'Say Hello To My Little Friend' Quote From 'Scarface' (1983), With Photos, Context
When Al Pacino as Tony Montana says "Say hello to my little friend" toward the end of Scarface (1983), you can bet he's not introducing a personal acquaintance. No, he screams this famous movie line as an army of enemies have infiltrated his stronghold and are closing in to kill him. The "little friend" is an AR-15 assault rifle equipped with a grenade launcher. Tony knows he will not survive this battle -- and it's apparent to the audience as well -- but the brutal drug lord is going to take as many of his enemies out as he can. That's Tony Montana's style. He is a fighter who'd rather die in a hail of bullets than surrender.
What Is The Little Friend Anyway?
When the "little friend" went up for auction in 2015, Darren Julien of Julien's Auctions described it as "a non-firing prop M203 grenade launcher mounted to a non-firing prop M-16 military style assault rifle." That's a little inaccurate; while the grenade launcher was initially attached to an M-16A1, cinematographer John Alonzo decided that the AR-15 would be easier to film. The weapon appeared in other films, most notably the 1987 action hit Predator, in which Arnold Schwarzenegger wields it against a deadly alien enemy. In both movies, the weapon fired live rounds, but the practice of using live rounds in filming was banned following the 1993 on-set death of Brandon Lee.
The winning bidder paid $54,000 for the gun.
“Say Hello To My Little Friend” started out with a coked-out Al Pacino blowing rival drug dealers to smithereens in the incomparable Scarface. Today, the famous phrase has pervaded itself into many aspects of everyday life. If you ever watched MTV’s Cribs, you’ll know that it’s a quasi-law that rappers, basketball players, or anyone with a marble staircase must own a Scarface poster.
The 1983 classic was a retelling of a 1932 gangster movie by the same title but with way, way more cocaine. Apparently, Al Pacino saw the original and immediately saw the potential for a remake. P Diddy, who professed to have seen the movie 63 times, “for the lessons,” remains grateful.
'You Wanna F**k With Me? Okay. You Wanna Play Rough?'
Director Brian De Palma and Al Pacino wanted to make the movie as grisly, visceral, and hardcore as possible. That desire for realism led to a variety of interesting decisions. For instance, at one point the movie held the record for more F-words used in a movie with 226.
The longer line, like most of Tony's utterances, does contain an F-bomb:
You wanna f**k with me? Okay. You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend!
Pacino also actually snorted a baby laxative that they used as cocaine. According to Pacino, it wasn’t great for his nasal passages, “For years after, I have had things up in there. I don’t know what happened to my nose, but it’s changed.”
Miami Not So Nice
The locations were one of the only aspects that failed the authenticity test. At the time, news of an incredibly violent drug movie, centered around a Cuban born immigrant in Miami created a backlash. Naturally, many Cubans and Miami residents didn’t want their city portrayed as such. The Miami Tourist Board eventually decided that Scarface couldn’t shoot in Miami. Therefore, Los Angeles, Santa Barabara, and even New York were Miami-fied to give that tropical feel.
Attention To Detail
The inability to shoot in Miami only hardened the crew’s commitment to realism. When Tony Montana screams, “Say hello to my little friend” and begins laying waste to his enemies, the muzzle flashes on his AR15 are synched perfectly. That was thanks to the production team fitting the prop guns with electronic synchronizing devices designed to fire only when the camera shutter was open. Such attention to detail rarely happened back then.
De Palma’s commitment to realism ran into problems with the MPAA, the people that rate movies for parental guidance. The first three times De Palma submitted the movie, it came back with an X rating, which would mean death for box office numbers. Producers then arranged a meeting between the MPAA and real narcotics officers, who praised the veracity of the film. The only scene De Palma couldn’t get in was a chainsaw dismemberment, which the screenwriter Oliver Stone learned from the DEA actually happened.
It Was The ‘80s
To depict the wife of a cocaine lord, Michelle Pfeiffer lived on a diet of “tomato soup and Marlboros." She got so wafer-thin that crew members began bringing her bagels to the set! Oliver Stone, like many celebrities in the ‘80s, battled his own cocaine addictions as he wrote the script. Eventually, he went to Paris, kicked the coke, and finished it “totally f*****g cold sober.”
Even as Pacino battled baby laxative issues, he made one crew member speak to him in Spanish the entire time to help keep him in character. The climactic “Say hello to my little friend” got a boost when fellow director alum Steven Spielberg lent a hand. He never took credit because he wanted De Palma to rightfully get all the credit for “Scarface.”