Movies About Addiction

Authored by Pin Ng

Edited by Hugh Soames

Reviewed by Philippa Gold

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Movies About Addiction


Although many people may associate films about drug and alcohol addiction with recent efforts, movies about addiction have been made for several decades. Even back then, the seriousness of such addictions were well known, even if many films did not depict them in enlightened ways.


If you want to see some of the best movies about addiction, you can start with this short list of some excellent movies. Any one of them provides good insight into the issues associated with addiction and the ramifications that affect not only the person addicted, but those around them.




Based on a novel, Affliction stars Nick Nolte as policeman Wade Whitehouse. He becomes obsessed with solving a crime while also trying to stay away from his alcoholic father and ex-wife. The film is riveting in its depiction of alcohol abuse and the effects it has on people. It also helps that Nolte delivers a powerful performance in the lead role.




Despite the serious nature of alcohol addiction depicted in the movie, Barfly is really a comedy at heart. This is a good choice for the material which is based on Charles Bukowski, an author and poet who struggled with his addiction for many years.


Starring Mickey Rourke as Henry, he works menial jobs during the day so he can spend time in the bars at night. His story is a compelling one because it shows how his addictions interfered with his potential as a writer and poet.


Clean and Sober


One of the more recognizable movies about addiction, this film stars Michael Keaton as a real estate agent addicted to cocaine. When he wakes up next to a woman who has suffered a heart attack, his character decides to hide by checking into a rehabilitation center. While undergoing treatment, he realizes just what a mess his life has become.


The film may skirt the edge of believability from time to time, but Keaton’s great performance and the ingenuity of the story makes Clean and Sober compelling viewing.

Crazy Heart


Based on a novel written by Thomas Cobb, Crazy Heart stars Jeff Bridges as an alcoholic singer and songwriter living mostly on the road. His life is a shambles with a series of failed marriages and a son he hasn’t seen in nearly 25 years. He meets Jean and tries to straighten out his life but fails badly and winds up in rehabilitation.


Despite the subject and nature of the film, it is rather uplifting and demonstrates that even when things do not work out, they still can be hope and happiness at the end.


Drugstore Cowboy


Directed by Gus Van Zant, Drugstore Cowboy is based on an autobiographical novel starring Matt Dillon. In the film he leads a small group of drug addicts across the Pacific Northwest robbing pharmacies to support their habit. When one of their friends dies of a drug overdose, Dillon’s character realizes that he must clean up his life even if escaping from his cohorts may prove to be impossible.


All these films make for great viewing and certainly worth checking out for those who are interested in depictions of drug and alcohol abuse.


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Alexander Stuart is the CEO of Worlds Best Rehab Magazine™ as well as the creator & pioneer behind Remedy Wellbeing Hotels & Retreats. Under his leadership as CEO, Remedy Wellbeing Hotels™ received the accolade of Overall Winner: International Wellness Hotel of the Year 2022 by International Rehabs. Because of his incredible work, the individual luxury hotel retreats are the world’s first $1 million-plus exclusive wellness centers providing an escape for individuals and families requiring absolute discretion such as Celebrities, Sportspeople, Executives, Royalty, Entrepreneurs and those subject to intense media scrutiny.