The Sopranos Smoke Cigars
We are truly blessed as television viewers with the amount of great content available today. Much of it is due to the “Godfather” of plot and character-driven television, The Sopranos. It is a no holds barred look into the life of a dysfunctional family of mobsters from New Jersey. Gritty, realistic, and wholly enthralling, it was must-watch television. Cigars factored very heavily into the series, both on and off the set. So, since the Sopranos smoke cigars, that makes the show a great topic for discussion, right here on Cigar Life Guy.
The Sopranos Smoke Cigars Like a Boss
The iconic role of Tony Soprano was played by James Gandolfini, who passed away way too soon. Playing the cigar-chomping Tony Soprano was not a stretch as he was a long time cigar devotee. He smoked 3-4 cigars a week and loved the ability to relax and sit for 45 minutes without a care in the world. Regarding cigars and cigarettes, he said, “Cigarette smokers try to get through the smoke as quickly as possible, whereas cigar smokers let the taste and experience linger.”
Wiseguys Know What they Are Doing
The opening credits features Tony Soprano driving through the Lincoln Tunnel with a thumping baseline and a cigar blazing. Vinny Pastore, who played “Big Pussy” was often seen smoking intimidating sized cigars as well. He said, “It’s more than a prop. Its symbolism. People who smoke cigarettes are nervous. A cigar is a personal thing. An extension of character.” According to the show’s creator, David Chase, cigars weren’t accidental. They were an intended prop. Cigar smoking invokes power and a level of authority. The cigars, like authority, were wielded with a heavy hand.
From Boss to V.P.
While Jim Gandolfini enjoyed a cigar a couple of times a week, it pales in comparison to Joe Pantoliano, who smokes 1-2 a day. He was an early investor and vice president of L.A.’s Grand Havana Room, a prestigious smoking lounge. He jokes that he’s a bit of a compulsive guy; when he gets into something, he really takes it to heart. He loves everything about the cigars, including all of the accessories. He also praises his amazingly tolerant wife who lets him smoke anywhere he wants around the house. In many of the movies he’s been in, such as Bad Boys and Steal Big, Steal Little, he has called cigar companies in advance and asked them to supply him so he could smoke them onscreen. Both Davidoff and Fuente have been quick to oblige. His relationship is so close with the Fuente family, that they sent him a special anniversary release cigar for his wedding.
Life Imitates Art
Both Gandolfini and Pantoliano have expressed a love of Cuban cigars. Pantoliano loves the Bolivar Gigante, a massive cigar clearly fit for a king. Or at least a Mob boss. Cigar maker CAO created a line of cigars specifically in conjunction with the show. Just like the brash, showy attitude of the Sopranos, it comes in a flashy cherry red box designed to look like the trunk of a car. The cigars are designated in three sizes; Associate, Soldier, and Boss, reflecting the mobster hierarchy. Any diehard Sopranos fans will make the immediate association between a car trunk and its implications with mob life. Away from the set, the actors all agree on the same thing; cigars, like the show, are about family. Getting together and just relaxing. You got a problem with that?
photo credit: The Sopranos/HBO