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Movies and Cigars

Cigars are a favorite prop in Hollywood movies. In fact much more than a prop, the cigar is used in movies to convey a mood, character and meaning. What are the most famous cigar movies?

Over the years, cigars have become synonymous with affluence, power, and a certain air of nostalgic elegance in our culture. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Hollywood blockbusters, which seem to have a penchant for featuring cigars at critical points.

Any time a cigar makes an appearance on film, it becomes a sort of character in and of itself, smoke billows from the lit end and can add a mood to the scene like few other conventional props.

One of the most common uses of the cigar in film is in the crime genre. It’s not that they’re necessarily connoted with criminal activity, but more that they are a distinct, recognizable symbol of power.

In Scarface, Al Pacino’s character is seen chomping on a stogie at the height of his reign as Miami’s drug kingpin. In Swordfish, the intelligent, dangerous villain played by John Travolta lights a cigar during the introduction as he waxes poetic on unrealistic conservatism in movies.

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In crime films cigars are rarely seen during the main character’s downfall. Instead, they’re often used to display in a very obvious way the character at their pinnacle, just before karma kicks in.

It’s not just villains who get to enjoy cigars on the silver screen. Heroes do too. Cigars in movies with big conflict and big victories incorporate cigars during the resolution, often towards the tail end of the story.

One of the most famous examples is Will Smith’s character in Independence Day. He enjoys a cigar after (spoiler alert) the alien invasion of Earth is successfully warded off.

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The victory cigar in film draws parallels between stogies and success, using them as a symbol for accomplishment and satisfaction.

Heroes in Hollywood aren’t limited to smoking once the action is finished, though. In Sergio Leone’s The Good the Bad and the Ugly, Fistful of Dollars, and For a Few Dollars More, cigars play a central role in the life of the main character.

“The Man With no Name”, played by the legendary Clint Eastwood, smokes constantly on his travels through the Wild West, dispatching enemies with an ever-present cigar between his teeth.

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In the James Bond film Die Another Day, Pierce Brosnan’s Bond adopts the “When in Rome” philosophy as he savors a fine cigar on a trip to Cuba.

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These two characters, both quite dangerous and unquestionably cool, are seen with cigars to accentuate the air of intrigue about them.

The affection that Hollywood writers and directors have for cigars as plot devices is very apparent. It’s no wonder, since cigars have developed a strong set of real-life associations with success, power, and mystery. As each year brings a slate of new blockbusters, keep an eye out for cutters, stogies, and smoke rings. They’ll be there.

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