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Tony Montana vs Michael Corleone

July 11, 2007

Michael Corleone and Tony Montana, both of them gangsters, both of them memorable anti hero characters, both of them rated as top villians, and both played by one man Al Pacino.

Too often people end up comparing The Godfather and Scarface, and most of the time Scarface gets a lower rating. For me i dont think the comparison is fair at all. People criticize Pacino for his over the top portrayal in Scarface. And i feel it’s perfectly in line with the script.

Michael Corleone was born with a silver spoon, had the best of education, and has no interest in what his father does. He was suave, polished and refined. He becomes a gangster reluctantly only because of circumstances, his elder brother is murdered, his second brother is a total misfit. And he has to take over the family mantle.

Tony Montana on the other hand is some one who came right from the ground up. A peniless Cuban immigrant, he starts off life doing menial jobs, and then becomes a gangster for sheer survival. He is illiterate, uncouth and rough. Unlike Michael, not much is known of Tony’s family background, except that he is possesive of his sister and is estranged from his mother.

Michael is more of a reluctant gangster, because he has to. Tony becomes a gangster, out of love for the fast life. Michael maintains his dignity , while Tony falls further, become a cocaine addict. Michael is a family man, loves his family members. He is forced to kill his brother Fredo, only because of circumstances. Tony on the other hand, is hot headed. He kills his best friend Manny, just because he was dating his sister.

Again both their family lives are in a mess. While Tony has managed to get his ex boss mistress Alvira, she is quite cold towards him. Michael’s wife Kay on the other hand hates his activities, and aborts her baby, because she did not want her son to be like him.

Also many Cubans tend to be loud, exuberant and flashy like Tony Montana, so i guess that explains Pacino’s approach to the role.

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