Best movies about drugs

The only way is up

Movies about drugs feature highs, lows, hallucinations and more. What should be a regular road trip suddenly becomes a pumped up thrill ride. What should be a boring high school is secretly full of the wildest twists and turns. What should be… Well, you see where we’re going with this.

Many a movie has been made about the harsh realities of drug taking, but there are also a few light-hearted films, which see the protagonist ride off into the sunset on their joint smoking journey. Drug-fuelled films can be fun or frightening, scary or silly. Either way, add some pills, marijuana or narcotics and you have the recipe for some seriously addictive viewing. Here’s 20 of the best drug-related movies to give you a legal high.

20. Blow (2001)

Blow is the dramatic true depiction of American cocaine smuggler George Jung, played by Hollywood A-lister Johnny Depp. Jung’s marijuana dealings landed him in prison but soon after his release, he started trafficking cocaine from Colombia into the United States. Depp’s Jung is a suave son of a bitch who gets the goods and the girls, but eventually meets his incarcerated fate. Its hard not to like his villain of the piece.

19. Candy (2006)

The late Heath Ledger and fellow Aussie Abbie Cornish star in this intoxicating tale of addiction and love. Split into three acts, the film documents the couples affair, as they experience the ecstasy of drugs and the agony that follows, including a tragic miscarriage. Writer and director Neil Armfield suggests that loving someone under the influence is a concoction for disaster, so if you’re a fan of doomed romances give this one a whirl.

18. Pusher (1996)

Drives Nicolas Winding Refn directs this Danish thriller about a desperate drug dealers disastrous attempts to drum up the cash he owes his bosses. Hannibals Mads Mikkelsen plays second fiddle to Kim Bodnia as his sidekick in the drug deal gone wrong. Winding Refn’s ruthless style of film-making is a suitable fit with the subject matter, which is engrossing from start to finish.

17. Human Traffic (1999)

Stocked with familiar UK talent, including now soap star and former B-movie maestro Danny Dyer, Human Traffic is a raucous ride on the wild side. Narrated by John Simms, the audience is invited into the small world of five ravers who embark on a pill popping bender in Cardiff for the weekend. This cuss-filled comedy is part of a series of in-your-face films by the likes of Guy Ritchie and Danny Boyle, which have become a genre in their own right.

16. The Panic in Needle Park (1971)

This is the sobering story of a young woman who falls in love with a deadbeat drug dealer, who is living New York’s infamous ‘Needle Park’. In his second outing, Al Pacino shows early signs of brilliance in a hard-hitting role that would ready him for his iconic part in The Godfather. Director Jerry Schatzberg’s documentary style of filming gives audiences a sense of gritty realism which, combined with its stellar performances, make this movie a must-see.

15. Maria Full of Grace (2004)

When a 17-year-old Colombian pregnant girl finds herself penniless, she signs up as a mule to smuggle drugs into the United States. Maria lvarez swallows a large packet of pills in exchange for money knowing that the merchandise could burst inside her at any second. With both her and the baby’s lives on the line the stakes are extremely high and the situation is intense. If you can handle the pressure then this nailbiter is the one for you.

14. Enter the Void (2009)

Enter the Void is a voyeuristic spectacle in which an American drug dealer observes a series of events after his death. After being shot by police in Tokyo, Oscar has an out of body experience, hovering on the edge of reality, spinning uncontrollably into several settings; one of which includes a psychedelic vagina. Gaspar Nos visually seductive story is enthralling to watch and just when you think things couldn’t get any stranger, they take an even weirder turn.

13. Christiane F. (1981)

This is the unravelling and unnerving true story of a German actress and musician who became hooked on heroin at a very young age. Christiane Vera Felscherinow’s traumatic childhood – which consisted of abuse, drug addiction and prostitution – was documented in an autobiographical book and later in a movie starring Natja Brunckhorst. Accompanied by a David Bowie soundtrack, this low budget film leaves no needle unturned with its shocking sights.

12. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Director Terry Gilliam’s psychedelic adaptation of the novel by Hunter S. Thompson is a mind-altering journey, that will leave you feeling bewildered and bemused. Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro jump in a convertible and make their way across the Nevada desert to Las Vegas, picking up a stranger and some very bad habits along the way. Gilliams trademark off the wall weirdness perfectly complements Depp and Del Toros loud and unleashed performances.

11. Easy Rider (1969)

Easy Rider is a road trippin ride that follows Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper as they journey across the States, with some serious cash in their back pocket from a drug smuggle across the Mexican border. The pair are later given a helping hand by Jack Nicholson who joins them on their half-baked bike ride to New Orleans. Hopper, who also directed the picture, decided to include shots of real drugs to give the film a dose of authenticity.

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