- Rated: R
- Run Time: 1 hours, 52 minutes
- Video: Color
- Released: March 4, 2003
- Originally Released: 1995
- Label: Miramax
- Encoding: Region 1 (USA & Canada)
- Packaging: Keep Case
- Interactive Features:
- Scene Access
- Interactive Menus
Performers, Cast and Crew:
Harvey Keitel &
Harold Perrineau, Jr. &
Baxter Harris &
Harvey Weinstein &
Director of Photography:
Memorable Quotes and Dialog:
"A photographer..."--Paul Benjamin (William Hurt) to Auggie Wren (Harvey Keitel)
"Well, let's not exaggerate. I take pictures. You line up what you want in the viewfinder and click the shutter. No need to mess around with all that artisto crap."
"I'll tell you what. Buy me lunch, my friend, and I'll tell you the best Christmas story you ever heard. How's that' And I guarantee every word of it is true."--Auggie to Paul
"It doesn't have to be true. It just has to be good."
Total Film - 07/01/2000
"...Near perfection....You'll be utterly charmed..." -- 4 out of 5 stars
Premiere - 12/01/1995
"...A funky potpourri....[The performances] hold it all together..." - Recommended
Rolling Stone - 06/29/1995
"...SMOKE is a sharply observant and witty film that plumbs unexpected depths of feeling..."
Entertainment Weekly - 06/23/1995
"...You'll want to inhale." -- Rating: B+
Variety - 02/20/1995
"...An extremely vibrant and interesting cast....There's plenty of amusing detail to flesh out the narrative..."
Chicago Sun-Times - 06/16/1995
"...SMOKE is a beguiling film....The movie is a delicate creation..."
In 1990, novelist Paul Auster was asked to contribute a Christmas story to the New York Times. The resulting piece, "Auggie Wren's Christmas Story," forms the basis for his screenplay for SMOKE. Directed by Wayne Wang and set in a Brooklyn cigar store, Auster expanded the story to include four other characters whose lives intertwine with Auggie Wren's. As Auggie, the manager of the store that serves as a neighborhood meeting place, Harvey Keitel gives a restrained, mellow performance. The other characters, Paul (William Hurt), a blocked writer; Rashid (Harold Perrineau Jr.), a troubled youth; Ruby (Stockard Channing), Auggie's former lover; and Cyrus (Forest Whitaker), Rashid's long-lost father, form a web of relationships over a few summer days. Auster, who had previously adapted his novel THE MUSIC OF CHANCE into a taut script, here exhibits a loose, almost improvisational style as he lets his characters simply talk about their lives. Wang eschews the big, somewhat melodramatic style he used in THE JOY LUCK CLUB for relaxed, natural direction that allows the actors, who are all terrific, to project an everyday realism seldom seen in American movies. The actual Christmas story appears at the end in a beautiful black-and-white montage, accompanied by a bittersweet Tom Waits song.
Description by Buena Vista Home Entertainment.:
In the tradition of THE BIG CHILL, William Hurt (TUCK EVERLASTING, CHANGING LANES) and Harvey Keitel (PULP FICTION, U-571) head an all-star cast in this unforgettably fun and entertaining motion picture! A group of people's lives intertwine when a New York cigar store manager, Auggie (Keitel), befriends them. Among them is a writer who can't write (Hurt), a reluctant father hiding from his past (Forest Whitaker -- PANIC ROOM), a streetwise teen with an unusual identity crisis, and Auggie's long-lost ex-girlfriend (Stockard Channing -- TV's THE WEST WING), who returns with some surprising news! Critics and audiences hailed SMOKE for its offbeat humor, unexpected wit, and dazzling performances -- you'll cheer it too!
A Brooklyn cigar shop plays host to author Paul Auster's series of connected, atmospheric vignettes. The shop owner and his customers--a writer's block-afflicted novelist, a confused teenager, a man struggling to start over, and the owner's ex-girlfriend--intermingle like the sweet emanations of a hand-rolled stogie.
Black Comedy |
Character Study |
Family Interaction |
Social Issues |
- Wayne Wang and Paul Auster took improvised footage not used in the final cut of this film as a basis for the movie BLUE IN THE FACE.
- SMOKE was winner of Italy's David di Donatello Award for Best Actor in a Foreign Film (Harvey Keitel), and the Special Jury Prize (second place) at the Berlin Film Festival of 1995.
- The film features early screen appearances by Ashley Judd and Harold Perrineau Jr.
- Screenwriter Paul Auster, author of novels such as THE NEW YORK TRILOGY and LEVIATHAN, went on to codirect BLUE IN THE FACE (with Wang) and direct his own film LULU ON THE BRIDGE, which also features Keitel and Perrineau Jr., and other actors from SMOKE.