Scarface (soundtrack)

Scarface: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack album featured on the 1983 American crime film, Scarface, which was directed by Brian De Palma. Composed by Italian record producer Giorgio Moroder, the vinyl soundtrack was released on December 9 of the same year through MCA Records. The album features music created by Moroder, who wrote and produced all of the tracks. Scarface counts with the collaboration of multiple singers, including Paul Engemann, Debbie Harry, Amy Holland, Elizabeth Daily, among other artists. The soundtrack received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Score at the 41st Golden Globe Awards.

Scarface: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Black-and-white picture of a man who stands. He wears a white suit and holds a gun with his right hand. The background consists of two solid color sides, at left black and at right white. The text "Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" is written in capital letters; their color contrasts with the background. Below this line, the word "Scarface" is written in big red letters, and they are bordered by a yellow line.
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedDecember 9, 1983 (1983-12-09)[1]
ProducerGiorgio Moroder
Giorgio Moroder chronology
Scarface: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Superman III
Singles from Scarface: Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
  1. "Scarface (Push It to the Limit)"
    Released: October 26, 1983
  2. "Turn Out the Night"
    Released: 1983
  3. "She's on Fire"
    Released: September 28, 1983
  4. "Rush Rush"
    Released: November 1983

In 2003, Scarface was remastered and re-released through Universal Records. The 2003 remaster has been criticized for extensively remixing several tracks from the original album. According to De Palma, Universal wanted to change the original soundtrack for a rap score.[4] After its re-release, the soundtrack debuted in the French Album Chart at number 98. In 2006, the soundtrack was featured in the game Scarface: The World Is Yours, which is based on the film.[5] Diverse songs from hip hop artists sampled songs from the soundtrack. Also, they were featured on the soundtrack of the video game Grand Theft Auto III (2001), on its fictional Flashback 95.6 radio station.

Background and compositionEdit

Scarface is an American film which relates the story of Tony Montana, a Cuban refugee who goes to Miami in 1980 with the Mariel boatlift, and there he becomes a drug cartel kingpin.[7] Scarface was created as the original soundtrack. Its songs were written and produced by Giorgio Moroder, an Italian record producer, along with other musicians.

Former frontwoman of the band Blondie, Debbie Harry, co-wrote "Rush Rush". The song's title is a reference to cocaine, and it was based upon Moroder's soundtrack American Gigolo (1980). Robbin Daw considered its lyrics "fit the overall druggy feel" of the film,[6] and Harry commented about it is "[a]s far as the films' themes and the lyrics [she] wrote, they were pretty much up to [her]."[6] The song also became Harry's debut single as solo artist after Blondie's breakup.[6] Moroder worked with Pete Bellotte, with whom he co-wrote "Scarface (Push It to the Limit)", "She's on Fire" and "Turn Out the Night". The first song features vocals of Paul Engemann, while in the other two Amy Holland sang. Arthur Barrow co-wrote "Shake It Up" and "I'm Hot Tonight", in which Elizabeth Daily performed, and "Dance Dance Dance", with Beth Anderson vocals. María Conchita Alonso appeared in the song "Vamos a Bailar". The soundtrack includes two instrumentals, "Tony's Theme" and "Gina's and Elvira's Theme".[3] Main theme, "Tony's Theme", is inspired, or more precisely a transcription of "the cold song", act three of the opera "King Arthur" by Henry Purcell.

The soundtrack incorporates elements of disco,[2] post-disco and synthrock.[3] According to John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman and Carol Vernallis, in their book The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics (2013), Moroder employed music as "material to conduct performances, experiences, and energies whose symbolic function and textural weight are elucidated by the aural materiality of its soundtrack", as in the 1965 American film Vinyl.[2] The main synthesizers used by Moroder for the Scarface soundtrack were the Roland Jupiter-8 and the Yamaha CS-80.[8]

Releases and receptionEdit

Moroder received a Golden Globe Award nomination for his production work in the soundtrack.

MCA Records released Scarface on December 9, 1983,[1] through vinyl records.[9] After the release of the film, it began to gain notoriety as the time passed.[3] Due to this, in 2003 Universal Pictures re-released the film in DVD, and the soundtrack was remastered and released in compact disc.[10] According to Brian De Palma, the film director of Scarface, Universal Pictures had intended to re-release the film with a rap score, but De Palma has not allowed them to change the original score, as he considered it to be "perfect".[4] Thanks to the re-release, on March 7, 2004, Scarface debuted at number 98 in the French Album Chart. The soundtrack stayed in the chart for seven weeks.[11]

In its review for the website AllMusic, Jason Birchmeier compared Scarface to other soundtrack works of Moroder, including Flashdance and Electric Dreams, both released in 1983. Birchmeier considered the collaborations of Debbie Harry, Amy Holland and Elizabeth Daily to the soundtrack "much sheer fun", and Moroder's "moody" instrumentals as "quite moving". He considered the film to be "undoubtedly the one that withstood the test of time most impressively, growing in popularity as the years passed", something that did not happen with the soundtrack, and concluded with "Moroder's craft, as always, is notably distinct for its stylishness, if not for its tastefulness." Birchmeier gave Scarface a rating of three-out-of-five stars.[3] Ken Tucker, in his book Scarface Nation – The Ultimate Gangster Movie and How It Changed America (2008), commented that thanks to Moroder's "trashy-glam imagination [...] there's a lot of enjoyment to be gleaned" from his Scarface album.[12] In his review for the album Music Inspired by Scarface, a Def Jam Recordings hip hop compilation album inspired by the music featured in the film, Andy Kellman considered the compilation "threatens to complement the film better than" Scarface, and considered Def Jam's attempt to make a substitution with the original soundtrack "would've been a mistake".[13] Moroder received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Score at the 1984 ceremony, but lost to his soundtrack work for the film Flashdance.[14]


Scarface became a "celebrated" album in the hip hop culture.[15] "Tony's Theme" was used in the GOOD Music song "Mercy" and Mobb Deep's "G.O.D. Pt. III" and "It's Mine".[6][15] While "On Fire" by Lil Wayne contains allusions from "She's on Fire",[6] "Push It" by Rick Ross samples "Scarface (Push It to the Limit)".[15] "Rush Rush",[16] "She's on Fire",[17] and "Scarface (Push It to the Limit)",[18] among other songs, were included featured on the soundtrack of the 2001 video game Grand Theft Auto III. They can be heard on its fictional "Flashback 95.6" radio station.[19]

Track listingEdit

All tracks are written by Giorgio Moroder, additional writing noted[3].

Side one
1."Scarface (Push It to the Limit)"Pete BellottePaul Engemann3:01
2."Rush Rush"HarryDebbie Harry3:37
3."Turn Out the Night" (misprinted as "Turn Out the Light on the CD release")BellotteAmy Holland3:30
4."Vamos a Bailar"ConchitaMaría Conchita3:41
5."Tony's Theme" Giorgio Moroder3:10
Side two
1."She's on Fire"BellotteAmy Holland3:43
2."Shake It Up"Arthur BarrowElizabeth Daily3:44
3."Dance Dance Dance"BarrowBeth Anderson2:34
4."I'm Hot Tonight"BarrowElizabeth Daily3:13
5."Gina's and Elvira's Theme" Helen St. John5:01
Total length:35:15

Credits and personnelEdit

Credits adapted from Allmusic.[20]

Chart performanceEdit

Chart (2004) Peak
French Album Chart[11] 98


  1. ^ a b "Scarface [Import, Soundtrack]". Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Richardson, Gorbman & Vernallis 2013, p. 314
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Birchmeier, Jason. "Scarface [Original Soundtrack]". AllMusic. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Brian De Palma: "You Have to Battle"". The Talks. February 28, 2013. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  5. ^ Gerffmann, Jeff. "Scarface: The World Is Yours Review". GameSpot. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Daw, Robbin (May 17, 2013). "Giorgio Moroder And Others Talk Donna Summer & Giorgio's 10 Big Music Moments: Interview". Idolator. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  7. ^ "Filmography for Pete Bellotte". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  8. ^ Giorgio Moroder Gear Guide, Dolphin Music
  9. ^ Scarface (LP record). Giorgio Moroder. MCA Records. 1983. MCA 6126.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ "Scarface [Original Soundtrack] [Remaster] – Remastered Original Soundtrack – CD". Best Buy Company, Inc. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  11. ^ a b "Soundtrack Scarface". Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved October 20, 2013.
  12. ^ Tucker 2008, p. 99
  13. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Music Inspired by Scarface". AllMusic. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  14. ^ "Browse Results – Golden Globe Awards". Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Retrieved October 19, 2013.
  15. ^ a b c Markman, Rob (August 25, 2011). ""Scarface": RapFix's Favorite Hip-Hop References". MTV Rapfix. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  16. ^ Kushne 2012, p. 86
  17. ^ "Amy Holland – "She's On Fire" – Flashback 95.6 – GTA III video". NME. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  18. ^ Dawkins, Daniel (September 9, 2013). "30 most important moments in GTA history – part one". The Guardian. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  19. ^ "GTA: La historia de Grand Theft Auto" [GTA: The history of Grand Theft Auto]. IGN España (in Spanish). May 20, 2013. Retrieved October 21, 2013.
  20. ^ "Scarface [Original Soundtrack]: Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved October 19, 2013.


  • Kushne, David (2012), Jacked: The Outlaw Story of Grand Theft Auto (I ed.), New Jersey, United States: John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 978-0-470-93637-5, OCLC 754727862
  • Richardson, John; Gorbman, Claudia; Vernallis, Carol (2013), The Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetic (I ed.), New York City, United States: Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-973386-6, OCLC 828626784
  • Tucker, Ken (2008), Scarface Nation – The Ultimate Gangster Movie and How It Changed America (I ed.), New York City, United States: St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-0-312-33059-0, OCLC 213451426