Considering that so many people now love Scarface, it’s hard to believe the movie was actually deemed a flop when it first hit theaters in December 1983.
Actually, calling it a flop is putting it politely. The film was initially a critical and box office disaster, and writer Oliver Stone and director Brian DePalma were both raked over the coals because of it.
“The amount of revulsion of so many people inside the industry toward it,” Stone says. “It was like, ‘this was a horrible thing to do to our industry.’ There was such revulsion, very much like Natural Born Killers. It was too much, we had gone one step over.”
Things are obviously much different today. Scarface is a huge seller on DVD, the twentieth anniversary edition sold 2 million copies the first week, and in a big way we have the hip-hop community to thank for helping keep the film alive.
Scarface just celebrated a cast and crew reunion to launch the Blu-Ray, which hits the streets on September 6, and as Al Pacino told MTV News, “They really get it and understand it, and that’s a great thing. They’ve been very supportive all these years. I think they’ve helped tremendously.”
As Brian DePalma told the New York Times, “The hip-hop community was seeing all around them what was happening in the film – that cocaine makes you feel all powerful, and you surround yourself with entourages, palaces, outrageous clothes and women, and you lose all touch with reality…You ultimately explode, you perish because of your own excess.”
For high-roller fans of Scarface, you can buy it in a special edition humidor box set, list price $999.99, but you can also snag it viathe NBC / Universal store at a discount for $699.99.
As for why the film has lasted all these years, Stone says, “Scarface was definitely on the money. It was right on. It was exaggerated, but it was close to the truth and nobody got it at the time. Miami Vice plunged in right where we (left off). Michael Mann saw it right away, he told me that. He saw the power of it.”