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The Best Movies About Addiction 

Ranker Film
Updated March 6, 2020 2.3k votes 454 voters 23.4k views 59 items

List Rules Movies about addiction

We're all familiar with news clips that don't seem to stop about the tragic death of a celebrity, the painful isolation that a loved one might feel when facing an addiction, gang-related drug wars, human trafficking, the 60’s introduction to LSD, and controversial debates about legalizing marijuana. These issues aren't just prevalent in the lives of many, they're the subject of numerous films as well.

The issue of addiction is a serious problem in just about every country on Earth. Art imitates life, so it's no wonder there are so many films about addiction. Many of these films feature real-life stories of famous people who struggled with a secret (or not so secret) addiction.

This list is made up of the best movies about addiction, including: Ray, Crazy Heart, The Doors, Permanent Midnight, Gia, Requiem for a Dream, Leaving Las Vegas, Clockers, The Cider House Rules, Pay It Forward, Most High, Down to the Bone, MacArthur Park, Blow, Spun, and When a Man Loves a Woman.

Vote up the film you're most addicted to or add one that isn't already on the list.

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1
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Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

Released: 2000

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. The film is based on ...more

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2
Trainspotting is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Addiction
Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller

Released: 1996

Directed by: Danny Boyle

Trainspotting is a 1996 British comedy drama film directed by Danny Boyle, and starring Ewan McGregor, Ewen Bremner, Jonny Lee Miller, Kevin McKidd, Robert Carlyle, and Kelly Macdonald. Based on ...more

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The Trippiest Qutoes From 'Trainspotting' #731 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #209 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

3
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clash1977 added Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Juliette Lewis

Released: 1995

Directed by: Scott Kalvert

The Basketball Diaries is a 1995 American drama film directed by Scott Kalvert, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Lorraine Bracco, James Madio, and Mark Wahlberg from the non-fiction work of the same ...more

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4
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Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Emma Roberts

Released: 2001

Directed by: Ted Demme

Blow is a 2001 American biopic about the American smuggler George Jung, directed by Ted Demme. David McKenna and Nick Cassavetes adapted Bruce Porter's 1993 book for the screenplay. It is based ...more

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5
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clash1977 added Heather Graham, Matt Dillon, William S. Burroughs

Released: 1989

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Drugstore Cowboy is a 1989 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant and written by Van Sant and Daniel Yost, based on an autobiographical novel by James Fogle. Matt Dillon stars in the title ...more

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6
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Mickey Rourke, Debbie Harry, Brittany Murphy

Released: 2003

Directed by: Jonas Åkerlund

Spun is a 2002 American dark comedy-drama directed by Jonas Åkerlund from an original screenplay by William De Los Santos and Creighton Vero, based on 3 days of De Los Santos' life in the ...more

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7
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Nicolas Cage, Mariska Hargitay, Elisabeth Shue

Released: 1995

Directed by: Mike Figgis

Leaving Las Vegas is a 1995 romantic drama film written and directed by Mike Figgis and based on a semi-autobiographical novel of the same name by John O'Brien. Nicolas Cage, who has ended his ...more

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8
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Al Pacino, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steven Bauer

Released: 1983

Directed by: Brian De Palma

Scarface is a 1983 American crime drama film directed by Brian De Palma, and a remake of the 1932 film. In 1980s Miami, Cuban refugee Tony Montana (Al Pacino) rises up and becomes a powerful ...more

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9
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Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis, Faye Dunaway

Released: 1998

Directed by: Michael Cristofer

Gia is a 1998 biographical HBO film about the life of model Gia Marie Carangi starring Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunaway, Mercedes Ruehl, and Elizabeth Mitchell. It was directed by Michael Cristofer ...more

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10
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Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas

Released: 2000

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Traffic is a 2000 American drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Stephen Gaghan. It explores the trade from a number of perspectives: a user, an enforcer, a politician and a ...more

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11
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Ben Is Back Lucas Hedges, Julia Roberts, Kathryn Newton

Released: 2018

Directed by: Peter Hedges

Ben Is Back is a 2018 drama film directed by Peter Hedges. When the charming yet troubled Ben Burns (Lucas Hedges) returns home to his unsuspecting family one fateful Christmas Eve, his mother ...more
12
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Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard

Released: 2004

Directed by: Taylor Hackford

Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was written, produced and directed by Taylor Hackford, and ...more

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13
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PeteBoyle added Julianne Moore, Mark Wahlberg, Heather Graham

Released: 1997

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

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The Most Memorable Quotes From 'Boogie Nights' #758 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #171 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

14
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Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Steve Buscemi

Released: 2000

Directed by: Betty Thomas

28 Days is a 2000 American comedy-drama film directed by Betty Thomas. Sandra Bullock plays Gwen Cummings, a newspaper columnist obliged to enter rehabilitation. The film costars Viggo ...more

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#89 of 212 The Best Drug Movies of All Time #11 of 32 30+ Great Movies About Depression in Women #8 of 68 The Best Movies & TV Shows About Alcohol Addiction

15
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Ice Cube, Angela Bassett, Cuba Gooding Jr.

Released: 1991

Directed by: John Singleton

Boyz n the Hood is a 1991 American hood drama written and directed by John Singleton in his directorial debut, and starring Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia ...more

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16
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Meg Ryan, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Andy Garcia

Released: 1994

Directed by: Luis Mandoki

When a Man Loves a Woman is a 1994 American romantic drama film written by Al Franken and Ronald Bass, starring Andy García, Meg Ryan, Tina Majorino, Mae Whitman, Ellen Burstyn, Lauren ...more
17
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clash1977 added Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Raúl Juliá

Released: 1971

Directed by: Jerry Schatzberg

The Panic in Needle Park is a 1971 American film directed by Jerry Schatzberg and starring Al Pacino in his second film appearance. The screenplay was written by Joan Didion and John Gregory ...more
18
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Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney

Released: 2018

Directed by: Felix Van Groeningen

Beautiful Boy is a 2018 American biographical drama film directed by Felix Van Groeningen, based on the books by David and Nic Sheff. The film chronicles meth addiction and recovery through the ...more

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#226 of 242 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #32 of 45 20+ Great Drama Movies About Drugs and Addiction #38 of 123 The Best New Drama Films of the Last Few Years

19
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Harmony Casper added Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Bruce Lee

Released: 2011

Directed by: Neil Burger

Limitless is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Neil Burger and starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro. It is based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn.

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20
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Meg Ryan, Val Kilmer, Kelly Hu

Released: 1991

Directed by: Oliver Stone

The Doors is a 1991 American biopic about the 1960-70s rock band of the same name which emphasizes the life of its lead singer, Jim Morrison. It was directed by Oliver Stone.

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21
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clash1977 added David Bowie, Natja Brunckhorst, Jens Kuphal

Released: 1981

Directed by: Uli Edel

Christiane F. – Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo is a 1981 German film directed by Ulrich Edel that portrays the drug scene in West Berlin in the 1970s, based on the non-fiction book of the same name ...more
22
Clean and Sober is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Addiction
wiabux added Morgan Freeman, Michael Keaton, M. Emmet Walsh

Released: 1988

Directed by: Glenn Gordon Caron

Clean and Sober is a 1988 American drama film directed by Glenn Gordon Caron and starring Michael Keaton as a real estate agent struggling with a substance abuse problem. This film was a ...more
23
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Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt, Haley Joel Osment

Released: 2000

Directed by: Mimi Leder

Pay It Forward is a 2000 American drama film based on the novel of the same name by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It was directed by Mimi Leder and written by Leslie Dixon. It stars Haley Joel Osment as ...more

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24
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Paris Hilton, Christina Applegate, Val Kilmer

Released: 2003

Directed by: James Cox

Wonderland is a 2003 American drama film co-written and directed by James Cox. The film stars Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth, Dylan McDermott, Carrie Fisher, Lisa Kudrow, Josh Lucas, Christina ...more
25
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Colin Farrell, Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal

Released: 2009

Directed by: Scott Cooper

"Crazy Heart stars Jeff Bridges as an aging country music legend wrestling with his loss of fame at the hands of younger protégé. Struggling to make ends meet playing one ...more

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