Scarface
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Completed in mid-1930, Scarface, based on Armitage Trail's novel of the same name, might have been the first of the great talkie gangster flicks, but it was held up for release until after that honor was jointly usurped by Little Caesar and Public Enemy. Paul Muni stars as prohibition-era mobster Tony Camonte, a character obviously patterned on Al Capone (whose nickname was "Scarface"). The homicidal Camonte ruthlessly wrests control of the bootlegging racket from his boss, Johnny Lovo (Osgood Perkins), and claims Lovo's mistress, Poppy (Karen Morley), in the bargain. But… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A grisly, exciting gangster picture."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Its seminal importance in the early gangster movie cycle outweighed only by its still exhilarating brilliance, this Howard Hughes production was the one unflawed classic the tycoon was involved with."
‑ , Time Out
"Completely relevant: Citizens complain that access to technologically more efficient guns is partly to blame for the crime wave; they fret over illegal immigrants; they worry that the 'new breed' of criminal is more uncivilized than its predecessor..."
‑ John Beifuss, Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"The original Scarface, loosely but boldly based on the notorious life and legend of Al Capone, didn't invent the modern American gangster film. It blew it up."
‑ Sean Axmaker, Seanax.com
"A brilliantly wild narrative that had a lot of Capone and the Borgias in it."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Howard Hawks's 1932 masterpiece is a dark, brutal, exhilaratingly violent film, blending comedy and horror in a manner that suggests Chico Marx let loose with a live machine gun."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"The slaughter in Scarface, the Shame of a Nation, the Howard Hughes gangster production... is like that of a Shakespearean tragedy"
‑ Mordaunt Hall, New York Times
"Vivid gangster thriller with lurid characters and visual style."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
"Despite censorship problems and interference from producer Howard Hughes, Howard Hawks' early crime-gangster is a masterpiece and a seminal work in the genre's evolution, with a truly scary performanec from Paul Muni."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Hawks displays balls of steel, using the filmic medium to challenge the free reign of mobsters in the 1930's."
‑ Gabe Leibowitz, Film and Felt
"Scarface contains more cruelty than any of its gangster picture predecessors, but there's a squarer for every killing. The blows are always softened by judicial preachments and sad endings for the sinners."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"[The police chief] endorses the myth of the west while conceiving the urban gangster as a rat-like menace."
‑ Matthew Sorrento, IdentityTheory
"Atmospheric, mesmerising and darkly humourous with a sizzling script and cast. This is a true classic of its genre."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
"Paul Muni goes way over the top as Tony Camonte, painting a picture of a gangster who knows nothing but excess, and who will stop at nothing to get his way."
‑ Brian Webster, Apollo Guide
"The quintessential crime thriller. One of the few perfect films."
‑ Jonathan R. Perry, Tyler Morning Telegraph (Texas)
More reviews for Scarface (1932) on Rotten Tomatoes

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