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Top 15 Drug Inspired Movies

trainspottingDrugs have often been the main running theme in Hollywood blockbusters. The extravagant lifestyle of the rich and famous often includes narcotics and we have heard of a number of top stars who have died as a result of overdosing on certain drugs. We have even read recently about film director Lars Von Trier who claims to be unable to write unless under the influence. Drugs certainly seem to play a part in the Hollywood lifestyle, so it is no surprise that a number of top films have been made about drugs and addiction. Below are the top 15 movies about these illegal substances.


If there was ever a movie that encouraged us to take a drug, then Limitless is it. The movie stars Bradley Cooper as Eddie who is a writer suffering from mental block. However, after taking the drug ‘NZT-48’, his world changes for the better. The drug helps him by allowing him to ‘live life to the full’. However, once supplies start to run out, he starts to struggle. The movie also stars Robert De Niro as Eddie’s boss.

Side Effects

Side Effects is a psychological thriller from Steven Soderbergh and stars Jude Law, Channing Tatum, Rooney Mara, and Catherine Zeta-Jones. The movie centres on the fictional drug ‘ablixa’, which is prescribed for a suicidal woman. The drug appears to be working until the star starts experiencing a side effect, which completely changes her life by setting a string of events in motion.

Pineapple Express

Starring Seth Rogen, Pineapple Express is a comedy about character Dale Denton, a drug user who ends up on the run with his dealer (James Franco). Much hilarity ensues with the pair highlighting the dangers of the drugs industry.


Thirteen is a film about two teenagers who, desperate to be popular, become caught up in a lifestyle of drugs, sex, and crime. The movie stars Holly Hunter and Even Rachel Wood in the rolls of Evie and Tracy. This is a dark story about how drugs can take hold and result in addiction, even at a very young age.


This iconic movie stars Al Pacino as Tony Montana, a crime lord whose rise to fame is powered by the illegal drug cocaine. Scarface is one of the most well known crime movies ever and, when it was released in 1983, was heavily criticised for the amount of bad language and violence contained therein. However, as the years have gone by, Scarface has become known as an iconic masterpiece.

The Wolf of Wall Street

The 2013 movie starring Leonardo di Caprio is based on the real-life story of Jordan Belfort, a New York stockbroker who was known as ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’. Belfort’s life was extravagant to the extreme, and the movie depicts his excessive use of drugs and drink as well as his sex-fuelled escapades. The Wolf of Wall Street goes on to tell the story of how Belfort was eventually sent to prison for fraud.


Traffic is a crime movie focusing on the drug trade, for which Steven Soderbergh won an Oscar for Best Director. There are many stories in the movie and the characters all link together through the running themes of crime, drugs, and addiction. The movie stars Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Don Cheadle and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas

Based on the book of the same name, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas stars Jonny Depp and Benicio del Toro as two friends who take a trip to Las Vegas and consume a host of drugs along the way. The film is a crazy mix of drug-induced hallucinations.


Blow tells the story of George Jung or ‘Boston George’ who has spent the last twenty years in jail for cocaine importation and smuggling during the 1970s and 1980s. He was released from prison this year (2014). The movie stars Johnny Depp as Jung and Penelope Cruz who plays Mirtha, Jung’s wife.

Easy Rider

Easy Rider is a 1960s movie about two bikers, who travel around the states and shows their dalliance with drugs such as LSD. Starring Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper, the movie was quite controversial at the time as it was the first instance in which we saw drugs from the point of view of the user. The film also starred one of Hollywood’s superstars, Jack Nicholson as the town alcoholic, George. It was in Easy Rider that Nicholson got his big break and he never looked back.

Enter the Void

Enter the Void is a movie about a psychedelic trip in Tokyo’s nightclubs. The main character is Oscar, who is a drug dealer and the movie shows his out of body experience during a drug filled high. Directed by Gaspar Noe, it starred Nathanial Brown as Oscar but did not do well at the box office.

24 Hour Party People

Steve Coogan stars in 24 Hour Party People, a movie about Tony Wilson, the founder of Factory Records. The movie tells the story of the highs and lows of the drug culture in Manchester during the eighties and nineties. The rave scene at the time centred on the world famous Hacienda nightclub, which is associated with the rise of acid house music.

Human Traffic

The Cardiff rave scene is captured perfectly in Human Traffic. John Simm plays the main character, Jip, and the film depicts how he and his friends live for the weekend. They are not addicts but do spend their weekends living it up, drinking and taking ecstasy. The movie highlights the highs and lows of the drug and rave scene and especially the downs felt the next morning when the buzz has worn off. The movie is about the drug and rave scene in Cardiff but interestingly, not once during the movie do we actually see anyone taking the drugs.

Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a Dream stars Jared Leto, Jennifer Connolly, Marlon Wayans, and Ellen Burstyn, and is a movie about drug addiction and the paranoia that often goes with it. The film perfectly depicts the addicts battles with drugs and the destruction that searching for pleasure can cause. It is considered one of the greatest movies ever made about addiction and is, at times, difficult to watch.


Probably the most famous of all movies about drug addiction is Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting. The terrifying movie about Mark Renton, played by Ewan McGregor and his gang of drug addict friends was a huge box office smash and is one of the best British films ever made. In the movie, Renton repeatedly tries to kick his heroin habit and goes through withdrawal each time before ultimately finding himself back on the drugs again. The film also stars the magnificent Robert Carlyle.


Addiction Help

The movies often glamourise drugs but the reality is quite different. Many of the films in this list show the true destruction caused by drug taking. If you or someone you love is suffering with drug addiction then call Addiction Helpline. We will take the time to listen to your situation and will advise the best treatment options available to you. Call us today for free, independent advice.



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