22 Best Drug Movies You Can’t Miss

Though with great side effects, many people still do drugs. As wont of the entertainment industry, some movies have tried to capture this approach to life with great action, comedy, and horror.

Asides learning, most people derive a lot of excitement from seeing drug movies. Whichever category you fall into, here are some of the best drug movies you should see.

1. The French Connection (1971)

English 1h 44m IMDb
The French Connection(1971)

Director: William Friedkin

Stars: Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider, Fernando Rey

Based on the book The French Connection by Robin  Moore in 1969, the movie is considered one of the best movies to have won over five awards in the 44th Academy Award. It has repeatedly appeared on the list of the best movies in America.

The storyline bothers on the life of a narcotics drug lord, Charnier. He deals with heroin smuggling while on the trail of two police officers, detective Jimmy ‘popeye’ and detective buddy ‘cloudy.’ He smuggles heroin into the country through his ignorant friend’s car, Henri Devereaux.

The police, however, discover this secret and trail the car after Nicoli(chenier’s hitman) fails in his attempt to kill popeye. The car is trailed to Chanier’s old factory, where the police almost catch up with him. Check the official trailer to glimpse exciting moments in the movie.

2. Blow (2001)

English 2h 4m IMDb

Director: Ted Demme

Stars: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Franka Potente

The movie recounts the life of a young boy, George (Jesse James), whose father lost his job leading to his(George) desperate search for money. He gets involved in drug dealing and cocaine importation. They form a group of friends, Barbara, a flight attendant, Tuna, and George(now Johnny Deep).

After a few years of drug dealing, George is arrested by police and sentenced to two years in prison. The death of Barbara, however, breaks the friendship link. He meets another drug dealer in prison who introduces him to Diego, a drug lord. Upon connecting Diego and Derek( a former associate), they cut ties with him.

After the birth of his daughter, he becomes a good man but is turned in by his wife after a fight. The FBI later catches him after a planned drug deal by Derek and Diego. The official trailer contains events that will keep your mouth wide open with amazement.

3. The Basketball Diaries (1995)

English 1h 42m IMDb
The Basketball Diaries(1995)

Director: Scott Kalvert

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Lorraine Bracco, Marilyn Sokol

The movie is based on the novel, The Basketball Diaries by Jim Caroll. It centers around the life of a teenage boy, Jim(Leonardo Dicaprio), who is addicted to heroin.

He and his cohorts are suspended from school and the basketball team after being caught dealing with drugs. Jim, Mickey, and Pedro drop out of school while Neutron stays to become a better person. Jim is sent away from his mom’s house. He, therefore, turns to the streets and steals to fund his increasing drug habit.

Pedro is caught on one of their missions, after which Neutron is also arrested for killing a drug dealer. The police later arrest Jim after his mum reports him. He stays in rehab and becomes clean. See the official trailer to see Leonardo Dicaprio’s exciting action in this blockbuster.

4. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

English 2h 10m IMDb
The People vs. Larry Flynt(1996)

Director: Milos Forman

Stars: Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton

The official trailer alone is enough to keep you hooked to the movie. Though the movie did not generate much revenue, many believe it to be one of Woody Harrelson’s best movies.  Dealing with pornographic and nude posts on magazines, Flynt is charged to court and faced with the hatred of anti-pornographic advocates.

He later gets influenced into giving his life to Christ, after which he gets shot and paralyzed from his waist downwards. He denounces God and turns to painkillers and drugs. Flynt is later sued in court for libel and emotional stress and convicted for emotional distress.

5. Beautiful Boy 1 (2018)

English 2h IMDb
Beautiful Boy 1(2018)

Director: Felix van Groeningen

Stars: Steve Carell, Maura Tierney, Jack Dylan Grazer

Nic is a drug addict who has failed multiple times to be clean. He was first discovered by his father when he ran off from home for a few days. He was sent to rehab, where he stopped drug abuse for a while. However, he meets with other drug addicts when he goes to college, and they purchase heroin together.

His father reads through his diary and discovers his addiction history. After this encounter, his father sends him to his ex-wife and Nic’s mother, where he goes to classes and later helps other addicts.

He faces his addictive lifestyle when he returns to his father and fights back not to return to his former lifestyle. See the official trailer to enjoy the thrill of how this young man fights against his addiction.

6. City of God (2002)

Portuguese (Brazil) 2h 10m IMDb
City of God(2002)

Director: Fernando Meirelles, Kátia Lund

Stars: Alexandre Rodrigues, Leandro Firmino, Matheus Nachtergaele

The city of God is a black movie about two boys. Seeing the official trailer will make you understand why this movie has been nominated for about four Academy Awards. After a failed robbery attempt, Li’l Dice becomes a drug dealer, while Rocket becomes a photographer.

Li’l Dice, now known as Li’l Ze, starts a gangster war by rapping against a lady and Benny’s party and killing her boyfriend’s uncle. After years of gang fights, rocket begins taking photographs of Li’l ze and his gang, which pleases lil’ ze due to the popularity of his notoriety.

He is later arrested by the police but is released after bribing them. Unknown to them, the rocket takes pictures and reasons on whether to release it to the press or not. He, however, decides to publish the photo of Lil ze dead body instead.

7. Pain and Glory (2019)

Spanish (Spain) 1h 53m IMDb
Pain and Glory(2019)

Director: Pedro Almodóvar

Stars: Antonio Banderas, Asier Etxeandia, Leonardo Sbaraglia

Rated the best in 2019 according to Time magazine, this movie brothers on the simple life of a movie director. The official trailer features a plot that appears to be more complicated than it seems. The struggle of Salvador Mallo pushes him to engage in what he once condemned, the use of drugs.

Suffering from dysphagia, Salvador resolves to pop pills to ease his pain. After meeting his old lover, he sets aside the use of heroin and sees the doctor manage his pain.

8. Pineapple Express (2008)

English 1h 51m IMDb
Pineapple Express(2008)

Director: David Gordon Green

Stars: Seth Rogen, James Franco, Gary Cole

The official trailer will show you the difference between this movie and the others. It is a comical movie with a serious plot. It features Dale Dalton, who witnesses a murder by a policeman, Brazier, and is now being trailed by Ted Jones through his drug, pineapple express.

The drug can be purchased from only two drug dealers, one of which is Dale’s friend. In their process of selling pineapple express for money, they are arrested by Bobbie. The killers later catch up with Dale and his friend, Saul. A shootout by a Korean gangster saves their lives but kills a few of their loved ones.

9. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

English 1h 42m IMDb
Requiem for a Dream(2000)

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly

A single mother, Sara, nursing a heroin addict son, and two of his friends jump on the train of drug abuse as well. She sees her doctor prescribe a weight loss drug for her to fit into a dress for a television show. As the time nears, she begins to overdose on amphetamines, which makes her develop stimulant psychosis.

On the other hand, her son develops gangrene on his hands and is arrested after visiting a doctor. See the official trailer to experience the pitiful life of both mother and son.

10. Carlito’sWay (1993)

English 2h 24m IMDb

Director: Brian De Palma

Stars: Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Penelope Ann Miller

Carlito, an ex-convict, pledges to stay away from drug use and violence after being released from prison before completing his sentence. He is involved in a drug shootout deal not long after, where he gets away with his dead cousin’s $30,000.

After opening a nightclub, his determination to escape crime is altered, and he gets involved in unintentional murder cases. The official trailer will give you some insight into this action movie.

11. American Gangster (2007)

English 2h 37m IMDb

American Gangster(2007)

Director: Ridley Scott

Stars: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor

The official trailer of American Gangster depicts the action of drug lords just like every other movie. The right-Hand man Frank begins a drug Lord himself after the death of his boss in 1968. He directly ships in the heroin, which he calls Blue Magic.

People start to purchase a lot from him due to his lower price, which enables him to become one of the greatest drug lords in the US. He ships drugs from Thailand through dead servicemen and bribes about ⅓ of police officials.

Robert later investigates him after Roberts’s partner dies from an overdose. Even though he lived low profile, Roberts catches up with him after using many tactics.

12. Ferry (2021)

Dutch 1h 46m IMDb

Director: Cecilia Verheyden

Stars: Frank Lammers, Elise Schaap, Huub Stapel

Many reviews show that although this movie is not a number like its continued series undercover, a peek at the official trailer indicates otherwise. It is a prequel to the Netflix series Undercover.’ It explains how the protagonist, Ferry, came to be and his love life.

The movie does not only contain action but love and the excessive use of drugs. Though not a thriller, the twists and suspense will keep you going.

13. El Camino (2019)

English 2h 2m IMDb
El Camino(2019)

Director: Vince Gilligan

Stars: Aaron Paul, Jonathan Banks, Matt Jones

Having received many positive reviews on its official trailer, El Camino has been nominated for many awards, including critics’ choice television awards. The movie is the aftermath story of Jesse Pinkman.

After the movie’s release, it had a total of 6.5 million views, making it part of the year’s most successful movie. The plot comes in line with meth-selling Jesse Pinkman and his rough life to becoming wealthy from drug sales.

14. Menace 11 society (1993)

English 1h 37m IMDb
Menace 11 society(1993)

Director: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

Stars: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, June Kyoto Lu

The official trailer will leave you amazed at the life of gangster black teenagers. Caine and O-Dog buy liquor at a Korean shop. O-Dog kills the owner and steals the money after being insulted by the cashier. Caine talks about his drug dealer dad and his dead mother, who died from a heroin overdose.

The police begin to track the killers’ case and fail to connect Caine to the murder. His grandparents warn him about his gangster lifestyle and whether he cares about his life or not. But will it be too late for him to listen to them?

15. Synchronic (2019)

English 1h 42m IMDb

Synchronic (2019)

Director: Justin Benson, Aaron Moorhead

Stars: Anthony Mackie, Jamie Dornan, Katie Aselton

A new hard substance, Synchronic, is created, leaving the town in a big dilemma. Many unresolved mystery deaths are found with no explanation. An investigation shows that these deaths are related to Synchronic, a drug that allows you to travel back in time. Brianna, Dennis’s daughter, is also stuck back in time after using the pill.

She is saved by Steve, her father’s colleague, after many attempts to travel back in time. The official trailer will leave you glued to the many exciting scenes of science fiction.

16. Shiny Flakes (2021)

German 1h 36m IMDb
Shiny Flakes(2021)

Director: Eva Müller, Michael Schmitt

Stars: Maximilian Schmidt

This 97-minute movie is about a teenager of 19 years old who sells drugs online through his personally built website. The official trailer on Youtube is a documentary clip from Netflix and hints at the true story of one of the greatest drug crimes in Germany.

Maximilian launders over 4.1 million euros in the comfort of his bedroom. He orders drugs through the Darknet and packages them in his room while sending them to his anonymous buyers. He is later caught at age 20 after a detective traced 600 kilograms worth of imported cocaine to him.

17. Boogie Nights (1997)

English 2h 35m IMDb
Boogie Nights(1997)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Julianne Moore, Burt Reynolds

The official trailer portrays a movie centered on the joy, pain, struggles, action,  rise, and fall of Eddie Adams. He stars as a pornographic actor who makes a lot of money but is met with a bad fate after his involvement with cocaine. This ends his career abruptly, and he spends his life savings on cocaine.

Trying to amass wealth for a studio, he ends up in a gunfight after his failed attempt to sell baking soda to a drug lord, Jackson. In the gunfight, Todd, Eddie’s friend, loses his life, and they are all faced with the results of the life decision they make.

18. 21 Grams (2003)

English 2h 4m IMDb
21 Grams (2003)

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu

Stars: Sean Penn, Benicio Del Toro, Naomi Watts

Two drug addicts, Cristiana and Jack, strive to avoid their drug addiction. While Jack controls himself through his new religious belief, Cristiana finds peace and love in her family. They both live two different lives. Then, there’s Paul, who needs a new heart to continue living.

Jack kills Cristiana’s family in a hit-and-run incident. Driven by guilt, he returns to drugs. On the other hand, Cristiana has lost her hold and is left with drugs for consolation.

Her husband’s heart is donated to Paul. Their lives become intertwined. Will they overcome the drug addiction? See the official trailer to get some insights about the movie.

19. American Made (2017)

English 1h 55m IMDb
American Made(2017)

Director: Doug Liman

Stars: Tom Cruise, Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright

Tom Cruise has always been known for his exceptional performance in movies. This movie does not prove his action, as he received more positive reviews. The story is set in the 1970s, telling the story of a pilot who gets involved in transporting cocaine for the Medellin Cartel.

He makes a lot of money and starts to keep money in his backyard. He is, however, not suspected by the FBI until his wife’s brother steals from him and starts to spend exuberantly. The official trailer shows a glimpse of Tom Cruise’s action and unparalleled performance.

20. The Wolf of the Wall Street (2013)

The Wolf of the Wall Street(2013)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie

With over twenty-eight million views on the official trailer only, the Wolf of the Wall Street is one of the most popular movies in the world. Hitting the Guinness book of record for the most profane words used in a movie, it also has high drug use.

The movie, set in the 80s, is based on the life of a wall street stockbroker who also uses hard drugs. Following a collapse in office, he seeks to build a new company of his own. He starts by manipulating people into buying stocks while he inflated the price for a temporary period.

After a while, the price drops, and the investors are left with nothing. He builds a company with his neighbor and old friends named Stratton Oakmont. After a public appearance of his company, many people flock to buy stocks from him.

He invests his life in stocks, prostitution, and hard drugs. After being investigated by the FBI, he is finally caught when he and his associate use hard drugs in excess and spills their secrets through their taped landline.

21. TrainSpotting (1996)

English 1h 33m IMDb
TrainSpotting (1996)

Director: Danny Boyle

Stars: Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller

Based on the book Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh, critics consider this movie to be one of the best of the 1990s. Winning the best Scottish movie of all time in 2004, it is undoubtedly a success and blockbuster. The official trailer shows it’s one of the funniest movies you’ll enjoy.

Trainspotting features the struggle of heroin addict Renton, who desperately tries to become clean amongst his friends. He relapses every time he is bored, but he is faced with a new choice in life not too long.

22. Thirteen (2003)

English 1h 40m IMDb
Thirteen (2003)

Director: Catherine Hardwicke

Stars: Evan Rachel Wood, Holly Hunter, Nikki Reed

Don’t be deceived by the quality of the official trailer; this movie has won many prizes, including a Nobel prize. Because of the controversy of youth drug abuse, the movie received a few criticisms, making Nikki Reed drop out of school. The movie, however depicts the life of troubled teenagers who are striving to fit into society.

After 13-year-old Tracy, a girl troubled at home because of her negligent drug addict mom, gets entangled with Evie, her life turns upside down. She starts to do drugs, has sex, and drinks alcohol. Will she get another chance to get her life right? See the movie to enjoy the top-notch performances of these young girls.



Categorized as the best of all time, the drug movies above not only focus on drugs but have interesting storylines that will keep you glued to the screen and probably teach you some of the biggest lessons you will ever learn.

The plot twists and funny episodes are exceptional. You’ll enjoy these movies even if you’re not a fan of drug battles.

Drug Movies You Can't Miss

Leave a Comment