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Guns of Pop Culture: “Scarface” & the Colt AR-15

In this week's Guns of Pop Culture we say hello to Tony Montana's "little friend" from the 1983 film "Scarface."

You don’t even have to see the film Scarface to know the movie’s most famous line…

“Say hello to my little friend.”

Say hello to my little friend scarface
“Say hello to my little friend”

It’s a phrase we’ve all heard. Maybe from watching the 1983 film, or from the numerous times it’s been satirized, repeated, and quoted. That one line helped immortalize the movie.

The “little friend” gangster Tony Montana is referring to is his grenade launcher-equipped AR-15.

This might be one of the most famous movie guns of all time — right up there with Dirty Harry’s Model 29 and Rigg’s Beretta 92

1983’s Scarface is a remake of the original 1932 film Scarface. The original focused on an immigrant in Chicago rising in the ranks of organized crime. 

Tony and his Thompson in 1932's Scarface
Here’s a shot of Tony and his Thompson from the OG Scarface.

In the 1983 remake, it’s moved to the 1980s, Chicago became Miami, and the European immigrant became a Cuban immigrant. Tony Camonte became Tony Montana, and the Tommy gun becomes an AR-15.

We follow Tony’s rise to the boss and his eventual downfall, which leads him to his little friend.

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The Little Friend 

What’s Tony Montana’s little friend?

The core rifle is the famed Armalight Rifle 15, aka the AR-15. Specifically, it’s a Colt AR-15 converted to full auto. It looks like an M16A1, and originally they were going to use an M16A1. 

According to some behind-the-scenes information, the M16A1’s firing rate didn’t sync up well with the cameras being used. The muzzle flash would appear to be short and well like a flash with the cameras.

Tony firing the M16A1 in Scarface 2
Check out that muzzle flash

The converted AR-15 provided a muzzle flash that synced up with the cameras and provided a prolonged duration. That’s why it seems so insanely long during the film and certainly looks cool.

Besides the AR-15, there’s the famous spark-launching “grenade” launcher. 

In real life, this was a 39mm prop produced by the prop company for the film. At the time, getting a 40mm true M203 wasn’t in the cards, and the Cobray models weren’t available. 

Tony using the M203S grenade launcher in Scarface
Tony using the M203S grenade launcher.

So, the prop master designed their own and did a pretty good job as far as I could tell. Tony uses it twice to launch grenades at his opponents. He blows a door off its hinges in some shock and awe and later launches a grenade at a group of enemies.

In one scene when he falls, if you look closely, it pops off the AR-15 and, in the next moment, magically reattaches. 

M203S grenade launcher separated from M16A1 in Scarface
Not that the grenade launcher is not just detached from the M16A1, but apparently nowhere to be found.

Tony packs a pair of jungle-taped magazines on the gun and shoves reloads in his suit pocket. In 1983 this would have been a state-of-the-art carbine and a very unusual weapon for a criminal to have. 

Spray & Pray 

Spray and pray describes Tony’s shooting style. He points and fires as if the gun just pours out a wall of lead. It’s almost like a magic wand that dispenses death when pointed in the right direction. 

Tony firing the M16A1 in Scarface
Tony firing the M16A1 in Scarface.

He never aims the rifle or the grenade launcher. And speaking of the grenade launcher…it’s hilarious. He blows through a door and knocks down everybody, even though there’s limited room for the grenade to arm inside the office. 

Also, in the film, the explosion only goes one way and directs the blast toward the bad guys and not towards Tony in any way. He’s not concussed at all by an exploding grenade inside a room.

I guess cocaine is a helluva drug. 

Tony steps out of the office Scarface
Tony steps out of the office Scarface.

His second grenade blast is a little more believable, but the fact it hits perfectly without being aimed is silly.

Throughout Tony’s spray and pray, we see him take advantage of the jungle-taped magazine, and another pocketed reload. It’s a silly but fun scene that takes itself 100% seriously.

Final Thoughts

Scarface felt like a violent after-school special, and I got weird vibes from Tony and Gina, but I do get his scene. A rage-filled man with a grenade launcher and machine gun takes on an army, and I’ll watch that and be entertained. 

What’s your favorite scene from Scarface? Let us know below. For more Guns of Pop Culture, check out last week’s look into Terminator.

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1 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    FilmArmorer

    The MAC-10 family holds a special place in my heart, so love seeing them come out to play. Tony makes good use of one or two in the notorious hotel room chainsaw scene and we see others with the Columbian hit squad.

    For fun, check out the blank-firing adapter in the M16 barrel as seen in the photo "Tony using the M203S grenade launcher." This also explains the oversized flash hider see clearly in following pics.

    Love this series of articles!

    June 30, 2022 5:21 pm
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