7 Memorable Whisky Drinking Scenes on Film

As the hero pushes open the door to a bar in a forlorn desert on the Wild West, a murmur rises and settles down, along with ages-old dust inside a dimly-lit salon. He walks up to the bar counter, tilts his hat to a side, and orders a glass of straight bourbon. As he’s about to swig the remnants of the whisky in his glass, gunfire erupts in the background. If you’re familiar with this series of events, chances are you’re a film buff. If cinema is your drug and whisky your poison, this is the article for you. Read on to discover some of the most memorable scenes on the silver screen featuring the golden tipple.

Apocalypse Now (1979)

The film is epic, no questions asked. Set in the singed backdrop of the Vietnam War, Francis Ford Coppola’s rich visuals leave a burning impression in our heads long after the film has ended. Martin Sheen got under the skin of his onscreen persona and shot the film drunk on alcohol. In the opening sequence, Sheen can be seen lying on his bed, staring up at the ceiling, downing a bottle of whisky before punching the mirror. Dark, gritty, and intense, there has hardly been any other scene in Hollywood cinema that can give Apocalypse Now competition when it comes to intensity.

The Shining (1980)

If there ever was an award for the world’s scariest father, Jack Torrence would take it home. Just as the film starts to get even darker and creepier, Jack is seen cradling a glass of bourbon-- nothing less than Jack Daniels. As his delirium builds, a mysterious barman Llyod appears, mostly a silent companion to Jack who rants about his family.

Withnail & I (1987)

The only film on the list that is about binge-drinking. To say that the eponymous protagonist Withnail drinks like a fish is an understatement. His repertoire of drinks includes a whopping 13 whiskies! Kid you not, Withnail chugs everything from beer and whisky to, hold your breath, lighter fluid! If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, try 13 whiskies in a row but give the lighter fluid a miss.

28 Days Later (2002)

This zombie fest not only defined the horror genre, but accommodated a cameo for the Lagavulin 16 Year Old. The scene in question is a looting spree where four bottles of Lagavulin can be seen stolen, with the golden engraving on the flagship green packaging peeking from the loot. Well, might as well sip on some whisky before apocalypse strikes! Can’t fault the scriptwriters with this one, can we?

Lost In Translation (2003)

An ageing Hollywood star is flown all the way to Tokyo to shoot an ad for Suntory’s famous Hibiki whisky. Bob Harris is seen ruefully trying to keep up with the antics of his Japanese director while he fondles a glass of Japan’s finest. Harris may be lost, but the sunny tipple nestled in Harris’s hand makes for a memorable appearance of Hibiki on the silver screen.

Anchorman (2004)

Will Ferrell gave a very memorable performance as a local San Diego TV anchor. But what stands out most in this comedy is the famous scotch song. For all who’ve watched the film, drinking a glass of scotch would never be the same after the ‘Scotchy, Scotch, Scotch’ song. In hindsight, scotch is liquid happiness and Ron Burgundy’s ecstatic jig only does justice to the warmth a glass of scotch brings with itself.

Skyfall (2012)

Bond may be well-known for his martinis shaken, but there’s no stopping him from loving a good glass of scotch. The scene in question is a particularly suave one which has 007 downing a shot of the 50-Year Old Macallan before shooting his enemies to the ground and taking the notorious Silva captive. Talk of drinking in style, and no one can do it better than Bond.