Tony Montana’s Chalkstripe Showdown Suit in Scarface
Al Pacino as Tony Montana, impulsive and hotheaded cocaine kingpin
New York City to Miami, Fall 1983
Release Date: December 9, 1983
Director: Brian De Palma
Costume Designer: Patricia Norris
Tailor: Tommy Velasco
Even if you’re one of the 0.5% of the population who hasn’t seen Scarface, you’ve seen this suit and you know this scene. You’ve seen it on t-shirts, dorm room posters, memes, and anywhere that pop culture will allow it. The scene has become legendary over the last three decades as one of the greatest movie gunfights in history for many reasons: an unhinged Al Pacino who may or may not have been pretending to be high, an endless mob of cartel gunmen each meeting their fate at the end of his AR-15, and – of course:
Say hello to my little friend!
What’d He Wear?
After sporting a variety of white suits, bold silks, and pastels through his rise to power over the course of the movie, Tony Montana is surprisingly subtle in a dark chalkstripe three-piece suit when he goes out the proverbial blaze of glory. Of course, he’s just returned from New York City after an aborted hit with the late Alberto (an always excellent Mark Margolis), so he was wisely outfitted in a more conservative business suit to fit in among the Gordon Gekko crowd of ’80s Manhattan.
Tony’s suit is dark navy wool with a chalkstripe that alternates between a thick double stripe and a thin single stripe. It was custom-made for Pacino by Paramount Studios tailor Tommy Velasco and was featured a few years ago on The Golden Closet.
The single-breasted suit jacket has a 2-button front that Tony always wears open, as he tends to do with his single-breasted jackets. It has peak lapels with a buttonhole on the left lapel. Tony wears a white silk pocket square poking out of his welted breast pocket. The suitcoat also has jetted rear-slanting hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and double side vents.
Tony’s suit has a matching single-breasted vest (waistcoat) that he tends to wear buttoned except while taking off his tie during a less cocaine-fueled moment in his office. It closes down the front with six buttons, with the lowest button left open over the notched bottom. The back of the vest is lined in dark silk – possibly black or midnight blue – with an adjustable strap.
Tony’s flat front suit trousers have a medium rise with side pockets. The bottoms are cuffed with a full break. He wears a thin brown leather belt with a small gold square single-claw buckle.
Tony’s white dress shirt doesn’t stay white for long once the bullets start flying. It has a slim collar that he wears unbuttoned – even with a tie – and French cuffs fastened by a set of flat gold rectangular links.
It’s interesting to note – although likely just a coincidence – that Tony’s outfit consists primarily of red, white, and blue. Not only are these the colors of his adopted United States, but they also appear on the Cuban flag. In fact, one could argue that the blue and white stripes on the flag are reflected in Tony’s blue chalkstripe suit… but that’s a bit of a stretch. (The blood and the cocaine also add extra splashes of red and white to his suit, so that’s fun.)
The red in Tony’s outfit comes from his slim silk patterned tie that is quickly abandoned after he returns to his Miami headquarters. The tie is comprised of many gold spots with a navy square center, all on a red ground. The tie is worn long, with the blade extending well past the waistband.
Another garment missing for the famous final showdown is a navy wool single-breasted overcoat worn in New York. Not much of the coat is seen, but it has padded shoulders, notch lapels, and a long rear vent.
Tony wears a pair of black leather slip-on ankle boots with raised heels that are fittingly known as “Cuban boots”, given Tony’s heritage. He wears them with a pair of black dress socks.
Tony wears both of his handguns in holsters, removing both before the final gunfight actually begins. He wears his Beretta Cheetah 81 in an IWB at the small of his back, and he carries the Smith & Wesson Model 36 snubnose .38 Special – likely the same one that Gina picks up – under his left arm in a brown leather shoulder holster.
With this more conservative suit, Tony also slims down his usually expansive array of jewelry and accessories. Around his neck, he only wears a thick gold link necklace rather than his usual two.
He still wears the gold Concord Delirium wristwatch—previously misidentified as the Omega La Magique—on his left wrist, but he now appears to be wearing no bracelet on his right wrist. Tony’s gold Delirium I “Mariner” from 1979 has been conclusively identified by @la.grande.vie on Instagram, in a December 2020 post that also mentioned the round black Delirium II dial and gold Twist-O-Flex strap.
For most of his “successful” career, Tony can be seen wearing two rings on his right hand. In the preceding scene meeting with Sosa and this final sequence, he is down to wearing just the large gold diamond ring on his third finger.
Ah, Tony’s “little friend”… the Colt AR-15 used by Al Pacino has become one of the most infamous firearms in cinematic history. He uses it to great effect during the gun battle, but alas, even when fitted with a “fake” M203 grenade launcher, it can only do so much against a team of killers and one particularly sneaky shotgun-wielding hitman.
The AR-15 was first introduced by ArmaLite in 1959 as a battle rifle for the U.S. military. It would eventually be redesigned and adopted as various incarnations of the M16 rifle, but it was a civilian market Colt AR-15 – first marketed as a semi-automatic option in 1963 – that found its way into Tony Montana’s arsenal. According to IMFDB and The Golden Closet:
Originally an M16A1 was used with the grenade launcher and the AR-15 was substituted after cinematographer John Alonzo determined that the AR-15’s firing sequence could be timed to synchronize with the Arriflex cameras, which would result in elongating the duration of muzzle flashes seen on film.
Tony’s AR-15 would’ve likely been illegally modified to fire fully automatic with items such as a “Drop In Auto Sear” or “lightning-link”. Tony cycles through two jungle-taped STANAG magazines, each containing 30 rounds of 5.56×45 mm NATO ammunition. Of course, it’s not just rifle rounds that give Tony his edge against the assassins.
The Golden Closet currently features the “fake” 39mm smoothbore grenade launcher that was fixed to Tony’s AR-15 to resemble the standard M203 under-barrel grenade launcher used by the U.S. military. In reality, the M203 fires a single 40mm grenade. Eventually, the movie industry adopted the Cobray CM203 flare launcher as a stand-in for the M203 but for earlier ’80s action flicks like Scarface and Predator produced before the CM203 was developed, the “fake” M203 was the best option. (Fun fact: The exact same fake M203 prop that was used in Scarface would later by used by Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dutch in Predator.)
Check out IMFDB for a photo of the actual AR-15 with jungle-taped magazines and grenade launcher that was used in Scarface!
How to Get the Look
Tony Montana’s death suit is an interesting interpretation of what an ’80s drug kingpin would wear if plucked from his Miami Vice world and dropped somewhere between Hill Street Blues and Wall Street.
- Navy blue alternating-chalkstripe wool custom-tailored suit, consisting of:
- Single-breasted 2-button suit jacket with peak lapels, welted breast pocket, rear-slanted jetted hip pockets, 3-button cuffs, and double rear vents
- Single-breasted 6-button vest with notched bottom and lower welt pockets
- Flat front medium-rise trousers with belt loops, side pockets, and turn-ups/cuffed bottoms
- White dress shirt with slim collar, front placket, and double/French cuffs
- Red silk spot-patterned necktie
- Gold flat rectangle cuff links
- Black leather slip-on “Cuban boot” ankle boots with raised heels
- Black dress socks
- Thin brown leather belt with square gold single-claw buckle
- Navy blue wool single-breasted overcoat with notch lapels, padded shoulders, and long single rear vent
- Concord Delirium Mariner gold watch with round black dial on rectangular case and gold “Twist-O-Flex” bracelet
- Gold ring with diamond, worn on right ring finger
- Yellow gold link chain necklace
By the time he gets back to Miami and is introducing Sosa’s henchmen to his “little friend”, Tony’s already ditched his tie and overcoat. The white silk pocket square stays in his breast pocket, though it certainly isn’t white by the end of the battle.
Do Yourself a Favor and…
Check out the deluxe DVD gift set… which also comes with a copy of the original Scarface from 1932!
You wanna fuck with me? You fucking with the best! You wanna fuck with me? Okay. You little cockroaches… come on. You wanna play games? Okay, I play with you… come on. Okay. You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend!
A photo of Pacino wearing this suit is used for the film’s now iconic poster but with the colors inverted to create the effect of a white suit and black shirt. He does wear a white three-piece suit and black shirt earlier in the film, but promo photography definitely divulge that the poster was used from photos of this dark striped finale suit.
This was my Halloween costume in 2010! Keep this in mind if you’re looking for a costume 11 months from now.
I think your observations about the Old Red, White and Blue, the Cuban flag and Tony’s death suit are very relevant, since Scarface is the tale of an immigrant living out the American Dream (First you get the money, then you get the power, THEN you get the WOMEN) and what happens when you the choose the fast route of crime to achieve it.
Greta article. Your writing style is becoming very polished.
That’s actually a pretty great suit Tony wears at the end. I’ll have to re-watch this soon.
Thanks for the article!