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Best Drug Movies Of All Time

Jamie is a freelance writer for the entertainment site The Pyrrhic. She loves all things pop culture, the more obscure the better.

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Best Drug Movies Of All Time

By no means do I want to glorify drug addiction or abuse in this article. In real life, it's a tragedy experienced by many. The consequences are severe, far-reaching, and certainly not entertaining.

But in the movie world, there's something thrilling about watching a movie focused on drugs unfold. It's captivating, gritty, and kept in a neat little bubble up there on the screen. We can stare on in slack-jawed amazement or open-mouthed horror - and never have to worry about the real-life applications.

Without further ado, I present my list: The Best Drug Movies Of All Time

Requiem For A Dream

Released in 2000, this movie explores what happens to 4 people when the illusion created by drug use is shattered. Contains heroin, cannabis, MDMA, and uppers.

Requiem For A Dream

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Starring Johnny Depp, this loosely resembles elements of writer Hunter S. Thompson's life. Based on his book of the same name, it features drug-addled "good times" marked by a furious undercurrent raging against the deterioration of "the American dream." Drugs contained in this movie, much like Hunter S. Thompson's actual life, seem to be just about everything - marijuana, LSD, opiates, amphetamines, and more.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas - The Movie

Trainspotting

While there is some humor included, this is an often-times terrifying and brutally honest portrayal of drug abuse and addiction. If you're looking for something relatively realistic to truly understand the despair addicts face, this may be your choice,

Ewan MacGregor plays as Mark Renton, a heroin addict. He and his friends, most of whom are addicts as well, lead a messy and chaotic life. But they don't care, too buoyed on by their reliance on drugs, and lacking the support or influence that might help them consider other options. Renton finally decides he's had enough and tries to get clean - but it's not so easy to walk away from that world after all.

American Gangster

A fictional retelling of the crimes of Frank Lucas, a gangster who smuggled heroin into the United States. Lucas used planes returning from Vietnam after the Vietnam war to bring heroin stateside. Many of the real-life people portrayed in the movie say that creative license was taken, and events do not necessarily mirror reality - but it was an entertaining movie anyway. Film features heroine and cocaine.

American Gangster

best-drug-movies-of-all-time

Blow

In this biopic, Johnny Depp stars as George Jung. Jung was a cocaine smuggler in the 70's, and claims he brought in as much as 85 percent of all the cocaine in America at that time. Drugs in the movie include cocaine (obviously) and cannabis.

Blow

Drugstore Cowboy

In this 1970's-set movie, a bunch of pill-popping junkies rob drugstores and manage to evade the law for awhile. Released in 1989, it's loosely based on real life. James Fogle was a thief and addict who was later arrested. He turned these crimes into fiction for a novel of the same name, later made into the movie.

Drugstore Cowboy

best-drug-movies-of-all-time

Pulp Fiction

This 1994 crime film is a rather unorthodox and violent look at several stories taking place among criminals in LA. The narration occurs out of order, telling three stories in all. Eventually, the three stories resolve, having established connections that relate the stories together. Drug use includes cocaine, heroin and marijuana.

The Basketball Diaries

Based on an autobiographical novel of the same name by Jim Carroll, it depicts Carroll's teen years as a promising basketball player and writer who finds his life derailed by addiction. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jim. Heroin, cocaine and cannabis are depicted in this film.

Beautiful Boy

This tale lets us look at a family dealing with addiction over many years. Based off the memoirs of a father and son, we see the process as it unfolds - recovery, relapse, recovery, relapse. As those with drug addiction will often share, you're always an addict, no matter how long it's been since you last used.

Beautiful Boy

Dazed and Confused

If you've had enough of the intense and serious drug movies, Dazed and Confused takes a much lighter look at it. It's a coming of age movie that follows a group of teenagers celebrating the last day of school.

Set in 1976, it reflects a fairly typical group of high school kids for that time. There's some drinking, some pot and LSD, but it's a more casual "kids will be kids" tone.

Dazed and Confused

best-drug-movies-of-all-time

Friday

This is a stoner comedy following two friends who become indebted to their local drug dealer. Unemployed and unable to pay him, they go through a series of shenanigans trying to find the money.

Friday was well reviewed, and is something of a cult classic. It inspired two other films - Next Friday and Friday After Next.

Friday

Up in Smoke

Like Friday, Up in Smoke is another classic stoner buddy comedy. Up in Smoke features the classic "toking and joking" duo - Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong.

Cheech and Chong unknowingly end up in possession of a van made entirely out of weed - no, that's not a typo, that's really what happens. This movie was the duo's first feature-length film, and is widely credited for establishing the "stoner film" as a genre.

Up in Smoke

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Jamie Dixon

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