Scarface (1983) vs Goodfellas (1990): Gangster Movie Face-Off


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Gangsters, in general, are not the kind of people you want to land on the bad side of and the genre is as old as celluloid itself with some incredible films demonstrating just how brutal their world is. Look away from The Godfather if you’re a fan of horses (or James Caan for that matter), behold the various and frequently shocking headshots in The Departed, Casino’s torture by vise, or even the brutal double death by baseball bat in the same movie. It’s a wonder why we find these characters so fascinating but that’s just the thing — we love ‘em!

Over the last few years, the genre has seen some more intriguing installments, but among the many movies featuring gangsters, there aren’t many that can be hailed as true classics. The Irishman was an interesting if slightly flawed return to the genre for Martin Scorsese, while action films and franchises such as John Wick and Nobody seem to be taking the crime genre into a more high-octane direction. That ain’t no bad thing, but this Face-Off is taking a close look at two titans of the genre, both from revered directors still working today — Scarface and Goodfellas. What could be more enticing than pitting fiery Tony Montana against Tommy DeVito and company? Well, maybe Tommy’s ma’s home cooking!

So which of these movies will be sitting down to enjoy a sumptuous dinner made by Scorsese’s mom, and which will be saying hello to my little friend? There’s only one way to find out… FACE OFF!

This episode of Face-Off is written by Adam Walton, narrated by Chris Bumbray, and edited by Ric Solomon. But don’t let us have the final word — tell us in the comments which epic gangster flick is your pick! De Palma’s Scarface or Scorsese’s Goodfellas?

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