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464 voters

The Best Movies About Addiction

Updated April 30, 2021 2.9k votes 464 voters 24.9k views62 items

List RulesMovies 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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    Spun

    Mickey Rourke, Debbie Harry

    Released2003

    Directed byJonas 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 Eugene,...  more

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    Requiem for a Dream

    Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto

    Released2000

    Directed byDarren 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 the...  more

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    Trainspotting

    Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle

    Released1996

    Directed byDanny 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 the...  more

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    The Panic in Needle Park

    Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino

    Released1971

    Directed byJerry 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 Dunne,...  more
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    The Basketball Diaries

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg

    Released1995

    Directed byScott 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 name....  more

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    Pay It Forward

    Kevin Spacey, Helen Hunt

    Released2000

    Directed byMimi 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 a boy...  more

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    Crazy Heart

    Colin Farrell, Jeff Bridges

    Released2009

    Directed byScott 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 small gig to the next in the...  more

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    Wonderland

    Paris Hilton, Christina Applegate

    Released2003

    Directed byJames 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 Applegate,...  more

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    Clean and Sober

    Morgan Freeman, Michael Keaton

    Released1988

    Directed byGlenn 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 dramatic...  more
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    Gia

    Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis

    Released1998

    Directed byMichael 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 and...  more

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    Ben Is Back

    Lucas Hedges, Julia Roberts

    Released2018

    Directed byPeter 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 (Julia...  more
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    Released1981

    Directed byUli 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
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    Drugstore Cowboy

    Heather Graham, Matt Dillon

    Released1989

    Directed byGus 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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    The Cider House Rules

    Charlize Theron, Michael Caine

    Released1999

    Directed byLasse Hallström

    The Cider House Rules is a 1999 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström, based on John Irving's novel of the same name. The film won two Academy Awards, and was nominated for the Academy...  more

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    Beautiful Boy

    Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet

    Released2018

    Directed byFelix 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 eyes...  more

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    Blow

    Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz

    Released2001

    Directed byTed 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 on...  more

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    The Rose

    Bette Midler, Alan Bates

    Released1979

    Directed byMark Rydell

    The Rose is a 1979 American drama film which tells the story of a self-destructive 1960s rock star who struggles to cope with the constant pressures of her career and the demands of her ruthless...  more

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    The Lost Weekend

    Jane Wyman, Ray Milland

    Released1945

    Directed byBilly Wilder

    The Lost Weekend is a 1945 American drama film directed by Billy Wilder and starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman. The film was nominated for seven Academy Awards and won four: Best Picture, Best...  more

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    Ray

    Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx

    Released2004

    Directed byTaylor 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 stars...  more

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    Gridlock'd

    Lucy Liu, Tupac Shakur

    Released1997

    Directed byVondie Curtis-Hall

    Gridlock'd is a 1997 comedy-drama film starring Tupac Shakur, Tim Roth, and Thandie Newton. It was the directorial debut of Vondie Curtis-Hall, who also wrote the story and screenplay, and had a...  more
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    When a Man Loves a Woman

    Meg Ryan, Philip Seymour Hoffman

    Released1994

    Directed byLuis 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 Tom and Philip...  more

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    Limitless

    Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper

    Released2011

    Directed byNeil 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....  more

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    Basquiat

    David Bowie, Courtney Love

    Released1996

    Directed byJulian Schnabel

    Basquiat is a 1996 biopic/drama film directed by Julian Schnabel based on the life of American postmodernist/neo expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat, born in Brooklyn, used his...  more
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    Oxy-Morons

    Damien Di Paola, Johnny Hickey

    Directed byJohnny Hickey

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    Drunks

    Faye Dunaway, Sam Rockwell

    Released1995

    Directed byPeter Cohn

    Drunks is a 1995 drama film directed by Peter Cohn....  more