Drugs scenes can be very interesting in films. Sometimes they are moralizing and judgmental. Other times we laugh at the hilarious hijinks. Either way they are very often well made and contain moments which linger long in our memories. Here are my top 10 drug scenes in films, some obvious but perhaps there are a few ones you haven’t seen before:
10) Almost Famous – 2000 – Cameron Crowe
I am a golden god!
This scene triumphs in its random spontaneity as well as following with a group chorus of Tiny Dancers.
9) Big Lebowski – 1998 – Joel & Ethan Coen
After he is drugged on his search for Bunny, The Dude enters this dreamy bowling-themed fantasy world.
8) Requiem for a Dream – 2000 – Darren Aronofsky
This film shows the ups and mainly downs of a group of New-Yorkers. And while it’s an extremely depressing, and often disturbing film, it’s visually stunning.
7) Easy Rider -1969 – Denis Hopper
It would be hard to make a list about drug scenes without the king of drug scenes. A crazy hippy fulled acid trip through the heartland of America. Like On the Road… but with more drugs.
6) A Scanner Darkly – 2006 – Richard Linklater
Your sins will be read to you ceaselessly, in shifts, throughout eternity. The list will never end
My favorite scene in both the book and the film, an inter-dimensional alien comes to read Freck all his sins when he mistakenly takes psychedelics instead of sleeping pills when trying to commit suicide. The poor boy can’t even get suicide right.
5) Pulp Fiction – 1994 – Quinten Tarintino
I couldn’t choose between the two scenes because I love them both so much. Vincent makes heroin looks pretty damn tasty in the picture above, while Mia accidentally overdosing shows the rather shady side to it. And it’s a pretty epic moment, of course.
4) Trainspotting – 1996 – Danny Boyle
How to choose in this film. The drugs never really look good and yet they keep doing them, and often we keep laughing. There’s the overdosing, the dead baby crawling on the ceiling, but the crawling into the toilet of ultimate scum that is gag-worthy every time.
3) Enter the Void – 2009 – Gaspar Noe
While slow moving, and this film definitely did not need to be 3 hours long, the scene in the beginning where our main character smokes DMT is undoubtedly the closest anyone will ever come to showing the effects on screen visually. The rest of the film, in which the main character floats as a soul above Tokyo contains memories of the neon-lit city scape which are pretty psychedelic in themselves.
2) Altered States – 1980 – Ken Russell
I literally cannot pick one scene from this movie. It is seriously tripped out. But what would you expect from a film that is about a scientist experimenting with hardcore ayahuasca and other psychedelics while going into a sensory deprivation chamber?
1) Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – 1998 – Terry Gilliam
Probably the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of “drug-movie” and with good cause. The film is a hallucinatory adventure in which dinosaurs roam and your friend tries to kill you with a giant knife. And everything in between. But of course, it’s Hunter S. Thompson. No one can beat that. Set against the backdrop of Las Vegas, this film makes you feel as if you’ve taken a little bit from their drug suitcase yourself.
Bonus: Drugstore Cowboy, Knocked Up, Natural Born Killers, Black Swan