before Gina reveals that they were just married and would announce it to Tony when he returned home. Tony and his henchmen take a distraught Gina back to his mansion.

Meanwhile, a large group of assassins sent by Sosa surrounds the mansion. While a distraught Tony sits in his office, snorting vast quantities of cocaine, the shooters begin killing his guards outside. At the same time, Tony is oblivious to his closed-circuit cameras (ironically boasting to Manny in an earlier scene that he spent top dollar on the cameras to prevent such an incident). Gina enters Tony's office wielding a Smith & Wesson Model 36, accusing him of his selfishness towards her before shooting him in the leg. This startles one assassin who was lying in the wait. He approaches the room out of nowhere and opens fire on Gina, killing her. Tony then shoots the assassin dead.

Deprived of the element of surprise, Sosa's shooters attack Tony's mansion directly. Tony bursts from his office, wielding an M16 rifle with an M203 grenade launcher attachment. He yells, "Say hello to my little friend!" and opens fire on the henchmen, killing many of them, and is badly wounded by return fire. The carnage continues until Sosa's top assassin ("The Skull") sneaks behind Tony and fatally shoots him with a shotgun. Tony falls from his balcony into a fountain in the lobby below and floats dead in his bloodied pool beneath a statue of the globe carrying the inscription enlightened in pink neon, "The World Is Yours".

Comic book[edit]

In 2003, a one-time comic book was published for the film's 20th anniversary, as a pseudo-sequel. Its narrative begins from the end of the film: authorities are assessing the damage done to the Montana mansion, only to discover Tony still alive in the fountain, his apparent lifelessness having been from being heavily drugged. After months in the hospital, Tony is greeted by corrupt cops who say that the federal government seized everything. The book also has Sosa continuing his revenge against Tony and provides some of Sosa's backstory, in which he employed poor villagers to make drugs in exchange for financially supporting them, à la Pablo Escobar.

Video games[edit]

The 2006 video game Scarface: The World Is Yours is a pseudo-sequel to the film, which features an alternate ending wherein Tony kills the Skull and manages to escape from his mansion before Sosa's men and the police overrun it. However, he loses all his money and drugs. Presumed dead, he goes into hiding in a small shack near Virginia Key Beach, where he laments the deaths of Manny and Gina, curses himself for not listening, due to his stubbornness, to the advice of others, determines to quit cocaine, and plots his revenge against Sosa. Three months later, Tony comes out of hiding to rebuild his criminal empire and makes $10,000 in a single day of selling drugs, which he uses to bribe several undercover police officers, who have seized his mansion, which allows him to move back. He goes on to expand his empire and eliminate multiple rivals who are eager to take over. He still faces opposition from Sosa and Gaspar Gomez, who have teamed up to form a drug monopoly and set their prices unreasonably high. Tony is also betrayed by his lawyer, George Sheffield, who is in a secret alliance with Sosa and Gomez, and who leads Tony into a trap, which he barely escapes. Eventually, Tony eliminates all his competition in Miami and re-establishes his empire before traveling to the Caribbean to help a cocaine producer called "The Sandman", who sells him his plantation. During this time, Tony also meets The Sandman's ex-girlfriend Venus, with whom he has a relationship. Now the most powerful drug lord in Miami, Tony sets out to exact his revenge on Sosa, Gomez, and Sheffield and attacks Sosa's mansion, killing all three of them. On his way out, he stumbles upon one of Sosa's surviving goons, whom he spares and hires as his butler. The game ends with Tony married to Venus and living in luxury, and feeling that he finally got what was coming to him: the world.

Tony also appears in the 2006 video game, Scarface: Money. Power. Respect.

Tony appears in the video game Payday 2, as a playable character named "Scarface" included in the Scarface Character Pack released in 2016. He is voiced by André Sogliuzzo, who previously portrayed him in Scarface: The World Is Yours. A separate DLC titled "Scarface Heist Pack" contains a heist at Tony's mansion in Miami.[11] In 2020, due to a legal arrangement with Universal Pictures, the Scarface Character Pack DLC could no longer be purchased by new players, though the Heist Pack remains available.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters| 70. Tony Montana | Empire". December 5, 2006. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  2. ^ "Al Capone". Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  3. ^ Mohamed, Hamza (August 29, 2013). "Why I love … the confident evil of Tony Montana". Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Haines, Lester (November 6, 2015). "Scarface's explosive 'Little Friend' goes under the hammer". The Register. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  5. ^ Nix, Elizabeth. ""8 Things You Should Know About Al Capone"". Retrieved November 3, 2022.
  6. ^ Kale, Pauline (December 19, 1983). "The Fake Force Of Tony Montana". New Yorker. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  7. ^ Miller, Julie (August 24, 2011). "Al Pacino Did Not Want Michelle Pfeiffer For Scarface and 8 Other Revelations About the Gangster Classic". Movieline. Archived from the original on December 8, 2013. Retrieved December 3, 2013.
  8. ^ "15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Scarface". ShortList. Archived from the original on October 27, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  9. ^ * "Reflections On Scarface (Page 2)". Empire. 2011. Archived from the original on January 5, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c Scarface by Paul Monette (1983)
  11. ^ "Say Hello to Our Little Friend – Payday 2™ Collaboration With NBCUniversal Brand Development for Scarface™-Themed Character Pack and Heist". Starbreeze Studios. December 14, 2016. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved September 2, 2023.

External links[edit]