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Feature Film

Smoke-Free org targeting “Rango”

Haven’t seen Rango yet, but apparently the villain puffs a cigarette and the film is rated PG due to scenes of smoking. This has incensed the folks at Smoke Free Movies to start a campaign to get the animated film an R rating.

They took out an ad in the Hollywood trade papers last week to call attention to Rango and 21 other Oscar nominated films from 2010 (which include Alice In Wonderland and The Illusionist) that include scenes of characters smoking. Here’s an excerpt (below) from their full page advertisement published in the March 3rd Hollywood Reporter. See the full ad here.

  • Ridiculous. I’m all for a smoke free environment for everyone who chooses so, but I never felt disturbed by smoke on a screen. But stupidity gets its way everywhere, I’ve heard that in USA even movie classics had been botchered to eliminate any evidence of cigarettes – I’d refuse to watch the result.

    How do those people deal with films like “Smoking – No Smoking”? And, even more important: could they possibly cite any scientific study demonstrating the carcinogenic effects of nicotine on cartoon characters?

    • Robert

      sooo, when will we ban films with food, because 1/2 of the nation is obese?

      • Margaret

        Or movies with any bad guys period, since kids are obviously influenced by things they do.

    • ben c

      i wonder how they felt about the movie ‘thank you for smoking’ which features smoking, and also has an anti-smoking vibe. i’d call them hypocrites if they didn’t object to smoking in that movie but they did in these

      • MichaelHughes

        Thank you for Smoking does not feature any smoking on screen. You didn’t notice that?

      • That was probably the best joke in “Thank You For Not Smoking.”

  • Considering that the title character of RANGO has a definite Hunter S. Thompson (FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS) vibe — HST even makes a cameo appearance in one of the film’s trailers, driving the car that Rango gets splatted against the windshield of and wearing a shirt that matches Rango’s — the folks at Smoke Free Movies should be relieved that the baddies in RANGO are only smoking tobacco and not freeze-dried pineal glands or other twisted substances…

  • Karim

    I don’t smoke and definitely hate that, but that kind of rant is too much. So much time wasted on the wrong targets.

    R rating ? come on… P.C B.S!

    • Maybe it would be better to give an R-Rating to movies that include characters who believe in Political Correct Censorship, we really don’t need our kids exposed to that kind of thinking

  • Cyle

    I HATE cigarette smoke. I can’t stand it, and I wish everyone who smoked would quit… I also hate murder, violence, and crime but wouldn’t want those things banned from anything but R-rated films. A PG rating is completely fair. Maybe people are being harsher because it’s animated (although apparently this group has gone after several live action films too).

    PG stands for Parental Guidance, so if you don’t think it’s right for your kid or if they’re just too young, don’t take them to see it. I’m sure it isn’t right for some kids. That’s why it isn’t rated G. It’s not the filmmakers’ fault for not making the film they wanted. I’d understand if the movie somehow glorified smoking, but this seems ridiculous.

  • Erin Siegel

    R? For some smoke?
    Ya know, honestly the BIG reason why I didn’t smoke as a kid was two things: a) had no friends that did it and
    b) my parents made it clear they would kick my ass if they caught me with a cigarette.
    also c) didn’t like the smell.

    Now plenty of my friends parents smoked, but that only served to discourage me more since every time you walked in the house, you could barely breathe.

    But at no point, EVER, in my childhood did I consider using cigarettes because some cartoon character just happened to be smoking.

    Look I agree with not advertising smoking to children. Joe Camel isn’t my friend. But there’s a difference between having characters that HAPPEN to smoke and having characters that exist only to PROMOTE smoking. And it’s not like this is Carebears and a character smoking would be out of place. If anything, characters not smoking or drinking would be awkward in a film that’s a western. Ya know, where far far worse happens regularly in the course of the plot? You might as well argue against the use of guns in the film. There’s plenty of those too.

  • cbat628

    Not that I think that people should smoke, or kids should start smoking, but I think this campaign is blowing the scenes depicting smoking a little out of proportion. Also, wouldn’t giving Rango – a film that looks relatively harmless – an R rating give kids an incentive to see what makes the film so bad?

    • ZiggyStardust

      this. you give a movie R and make it controversial and the kids will do what ever it takes to see it. it wasn’t long ago I was doing the same thing.

      when I was younger I would sit through any garbage. seriously some of the worst movies around, simply because they were R

      • I remember sneaking to a friends house to watch Rocky Horror Picture Show because my mom always railed against it. Then I find out it’s just stupid crap, and to this day, I have no idea what the big deal is, whether someone loves it or hates it…

    • cbat628

      Definitely looking forward to this movie by the way.

  • I may not be interested in seeing Rango(But if my friends say its good, I’ll check it out). I sometimes question on how stupid people can be sometimes. Smoking has been seen in comics, video games, as well as live-action films. But when it comes to cartoons they think its bad? The film is PG for crying out! These people who complained about scenes with smoking should be put up in smoke.

  • I would think if your kid decided to emulate a villain from a movie then you, as a responsible parent, would have bigger problems than whether or not the villain smokes.

    Not in favour of it, just sayin’.

    • Silence Dogood


  • When I was a kid we were all going to become devil worshipers and drug users because we listened to Ozzy.
    Last I checked I am neither.

    • The Kids

      When I was a kid we were all going to become good for nothing skateboarders and constantly effed on psychedelics because we listened to Dinosaur Jr.
      Last I checked I was a giant penguin.

    • Luke

      Just like how all the kids now who watch Tom and Jerry are going to kill themselves with explosives.

  • When I was young, I watched A LOT of Looney Tunes and Tom & Jerry shorts with smoking scenes on them, and I didn´t become a smoker because of it. Stupid PC squad… >:(

  • Anonymous

    As usual, correlation does NOT imply causation! I can’t believe that anyone could say that exposure CAUSES kids to smoke. That’s just ridiculous. And an R rating seems completely overkill when they have already changed the rating to PG. I think this is being blown way out of proportion, even if it was intended to help kids.

  • Smoking is bad for you.

    I know that. You know that. My cousin (who is losing part of a lung next week) knows that for sure.

    The issue isn’t smoking. It’s bullies. There are people who want to tell you what to do, how to act, what to eat, wear and think.

    Sometimes its under the guise of “climate change”, sometimes its ‘animal rights’. This time its about fighting that old Boogyman, “smoking”. But in every case – it’s not about the betterment of society or saving the world. It’s about POWER.

    They want you to do what they say. So do it. You’ll be a better person.

    • Right on Steve!

    • pheslaki

      Argument would have been stronger without the climate change thing.

  • Chris

    What a bunch of babies.

  • ZiggyStardust

    you know those happy good message groups which go to schools and put on painfully lame plays about the dangers of smoking? as a kid they made me want to smoke, I didn’t want to end up like those people.

    just saying…….

  • AltredEgo

    The military approving and providing access worth millions of dollars to only movie scripts they “approve” and denying that same access to ones they don’t, that isn’t a problem.

    The spike in recruitment after a military-approved Top Gun film, that isn’t a problem.

    The merging of military propaganda and modern film making (ie. Iron Man), that doesn’t have a negative impact on kids.

    BUT kids watching a cartoon animal villain smoke, that’s worth a full-page protest ad.



  • Some people really need to grow up, and I’m not talkin’ about kids here. Just ridiculous! If it’s that much of a problem for you, don’t take your kids to go see it.

  • Richard Kish

    I live in Dutchess County NY…just south of Hyde Park. The home of former US president and New York governor Franklin Roosevelt.

    The “Welcome to Hyde Park” sign has a silhouette of FDR with his trademark cigarette holder in his mouth. There was a campaign to “erase” the cigarette holder, which was thankfully abandoned.

    I know…not quite the same as a cigarette smoking cartoon lizard, but you get the idea.

    PC Police working too much overtime these days!

  • Mr Gaines


    I just love it when folks like these say that “research shows” or “research finds”. Now, it´s no longer hearsay or a biased opinion, it´s SCIENCE.

    But as it´s always the case, they never point us to said “research”.

    • yep, just as vaguely scientific as the cigarette ads that used to claim “nine out of every ten doctors recommends chesterfields.”

  • Cyber Fox

    These people are dumb
    I never smoked in my life

    I watched a Disney cartoon “Pecos Bill” when i was a kid and it never encouraged me to smoke yet for some unknown reason Disney bastardized it on it’s DVD debut

    I witnessed characters like Lisa Raccoon (The Raccoons) puffing a ciggy or stuff much worse for a long time and did i smoke? Hell No!

    I didn’t smoke even during a the time my parents did either, They quit due to a fear of a tax hike on the stuff.

    The fact they want a R rating for a film about a CG cowboy lizard on the grounds of smoking is down right pathetic.. it dulves down to censorship, one of the ploys lazy parenting results into

    I won’t be surprised that the people behind that crackpot group are mostly parents that can’t raise their kids for s**t just like the friggin’ P.M.R.C back in the mid-1980s

  • Jorge Garrido

    They oughta ban smoking in films… but keep the western guns! Killing and shooting is a-okay!

  • I know smoking in films is bad, but don’t they think it’s kind of harsh to give a movie an R rating just because the villain puffs one?

  • uncle wayne

    well, that’s stupid. I’m 57, i have seen countless toons with cigars & cigarettes. I can (could) never STAND smoke. That never once impeded my luv for the films….OR having to have me want “to smoke!” That’d be as stupid as making all the villains in films NOT want to “kill someone!”

  • Some Girl

    Wow. seriously.
    I can’t stand smoke and I absolutly hate it. But
    come on now.
    This movie isn’t going to influence me to smoke a joint.
    That’s the point of a PG rating. Bring your parents kids if ya ain’t comfortable. But by all means, I suppose, you can’t have someone go without smoking in western type movies.

  • There’ll be politically-correct whiners so long as people react by doing exactly what they want.

  • They should stop showing people eating in movies, maybe that will help solve the obesity crisis in the U.S.

    Obesity kills more people every year than smoking does…

    These people have good intentions…but a little extreme, an R rating…come on people.

  • Ciggy

    Yeah, we should also remove every single cigarette from Bogart’s mouth! Because god forbid we keep a little culture in our films.

    And Rango is amazing for that very reason, it’s like a big F-U to uptight parents who buy their kids Baby Mozart CD’s thinking their kid is special. I loved it.

  • AaronSch

    The impeccable television series, “Mad Men” must drive these folks crazy. I feel like fanning the room when I watch an episode.

    The thing that irritates me the most about these “do-gooders” is that while many of them are seeking to make smokers second class citizens, many of the same ilk favor the legalization of marijuana.

    Hopefully, Americans will grow increasingly weary of those who seek to lecture the rest of us about our lifestyles. We’re not all gonna live forever and some of our behaviors will do us in quicker than others—but it’s our choice. We really need to start pushing back.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      That’s how I feel about the whole thing. Being lectured is not something we should be accepting in this country. I’m still on the opinion seeing villains smoking is OK, but up’ing the rating because of it is pathetic.

  • Another organization who thinks their responsibility is to parent our kids for us. Parent your own damn kids. We’ll take a gamble on ‘Rango’, you take your kids to see ‘Mars Needs Moms’ instead. Win-Win

  • Russell H

    Never mind smoking in animated films and TV, I see a greater danger to American kids from repeated exposure to animated films and TV featuring fart jokes, booger jokes, vomit jokes, lame pop-culture references, celebrity voice casting as a substitute for characterization, etc.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Face it, we lost “color” as I call it!

  • Katie M.

    Seeing as only the villains smoke, shouldn’t the people at Smoke Free Movies be happy? I mean, what kids look at cartoon villains and says “now there’s a good idea, I’ll make them my role model!”. If anything, the movie is somewhat villainizing smoking. Its not like Audrey Hepburn is up on screen making it look sexy.

  • Stan

    If the PC police so loathe guns and smoking, maybe the literal western is an off limits arena for children. This isn’t 1959. Star Wars put a twist on the genre in 1977 without using cigarettes and pulled it off.

  • Babies.

  • Sat

    Is this why the ratings in the United States are so weird? Everything seems to be rated R while it gets rated G or PG-13 over here.

  • TheBeezKneez

    Animation: None of the respect. 10 times the scrutiny.

  • snip2345

    This is the exact reason why Hollywood doesn’t take any risks so as to make an animated film different! Because people today are paranoid!

  • As a smoker, clearly then I should be Rated R and not be allowed to be seen by children.

  • chipper

    I hate all forms of smoking, but it’s a cartoon. Lizards don’t talk either, and I don’t think kids will smoke because a cartoon character did. Isn’t it peer pressure that leads to this type of thing?

    Besides, it’s a villain. He’s bad. Smoking’s bad. Mmmkay.

  • Paul N

    Um, it’s a western, from the look of it. Characters smoke in westerns.

  • The Scarlet Pumpernickel

    If we see you smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action.
    ~Douglas Adams

  • AJ

    Smoking! I would be more concerned with the retarded level of writing that passes as childrens entertainment. Where the hell is that group we could actually use one of them hell, i’d join them. if children are our future I would like them to be competant at handeling it.

  • Sean P

    Guess what contemporary American viewers, animated films are more than kids films.

  • Ryoku90

    They can censor smoking all they want but you can still go to your local store and chat with someone puffing away, what good does it do?

    I myself do not like smoking at all, but censoring smoking in animation won’t help much. If anything it should be allowed and the side-effects should be shown with it.

  • Dave O.

    Please. This organization is wasting its time. If I were making a film, I would go out of my way to include depictions of smoking just to spite their censorious nonsense.

  • PeteR

    Why care about smoking with a cartoon this ugly and juvenile? We saw a screening in L.A. yesterday and it’s just plain bad.

  • Don’t people have better things to do?

    • AJ

      no they really don’t. It’s why they ruin our fun they need to have their otherwise pointless exsistance varified by getting in the way. It is just childish attention seeking.

  • anonyMoose

    there’s no reason to punish films for lackadaisical parenting

  • Caresse

    In no way shape or form is parenting easy, I know it takes a village and I know that without actually having experienced it, I can’t honestly empathize. But I am an aunt and I do take that responsibility seriously and when I see my three year old nephew running around talking about guns because he watches his dad play video games, I sit him down and talk about it.

    The outside world exists, and sure as a parent or guardian you want to shield your children from the realities of it for as long as possible. But that’s just not a practical approach.

    Animation has always been about exaggeration and acting has always involved subtle indications of the character’s psyche. Smoking – and any form of substance abuse – goes hand in hand with an incapacity to handle certain realities. I’m not a cigarette smoker, but I do have my vices, and I do admit it’s because I simply have not figured out another way to deal with certain things.

    That a villain – a character that is so mentally trapped in one narrow path of thinking, so mentally induced to be vindictive or otherwise “evil” – smokes, makes perfect sense. And having a child see that in a movie gives a parent a perfect opportunity to discuss with the child the state of mind of people they may come across in life who may be in a rut.

    I don’t know about everyone but I’d love to contribute to a generation of introspective thinkers instead of sheltered ignorance.

  • Oliver

    “R”? Why stop at R? Make it NC-17 — and while we’re at it, let’s lobby for a Constitutional Amendment so’s we can do to cigarettes what Prohibition did to beer.

    Because we all know how successful that was, right?

  • ASaurous

    From the website:

    “Many people in the film industry have collaborated on getting tobacco into 75% of U.S. movies since 1999. Now that we know the deadly effect this exposure has on our kids, it’s time for the film community to adopt reasonable, effective solutions. Silence is no longer an option.”


    “Once fiercely independent principalities, major studios are now owned by giant media conglomerates. If studios simply announced they would not distribute kid-rated movies with smoking, this problem would be solved tomorrow.”

    Something tells me that these people have little to no idea how the world of film, specifically animation, works.

    You know, It’s been drummed into me since I was born that smoking is horrible for me, I’ve seen preserved lungs racked and blackened with emphysema, and I’ve had relatives who practically had to have holes drilled in their throats so they could breathe (before they died). And I’ve seen plenty of films, of all ilk, where smoking has negative effects on people. Seen the King’s Speech Lately? Lionel even told Bertie that he believed smoking was toxic, and the real life king ended up dying of lung cancer in real life.

    All the evidence is there, and if people still aren’t going to listen and cut it out, then we can’t be blamed for general idiocy. Movies don’t cause that.

    Also, is there anyone who’s actually in the industry who can tell me if a tobacco lobbyist ever walked up to them and said, “Hey, put a smoking character in your movie, we’ll sell 75% more cigarettes!”

  • Tony C

    Smoking looks pretty damn cool though. To my own shame this is not an ironic statement.

    R rating though? Not a realistic goal is it?

  • Pedro Nakama

    Hey they got Pecos Bill to quit.

  • Warhead

    It’s political correctness gone HORRIBLY wrong.

  • Clint

    Y’know, I’m surprised how little things such as smoking in movies can set people off. One, it’s the VILLIANS who smoke and we’re supposed to disagree with their actions (even though they’re the best part of any movie), and two, the film isn’t even concerned on smoking. It’s about a Johnny Depp chameleon who becomes the sheriff of a western town! Lighten up!

  • Sorry the only real answer to this is a loud and vein popping FUCK OFF!
    Pardon me.
    Oh and while you’re at it. Cartoon Characters have NO need of seat belts.

  • JD

    The drag that Tom takes (from Texas Tom) on his hand rolled, Jerry licked cigarette has got to be X rated. What were my parents thinking? :p

  • Heart disease exceeds cancer as a cause of death in the US. Should we also ban all junk food from pg movies? Personally, i’d like to see less movies unintentionally promoting consumer vices, but enforcement is scarier than endorsement. Besides, burgers, hotdogs, icecreams, and cigarettes are too easy and fun to draw.

  • Holy crap, are you kidding me?
    “Mommy, the lizards are smoking, can I smoke too?”
    These people are too f***g stupid for words.

  • Purin

    Is it possible to be against something without taking a dogmatic, zero tolerance and no exceptions stance toward it?

    Smoking is bad, yes. Cigarette companies pushing to have characters who smoke while knowing it was addictive was bad.

    However, there are people in the world who smoke, both good and bad, and, while one does need to be careful of what children might emulate from what they see, I think it’s misleading to think of any and everything that happens in a children’s film as being the action of role models.

  • Judging from the trailers, there’s a little girl creature in that movie who’s toting around guns.

    I’m surprised no one’s complaining about that.

  • Justin Delbert

    You know what? This whole “you smoke in movie, we give you R rating” crap should have been old news by now. Seeing that it’s a new movie is not bothering me; what bothers me is putting an R rating on classics and then ban them (or so the rumor goes), but they were around the time when the dangers of smoking weren’t out there. Hey! Nobody at the Cartoon Network went after Tom and Jerry yet because of smoking (Texas Tom comes in mind, and for those who are familiar with Tom and Jerry know what I’m talking about). I’m sure that if parents explain to their children the harmful effects about smoking, Rango should be fine. A while back when we left from the movie, Kangaroo Jack, my mother told me, “Now don’t you repeat some of the words they say.”

  • Corey

    Villains SHOULD smoke! A good villain should do the opposite of what you want your kids to do.

    What a bunch of retards.

  • Keegan

    It’s a shame because I love to draw characters smoking.

  • Bugsmer

    Rated R? Like for the edited version of “The Last Rango In Paris”, or for “Rango and Cash”? Perhaps this scandalous, adults-oriented movie is a prequel.

  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qonoSLZHL38

    Why Pinnchio “should also be rated R” like Rango.

  • People like these are the reason we can’t have head shooting gags anymore.

  • J.M

    Hey Kids, guess what, real people (not lizards) smoke in real life .

    Folks at Smoke Free, get over it.

    Ridiculous, but not as ridiculous as those people who go over humphrey bogarth flicks to erase the smoking digitally.

  • What is the plot point that needs a lizard to smoke a cigarette?

    • Teafly

      It’s not plot, it’s character. Villains in children’s entertainment today aren’t villainous because of organizations like this. You have characters that wear capes and have the ‘evil laughter’ but they don’t DO anything evil.

      I feel sorry for kids today!

      Look, if you want to buy afterlife points and protect kids from smoking, do it at schools, or even put in some money for advertising, but leave storytelling & film out of it.

  • Mike

    Don’t these geniuses realize that giving Rango an R rating and making such a fuss would just make kids want to see it more? Besides, it’s up to parents to dictate what their children watch, not some “issue” group.

  • vineet

    anyone saw the 6 minute preview of Rango? It appeared super appealing to me, and its getting pretty good reviews.

    Anyways, here’s the link to the preview

  • Jeanie

    omg! I was just saying how if Pinocchio was made in the 21st century parents would have an uproar about all the smoking and gambling. Smoking makes Rango an R rating? This is pure BS!

  • This makes me very angry.

  • Demetre

    It always makes me wonder what’s the real reason behind this campaign. I mean they seem so adamant in condemning cigarettes, to the degree that they’re willing to take it out of old movies, most of the public wouldn’t watch or see or remove it from stamps.

  • Simply SHOWING something on screen does not advocate it. Bah. When people start quacking about cigarette smoke needing an R rating, it just feels like an attempt to diminish the seriousness of other things. Its insulting to put it on the same level as decapitations and rape scenes.

    There were smoking scenes in Pinnochio.. some of my favorite scenes. Judging by how viscerally disgusted they made me, they probably contributed to the fact that I am a non-smoker, despite both parents and my brother being so.

  • Oliver

    ‘The Social Network’ depicts COCAINE abuse and it’s still only PG-13!

  • Alissa

    It worries me more that these people are so concerned that children will attempt to emulate a cartoon. Whatever happened to distinguishing fantasy from reality?

    Oh, wait. We live in a society where parents took children to see ‘Kick Ass’ because it had a little girl as a character and was a superhero movie. Then they complained about excessive violence.

    Bah. Cigarettes smell bad, only villains should smoke them anyway.

  • This group is forgetting the most obvious message here… bad guys do BAD things! Like smoke, eh?

  • Tory

    I am a poor starving artist but I would be willing to put up a few cents, literally, to buy some ad space to counter these politically correct cultural terrorists. Let’s get together and buy some ad space countering the pc police and how they are destroying our culture.

  • people smoke.

  • The Gee

    After looking at the ad, it was timed for the Oscars.
    “Rango” is being released. It has a PG rating (not PG-13, or anything worse for it).

    The group is a bit too late to change the rating “Rango” gets, *if* they could even impact a change.

    Unless some cartoon is absolutely glamorizing smoking, I doubt it has much to worry about, whether the cartoon is a feature film or some TV show. Does that group pounce on cartoons that denigrate smoking or ridicules smokers? I don’t know for sure but I doubt it does.

  • Peter J Casey

    Bullshit. I grew up watching bugs bunny puff a smoke every now and then and I’m no smoker.

  • Thom Foolery

    You know Jerry, you really should have included a warning at your last Animation Tuesday that clearly stated there would be scenes of smoking hobos and tinmen. Think of the children!

  • cartoon villains smoke

    if children start smoking because they saw a cartoon smoke, they have shitty parents.

  • Simon Stahl

    Kids only smoke to rebel against their domineering parents who try to get smoking taken out of movies.