Drinking whisky can certainly bring an air of sophistication and strength to the characters that sip upon it on screen. Some characters are even famed for their whisky-inclusive scenes. We take a look at some of our top whisky moments in the movies:
You wouldn’t think that that echoing sound of ice cubes clinking in the whisky glass would be as chilling as the ice itself, but it certainly manages to be in Kubrick’s take on The Shining. The festering evil lurking within Jack Torrance certainly emerges as he indulges in a bottle of Jack Daniels. The scene is satisfyingly sinister, particularly after we discover the truth about the barman, Lloyd, “the best damn barman from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine… and Portland Oregon for that matter”. Spoiler alert: he’s not real- Jack has gone mad, possibly as he has been trapped in a hotel with no Wi-Fi for some time…
Watch the haunting scene here:
The iconic crime thriller movie features one of the greatest whisky-related scenes, when Tommy DeVito (played by Joe Pesci), tries to order a Cutty and water. Spider, the bartender, doesn’t hear the order and pays the price in true gangster fashion; with a few bullets to the foot. The dram in question, the Cutty Sark, has long been connected with the likes of gangsters, sailors and bootleggers, having been named after a British clipper ship from the 19th Century. It is certainly the drink of choice for thrill seekers, and it has even been sipped in space, with astronaut Gordon Cooper smuggling a 5cl bottle of the whisky on board for the 1963 Mercury 9 Mission!
Watch the gangsters in action here:
Of course, the first drink you think of when you think of Bond will be the infamous vodka martini (“shaken not stirred”), but 007 has also enjoyed his fair share of whisky. You Only Live Twice, featuring Sean Connery as Bond, saw the British spy sipping on Suntory whisky while in Japan. During the 90s, Connery himself starred in adverts for the whisky brand. While martinis remain the most connected to Bond, he has enjoyed many different beverages over the years, from Champagne to Heineken, and even turning to Cuban cigars in Die Another Day!
In more recent entries to the Bond franchise, 007 appears to have turned back to the whisky though, only trading in the Suntory for the Macallan. Raoul Silva, Skyfall’s villain, offers Bond a shot of 50-year-old Macallan, noting that it is “a particular favourite of yours, I understand”. When the shot is placed on the head of Bond girl, Severine, for him to shoot off, James deliberately misses, declaring that it would have been a ‘waste of Scotch’. Following the film, a bottle of The Macallan 1962, which had been signed by cast members including Daniel Craig and Javier Bardem, was sold at charity auction for nearly £10,000!
Check out Bond in action here:
Lost In Translation
Following on from Connery’s links to Suntory whisky, Lost In Translation acts as something of a Hollywood in-joke, with Bill Murray playing Bob Harris, an ageing actor who has sold-out to advertise Suntory whisky in exchange for a $2 million paycheck. As a nod to the James Bond connection, the photographer for the ad shoot asks Harris to pose with the whisky glass as Roger Moore, although Harris wryly suggests that Sean Connery would be a better fit. The scene typifies the way Harris is ‘Lost in Translation’!
See the scene here:
Kingsman: The Secret Service
The epitome of gentlemanly spies, the well-dressed dapper chaps of the Kingsman Secret Service certainly appreciate the finer things in life, such as the Dalmore 62. Agent Lancelot battles some bad guys before rescuing a glass of the fine Scotch, otherwise destined to hit the ground in the chaos. Without letting a drop hit the floor, he stands with a tumbler in hand and quips that “it’d be a shame to spill any, don’t you think?” And it certainly would be a shame to spill any of this single malt Scotch, as it is the most expensive retail bottle of whisky, having last been sold at auction in 2011 for $200,000!
Withnail and I
If you’re looking for a movie about alcohol then you need look no further than this 80s cult classic. If you attempted to catch up with the characters in this movie drink for drink, you would most likely die, although that hasn’t stopped people (mostly students) from trying! While whisky certainly isn’t the only alcohol featured in the film, it is regularly sipped upon, and at one point a quadruple Whisky is even poured! In total, the titular character Withnail is shown to drink around ten glasses of red wine, two and a half shots of gin, six glasses of sherry, thirteen measures of Scotch whisky, half a pint of cider, half a pint of ale and a shot of lighter fluid (which is thankfully commonly substituted with vinegar).
Check out this funny clip from the movie:
Are there any whisky-filled scenes from films that you love that we have missed? Let us know in our comments!
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