Top Recovery Movies to Inspire You

Hollywood Portrays Alcoholism, Addiction, and Recovery

These acclaimed movies look at recovery options available to those who are trying to overcome alcoholism as well as those who are affected by their drinking. Some of these movies are cautionary tales without a happy ending. Others show the stark but hopeful paths of those seeking recovery. These performances can help you understand more about alcoholism, addiction, and recovery.

Flight (2012)

Flight DVD Cover

From the beginning, you would think this movie, starring Academy Award winner Denzel Washington, was a "riveting and powerful nail-biting thriller" as described by the critics, but it's more about the pilot's nose-diving life than it is the crashing of an airplane. It's a story about denial, acceptance, and ultimately taking responsibility.

When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

When a Man Loves a Woman
When A Man Loves a Woman.

A picture-perfect family is threatened by the wife's dependence on alcohol and her husband's reaction to her drinking. Andy Garcia plays the husband who makes many of the mistakes family members make in dealing with an alcoholic spouse, played by Meg Ryan.

My Name is Bill W. (1989)

My Name Is Bill W.
My Name Is Bill W. Price Grabber

In his Emmy Award-winning performance, James Woods gives an unforgettably moving portrayal of Bill Wilson, the man who would eventually begin Alcoholics Anonymous along with co-founder Dr. Bob (played by James Garner). The 1989 television movie accurately depicts how the A.A. program works on the basic level, one alcoholic helping another. JoBeth Williams plays Bill's wife Lois.

28 Days (2000)

28 Days
28 Days. Price Grabber

Sandra Bullock, who usually plays "good girl" roles, does an excellent job portraying a party girl in need of a wake-up call in this story that takes place at​ a treatment center. The movie portrays the phases that many who go through treatment experience, including a final spiritual awakening about how alcohol has affected their lives.

Clean and Sober (1988)

Clean and Sober
Clean and Sober. Price Grabber

A real-estate salesman, Michael Keaton, whose addiction to drugs and alcohol is destroying his life, reluctantly enters a detoxification program and turns his life around with the help of a no-nonsense counselor (Morgan Freeman) who has heard all of the excuses and a woman trying to find her own self-esteem (Kathy Baker).

Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

Days of Wine and Roses
Days of Wine and Roses. Price Grabber

A failed public relations flack convinces his wife that the couple that drinks together, stays together, with tragic results. This film is not about recovery, but rather depicts the devastating effects of alcoholism when it overwhelms a family. The movie, starring Jack Lemon and Lee Remick, received five Academy Award nominations.

The Lost Weekend (1945)

The Lost Weekend
The Lost Weekend. Price Grabber

This classic film chronicles three days in the life of an alcoholic writer whose self-destructive binges wreak havoc on his life and loved ones. Because of its stark, uncompromising look at the devastating effects of alcoholism, the movie was almost not released after reactions from a preview audience. It ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1945.

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Leaving Las Vegas
Leaving Las Vegas. Price Grabber

An alcoholic movie executive decides to drive to Las Vegas and commit suicide by drinking himself to death. He meets a prostitute who is also hitting bottom and the two of them accept each other just as they are, forging a relationship that changes both of their lives. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards. Nicolas Cage won Best Actor and Elisabeth Shue was nominated for Best Actress in 1995.

Barfly (1987)

Barfly. Price Grabber

This movie follows the besotted adventures of skid-row writer Henry, played by Mickey Rourke, who begins a romance with fellow barfly Wanda, played by Faye Dunaway. This film is likewise not about recovery but rather a portrayal of how chronic alcoholism affects every aspect of life. It is based on a true story, written by Charles Bukowski.

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