Scarface is one of the seminal gangster movies to be released in the past 50 years. It further cemented the iconic status of its star Al Pacino, as well as starting a trend for epic, but cautionary gangster tales. The story of Tony Montana, a Cuban immigrant who becomes a Miami drug kingpin is one of the oldest tales there is – power corrupts. The movie has proven hugely popular, and if you are looking for other movies like Scarface, I’ve got just the list for you.
Best Movies Like Scarface
If you want to enjoy movies like Scarface, you’re going to be looking for films based around compelling lead characters, with plenty of moral corruption, ultra-violence, and a spectacular fall from grace. These are some of the best movies I have seen that would be wonderful accompaniments to Brian De Palma’s ‘80s crime classic.
The Godfather Part II (1974)
In many ways, The Godfather Part II shares a lot of similarities to Scarface. Both movies chronicle the journey of a young immigrant and his rise to power through crime and corruption. While the Godfather story is more of an odyssey, the message is the same, and the way the characters are influenced by power and responsibility. Sure, it might be slower and more nuanced, but, in many ways, The Godfather Part II is a movie that is similar to Scarface.
Now we get a film that is always making it onto people’s lists of best films ever, and for good reason as well. Goodfellas is some of Martin Scorsese’s best work and chronicles the life and career of Henry Hill and his friends through three decades of crime. Sure, Scarface set the blueprint for the modern gangster flick, but this movie moved things up a notch and gave a more epic, unflinching, and, arguably, more violent story. If you loved Scarface, you will certainly enjoy Goodfellas, and the two go together incredibly well.
Taxi Driver (1976)
Though it was released before Scarface, Taxi Driver is still an important movie with a lot of similarities. The film is a masterclass of visual storytelling, and, much like Scarface, chronicles its main character’s slow descent into madness. Both movies are considered seminal, and it’s not hard to understand why. If you are looking for a movie like Scarface, you don’t need to look much beyond Taxi Driver for that effortlessly quotable and iconic crime fix.
Carlito’s Way (1993)
So iconic was Al Pacino’s role in Scarface that he became the go-to actor for gritty crime epics over the next few decades. Donnie Brasco was an excellent one, and this is another. Carlito’s Way follows a Puerto Rican criminal who decides to go straight after his release from prison, but can’t escape his old life. It’s a riveting tale, with interesting characters, and no shortage of violence too! If you want movies like Scarface, this one, reuniting De Palma and Pacino once again, is definitely worth a look.
Mean Streets (1973)
This underrated ‘70s crime flick is one of Scorsese’s earliest and best films. Starring Harvey Keitel, and a young Robert De Niro, the movie follows an unhinged young gangster and the older mentor who tries to keep him out of trouble. There’s the calming influence Pacino’s Tony Montana never got, but ultimately, De Niro’s Johnny is on a one-way path to self-destruction and is going to wind up taking everyone down with him.
Anyone who has seen Scarface will understand just how influential and iconic this movie is. The film set the scene for gangster movies over the next couple of decades and remains one of the crime genre’s most revered movies. If you want to find movies that are like Scarface you can start by checking out the ones on my list.