While addiction is a brutal, agonizing experience that many people privately struggle with, we, fortunately, have the blessing of films to help us to better understand the experience of addiction. For those who have never had to deal with addiction, but have friends or family members who are wrapped in the throes of dependency, films can provide some much-needed empathy and understanding. Here is a list of the top 6 movies that have helped the world learn more about the hell that is addiction.



6: Leaving Las Vegas


The 1995 film, Leaving Las Vegas was a deeply dark story about a man who had lost everything in his life because of his alcoholism. Starring Nicolas Cageas Ben Sanderson, the addict in question, the story tells a tale of a lonely and broken man who arrives to Las Vegas with a simple plan – drink himself to death. In the course of the film, he befriends a broken and abused prostitute who finds herself desperatelytrying to get him to change his ways. This heartbreaking story shows the ultimate conclusion of a life of alcoholism and was rated by Roger Ebert as his best film of 1995.


5: Trainspotting


Trainspotting is an incredibly raw look at addiction in all of its facets. While the film is mostly presented as a comedy, with an aggressive, punk-rock approach to the picture of addiction as Ewan McGregor’s character and his buddies live a life of heroin addiction. This darkly comic film gives an unflinching look at the reason why anyone would choose to live the life of a heroin addict. The gruesome, crass, and sometimes disgusting film creates a dual picture of addiction, one where the characters seem to gleefully interact with their drug of choice while later on dealing with the terrible consequences of their decisions. The music, the stylization and the comedy of the film has led some critics to declare that the film glamorizes drug use, but a close examination of the film would prove such claims false. Trainspotting is a film about the ultimate consequences of heroin addiction, not about its glory.


4: Requiem for a Dream

Perhaps one of the most chilling, realistic depictions of an ordinary individual’s descent into addiction, Requiem For a Dream tells a story about four distinct individuals who all end up wrapped up in drug addiction. A bored housewife who spends her days lazing around the house and watching television ends up being invited to participate in a game show. This causes her to try to lose weight so that she’ll look perfect for the show. Yet when traditional dieting measures fail, she ends up getting hooked on amphetamines as a way to slim down and gain more energy. Over time, the amphetamines become her only way of enjoying the world around her. Meanwhile, her son, his girlfriend and his best friend abuse heroin. These four stories ultimately show how imprisoning drug use can become and has perhaps one of the most powerful soundtracks in cinema history.


3: Traffic



The film Traffic is a fantastic story about the entirety of the drug world, from it’s users, to it’s smugglers, to the people fighting the war on drugs. The film covers the lives of several different people, some who never meet one another, but are all united by one commonality – drugs. The storylines present a ground and gritty depiction of how drugs and drug addiction have affected society. Director Steven Soderberg worked hard to create a stunningly realistic picture of the world’s general relationship to drug culture and how the stigma of drug abuse has divided families, communities and caused a great deal of collateral damage.



2: The Lost Weekend


The Lost Weekend debuted in 1945, telling a story about a writer who would do whatever it took to get his hands on a bottle of booze. His brother and girlfriend are desperate to sober him up, but Don the Writer was only interested in drinking in peace. Through the course of the film, he struggles with what he views as a dual personality, his sober self and his alcoholic self. His girlfriend, Helen, desperately works to keep him from going off the deep end. The Lost Weekend was a critical hit when it was released, winning the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Screenplay. While it might be an older film, The Lost Weekend paints a picture of what it means to wrestle with accepting one’s own identity instead of simply compartmentalizing.



1: Drugstore Cowboy


Drugstore Cowboy tells a story about a Bob Hughes, a drug addict who leads a band of criminals who are all interested in one thing: getting high. They rob pharmacies, not because they’re looking for cash but because pharmacies have all of the drugs they’ll ever need, at least until they run out. Eventually, things go sideways for Bob and he ends up making the decision to go clean, but the world that he left behind is never too far from his heels. While Drugstore Cowboy wasn’t a smash hit in the box office, it is one of the few films out there that holds a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.



Addiction has consequences. These films show what happens when a person ends up too far gone, wrapped in the thrones of a chemical dependency that leads to terrible and dire endings. It’s never too late, however, to get help when it comes to overcoming substance abuse. If you or a loved one you know is suffering from a serious drug or alcohol problem, you might want to consider rehab before it’s too late. With Willow Springs Recovery, you can start the journey to healing from addiction with the help of a world-class staff who will work hard to ensure that you have a full and comfortable recovery. To get started on this journey to overcoming addictions, visit us at our website or give us a call at 844-900-1215. Addiction recovery is really just a single phone call away!