The Start of the Zippo Legend
The simple lines of the Zippo and its distinctive click when the top was opened gave just that much more feeling of reality to a film. It would become a trademark of certain movie characters or styles in the same way as a trench coat.
During World War II the Zippo factory channeled all its production toward the use of the lighters by military personnel.
Some examples of the use of Zippo lighters are seen in the film From Here to Eternity when Donna Reed lights Montgomery Clift's cigarette. Also Errol Flynn used a Zippo lighter in the movie Operation Burma.
In another Vietnam War movie, Apocalypse Now, a Zippo was used in the beginning of the movie to engender an ghostly mood.Michael Douglas' Zippo lighter ignited a hundred-dollar bill to make a fiery point in Black Rain. A Zippo lighter served as the penultimate weapon in Bruce Willis' one-man war on terrorism in Die Hard, and worked so well that he used it again in Die Harder.
Zippos as Stars Today
Zippos continue to be the stars of lighters in more modern movies.
In the movie Lethal Weapon III composer Eric Clapton use the click sound of the Zippo as part of the elements of the movie score.
It's almost harder to count the films where a Zippo hasn't been used than it is to count the times when it has.
Zippos will certainly continue to get top movie lighter billing in future films and shows.