best drug movies
best drug movies

What are the 9 Best Movies Where a Story about Drugs is the Central Theme?

What are the must-see drug culture movies of all-time?

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Friday Dec 18, 2020

9 Best Movies Where “Drugs” play a Central Role You should watch because “Culture”.

best drug movies

Welcome back to the subjective universe of my mind where I’ll egomaniacally assign a ranking to movies I deem amazing where drugs play a central role. This is like Watchmojo in your mind – but cooler because we’re a bit more R-rated.


Nonetheless – to be on this list the movie in question should have drugs play a significant role and typically should become “cult classic” after release. It’s important to note that this list isn’t exclusively about "weed"“- but rather “drugs” in general. Movies like Cheech and Chong and Pineapple Express have been covered in previous lists.


This list is also not in any particular order and is meant to be a guide for people who want to delve into “drug movies” during the holidaze – since there’s going to be A LOT of time on your hands.


Here we go!


Requiem for a Dream (2000)


If you’re in for a shockfest – Requiem for a Dream will send shivers down your spine – well, at least it did for me back in 2000 when I was a teenager and saw it for the first time. Nonetheless, from what I can remember – you follow the path of a few young addicts struggling with heroin addiction.


Jared Leto and the rest of the cast really portray the ups and downs of heroin addiction. You thought this was going to be a “fun drug list” – I said drugs, this means both the good side and the bad side.


Trainspotting (1996)


Trainspotting’s cast is dynamite, the storyline follows another set of heroin junkies dealing with their struggles with the drug. However – the amount of drugs included in this movie goes as follows;


Drugs Portrayed: Heroin, Opium, Ecstasy, Amphetamines, Valium, Hashish, Morphine, Diamorphine, Cyclozine, Codeine, Temazepam, Nitrazepam, Phenobarbitone, Sodium Amytal, Dextropropoxyphene, Methadone, Nalbuphine, Pethidine, Pentazocine, Buprenorphine, Dextromoramide, Chlormethiazole. - Source


Scarface (1983)


Scarface may not be as popular these days as it was – but this movie is timeless. It’s about Tony Montana (Al Pacino) building his cocaine empire with Michelle Pheiffer as his obsession. His classic phrase “Say hello to my lil’ friends” is still quoted in pop culture to this day.


With a near 3-hour run time, you’ll need to adequately prepare yourself for this movie. Nonetheless, Al Pacino’s performance is dynamite. The sheer amount of cocaine his character snorts is enough to kill a herd of elephants.



American Gangster (2007)


Denzel Washington builds his criminal enterprise the way that Denzel knows how to do. It’s an awesome movie with amazing acting and while this is mostly about the “Gangster” – his empire is entirely based on heroin and cocaine.


You can expect plenty of violence in this one, but if you’re a Denzel fan and haven’t seen this one – or even if you have, it’s worth a watch.


Blow (2001)


Johnny Depp is in two of the movies on this list. Blow deals with George Jung’s rise to becoming the world’s #1 importer of cocaine into the US in the 1970s. The movie is based on real life making it even crazier.


The acting is superb, the action and suspense more so – definitely something you will want to watch during the quarantine. If you haven’t seen this, put it on your list!


Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)


This is probably one of my favorite movies of all times. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas follows Hunter S. Thompson’s epic quest to discover the meaning of the American Dream. It’s wildly insane, visually orgasmic and will make you feel like you’re tripping.


This shows you not just drug use, but drug abuse to the max. It’s a hedonistic thrill-ride that makes you question your own morals and suppositions of life.



The Gentlemen (2020)


Guy Ritchie’s done it again. The Gentlemen featuring Matthew McConaughey as a weed kingpin wanting to sell his empire. It’s as if Snatch and Weeds got smashed together to bring you some awesome action, well-paced story telling that will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire run time.


Guy Ritchie is simply a genius at creating stylish masterpieces and with this killer cast – it’s something you simply have to watch. It’s out on Netflix right now, if you haven’t watched it – you totally should.


Leaving Las Vegas (1995)


This movie shows you the side of alcohol that the mainstream typically avoids. Nicolas Cage’s character “Ben Sanderson” after losing his job and family decides to commit suicide by drinking himself to death. He drives from L.A to Vegas where he almost hits a prostitute with his car – of which he strikes up a relationship.

Deemed as a “Romantic drama” – this is probably one of the rawest on-screen drunk performances ever. The drug in question of course – alcohol.



Acid House (1998)


This is an anthology project which follows three separate stories by Irvine Welsh. As the name suggests, this movie is chopped full with psychedelia, insanity, and as much Irvine Welsh as the directors could muster.


It’s not for everything – but certainly could not be left off this list.





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