Tony Montana

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Tony Montana
Tony Montana in Scarface (1983), portrayed by Al Pacino.jpg
Al Pacino as Tony Montana in the 1983 film
First appearanceScarface (1983)
Last appearancePayday 2 (2016)
Created byOliver Stone
Portrayed byAl Pacino
In-universe information
Full nameAntonio Montana
OccupationSoldier (formerly)
Drug lord
FamilyGina Montana (sister)
Georgina Montana (mother)
SpouseElvira Hancock

Antonio Montana is a fictional character and the protagonist of the 1983 film Scarface. He 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 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.[1] He is partly based on Tony Camonte, the protagonist of the original novel and the 1932 film adaptation. 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 published in 2006.[2][3] Montana also has a large scar on the side of his face, which explains why he is known as Scarface.[4]


Pacino insisted on taking the lead role as Tony Montana, although Robert De Niro had been offered it and had turned it down.[5][6] Pacino worked with experts in knife combat, trainers, and boxer Roberto Durán to attain the body type that he wanted for the role. 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.[7]

Fictional character biography[edit]

In May 1980, Tony is one of the 125,000 Cubans who 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 green cards in return for murdering Emilio Rebenga. Soon after Rebenga arrives at the camp, Manny, Tony, and Angel Fernandez 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 job which pays $500 to each of Tony and Manny for a few hours work unloading a boat of its illegally smuggled marijuana cargo. While Manny is impressed with the offer, Tony demands more pay, and he and Omar quarrel. On the advice of his compatriot, Omar then offers Tony and Manny $5,000 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 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, and he and Manny end up working for him, during which time 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 lowlifes and that Tony is only looking out for her. However, when Gina admits an interest in Manny, she 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.

Later 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 Manny 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 and 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 of the assassination, a woman and two children are unexpectedly seen getting into the target's car. Tony now objects to carrying out the hit, preferring to only kill the intended target. Alberto reminds Tony of Sosa's demands and Tony reluctantly begins to tail the target. Tony's disgust at the idea of killing an innocent woman with her two kids grows, however, while Alberto concentrates on activating the explosive. Before Alberto is able to detonate the car bomb, Tony shoots and kills Alberto, thus double-crossing Sosa.

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 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 with a shotgun. 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".

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 it is overrun by Sosa's men and the police, though 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 to the advice of others due to his stubbornness, 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, to allow him to move back. From there, 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 leads him into a trap, from which he barely escapes. Eventually, Tony is able to eliminate all his competition in Miami and reestablish his empire, before travelling to the Caribbean to help a cocaine producer called "The Sandman", who in turn sells him his plantation. During this time, Tony also meets The Sandman's ex-girlfriend Venus, with whom he enters into a relationship. Now the most powerful drug lord in Miami, Tony sets out to exact his revenge on Sosa, Gomez, and Sheffield, and attacks the former's mansion, where he kills 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, 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 voiced him in Scarface: The World Is Yours. The DLC also included a heist that takes place at Tony's mansion in Miami.[8]


  1. ^ "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters| 70. Tony Montana | Empire". December 5, 2006. Retrieved October 21, 2011.
  2. ^ Mohamed, Hamza (August 29, 2013). "Why I love … the confident evil of Tony Montana". Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  3. ^ Haines, Lester (November 6, 2015). "Scarface's explosive 'Little Friend' goes under the hammer". The Register. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Kale, Pauline (December 19, 1983). "The Fake Force Of Tony Montana". New Yorker. Retrieved August 19, 2020.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "15 Things You (Probably) Didn't Know About Scarface". ShortList. Archived from the original on October 27, 2013. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  7. ^ * "Reflections On Scarface (Page 2)". Empire. 2011. Archived from the original on January 5, 2014. Retrieved January 4, 2013.

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