Drug abuse, addiction, manufacturing, and distribution have all been depicted time and time again on the silver screen, and we’ve done our best to identify the top ten. Cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines…we’ve got ‘em all. So here they are — our best movies about drugs and drug addiction.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
The most horrifying depiction of drug addition is Aronofsky’s second feature film. Ellen Burstyn was nominated for an Academy Award for her unforgettable performance as Sara Goldfarb. Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans turn in equally impressive roles.
Easy Rider (1969)
Perhaps the best road film in American history, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper star as drug dealers on their famous motorcycles. One of the classic films of the American counterculture and one of the best movies about drugs.
Steven Soderbergh’s film of interwoven storylines focuses on cocaine, heroin, and the U.S. War on Drugs. It took home four Academy Awards – Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The most recent film on this list depicts just about every type of drug imaginable and has, unsurprisingly, led to an exponential increase in internet searches for “quaaludes”. DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were each nominated for Academy Awards for their acting in this movie about drugs, greed, and corruption.
American Gangster (2007)
Headlined by two Academy Award winning actors, Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, American Gangster follows the life of Frank Lucas and his heroin empire in the 1960s and 70s. American Gangster definitely goes the extra mile in chronicling manufacturing and distribution in a way that most movies about drugs don’t.
Trainspotting was the second feature film for both director Danny Boyle and actor Ewan McGregor. Heroin is the drug of choice in the film, whose screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award.
Winter’s Bone (2010)
Methamphetamines in the Ozarks leads to a cruel, dark existence perhaps best portrayed in Winter’s Bone. This film brought Jennifer Lawrence widespread critical acclaim and an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.
Say ‘ello to my ‘lil friend! The most famous line from Brian de Palma’s cocaine film has forever entered movie lore. Initially met with a lukewarm reaction from critics, the film has since received contemporary praise.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
Jon Voigt and Dustin Hoffman were each nominated for an Oscar for their roles in the only Rated X movie to ever win Best Picture. It gives a gritty depiction of drug-addicted New York (heroin, mostly) and ends with one of the most famous and depressing ending scenes in movies about drugs.
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