Mainstream America’s fixation with Miami is expressed in numerous Miami based TV series, movies, and reality shows. Here are a few of my favorites.
The cocaine trade in Miami became synonymous with the city through pop culture. In 1983, the mega movie Scarface immortalized the glamour and danger of the criminal business through Al Pacino’s character Tony Montana, whose violent takeover of a Miami cartel turned him into a cult hero.
While the film is about Miami only 20 percent of the film was made in Miami. The politics surrounding the filming were even more extreme than Scarface’s violence. The Cuban exile community were not at all pleased with the story of Scarface, “The basic message of the movie seems to be drugs, killing, and criminal activities. That does not represent the majority of hard-working and law-abiding Cubans,” said Eduardo Padron, then head of the Spanish-American League Against Discrimination. Then-Miami city Commissioner Demetrio Perez Jr. threatened to deny film permits unless Montana was recast as a Communist agent who infiltrated the United States at Castro’s behest. Out of frustration, Scarface producer Martin Bregman later he declared the movie would be shot elsewhere.
Take a stroll down South Beach today and you will still find Scarface posters and memorabilia in specialty shops, tourists still associate Miami Beach with Scarface. Check out this clip http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3g5cTqIniA – tourists snap pictures of the Tony Montana chainsaw scene location in Miami Beach.