15 Best Movies about Addiction

When we watch a movie, it can sometimes affect us in every aspect of our lives. Be it inspiration, motivation, and a warning about what would happen by making a wrong decision.

Some movies portray realism about addiction. This kind of movie can help and inspire all of us regarding how addiction can affect our lives and how it can stigmatize those who are away from treatment.

There may be a hundred movies regarding addiction, but we picked the best ones, as most of them correctly portray the disease and struggles. The following is the compilation of the 15 best movies about addiction.

1. The Basketball Diaries (1995)

English 1h 42m IMDb
The Basketball Diaries (1995) Best Movies about Addiction

Scott Kalvert

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Lorraine Bracco, Marilyn Sokol

The first on the list is one of the most famous films of the 1990s. The well-known Leonardo DiCaprio portrays in the movie, The Basketball Diaries as Jim Carrol. This film is about a teenager, Jim, who dreams of becoming a basketball star but struggles with his addiction, which causes a significant problem in achieving his dream.

People loved this movie because on how this film has a good plot regarding addiction. It depicts how addiction can cause something to a person that can ruin oneself.

The Basketball Diaries received lots of compliments and good ratings because this is not the type of addiction movie that does not glamorize drugs. Kids and teenagers who think using drugs is fun should watch this film.

2. Let it Ride (1989)

English 1h 30m IMDb
Let it Ride (1989) Best Movies about Addiction

Joe Pytka

Stars: Richard Dreyfuss, Teri Garr, David Johansen

When we say addiction, it does not only revolves around drugs and cocaine. It also involves many other things—one of them is gambling. Let it ride was directed by Joe Pytka.

It revolves around a cab driver who heard about a racehorse and won when he started betting. If you are looking for a good watch where there is comedy and a good plot, you should try watching let it ride.

This film depicts how being addicted to gambling can change your life and has a deeper meaning: you can walk around lucky without knowing that you are fortunate. Here is a tip, you should gamble responsively!

3. Rush (1991)

English 2h IMDb
Rush (1991) 15 Best Movies about Addiction

Lili Fini Zanuck

Stars: Jason Patric, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Sam Elliott

The third movie on the list is Rush, directed by Lili Fini Zanuck. This film is about two undercover cops who have the assignment to catch their ultimate drug dealer target.

As they continue their mission, they fall into the chaos of drug addiction and lie regarding the evidence to the court. This film is not your typical two-cop “buddy” nor a predictable movie, as it will help us realize how important to end the use of illegal substances.

Rush is a great film that will make the audience question how far we can go to stop people from abusing their bodies by using this substance and how many lies one must be told.

4. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

English 1h 42m IMDb
Requiem for a Dream (2000) Best Movies about Addiction

Darren Aronofsky

Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly

Requiem for a Dream is about a person’s inner emotions that long to feel loved, loved, and have a connection. This film is an excellent example for those who feel lost and lonely.

This movie will show you how using drugs can affect your life. Requiem for a Dream is a great movie to guide people to stop and avoid using illegal substances and live healthily.

This film is a great watch that will make you happy that you learn something valuable, but at some point, as the people who watched it says, you do not want to re-watch it as it is a pain and a mood killer.

5. My Name is Bill W. (1989)

English 1h 40m IMDb
My Name is Bill W. (1989) Best Movies about Addiction

Daniel Petrie

Stars: James Woods, JoBeth Williams, James Garner

This film is inspired by the true story of a World War I veteran, William Griffith Wilson, who dealt with a severe addiction to alcohol when his world crumbled.

My Name is Bill W is about the life of Bill, who got addicted to alcohol as the days went by. This film has a great message that will touch your heart.

As you watch this movie, you will realize that this film has a solid and honest message on how getting addicted to alcohol can ruin one’s life. This film will educate you about the matter that most people refuse to face.

If you want a great movie you can learn from, I highly suggest this movie! The story is immaculate and well-told, and the acting is excellent.

6. The Gambler (1974)

English 1h 51m IMDb
The Gambler (1974) Best Movies about Addiction

Karel Reisz

Stars: James Caan, Paul Sorvino, Lauren Hutton

Axel Freed is a professor who has a gambling vice. Despite losing all his money, he still gambles and borrows money from his mother, girlfriend, and some bad guys.

Karel Reisz directs the Gambler, wherein you can watch a realistic film about addiction. Although there are scenes that you cannot relate to, this movie still has a not predictably ending that will fascinate you.

The movie itself is good. The actors and the music points are superb. The sequence of how the characters depict their emotions is very well. This movie is worth a try!

7. Clean and Sober (1988)

English 2h 4m IMDb
Clean and Sober (1988) Best Movies about Addiction

Glenn Gordon Caron

Stars: Michael Keaton, Kathy Baker, Morgan Freeman

Daryl Poynter, played by Michael Keaton, wakes up one morning to find that there is a dead woman in his bed. He also receives a phone call stating that a vast amount of money is missing from one of his bank accounts.

After receiving the phone call, He decided to go to rehabilitation to run away. There, he meets Morgan Freeman. Morgan is a recovering addict, and now Daryl realizes he fits in there all along.

Michael Keaton delivered such an absolutely stunning performance with his co-actors in this movie! This movie is a must-see for anyone who likes a realistic, well-acted film about addiction.

8. Candy (2006)

English 1h 48m IMDb
Candy (2006)   Best Movies about Addiction

Neil Armfield

Stars: Heath Ledger, Abbie Cornish, Geoffrey Rush

Candy is a beautiful young lady in love with a young poet who loves heroin. They now live in a relationship filled with drugs and misery.

The couple ends up in Melbourne to clean themselves, but they fail miserably, and now they are focused on money and heroin more than anything else.

Here is another movie that revolves not just around addiction but more. The love of both characters for one another is full of hope and pain that extends to us wanting their relationship to work for both of them.

9. Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

English 1h 57m IMDb
Days of Wine and Roses (1962) Best Movies about Addiction

Blake Edwards

Stars: Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford

A public-relations man named Joe Clay’s ability to consume alcohol seems limitless when he meets Kristen Arnesen, a beautiful woman that prefers chocolate to her alcohol.

Since Kristen prefers chocolate to her alcohol, Joe’s solution is to make Brandy Alexander. An alcohol that has crème de cacao. They end up marrying each other, but they cannot save their love as the downfall is what alcohol brings to them.

Here is another heartbreaking movie performed by Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick as Joe and Kristen. They have shown us what it is like to be an alcoholic and how dreadful it is to be one every step.

10. Christiane F. (1981)

German 2h 18m IMDb
Christiane F. (1981) Best Movies about Addiction

Uli Edel

Stars: Natja Brunckhorst, Eberhard Auriga, Peggy Bussieck

The movie follows 14-year-old Christiane F’s tape recordings.

Even though she is too young, she asks her friend to take her to “The Sound,” a disco with modern equipment, and there, she meets Detlef–who is in a circle full of people on drugs. She gradually gets attracted to the scene and the place.

This movie is based on the true story of Christiane F. Natja Brunckhorst. This film and its actors have outstanding acting, especially Christiane, as she slowly transforms into a heroin addict.

If you are looking for a movie based on an actual story, I highly suggest this one!

11. Beautiful Boy (2018)

English 2h IMDb
Beautiful Boy (2018)  Best Movies about Addiction

Felix van Groeningen

Stars: Steve Carell, Maura Tierney, Jack Dylan Grazer

Another is based on a real story movie that is about David Sheff, a journalist played by Steve Carell, who struggles to sustain their son after he and her wife separated.

Nic Sheff, the teenage son of David, played by Timothée Chalamet, later became highly addicted to methamphetamine.

Beautiful Boy is based on a real story that will keep reminding us that addiction is a condition that can affect anyone at any given moment. May this movie be a warning to anyone who wishes to try drugs.

12. Traffic (2000)

English, Spanish 2h 27m IMDb
Traffic (2000) Best Movies about Addiction

Steven Soderbergh

Stars: Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones

This movie is about the United States’ war on drugs campaign. It is about a conservative judge appointed as the US Drug czar–only to discover that his daughter is a drug addict.

An informant protected by two DEA agents and a drug baron’s wife are trying to keep their family business alive.

This film tackles issues involved with the war on drugs in the United States. The main story representing this movie is the hopelessness ever to stop the drug trade in the USA.

13. Permanent Midnight (1988)

English, Spanish, German 1h 28m IMDb
Permanent Midnight (1988) Best Movies about Addiction

David Veloz

Stars: Ben Stiller, Maria Bello, Jay Paulson

Jerry Stahl is a comedy writer who struggles to get rid of his heroin addiction. Things get worse when he moves in with his friend Nicky who is also an addict.

To help himself get a green card, Stahl married his producer, Sandra. She calls him job after job, but as time goes by, he cannot set apart his addiction from his life.

This movie is probably one of the best movies about drugs out there. If you want to watch a film that portrays real-life struggles associated with drugs realistically, you should watch this movie!

14. Trainspotting (1996)

English 1h 33m IMDb
Trainspotting (1996) Best Movies about Addiction

Danny Boyle

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller

This movie revolves around Mark Renton’s life as he attempts to escape his heroin addiction and how his addiction affects his relationship with his family and friends.

Renton tries to be cleaned up and free from his addiction, regardless of the temptation of drugs and the influence of his friends.

Trainspotting is a thrilling movie in the slums of Edinburgh. Even though it looks cool, the film shows us the horror of addiction. This film also featured a very great soundtrack and plot.

15. Thirteen (2003)

English, Spanish, Portuguese 1h 40m IMDb
Thirteen (2003) Best Movies about Addiction

The last movie that is about addiction is Thirteen. It is about Tracy, an intelligent and straight student who one day became friends with Evie, the school’s most popular and beautiful girl.

After being friends with Evie, everything changed for her as Evie led Tracy to a path full of sex, drugs, and crimes. As Tracy continues down that path, she slowly transforms her identity, driven by her hatred towards her mother, teachers, and friends.

Thirteen is a drama film about a mother maintaining the new personality of her daughter after going down the wrong path full of bad things. This film is very informative for parents experiencing the same with their families.


We all know that watching a movie will help us be inspired, motivated, and affect us in many ways. I hope this blog helped you on the list of the 15 best movies about addiction.

May this blog be your guide on what to watch when you want a movie that will help you realize how addiction can affect one’s life.

Leave a Comment