7 Best Cigar Movie Scenes of All Time
Cigars are on one side of the movie screen almost as often as popcorn is on the other. And why not? They make a useful dramatic tool for both heroes and villains in countless great films. Here are some of the best cigar movie scenes of all time.
1. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Sergio Leone’s spaghetti-Western masterpiece, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly features a number of cigar-smoking characters. The most famous of which is the “Man with no Name” played by Clint Eastwood. While many people who have seen The Good, the Bad and the Ugly assume that Eastwood’s character must have a name—they think “I must have just missed it,” upon second viewing they notice that, in fact, he does not. The decision not to give Eastwood’s iconic character a name was a conscious one by Director Leone who sought to make “The man with no name” represent a Western archetype: The stoic, laconic anti-hero. It was the perfect part for Eastwood and was made all-the-more perfect in the movie’s most famous scene where the three main characters (the “good” guy, the “bad” guy, and the “ugly” guy) all stare each other down. While the others may appear nervous, Eastwood merely chews on his skinny cigar and faces stares his opponents down until…Draw!
Eastwood also smokes a cigar in another or Leone’s famous Westerns, ‘A Few Dollars More,’ and while that too is a great movie, ‘The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly’ will forever remain our favorite.
Although Al Pacino’s Scarface doesn’t really have a single, dramatic scene that accentuates his cigar-smoking, he is chewing on a very large (presumably Cuban?) cigar throughout much of the film. Perhaps, though, the most poignant scene featuring a cigar is when Tony Montana (Pacino’s character) is sitting in a gigantic, opulent bubble bath as he chews on a cigar and argues with his spiraling wife who, like him, is quickly spiraling out of control.
Originally rated “X,” and written by a young Oliver Stone, Scarface had to battle its way into theaters. In the end, though, the controversy over the film only seemed to help it as audiences lined up to hear Al Pacino deliver yet another one of his famous lines “Say hello to my little friend!
One little known fact about Scarface is that Robert Di Nero was originally tapped for the role. It’s not entirely clear what happened but, eventually, the deal fell through and the role wound up going to Pacino. While, if anyone other than Pacino could have played Tony Montana it is Di Nero, we can all be thankful that in the end, it was Pacino who played the notorious part.
1987’s Predator was a box office smash starring an A-team of cigar-smoking actors. Among them, the aficionado himself: Arnold Schwarzenegger. There are few things cooler than Arnold chomping on a cigar as he wields a giant machine gun and hunts a dread-lock sporting alien that can turn itself completely invisible. Audiences agreed.
The cast of Predator is also noted for being jacked. Aside from Arnold himself, there was also former NFL player and Apollo Creed actor Carl Weathers who jokingly admitted that he would wait for all the other actors to leave before using the on-set gym so that he could act like his physique was simply “all-natural.”
J.K. Simmons played newspaper editor J. Jonah Jameson in the Spiderman movies starring Tobey Maguire. And while history has not been kind to the Maguire Spiderman, at least one thing remains unscathed: The cigar-munching acting of J.K. Simmons as he plays the perfect fast-talking editor. Simmons is the epitome of an old-fashion newsman who goes about his business with wit and aggression but who, in the end, also proves he has the integrity to back it all up—and he does all this without ever leaving the reach of one of his beloved cigars and tumbler of whiskey.
5. Wall Street
It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, and not every character on our list can be the good guy. Gordon Gekko is the god of the Yuppies who first emerged in the 1987 movie Wall Street. As antagonist to Charlie Sheen’s Bud Fox, Gekko delivered the famous line “Greed is good,” and in it seemed to encapsulate an entire generation of wealth seekers and status climbers.
Gekko has taste, connections, women, money, and more. He has, in other words, all the things that the young Bud Fox desires. The movie centers on why Gekko, the “villain,” still wants more, still needs it. Sheen’s character Fox can’t understand why Gekko continues to make sleazy, cut-throat decisions in spite of the fact that he already has more money than he can ever know what to do with. Fox does not understand Gekko, and Gekko certainly does not understand Fox—it’s a cat and mouse tale replete with shoulder pads, dollar-signs, and those gigantic 1980s cellphones.
6. American Psycho
Our next cigar-loving villain is Christian Bale’s character “Patrick Bateman.”
Bateman, like Gekko, is supposed to represent much of what some thought was wrong with the 1980s wealth-seeking that was particularly potent on Wall Street and in other financial centers. The Bateman character is exaggerated to insane extremes as he goes on a murderous tear throughout the city, all the while smile, laughing, and occasionally enjoying a (probably) very expensive cigar.
7. Independence Day
While Independence Day is served with a friendly helping of cheese, there is no denying the movie is thoroughly enjoyable. It also happens to feature one of the best cigar-moments in cinematic history where Will Smith’s character and Jeff Goldblum are on mission to destroy on alien ship and Smith’s cigar-loving character turns to Goldblum and shares a victory cigar with him saying that the two of them will smoke them together after they complete their mission and land safely back on Earth. While on their mission, though, things take a turn for the worse (gasp) and the two characters instead end up lighting their cigars in space! Which, in the history of cigars, is certainly a first.
photo credit: TV Guide