There’s no law against smoking in cartoon movies… but if Shrek and his pals wanted to light up, it’d cost them their PG rating. The MPAA now ranks smoking alongside sex, swears, blood, and blow when deciding on what to rate the flick — and we think that’s why we like it. In honor of May 31, International No Tabacco Day, we’re listing some of the most seminal smoking scenes on the silver screen — and sticking it to the MPAA man. So what if cigarettes are bad for you? They look good on Uma Thurman.
Phillip K. Dick had it wrong: the androids are actually dreaming about that next puff on a cigarette.
Coffee and Cigarettes
Jim Jarmusch’s series of vignettes is as much about human interaction as it is about caffeine and nicotine.
What, Russians have more fun? Famke isn’t shaken, but she’s smoking.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
As “The Man with No Name,” Clint Eastwood became an icon over the course of Leone’s epic trilogy. And the picture wouldn’t be complete without that ever-present chewed up stogie poking out between his teeth.
The Good German
Smoke spills from Cate Blanchett’s black mouth like oil onto water. It’s a dizzyingly slow swirl of smolder and emotion, amplified in black and white. Like Tobey Maguire, all we can do is watch.
“Light up,” Mrs. Robinson seems to say, her cigarette upping her sophistication.
Last Tango in Paris
An unlit cigarette hangs from Marlon Brando’s mouth . . .
“Get me some more whiskey,” Maria Schneider slurs before she’s dragged by her feet onto the café’s dance floor. It’s the young fiancée’s last tango in Paris. We need a cigarette just daydreaming about it.
A Love Song for Bobby Long
Someone didn’t check Scarlett Johansson’s ID, as the motherless sultress puffs away at a backwoods bar.
Uma Thurman untucks her white button-down shirt and asks for a rolled cigarette, Cowboy. When she takes a drag, the smoke winds between her long, pale fingers and crimson mouth. It’s sex in wrapped up in rolling paper — Thurman should make a habit of chain smoking.
Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke chain smoke through the entirety of this mid-nineties ode to Gen-X post-college slackerdom. Here, they’re walking, smoking, and kissing.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s sullen, eyelinered, missing-fingered Margot secrets away her smoking habit for most of Wes Anderson’s movie. Here, highlights of her slow drags and dark glower.
“You haven’t a cigarette, have you, Doc?” Marlene Dietrich purrs. The scene is a mix of blonde finger curls, black feathers, and Dietrich’s trembling hand as she finishes her cigarette alone on the Shanghai Express.
Thelma and Louise
Pitt, pre-pin-up, blows his way through burglary.
We Don’t Live Here Anymore
Affairs a la Dubus: Naomi Watts proves adultery is bad for the soul and worse for the lungs.
Let’s not forget that smoking’s really, really bad for you.