Scarface (1983)

Brief Intro

“Scarface,” directed by Brian De Palma and released in 1983, is a gritty crime drama that follows the rise and fall of Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee who becomes a powerful drug lord in Miami. The film, known for its intense performances and graphic violence, explores themes of ambition, power, and corruption.

Literary Devices Used in Scarface


Movie SceneDevice Example
Tony’s first encounter with Frank“You got eyes like a snake.”
Tony describing Miami to Manny“This town’s like a great big pussy, just waiting to get fucked.”


Movie SceneDevice Example
Tony’s “The world is yours” monologue“The world is yours.”
Tony’s discussion with Elvira about power“Money, power, respect.”


Movie SceneDevice Example
Tony’s early interactions with FrankFrank’s distrust of Tony
Tony watching the blimp“The world is yours” sign


Movie SceneDevice Example
Tony’s rise to powerDespite gaining everything, he loses his humanity.
Tony’s final sceneSurrounded by his own security, he is the least secure.


Movie SceneDevice Example
The blimp with “The world is yours”Represents Tony’s ambition and ultimate downfall.
Tony’s lavish mansionSymbolizes his wealth and the emptiness of his success.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Tony’s rant about money and power“I kill a communist for fun.”
Tony’s declaration in the final scene“Say hello to my little friend!”


Movie SceneDevice Example
Tony’s humble beginnings vs. luxurious lifestyleContrasts his initial struggles with his eventual wealth.
Tony’s violent world vs. his desire for a “normal” lifeHighlights the contradictions in his character.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Repeated references to “The American Dream”Explores the corrupt side of the American Dream.
Use of drugs throughout the filmEmphasizes the destructive nature of addiction.


Movie SceneDevice Example
Tony referencing the mafiaConnects his actions to historical crime figures.
References to political events in CubaGrounds the story in real historical context.

Tragic Flaw

Movie SceneDevice Example
Tony’s arrogance in dealing with SosaHis hubris leads to his downfall.
Tony’s paranoia and violenceHis inability to trust and control his temper.

Character Analysis Through Literary Devices

Tony Montana

MetaphorTony’s “The world is yours” signifies his ambition and ultimate demise.
HyperboleHis exaggerated speeches reveal his grandiosity and self-destructive tendencies.

Elvira Hancock

JuxtapositionElvira’s glamorous appearance vs. her emptiness highlights the hollowness of their lifestyle.
SymbolismHer transformation from a trophy wife to a disillusioned partner reflects the corrupting power of wealth.

Manny Ribera

IronyManny’s loyalty and friendship contrast with Tony’s betrayal.
ForeshadowingManny’s advice to Tony often hints at future conflicts and outcomes.

Gina Montana

SymbolismGina represents Tony’s lost innocence and the purity he seeks to protect.
ForeshadowingHer relationship with Manny foreshadows the tragic end and Tony’s overprotective nature.

Character Dynamics

RelationshipLiterary DeviceExplanation
Tony and MannyIronyTheir strong friendship is ultimately destroyed by Tony’s paranoia and betrayal.
Tony and ElviraJuxtapositionTheir relationship highlights the contrast between desire and disillusionment.
Tony and GinaSymbolismGina symbolizes the innocence Tony tries to preserve amidst his violent life.

Thematic Analysis

Ambition and Corruption

Symbolism“The world is yours” blimp signifies Tony’s relentless ambition and subsequent corruption.
IronyTony achieves the American Dream, only to be destroyed by it.

The American Dream

MotifRepeated references to wealth and power explore the dark side of the American Dream.
JuxtapositionContrasting Tony’s initial dreams with his violent reality.

Power and Violence

HyperboleTony’s exaggerated displays of power and violence emphasize his unstable nature.
ForeshadowingEarly scenes hint at the inevitable violent end.

Identity and Transformation

MetaphorTony’s transformation from a refugee to a drug lord reflects his changing identity.
JuxtapositionThe contrast between Tony’s past and present highlights his personal transformation.

Family and Loyalty

IronyTony’s quest to protect his family leads to their destruction.
SymbolismGina’s role as Tony’s sister represents his desire to hold onto some form of purity and loyalty.

Cinematic Techniques That Enhance Literary Devices

Visual Techniques

Literary DeviceTechniqueExplanation
SymbolismUse of color (red for violence, white for purity)Enhances the symbolic meanings of scenes.
JuxtapositionCamera angles (high vs. low)Highlights power dynamics between characters.

Sound Techniques

Literary DeviceTechniqueExplanation
IronySoundtrack (upbeat music in violent scenes)Creates a jarring contrast, enhancing the ironic tone.
ForeshadowingUse of silence before major eventsBuilds tension and hints at upcoming conflicts.

Key Scene Analysis

Scene 1: Tony’s Rise to Power

Watch Scene on YouTube Breakdown: This scene uses visual symbolism (Tony’s ascension in the club) and dialogue to depict his rise in the drug world.

Scene 2: “The World is Yours” Blimp

Watch Scene on YouTube Breakdown: The blimp symbolizes Tony’s ambition and the ultimate irony of his success.

Scene 3: Final Shootout

Watch Scene on YouTube Breakdown: This climactic scene uses hyperbole and irony to show Tony’s final downfall.


Interactive Quiz

  1. What literary device is used when Tony says, “The world is yours”?
  2. Which character’s transformation symbolizes the corrupting power of wealth?
    • A) Tony Montana
    • B) Manny Ribera
    • C) Gina Montana
    • D) Elvira Hancock
  3. Which visual technique is used to enhance the symbolism in the film?
    • A) Use of color
    • B) Soundtrack
    • C) Camera angles
    • D) Dialogue


  1. B) Metaphor
  2. D) Elvira Hancock
  3. A) Use of color