Cigarettes & Coffee

Cigarettes & Coffee

Cigarettes & Coffee is a 1993 short film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Philip Baker Hall. It tells the story of five people connected through a twenty-dollar bill. The film helped launch the career of Anderson and was used as a basis for his first feature film, Hard Eight (1996).


Older Man:
[the older man removes a cigarette from the pack, taps both ends on the table twice, then strikes a match and lights the cigarette before placing it in an ashtray]

Older Man:
...and then, then we will talk about making sense of the matter. Once the coffee is poured, and the tip of the cigarette is lit, and placed in the ashtray, then, we will address the matter. We focus our attention when the time comes. When the coffee has been poured...

Younger Man:
- "poured and the cigarette has been lit" yeah, but sometimes these things, they can't wait.

Older Man:
Well, that's a common mistake.

Younger Man:
...what is?

Older Man:
Not to wait, until the coffee is poured, and the cigarettes are lit.

Younger Man:
Look, uh, this tradition, this matter of doing things in neat little boxes, it's um, a matter of making urgency wait, is what it is. I get the feeling that following these, these guidelines, these instructions of waiting for the coffee to be poured and all that is only going to get in the way of what I'm trying to tell you.

Older Man:
[Referring to his cigarette] Now I'm going to light this. And I'm going to wait for the coffee to be poured. Because that is the correct order of business. And I'm gonna make myself comfortable first and I think you oughta do the same thing. Otherwise, this thing of urgency, that you have to tell me is gonna, it's gonna be like a conversation in two passing cars on a highway. Yeah, you're right, it is a matter of tradition. And that's why we have these things. That's why we have this coffee and these cigarettes. You understand? I'm talking about our bonfires for today - look, you have something to tell me, something you wanna say?

Younger Man:

Older Man:
So, we're gonna sit around our bonfire of coffee and cigarettes, and you're gonna share your story. But - we wait, until the coffee is poured.

Younger Man:
[the younger man takes a cigarette, lights it and begins to smoke]

Older Man:
Good. Now, what is it, over cigarettes and coffee, here in the middle of this desert, along this highway, in this place? What is it that you want to tell me?

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    "Cigarettes & Coffee Quotes." STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 27 Sep. 2021. <>.

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