Al Pacino’s first major screen turn — 1971’s “The Panic in Needle Park,” in which he played a sometimes homeless junkie in NYC — just popped up on Netflix. It’s fantastic, and you should stream it … and yet we’re still going to highlight the movie everyone already loves, at least now. It’s easy to forget Brian De Palma’s purple, bloody 1983 remake of Howard Hawks’ gangster great wasn’t actually a bomb. It was a big hit — it was just hated and debated, riling many with its excesses: its gargantuan length, its fearless gore and Al Pacino’s ridiculously accented turn, chewing not just the scenery but maybe the whole universe.
“Scarface” was rightfully reclaimed by the hip-hop community, who saw it as both inspiring (a member of the lower class pulling himself up from the bootstraps) and a warning sign (don’t get high on your own supply, or be an actual gangster). But there’s another group that saved it: Brian De Palma nerds. “Scarface” joins the likes of “Phantom of the Paradise,” “Blow Out,” “Raising Cain” and “Femme Fatale” as De Palmas whose craft and eccentricity were bound to be appreciated eventually — though here you can also thank Oliver Stone, whose predictably surly and cussy script provided the foundation for three hours’ worth of the director’s precise and thrilling set pieces.