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What Really Killed Tony Montana In Scarface

The 1983 gangster movie Scarface has easily secured its place as one of the most quoted films in cinema history. Cuban drug lord Tony Montana's final sequence before his death, the one in which he introduces his enemies to a M203 grenade launcher, a.k.a. his "little friend," is often ranked among Al Pacino's most memorable film lines. But Tony's famous last stand often overshadows the reason why he was killed. So what actually got Tony Montana killed at the end of Scarface?

Tony Montana is the anti-hero who toes the line between being heroic, ruthless, and funny. On paper, Tony is a villain. He does not have any moral quandaries about running a drug empire, emotionally and physically controlling his sister's life, or killing his best friend. Tony even admits to being the villain, at one point telling a bunch of restaurant patrons: "You need people like me. You need people like me so you can point your f*****n' fingers and say, 'That's the bad guy.' So ... what that make you? Good? You're not good." 

 But there's one scene in Scarface that highlights where Tony draws a moral line. He refuses to kill children.

Man's gotta have a code

When Tony is hired by Bolivian drug lord Alejandro Sosa to assist in the assassination of a journalist, he's in. But when he discovers that Sosa's bodyguard planted a bomb in the journalist's car that will not only kill the target, but his wife and two children as well, Tony objects. He tells the bodyguard: "Forget it! We kill this guy alone. No wife, no kids." But the bodyguard refuses to back down. The scene ends with Tony killing the bodyguard, choosing his code over the mission. This marks Tony for death, as his actions have double-crossed his boss.

The end of the film shows Tony fighting off Sosa's henchmen and doing a pretty good job at it, that is until Sosa's top assassin, the Skull, sneaks up behind Tony and shoots him in the back, killing him.

Tony is a selfish character in almost every way, but the moment he exhibits an ounce of selflessness, he is killed, proving that honorable decisions in his line of work will only get you so far.