In 1980, Cuban refugee and ex-con Antonio “Tony” Montana arrives in Miami, Florida as part of the Mariel boatlift, where he is sent to a refugee camp with his best friends, Manny Ribera, Angel and Chi-Chi. The four are released and given green cards in exchange for assassinating a former Cuban government official at the request of wealthy drug dealer Frank Lopez. They become dishwashers in a diner, to Tony’s disgust, proclaiming he was meant for bigger things.
Frank’s right-hand man, Omar Suarez, gives them a job: purchase cocaine from Colombian dealers, but the deal goes bad. Angel is dismembered with a chainsaw, while Manny and Chi-Chi rescue Tony and kill the Colombians. Suspecting that Omar set them up, Tony and Manny insist on personally delivering the recovered drugs and money to Frank. During their meeting, Tony is attracted to Frank’s trophy wife, Elvira Hancock. Frank hires and befriends Tony and Manny.
Months later, Tony visits his mother Georgina and younger sister Gina, of whom he is fiercely protective. Disgusted by his life of crime, Georgina throws Tony out. Manny is attracted to Gina, but Tony angrily tells him to stay away from her.
Frank sends Tony and Omar to Bolivia to meet with cocaine kingpin Alejandro Sosa. Tony negotiates a deal without Frank’s approval, angering Omar, who leaves to contact Frank. Sosa claims that Omar is a police informant and that Frank is weak. Tony witnesses a beaten Omar hanged from a helicopter. Tony vouches for Frank’s organization. Sosa, taking a liking to Tony, agrees to the deal, but not before warning Tony to never betray him.