We’re just getting Clint Eastwood out of the way because if we didn’t put one of his scenes first, you’d spend the whole list wondering when we were going to get to it. In this scene from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, we see Blondie share a smoke with a dying soldier—the ultimate bro move. It’s also where he gets his trademark poncho, making this an origin moment for a character at the heart not only of this movie but of westerns as a genre.
This classic moment from American cinema doesn’t just feature a person smoking a cigar, the cigar is part of the scene. It deepens our understanding of the main character, showing his sympathetic side. We can also see cigar smoke floating away much like a man’s spirit might as he passes.
Heavy stuff, with a cigar right in between the living and the dead.
2. Scarface: The “Bathtub” Scene
See Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino finally at the top, sitting in the tub. Only it’s not a normal tub. It’s not even within the normal confines of zoning law! He’s in a giant sunken bath the size of a small pool in his bedroom. He’s kicking back, he’s got the champagne on ice, and he’s watching the news with his security monitors nearby. And while he and his lady (Michelle Pfeiffer) bicker back and forth, there’s his cigar, waving back and forth.
It’s inescapable—a cigar is one of the clear trappings of wealth. It’s a standard accessory for bosses and those who’ve made it. Not only that, but it fits right in, only a few inches from the Rolex (or another outrageously expensive watch) and the cuff of the bespoke suit. Or from the bubbles of your bubble bath, depending on how you roll.
What do we want? The world, Chico… and everything in it.
Or at least a really good smoke!
3. Last Action Hero: The “Big Mistake” Scene
Arnie’s coming in twice on this list. The dude loves cigars in real life (here’s an eight-plus minute montage of him smoking) and plenty of his characters smoke them as well. In this scene from Last Action Hero, we see the Governor with his teeth clamped down on a smoke as he delivers a classic cheesy line, “You killed my father… big mistake,” and then throws an enemy out the window to a ridiculous sound effect.
There’s room for disagreement, but for this writer, Arnold Schwarzenegger is always welcome on our TV screen.
4. Predator: The “Opening” Scene
The movie begins with ominous music. A helicopter lands by the water. Serious men, operators maybe, begin piling out. They leave one behind. He’s reclined, with a big cigar in his mouth. He lights up and takes a few puffs, tosses a bag out, and jumps down.
Apparently, this is as good a time as any to chill out, never mind the fact that crazy stuff is about to go down. You could describe the character development here, but knowing action movies, we might guess that someone simply saw an opportunity for a badass character intro and went with it—and we are loving every moment of it.
5. Hellboy: “How to Light a Cigar”
Hellboy loves his smokes. In this scene, he tries to light one up with a low-quality lighter, but in a heartwarming moment of Hollywood accuracy, he’s stopped! Instead, a wise old man tells him to use a wooden match instead to preserve the flavor.
Nice one, Hellboy creators, we tip our glasses to you!
6. Die Another Day: “Cigar Factory”
We had to have a Bond clip on here. This one’s in French. This scene takes place in a Cuban cigar factory, complete with a lector reading from a newspaper to the torcedores. Bond (played by Pierce Brosnan) says he’s looking for some “delectados,” which were sold in the real world at one point after the movie was released. It’s unclear what their status is today.
If you somehow got your mitts on one of these cigars, count yourself lucky. You are experiencing a piece of cinema history.
7. Black Hawk Down: The “Miami is Not Cuba” Scene
In this scene, an American General is offered a Cuban cigar (Bolivar, Bellicoso), but replies that he has a Cuban cigar of his own. The offeror skeptically replies, “Miami, my friend, is not Cuba.”
8. The Wolverine: The “Explosion Lighter” Scene
Lighting a cigar, even with a torch lighter meant just for that sole purpose, can sometimes be a little tricky. But in THIS scene, we see Wolverine chomp off the end of a cigar, set off an explosion that takes out over a dozen guys, and then jump down to head off to his next objective. And if you’re wondering, at that moment, “Why did he get out a cigar?” you’ll notice that he lit it with the explosion! This only happens in the movies, folks, but it sure did look cool.
So, there you have it! Cigars are clearly used to add badassness to characters and have since become ubiquitous in pop culture. With the amazing experience you can only get from a good smoke, we could not agree more.
What are some of your favorite cigar moments in entertainment?
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