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George Tsiakalos

Scarface
Tony Montana from a criminological perspective: A muscle of a
Bolivian narco-terrorist group or a rebellion with a purpose?

Scarface: A summary
The film was released in '83. Oliver Stone wrote the script; De Palma directed the movie and the protagonists were
Al Pacino, Steven Bauer, Robert Loggia, F. Murray Abraham, and Michelle Pfeiffer. The plot of "Scarface"
essentially founded around the young criminal prisoner Tony Montana, who arrives in the United States through the
"Mariel Boatlift", the mass exodus of over 125,000 refugees who allowed Fidel Castro to leave Cuba. When
questions are raisd about his life Tony is moved to a detention camp called Freedomtown. In order to be released,
Tony with the assistance of his friend Manny assassinates a former Castro political assistant, Emilio Rebenga. After
getting their green cards, Tony and Manny find job at a Snack bar. Soon, they will meet again with Omar, the man
who had contacted Manolo for the Rebenga hit job. They are offered a job for unloading marijuana from a Mexican
boat for 5oo dollars each but Tony has more digits in his mind. Therefore Omar makes a counter offer for 5.000
dollars and they get to work. They take with them Chi-Chi and Angel. This proved to be a suicide mission, as the
Columbian who sold the cocaine Hector the Toad had the only intention to take their money. After murdering
Angel in the eyes of Tony, Chi-Chi and Manny come and save Tony. Tony chases Hector and shots him in front of
several witnesses and together with his crew they escape with the money and the cocaine. The same night Tony and
Manny deliver the money to the Boss, Frank Lopez Tony hand him over the cocaine as a gesture. Frank wires them
both to hiscriminal organization. Tony at the same night meets Franks girlfriend Elvira Hancock, who will became
Omers Helen for the two men. Frank takes Tony and Manny to the Babylon Night Club and shows them the good
life they will be working for. Three months later he shows up at his mothers house where he finds his mother and
Gina living in poor conditions. He hands over 1000 dollars but his mother aggressively denies his money and
openly disapproves of him and his choice to a life in crime. He eventually hands over secretly the money to Gina, his
sister. Several months later, Tony seems to be a distinct member of Franks crew as he travels with the underboss
Omar to Bolivia to meet with Alejandro Sosa. A phone call reveals that Omar is a police informer and he is
murdered by throwing him off a chopper in front of the eyes of Tony. Sosa entrusts Tony with a monthly partnership
of millions. Sosa warns Tony never to betray him. Tony brings the deal to Frank and he tells him to postpone it, as
he is not willing to take this risk. This is the point where Tony starts working apart from Frank. Tony makes an
unexpected marriage proposal to Elvira and Frank orders a hit on Tony. At the nightclub, detective Bernstein who
makes an offer Tony cant refuse approaches Tony: a monthly cut of his profit in exchange for police protection and
immunity. That night two gunmen take a hit on Tony, but he manages to kill them and escape. Tonny, Manny and
Chi-Chi visit Franks office, who is accompanied by his bodyguard and the detective Bernstein. Before, he has
instructed Nick the Pig to call at exactly 3:00 am and say we f***** up, he got away. Frank answered the phone
and says it was Elvira. Then Manny kills Frank and Tony kills Bernstein. Then the film shows Tonys rise to the
Top. He marries Elvira and buys the luxury mansion with amazing commodities and extreme surveillance. Gina and
Manny start a secret affair Tony makes deposits of millions in suitcases. Then the banker informs him that the rate
will be increased to 10%. Manolo introduces Tony to Seidenbaum to solve this problem, who turns out to be a cop
and arrests Tony for money laundering. Tony is expected to serve 3 years in prison. Therefore he meets in Bolivia
with Sosa and several politicians from Bolivia together and a mysterious figure from Washington. Tony is offered
that his problem with jail will be solved. The only thing he has to do in return is to accompany Alberto the Shadow
(a hitman of Sosa) and put an explosive device on a political activist who broadcasts Sosas business and associates.
Tony however kills Alberto as the activist was together with his family in the car and Tony kills Alberto to avoid from
pushing the trigger. Back in Miami Tony discovers his sister Gina and Manny have disappeared. After visiting his
mother he finds out that Gina lives somewhere else. He sees money after ringing the bell and murders him in cold
blood. Tony returns to his mansion and Gina is given pills to calm down. After that an army of assassins come
ordered from Sosa. Before Tony realizes whats happening, Gina approaches him in a psychotic state and shots him.
A man shots and kills Gina and Tony enters in a killing spree mode fueled with confusion, anger and cocaine. Tony
using an M16 automatic rifle with an under-mounted M203 grenade launcher blows down the door and starts
killing everyone in his sight. Eventually he falls dead in the pool by a man shooting him from behind with a shotgun.
The camera focuses on the large brass globe with shiny letters that its written: THE WORLD IS YOURS.

Table of Contents
1. Introduction.......p.4
2. Analysis..p.6
I. Scarface and the drug trafficking and terrorism nexus.....p.6
Empirical evidence supporting Cloward and Ohlins theory on differential
opportunities....p.9
II. Tony Montana: embracing the American dream or revolting against it?.........p.10
Empirical evidence of A. Cohens theory....p.13
3. Conclusion..p.15
4. Index of Sourcesp. 17

1. Introduction
Crime films offer an excellent opportunity for discussion and reflection on the crucial
question of how the concept of crime is conceived at a given society. According to the
profound observation made by Baudrillard already twenty years ago 1, modern society
learns to recognize itself only through pictures and images coming out of the "eye" of
the camera. This knowledge, as Baudrillard points out, is non-reflective: Television
and cinema consist the reality of modern society.2
It is a fact that every form of art is born and raised at any given time under certain
socio-economic and historical conditions. In order to understand the social reality that
each art form reflects, it is necessary to explore its aesthetics.
As Rafter said: if we define criminology as a science that studies the crime and
criminals, it becomes clear that the film is one of the main sources through which
people get their ideas about the nature of the crime "3. Therefore, crime films, in
general and the Scarface film in particular, are not merely describing the characteristics
of crime (organized crime in the film at hand), but also delineate the circumstances and
causes of emergence and flourishing of the crime, documenting the socio-political
scene. Indeed, it is characteristic that in the decade of 1920, which first introduced this
type of film, the motives for the plot of the stories given by the headlines, which shows
how inextricably linked are these films with social reality, brings to mind the words of
T. Leitch that every crime film indicated the political and social status of the era in
which the film was made.4
These films reflect both the acceptance and the expiration of the American Dream.
In the regimented version of the American dream, the hardworking man determines the
world around him and against all odds, achieves its purpose. Gangster movies have
again a lonely man who follows his fate on the pursuit of his own truth, his own
freedom. Only in the first case, the conservative values of economic success triumph,
whereas in the second case the hero is crimped because individual freedom is a
1

Baudrillard, p. 104
ibid
3
Rafter 2007, pp. 403-420
4
Fordham, 2005 Available at: http://www.crimeculture.com/Contents/Articles-Spring05/Godfather.html
2

chimera: one can approach it, but will be crushed soon either by violence or social
institutions. In this way the gangster movies are converted to the opposite of the
American dream: demonstrating the impossibility of realization thus leading to
negation.
Central axis in these films is the illegal action of the hero or heroes and law
enforcement. As pointed out by Thomas Leitch every crime film focuses on the
relationships of three persons: the offender, the victim and the "avenger". 5 Generally, it
is commonplace in movies of this type that the formal institutions of society to show
signs of decay, and the people who embody them are so corrupt and the criminals
typically oppose, violating in this way the state laws. 6Besides the State laws, what
these films have in common is an apparent parallel Rule of Law, given by the leader of
the gang that defines the actions of all its members.
Also not to be overlooked, the financial aspect of these films show the uneven
distribution of money in the context of socio-economic system, and the desperate
struggle of gangsters to acquire economic power, that cannot be obtained by following
the law.
This paper will try to explain the criminal career of Tony Montana from two
different viewpoints. The first part of the analysis will be focused on explaining Tonys
criminal career based on the political and socioeconomic circumstances of Bolivia and
USA that are demonstrated in the movie and the second part will be focusing the lenses
on Tony Montana, as a fictitious character, but with life inspired characteristics.

Analysis
5
6

Fordham, 2005
ibid

I.

Scarface and the drug trafficking and terrorism nexus


Oliver Stone7, tells us how the conception of Tony Montana was generated directly out
of terrorist sources:
I was there (Miami) in 1980, 1981, when they had more homicides in one year
than they'd had in all of the Seventies. In 1980 you could really draw a parallel
between Miami, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. In each place, it heated up. There was
more killing, more violence, an orgy of blood. I didn't understand it at first, but six
years later the threads are starting to come together because of the connection
between coke and the contra trade. 8
The movie most probably narrates real events. On July 17 1980 a coup detat
(Bolivian Cocaine Coup) was committed by General Luis Garca Mezas Junta
(General Cucombre in the movie). The aim was to take power in order to facilitate
cocaine export to the USA and European drug markets, where demand had reached its
peak. The "coca dollars" were used to buy the silence or active support of military
officers.9 Alejandro (Alex) Sosa portrays Roberto Suarez Gomez 10 (nicknamed as King
of cocaine).
In the 1980s, the War on Drugs was launched by the United States, and the word
"narco-terrorism" came into the vocabulary (Ehrenfeld 1990).

The definition of the

word means that drug trafficking is a means for terrorists to achieve their objectives.
Initially narco-terrorism was viewed as a Communist plot and later as an economic
threat. Nonetheless, it triggered the War on Drugs forcing the United States to build a
military-police and intervene in the domestic affairs of foreign countries. 11
The first interaction with Tony and the narco-terrorists is where he earned his jailfree card by assassinating a former Castro political supporter. Frank, who later became
Tonys boss, ordered this hit and it is obvious that a superior instructed Frank. We do
7

the writer of the Scarface screenplay


Palmer, p. 158
9
Hudson and Hanratty (The Library of Congress)
10
http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/713761/Roberto-Suarez-Gomez
11
O'Connor http://www.drtomoconnor.com/3400/3400lect0.htm
8

not observe any other interconnection with drug trafficking and narco-terrorism except
when Tony travels to Bolivia. There he meets with Sosa (the drug lord) who is
accompanied by key politicians of Bolivia and a representative from Washington. If
this is an undertone for the American political life as Palmer suggests12, we cannot be
sure. What we can see is that from the beginning Sosa sees Tony as a key of sustaining
and expanding his drug trafficking business. Tony climbs up the ladder of success, as
Sosa entrusts him as his exclusive link to the States. This brotherhood consists with
a Sosa, Tony, a number of corrupted politicians, corrupted cops. The success is defined
by the psychopathy of Tony that is apparent thoroughly in Scarface; the psychopathy of
trying to gain identity and keep it in the growth business of the eighties, the drug
trade.13
Tony Montana sees USA as a land of opportunity. He is an ambitious, starved
immigrant and has an excellent ability to kill. Palmer compares him with the political
groups of the Middle East and describes him as the penniless Cuban immigrant who
feels shut off from the mainstream of society, cut off from the rewards of social
acceptance, cheated out of his right not to a homeland but to the American dream of
wealth and status and power.14
Tony Montana climbed to the top, being the leader of what is called high-level
drug trafficking. Classifying Sosa based on the categorization of Dorn, Levi, and King
(2005), he belongs to the group of politico-military traffickers who operate in failed
states and have political goals. Tony belongs to the group of adventurers who are
drug traffickers mainly characterized by their willingness to take high risks.15 This pair
becomes extremely successful. Tony and Sosas business is flourishing. Tony never
stops taking chances in order obtain profit. These individual characteristics cannot
explain Tonys success. But the inner circle of Tony cannot explain Tonys success
either. Both those factor play an important role.
In order to illustrate Tonys success Cloward and Ohlin theory of differential
12

Palmer, p. 159
ibid
14
Palmer, p. 158
15
Desroches, p. 829
13

opportunity will be applied. Cloward and Ohlin claimed that gang members blamed the
system for their failure in society and waged war against society through
expressions of anger and fighting, achieving honor through a form of macho
bravado, and developing a formidable reputation.16 This description fits perfectly to
Tony Montana.
Cloward and Ohlins differential opportunity theory is applicable because it did
not explain crime solely based on differential opportunities for achieving success
through legitimate means, but also based on differential opportunities for achieving it
through illegitimate means.17

The illegitimate means are as unequally distributed to

society as the legitimate means.18 Tony would not be uses by Sosas narco-terrorist
group if he been sent to the US as an immigrant, hadnt been imprisoned (as the local
authorities found a gray area about his past) and hadnt assassinated the former
Castros associate. These prerequisites prove the existence of different opportunities
towards illegitimate means. A Cuban immigrant therefore had a lot more chances to be
used as the link of cocaine distribution from Bolivia to the USA than an AfricanAmerican for example, in the same social settings. This raises questions on the role
ethnicity and immigration play on differential opportunities.
Applying their theory we can explain how a starved for money and power
immigrant diminished every obstacle to reach to the top. The recipe was twofold:
Tonys unstoppable and fearless character and the need for recruitment of such a man.
Tony is a rational psycho; a man who excuses his psychopathic behavior on money,
revenge etc. These men are predators. Al Pacino followed this role model of predacity
in Scarface.19 It is apparent that Tony has nothing to lose. 20 But Tonys criminal career
cannot be justified the narcoterrorist group did not need such a man. After all Sosa and
his associates made this all happen.
Cloward and Ohlin argued that before delinquent subcultures can form, four
conditions must be met: "First, they [youths] must be freed from commitment to and
16

Wood & Alleyne, p. 104


Lanier, p. 269
18
Vito & Maahs, p. 161
19
Rafter 2000, p. 209
20
ibid
17

belief in the legitimacy of certain aspects of the existing organization of means....


Secondly, they must join with others in seeking a solution to their adjustment problems
rather than attempt to solve them alone. Thirdly, they must be provided with
appropriate means for handling the problems of guilt and fear.... Finally, they must face
no obstacles to the possibility of joint problem-solving" (1960: 110).21
All the four criteria are met for the delinquent subculture of Scarface to thrive.
Tony had no commitment and belief to the legal system and society. Secondly, in the
land of opportunities, Tony found his counterparts (Frank, Sosa) to legitimize and
rationalize his starve for success. Thirdly, guilt (for example when he visits his mother
he is hiding his criminal identity) was superseded by success and fear was neutralized
by his extensive network of narco-terrorists, his own gang and his obsession for
security. Finally, we can see that Tony encountered no obstacles to collectively solve
the problem of the activist who was revealing the illegal activities of his counterparts
by helping the family and eventually helping himself.
However, this last condition was violated when he showed moral sensitivity (by
not willing to activate the detonating device) and did not follow the rules of the group,
something that he paid with this life.
Empirical evidence supporting Cloward and Ohlins theory on differential
opportunities
There are qualitative data that support Clowrd and Ohlins theory. John Hagendorns
study of gang involvement in the illicit drug scene is an example. The sources of his
studies are interviews and observations conducted in Milwaukee (1987) and Wisconsin
(1992). The conclusion of the studies is that drug organizations responded to the
demands of the market.22
Other studies focus on the situational factors that elevate the risk for an individual
to be involved in a drug trafficking career. Curcione (1997) studied how contacts and
connections can flourish opportunities for drug dealing.23
21

Lanier, p. 270
Vito and Maahs, p. 162
23
Walters, p. 157
22

II. Tony Montana: embracing the American dream or revolting against it?
Scarface was sold with the print ads-- "He loved the American Dream...with a
vengeance". Palmer suggest that the film explores violence as a modus vivendi, as the
only way to do business, as the means to the American dream. 24 I agree with Palmer on
the first part and with Lalander who argues that Scarface deals with a concept of
success that he calls the fast reward system, a shortcut to power and money. 25 This
path to success is taken via crime and terror. In my point of view Tony Montana does
not embrace the American dream, but shows a distorted, self-tailored and fueled with
anger American Dream as an answer to the impossibility of adjusting with societal
norms. Palmer cites Thomas, who explains Scarface:
ever since Vietnam, the assassinations of the Kennedy s and Martin Luther King Jr.,
the escalating arms race, the various economic recessions and the rise of women's lib,
which in itself seems to have spawned an entire cycle of gore films in which women are
hideously victimized, there's a lot of anger and frustration out there for filmmakers to
exploit
This part of the analysis will explain how this anger and frustration, personalized
in Tony Montana, leads to violent crimes. Palmer goes even further calling Tony
Montana as an icon for terrorism as a reality of American life.26
Therefore, it would be sensible to take anger and frustation as a starting point.
What follows is an effort to re-produce the character of Tony Montana in a theoretical
setting that will provide results. Every theory has weak elements. A common feature of
all the theories is one: a different (partially) point of view.
We should first, briefly abandon the theories that cannot explain Tony Montanas
anger and frustration leading to criminal behavior. Factors as drug abuse and alcohol
24

Palmer, p. 158
Lalander, p. 119
26
Palmer, p. 160
25

10

are necessary fuels for violence. The dipole of cocaine-violence is obvious for Tony
Montana and his gang, but cannot be an exclusive interpreter of Tonys criminal
behavior who showed extreme violence even before he is introduced with cocaine. As
far as predisposing causes such as inherited characteristics are concerned, we know
little about the father. As far as the mother is concerned, we can see no tendency for the
commission of crimes. This biological approach is not applicable as well. Studies
regarding the role of neurotransmitters, hormones and the neuro-system cannot define
a grid of synergy within the events of the movie.
Control theories (Sutherland, Matza and others) explain the term <<behavior>> so
much on the extent that the criminal activity itself is lightly touched. Theories of social
control do not answer in how attachment and commitment is produced and how those
social bonds are destroyed.
Quatelet focused on the morality of character relying on Aristotles modesty.
Quatelet believes that young men that dont have the virtues of rationality and modesty
are victims of high rates of criminality. Tony Montana drifted to crime because he was
a young man without the virtues of rationality and modesty. This still does not explain
the anger and retributivism towards society.
Psychologists could argue that Tony suffered from an inferiority complex that led
to a narcissistic disorder. This again would be too focused on individual characteristics.
If we follow Durkheim, Tony in the US as in Cuba eliminates the voluntary
submission to the legal regime and makes every action in a <<thymoid>> Dyrkheimian
view of social reality leading to criminality. This does not stand perfectly as well.
Mertons strain theory cannot be applied as well, since it suggests that a delinquent
has to embrace the same values (i.e. the American Dream) with a legal abiding citizen,
but due to strain he proceeds to delinquent means. As I have already mentioned, in my
point of view, Tony does not embrace the values of the American Dream. Tony is angry
with every societal norm that tells him what to do either if it is Castros Communist
regime or pure capitalistic American values.

11

Regarding the film and Tony, I think that Albert Cohens theory on Frustration and
Delinquent Subcultures is the most likely applicable. Cohen as a student of Merton and
Sutherland integrated the Chicago schools ideas on culture, differential association
and crime with Mertons strain theory.27 Cohen argues that gangs have a distinct
cultural practice. Every act within the gang is foundered on a single parameter-status. 28
Young men that have not established themselves within their family and have
experienced the rejection of the educational institutions and the sociopolitical
depreciation, revolt against the middle class values and create a new structure in order
to increase their prestige and their self-esteem. Tony was a totally uneducated young
man, with a complete lack of moral values. Status frustration results in making Tony
revolting against the values of the middle class and the values of society in general.
Tony creates a new, tailor-made structure with regards to prestige and his self-esteem.
Cohens study of delinquent boys promoted the idea that men become delinquent
because of what he termed status frustration. 29

Cohen suggests that in their

frustration to meet the success they initially wanted, they develop a contra culture of
rejecting societys goals.30 Some may fall into trap and did all that as an innovation to
achieve the American dream (Mertons innovation). Tony, however, has adapted
rebellion (Cohens reaction formation) as a form of adjustment towards anomie. The
criminal activities of the gangs result from the delinquency and recommend denial of
societys living goals. Tony is unable to meet the regulatory standards of the society.
His violent behavior comes as a response to his refusal to integrate into society. For
Tony, the choice to enter a socially dangerous underground path is the only path he can
take in life. This is why he considered it ridiculous to be working as a dishwasher in
the snack bar.
Tony indeed had a passion towards money and power but not as a trophy but as a
rebellion against society as a hole. Tony showed that he is a short-run hedonist and
engaged in reaction formation to the frustration experienced as part of every class
system. Many times in the film he says the communists. They tell you what to do you
27

Lanier, p. 267
ibid
29
Carrabine et al., p. 59
30
ibid
28

12

know? Nobody tells me what to do referring to his revolt against the Castro regime.
But later when he made it, in the US, he seems unhappy, unsatisfied and even
furious with the economic prestige that he reached (scene at the restaurant where he
attacks the American perception of society).
It is true that social disorganization and lawlessness in the Castro regime was a
clear hardship, however it is uncertain whether those factors can be measured, since we
know nothing on his life, beyond the fact that he was held in prison there and opposed
the regime. Therefore an analysis that would only blame society would be unfounded.
What could be valid and reasonable is that from his delinquent behavior he created HIS
OWN STRUCTURE for his status (target to exceed in money and power leader in
Miami.) and for his self-esteem [that's why when he became rich he made a direct
proposal to the woman]. Reaction formation involves "(1) redefining the values among
similarly situated peers; (2) dismissing, disregarding, and discrediting 'school
knowledge'; and (3) ridiculing those who possess such knowledge". 31 For Tonys
childhood we do not possess any evidence, we can only make assumptions, was
probably an impulsive character, without emotional attachments and rich delinquent
action, so even his mother drove him away and rejected his money because she knew
its origin. Tony seems to have lived in prison where he lived in a situation of
uncertainty, helplessness, social disorganization, anomie, subculture, difficulty of
adjustment, depreciation of social moral values. Thus devaluing the surrounding
environment with his offending behavior he considered himself as being normal. So
what he did was right for him. He was occupied with an insatiable desire for wealth,
not as and adaptation to the American dream but as an affirmation towards his
rebellion.
The adoption of his own social rules can be illustrated from his moral codes. Tony
Considered appropriate to distribute large quantities of drugs, considered right to
murder anyone who stood on his way in cold blood so he can acquire money and
wealth. Considered appropriate to evade taxes. Considered appropriate to assist in
murder for the good of the gang (the one with the installing of an explosion device).
31

Werner, p. 169

13

The only human element that really showed the hard rigid character was his
wakefulness that he cant kill children.
Tony perceived the game of death as something normal. In order to achieve his
goals he had no limits or moral boundaries. Tony was shameless and with no sense of
law. He had his own law. And he engaged in crimes (criminal of habit) in a chaotic
situation. As Cohen notes delinquent boys stole for the hell of it. Tony killed for the
hell of it (I kill for fun). Perhaps he even considered himself a hero showing his
antithesis to society (scene in the restaurant where he insulted his wife and then turned
against the diners with conceit even saying they as well function outside of the law).
Also this outburst proves Cohens idea of social deprivation, since although he
reached to the top he stills that he does not belong to the top.
The myth that he created for himself as the master of the game (despite of the
sorrow for the death of his sister) in complete confusion and after excessive use of
cocaine, he continues to kill, in a killing spree mode, ultimately falling dead.

Empirical evidence of A. Cohens theory


Many scholars and researchers have studied Cohens theory on the function of
delinquency as an alternative solution to the status problem. Although these studies
are focused on young groups, it can provide with essential results.
One of the most important concepts of Cohens theory is "status frustration."
Lower-class children who cannot meet the middle-class criteria feel status
frustration, thus they seek a favorable standard at another group. In relation to this,
we can locate many empirical data supporting this. Bynner, OMalley, and
Bachman examined two hypotheses: a) that low self-esteem increased delinquent
behavior and b) delinquent behavior raised self-esteem. They admitted that their
data did not show the relationship between low self-esteem and an increase in
delinquent behavior, nonetheless the effect of restoring self-esteem occurred
among teenagers low in self-esteem who took part in delinquent behavior.32
32

Bynner, p. 429

14

Kaplan proved that individuals who experienced negative self-attitude were


motivated to adopt deviant behavior toward reducing self-derogation. In addition,
the relationship between self-derogation and subsequent adoption of deviance were
stronger in lower socioeconomic stratum than in higher classes.33 Kaplan also
observed the relationship between deviant behavior and self-enhancement and
found that the adoption of deviant responses reduced self-rejection attitudes among
subjects.34
Rosenberg, Schooler, and Schoenbach, examined the reciprocal relationship
between self-esteem and juvenile delinquency, poor school performance, and
psychological depression. They found that low self-esteem resulted in delinquency
and that delinquency enhanced self-esteem. The effects of self-esteem on academic
performance were found, but the reverse was not. Self-esteem and depression were
found to have an interactive substantial effect.35

3.Conclusion

What has been presented in this paper is the ability of organized crime to mutate
according to each society and the role that frustration towards societal norms can have
in creating a deviant attitude.
According to the first approach, this paper argued that it is the different
opportunities in access to illegitimate means that play a significant role in his criminal
career. The emergence of Tony Montana as the prime drug lord is to be logically
extracted by adding his individual characteristics and the opportunities that were given
to him. It wont is irrational if we believe the movie narrates real historical events. If
this is true, Clowrd and Ohlins theory of differential opportunities is backed up by real
33
34
35

Kaplan, p. 149
ibid
Rosenberg et al, p. 1004

15

events. Roberto Suarez Gomez (Alejandro Sosa) and General Luis Garca Mezas Junta
(General Cucombre) created a job opportunity for the underworld. Tony Montana (for
whom we have no facts as to whether he was a real person or not) was the ideal man
for the job. He was hard working, with a great ability to kill, lack of emotional
weakness, he was ambitious and he was willing to take risks. The narco-terrorist group
needed to exploit their drug trafficking activities and Tony was the right man for the
job.
The second part is more focused on Tony and deals with the frustration towards
societal norms by adapting the status frustration idea of A. Cohen. Does the theory
of Cohen on Gangs and Delinquent subculture explains the teratogenesis of a drug
lord? We cannot answer this with certainty. What is certain is that this frustration can
be even realized by the impact of the film on gangster culture. Young gangster
members of Hispanic gangs in Los Angeles, grow up with a poster with the hardcynical face of Montana in their room, and adopt in the drug trade "slang" of Montana.
Even the American hip-hop scene has not remained unaffected by "Scarface". Gangsta
rap is constantly writing lyrics and songs inspired by Tony Montana.

4. Index of Sources
Baudrillard 1988

16

Baudrillard J., America, Verso, London 1988


Bynner et al 1981
Bynner, John M. , Patrick M. O'Malley, and Jerald G. Bachman. Self- Esteem and
Delinquency Revisited. Journal of Youth and Adolescence Vol. 10, 1981
Carrabine et al. 2004
Eamonn Carrabine et al., Criminology: A Sociological Introductio. London: Routledge,
2004
Desroches 2007
Frederick Desrcoches,RESEARCH ON UPPER LEVEL DRUG TRAFFICKING: A
REVIEW Journal of Drug Issues Vol.37 Issue:4, Fall 2007
Available at: http://jod.sagepub.com/content/37/4/827.full.pdf
Einstadter 2006
Werner J. Einstadter; Criminological Theory: An Analysis of Its Underlying
Assumptions. 2nd ed., Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2006
Fordham 2005
Geoff Fordham. A Study in Ambiguity: The Godfather and the American Gangster
Movie Tradition. The Open University, 2005
Hudson and Hanratty 1989
Rex A. Hudson and Dennis M. Hanratty. Bolivia: a country study. Library of Congress
Federal

Research

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http://lcweb2.loc.gov/frd/cs/botoc.html

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Last visited on 15/12/2012
Kaplan 1980
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