Five of the Best Cocaine Movies

The Best Cocaine Movies

The cutting of cocaine powder on a mirror with a razor blade is a cliché in movies. But how many show how cocaine really affects the individual and those around them? These are some of the best cocaine movies because they reveal the realities of cocaine use and cocaine use disorder.

Starsky and Hutch

Starsky and Hutch Movie. Image (c) Warner Home Video

In my opinion, Starsky and Hutch gives one of the most insightful accounts of acute cocaine intoxication on screen. Despite being a comedy, the scene in which Starsky inadvertently consumes a sizable quantity of confiscated cocaine thinking it is coffee sweetener is pretty accurate. The combination of over-stimulation, excitability, and elevated self-confidence to the point of grandiosity, suddenly turning to paranoia and aggression, is precisely how the drug tends to affect users who over-indulge. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson give a convincing performance of novice and experienced users, respectively.

The spin-off story of the party and play between Hutch and the two cheerleaders also reflects a sub-group who use drugs to enhance sex.

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It’s All Gone Pete Tong

It's All Gone Pete Tong. Image (c) Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

The portrayal of the psychological process of cocaine addiction and the transformative aspects of recovery are belied by the apparent superficiality of the central character a vulgar, narcissistic, hedonistic lout, whose cocaine addiction is entangled with his success as a rave DJ and his relationship with his partner, who shows characteristics of sex addiction, and engages him in party and play group sex.

Faced with losing everything, his descent into cocaine addiction is conveyed through the use of a surprisingly effective metaphor -- that I won't spoil for those who have not seen it yet -- which he eventually faces and overcomes. This is a powerful and disarmingly accessible movie which reveals the power of self-determination in recovery.

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Blow Movie Poster
Blow Movie Poster. New Line Cinema

As the title implies, Blow is all about cocaine. It tells the story of a drug dealer, played by Johnny Depp, who was smuggling cocaine from Colombia to America in the 1970s. The movie reveals some of the indirect consequences of the cocaine trade, including violence, imprisonment, and organized crime.

There are some ugly portrayals of how cocaine addiction -- and the greed associated with the drug trade -- can change people. He is betrayed by friends, business partners, even his own wife turns him over to the police at one point. He is shot and beaten within an inch of his life. And he almost dies of a cocaine overdose while his wife is giving birth.

It's a reminder of the human suffering that goes into every line or rock of cocaine.

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24 Hour Party People

24 Hour Party People Movie Poster
24 Hour Party People Movie Poster. A Revolution Films Production

This depressing British film tells the story of Tony Wilson, a UK record label mogul, nightclub owner and TV celebrity whose fame reached its peak during the forgettable early 1990s in the North of England. After initially refusing the cocaine that surrounded him on ideological grounds, and describing it as "a drug for suits and a destroyer of talent," Tony finally succumbed to peer pressure, and the tedious drug-fuelled blunders that resulted from his consequent cocaine addiction.

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Cruel Intentions

Cruel Intentions Movie Poster
Cruel Intentions Movie Poster. Columbia Pictures

Cruel Intentions is a movie in which cocaine use is a side-story, but the depth of the portrayal of how the drug interacts with the character's personality puts it into the top cocaine movie category. Sarah Michelle Geller plays a wealthy, self-indulgent, narcissistic teen, who amuses herself by lying, manipulating, mocking, and seducing other people -- and by escaping into cocaine use.

While she is clearly a psychologically disturbed individual, her cocaine use, social status, and false self-confidence in social situations allows her to buy into her own elevated self-image without facing the consequences of her actions on others -- until the emptiness of her relationships, game-playing, and her tenuous grip on reality eventually backfire.

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