A tale of violence, betrayal, and the lust for power, Brian De Palma’s 1983 crime epic Scarface is told through the eyes of Tony Montana (Al Pacino), a Cuban refugee who flees to America and rises to the top of Miami’s underworld. As we watch Tony’s unprecedented ascent, it becomes clear that, above all else, Scarface is a story of everything you can achieve through the power of your own ambition. The minute Tony sets foot in America, he sees a future ripe with opportunity, and he wastes no time taking advantage of it. The next time you’re in need a little pep-talk, here are seven Tony Montana quotes from Scarface for when your ambition knows no bounds.
“I’m here, he’s not. Do you wanna go on with me? You say it. You don’t, then you make a move.” – Tony
Let’s go ahead and get this out there, Tony shows almost boundless ambition from the get-go. From his journey to America, his casual conversation with immigration authorities, his time working as a dishwasher, all the way up to when he first introduced himself to Omar (F. Murray Abraham), all Tony has is his moxie and determination. Soon after, when Omar meets his untimely end at the hands of their superior, Sosa, Tony isn’t phased one bit. Shrugging off everything that happened, Tony reminds Sosa, and everyone else, who he’s really looking out for. As you climb the ladder to success, make sure you don’t let anyone around you try and loosen your grip.
“In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then when you get the money, you get the power. Then when you get the power, then you get the women.” – Tony
Words of advice so sound that even Homer Simpson uses them during his brief tenor as a sugar salesman, a line like this shows that Tony spent his whole life dreaming big, but acting bigger. Still, for all of Tony’s ambition, it’s apparent that, even early on, he understands there is a process to getting what he wants and he’ll need to build it brick by brick. Having that charismatic zeal is important, but so is having the patience to understand that it’s not going to come together all at once.
“I always tell the truth. Even when I lie.” – Tony
One of the most iconic lines in a movie filled with iconic lines, Tony ends up having a few too many at dinner and has to be ushered out of the restaurant by both his cronies and the wait staff — all of whom are careful to tread lightly around him. Still, despite Tony’s unbecoming drunkenness, he speaks frankly about how other people perceive him and how he perceives himself. Rather than denying who he is or what he does, Tony chooses to embrace it and even celebrate it, speaking to how “bad guys” like him are necessary for the world. It’s a nice thought to keep in your back pocket the next time you’re ready to embrace who you are in the face of any criticism you may encounter, silent or otherwise.
“Okay. I call my lawyer. He’s the best lawyer in Miami. He’s such a good lawyer that by tomorrow morning, you gonna be working in Alaska. So dress warm.” – Tony
Setbacks in life are inevitable, especially when you’ve got empire-level ambitions for yourself. While it’s important to learn from your mistakes, it’s also important to not get too bogged down by the setback itself. Like Tony, who after getting arrested by some undercover cops when trying to launder some money, not only shrugs off the whole thing off as a mild inconvenience but doubles down by promising the cops they’ll be 5,000 miles away in less than a day. This is the kind of swagger that pairs well with an unstoppable attitude, even though everyone’s well-aware that no one is going to actually end up in Alaska.
“Who put this thing together? Me, that’s who! Who do I trust? Me!” – Tony
It might be a bit of a cliche, but in your rise to power, who are you really going to be able to trust more than yourself? Tony knew that as well as anyone and never hesitated to remind everyone around him of that fact. Of course, working with others is imperative if you want to make your goals come to life, but don’t forget about the person that you can trust the most: you, that’s who.
“You think you kill me with bullets? I take your f*cking bullets!”
While not to be taken literally, there’s something to be said about walking toward danger with absolutely no fear in your heart.
“The world is yours!”
A mantra so powerful that Tony Montana not only lived and died by it (literally), but one that he let shape his entire world view. To Tony, power was something that’s just there, waiting to be taken, little by little, piece by piece. There’s no limit to what you’ll be able to accomplish when you view the world as nothing but a series of opportunities. Just maybe make sure you’re staying legit while doing so, because we all know how the movie ends.