The action-packed, sexy true story of Don Aronow, the larger-than-life speedboat champion and multimillionaire whose mysterious murder shocked the world in 1987.
In the middle of a typically brutal New Jersey winter, millionaire construction magnate Don Aronow (John Travolta) suddenly relocates his wife Shirley (Mira Sorvino) and kids to Miami Beach. He leaves behind his profitable business, a stunning antique car collection, and his very home, desperate for a fresh start.
Once in Miami, he tries to figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. He has connections…shady connections…mob connections. But he wants to succeed on his own without their muscle behind him. He immediately falls in love with powerboat racing and purchases a boat. He hires a throttle man and enters the prestigious Miami to Nassau Race – and damn near wins it, but his boat overheats and strands him in the middle of the ocean.
Once bitten by the bug, Aronow sets out to construct the perfect powerboat and to become a champion racer. His first company, Formula Marine, introduced innovations to the speedboat that became standard. He quickly built up the value of the company and sold it for millions. He founded Magnum Marine in 1966. The following year, he won his first championship. But he poured so much capital into racing that he was unable to keep up. So he placed a call to his mob benefactor, the notorious Meyer Lansky.
With Meyer as a partner, Aronow becomes a respected earner for the mob. His Cigarette boat and racing become iconic brands. He develops a rivalry with Meyer’s nephew Ben Kramer (Pitbull or equivalent), a hot head marijuana trafficker. Aronow makes more money than he can spend, but grows tired of being the mob’s errand boy. His womanizing drives his wife away, and he marries Lillian, a smart and gorgeous blueblood.
His boats, racing exploits and gregarious personality make him famous. He sells boats to everyone from The Beatles to George HW Bush. In Bush he sees an opportunity to go completely legit, to free himself from servitude to the mob. When Bush becomes Vice President, he negotiates for Aronow to provide boats to the customs service and the DEA for use in the war on drugs. But Kramer forces Aronow to turn the company over to him.
Fed up, Aronow vows to fight back. But soon, he finds himself in the midst of a money-laundering investigation involving Kramer and the entire mob.
With the walls closing in around him, Aronow realizes that a forthcoming subpoena may be the only thing that saves his life.
Cigarette is a sexy, fast paced true story of a true original, Don Aronow, played by John Travolta in a career-defining performance.