Could Tony Montana have really escaped the police?

1983 scarface saw the rise of a Cuban immigrant to drug lord in this bloody and tragic crime film. One of the film’s biggest draws was its ability to completely immerse audiences in its story, complete with each player’s motivations, the smooth dialogue, and the intricacies of a cocaine-filled empire. However, as realistic as scarface was, there were some deviations. A chainsaw shooting masked by TV sound, a shooting in broad daylight, and a shooting in a nightclub should logically have attracted the cops. Did scarface correctly represent law enforcement? Or would Tony Montana have been behind bars before taking a stand?


Pariah of his country and of the law, scarfaceTony Montana must accept any job to survive. If that means he has to kill, he will, but only if he’s paid well. One of his first tasks was to assassinate another Cuban immigrant, a former political figurehead, for a large sum of money. Although this may be taken into account in deciding whether or not the police could have captured him, it will be excluded from the discussion. Murder was completely in the dark of the law. Therefore, no police would have been able to determine that it was Tony.

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Al Pacino played that perfectly and brought that energy into the next Godfather film. This leaves two major incidences where Tony Montana could have been caught: the first being the drug dealing involving the infamous chainsaw scene and the second being the nightclub shooting. Both scenes include Tony shooting his way out of the conflict, ending with Tony’s attackers dying with a bullet between his eyes. Not only do these scenes include audible gunfights, but all acts of violence are open to the public. Witnesses are present and can easily see Tony’s face. But how accurate would their descriptions be?

During scarfaceIn the chainsaw scene, there are an awful lot of witnesses who see Tony Montana shoot his assailant at close range on the road. As Tony escapes, police sirens can be heard in the background. It can be assumed that the police were actively patrolling at the time of the murder, which allowed them to react quickly to the gunfire. Since Tony’s license plate is visible to civilians, it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe that the police might have heard of the plate numbers and tracked down the car. Although the witnesses did not identify the plate numbers, another tool could be used to identify Tony.

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In the late 70s and 80s, a new tool was created to help witnesses identify attackers at the scene. It was via a process called facial composite, and while the sketches had been around for quite some time, these decades have sought to swap the sketches with something new. What took its place was a series of four maps compiled using mugshots from around the world. Hundreds and thousands of maps have been created, each representing a feature of the human face. These features included the forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, and chin.

Theoretically, if a witness used the facial composite cards, there’s a good chance that Tony Montana was arrested by law enforcement. It should be noted that one of the only ways Tony could have been caught before the cops did it on CCTV would be via a witness, as the film never shows Tony leaving fingerprints. Overall the movie scarface takes great care in its attention to detail regarding Tony’s crime spree.

About Roberto Frank

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