He warned Britain and the United States about the rise of Adolf Hitler.
He fought the Nazi war machine alone until Russia and the United States joined him.
And he is a public health menace.
Winston Churchill, it seems, is rarely pictured without a cigar in tow.
And the new Churchill biographical film, “Darkest Hour,” wants you to know that “there are serious health risks associated with smoking and with secondhand smoke.”
That line is included in the film’s credits, which also say that “the depictions of tobacco smoking contained in this film are based solely on artistic consideration and are not intended to promote tobacco consumption.”
Not surprisingly, the warning did not distinguish between cigarette smoke, which is inhaled, and cigar smoke, which is not.
Gary Oldman, who delivered what many critics say is an Oscar-worthy performance of Winston Churchill, has a cigar between his lips in nearly every scene of the film. It’s often not even lit — true to history, as Churchill often simply chewed on a cigar before smoking it.
At one point in the film, Churchill smokes a cigar while riding the London Underground and chatting with delighted passengers. He continues puffing away as he leans in to greet a mother and her five-month old baby.
Historians and biographers have ridiculed the public health warning. Royal biographer Hugo Vickers quipped that the filmmakers should have also included a line in the credits stating, “Sir Winston Churchill lived to be 90.”