There’s no one we’d rather be in our later years than Rick Blaine (With the possible exception of Obi-Wan Kenobi). Not only does the man own a bar, but he’s as hard as a rock, unmovable and unchanging. “I stick my neck out for nobody,” he quips. And he does it all with a trademark cigarette too.
Why it makes us want to smoke? Arthur Edeson’s incredible cinematography does the impossible on two accounts: it makes World War II look fun and smoking look alluring, even with the knowledge that Bogart died aged 57 from cancer.
“Can you roll me one of those, cowboy?” If Tarantino had any morals, Travolta’s response to Uma Thurman in Jack Rabbit Slim’s would have been, “Sorry Miss. Wallace, but if I do that you might curl up and die. Which wouldn’t make your husband – and my boss – happy. In fact, he’d probably chop my balls off.”
Instead Vincent Vega willingly rolls her one, the pair bond over it and consequentially share one of the most sexually charged scenes in cinema.
Why it makes us want to smoke? Here’s an excerpt from the script: “The Young Man has a slight working-class English accent and, like his fellow countryman, smokes cigarettes like they're going out of style.” So in effect, if we didn’t smoke, we’d be calling the man who made Reservoir Dogs a liar.
“Light 'em if you got 'em,” advises Sergeant Al Powell to John McClane in McTiernan’s genuine masterpiece, and by god he takes the advice to heart. Despite chaining his way through a pack of cigs, Willis still has the energy to pull off several death-defying stunts. And instead of wheezing afterward, he comes out with some of the best quips in cinema.
Why it makes us want to smoke? Because it gives us hope that despite a twenty a day habit, we too can fend off terrorists, protect our families and abseil down buildings with just a fire hose.