20 Films about... Drugs & Alcohol
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De Palma's Scarface best embodies the "drug lord" film, even though it is based on a movie that had no elements of mind-altering substances. Tony Montana's struggle with his cocaine empire proves to be fascinating.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Darren Aronofsky paints a poignant and harrowing film that delves into the lives of four different drug addicts, and the various ways that their addiction cripples them physically, emotionally, and mentally.
Easy Rider (1969)
The ultimate anti-authoritarian film about two bikers that endure a marijuana and LSD laced roadtrip where they encounter both sides of the counterculture movement: a hippie commune and closed-minded townfolk.
The ultimate marijuana film, about two Chicano stoners who, after a series of mishaps, end up in Mexico trying to smuggle weed & perform in a battle of the bands contest.
Maria Full of Grace (2004)
A terrifying look at the drug trade world, about a seventeen year old Colombian girl who, when faced with an unexpected pregnancy and it's financial repercussions, agrees to be a heroin drug mule.
Days of Wine and Roses (1963)
A public relations man and his new secretary wife spiral out of control in their alcoholism, ultimately leading them to deal with the repercussions of their addiction and enter Alcoholics Anonymous.
A heroin addict attempts to overcome his addiction, but his close group of addict friends keep thwarting his every move
Reefer Madness (1936) (2002)
Two squeaky clean teens try marijuana for the first time, which catapults them through a world of promiscuity, atheism, & murder. Originally funded by a Church group, and meant as a morality tale for parents to use against cannabis use, when the film was rediscovered in the 70's, it became unintentional comedy and cult hit
The ultimate Gonzo film, Fear and Loathing explores the antics of two men who take Vegas by storm in a psychoactive laced stupor.
Based on the British tv series "Traffik", this film explores the illegal drug trade from a number of perspectives: a user, an enforcer, a politician, and a trafficker.
Prozac Nation (2003)
A Harvard University English student deals with her clinical depression by abusing anti-depressant medication.
Jacob's Ladder (1990)
Set in 1975, a Vietnam veteran has grotesque hallucinations and has difficulty separating reality from memories & imagination, a direct side affect of performance drugs administered by the U.S. Army.
Two Asian-American stoners get an awful case of the munchies, and go on an all-night wild goose chase for the fast food joint White Castle, leading to a series of mishaps involving cops, sex, and Neil Patrick Harris.
The Man with the Golden Arm (1956)
Newly released from jail, a heroin addict has difficulty adjusting to life outside bars, partly due to a manipulative drug dealer & a smothering wife.
A biopic about the American cocaine smuggler George Jung, and his complications with Mexican druglords.
Altered States (1980)
A professor of abnormal psychology begins testing himself with mind altering drugs while in a sensory-deprivation flotation tank.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
A suicidal alcoholic decides he's going to drink himself to death in Las Vegas, but forms an accidental relationship with a hardened prostitute.
King of New York (1990)
A former drug lord returns from prison, determined to wipe out his competition and distribute the profits of his operations to New York's poor & lower classes. Robin Hood for the drug world.
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
Bob Hughes and his fellow "family" of drug addicts travel across the U.S. Pacific Northwest in the early 1970s, supporting their habit by robbing pharmacies and hospitals.
The lives of everyday people involved in a methamphetamine ring become humorous and tangled, including the dealer Spider Mike, his jealous girlfriend, her best friend, the cook, an addict youth, their lesbian neighbor, and a young man named Ross.
Mind-altering substances have been the topic of film since the dawn of cinema. However, this is a compilation of the best films about the topic. From quirky stoner comedies, to stories about serious addiction, film has always showed both sides of America's favorite past time.
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