The inimitable swagger. The boisterous, explosive dialogue. The ubiquitous cigar became an extension of himself and his personality. These are the hallmark traits of Al Pacino, the legendary actor who will be forever revered for his impassioned and nuanced roles. Off-screen, his passion for smoking Cuban cigars is equally legendary.
The Enduring Legacy of Scarface
Brian De Palma’s 1983 masterpiece, “Scarface” remains relevant nearly four decades later. It tells of the rise of a Cuban immigrant in Miami as he works his way up in the criminal and drug underworld. He becomes the “kingpin”, only to succumb to his own ego and dangerous behavior. Scarface remains a hallmark of the “mobster” film genre, beloved by critics and film fans alike. College dorm rooms still feature the iconic movie posters featuring Al Pacino as Tony Montana.
What Does a Kingpin Smoke?
A Cuban refugee smoking Cuban cigars would be considered sacrilegious. Not for Tony Montoya. The real question is, what brand of Cubans did he favor? There are numerous scenes that feature the troubled boss smoking menacingly or contemplatively, but it’s never revealed what brand he favors. Cohibas would have most likely been the cigar of choice since they were only available to government employees and soldiers. It is stated early on that he was in the Cuban army, therefore it makes sense that Cohibas were his trophy cigars.
Smoking Cuban Cigars are Consistent
In his most recent film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”, Pacino plays Hollywood agent Marvin Schwarz. During a dinner with Leonardo Di Caprio, he tells a story about being able to sit back and enjoy one of his favorite Cuban cigars with a glass of cognac as he is about to screen a movie. They flash to a humidor stocked with Cuban trophies, and he casually clips and enjoys a Hoyo de Monterey.
Does Art Imitate Life?
Which cigar-smoking character most realistically represents Al Pacino in real life? Al Pacino is definitely a contemplative smoker. Having achieved so much in his cinematic career, the ability to sit back and reflect while enjoying the solitude of a cigar is what he treasures most. During the filming of “Scent of a Woman”, he smoked offset with other actors, but he remained in character pretending to be blind. He wouldn’t cut or light anyone’s cigars for them!
Does Al Pacino Only Like Smoking Cuban Cigars?
This is definitely a case of life imitating art. He doesn’t publicly endorse any specific brands, but he is never seen smoking anything other than a Cuban. In “Scent of a Woman”, Al Pacino’s character Colonel Slade dispatches “Charlie” from the Waldorf Astoria into a wintry New York City, to pick up medicine and Montecristo Number 1. In reality, he would not have been able to pick up a Cuban version. However, Montecristo Number 1s have left a lasting effect as they seem to be his trophy cigar of choice. Naturally, the Cuban version.
That’s a Wrap!
Al Pacino will forever be a legend in Hollywood. His choice of projects shows thoughtfulness and energy that represents the many facets of the man himself. Cigars have always been more than a prop for him; they are an extension of his personality. Even though he may have only been the king of Miami briefly, he remains forever, Hollywood royalty.
Photo Credit: <a title=”Georges Biard, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons” href=”https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Al_Pacino_Cannes_1996.jpg”><img width=”256″ alt=”Al Pacino Cannes 1996″ src=”https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d6/Al_Pacino_Cannes_1996.jpg”></a>