20 best movies about drugs

10. A Scanner Darkly (2006)

Based on the novel by drug user Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly is set in a dystopian future where 20 per cent of the population are addicted to a drug called Substance D. Keanu Reeves, Robert Downey Jr and Woody Harrelson acted out their scenes on screen, which were later transformed into digitally rotoscoped animation. Far out nuances, such as the scramble suit used to alter a persons identity, add to the films surreal set up. An awe-inspiring watch.

9. Requiem for A Dream (2000)

Requiem for A Dream is a devastatingly dark depiction of the consequences of drug addiction. Darren Aronofsky's Oscar-nominated film tells the tale of a couple, played by Jennifer Connelly and Jared Leto, whose desperation for a heroin fix result in public displays of prostitution and an arm amputation. It also explores the theme of vanity through a widows addiction to prescribed weight-loss pills. Aronofsky's hopeless and gritty account is mesmerising stuff.

8. Go (1999)

This black comedy sees good girl Katie Holmes taking a break from kissing Dawson to stack shelves in a sketchy supermarket. The story splits off into three separate strands, revolving around an ecstasy drug deal in a local store. As each plotline unravels a new piece of information comes to light, revealing that there is more to the illegal exchange than originally thought. The films non-linear storytelling gives Go the edge and keeps audiences hooked.

7. Pineapple Express (2008)

Produced by the king of comedy Judd Apatow, Pineapple Express is a crazy, drug induced roller coaster of a ride with highs aplenty. Seth Rogens Dale and his dealer, James Francos Saul, are at the mercy of a drug lord who wants them dead after they witness him committing a murder. The only solution for the stoner twosome is to flee. Be warned, at times it may feel as though you have been inhaling some of the grassy goods too. A side splitting must-see.

6. 24 Hour Party People (2002)

24 Hour Party People is a pulsating comedy spanning the '70s, '80s and '90s. Set to the backdrop of Manchesters music scene, the film fuses real footage with dramatic re-enactments based on rumours about influential rockers and industry moguls. Steve Coogan takes centre stage as news reporter and record label owner Tony Wilson. The comedy cad breaks the fourth wall, acting as the audience's guide through a drug fuelled tour of the northern music movement.

5. Limitless (2011)

Bradley Cooper shows off some serious acting chops in Neil Burger's euphoric thriller Limitless. When small time author, Eddie Morra gets his hands on some neuro enhancing drugs he is thrown into the fast-paced world of partying, money-making and endless exhilaration. But the side effects of his newfound life come at a cost. Audiences will identify with Morra's transformative highs and lows through a cleverly scripted monologue and colourful cinematography.

4. Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

This is the pill-popping true story of James Fogle; a criminal whose troubled teenage years led to an infamous drugstore robbery later in life. Gus Van Sants breakthrough film sees Matt Dillon in the lead as Fogle, opposite actresses Kelly Lynch and Heather Graham who play fellow addicts. The director's debut has since become a cult classic for its stylistic soundtrack and cool cast.

3. Traffic (2000)

Director Steven Soderbergh enlists the help of a heavyweight cast (including Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Benicio Del Toro, Dennis Quaid and Don Cheadle), to tell three individual accounts of illegal drug trading and substance abuse. This four-time Oscar-winner is told from the perspective of several characters, and explores themes of corruption, betrayal and political power plays. Soderbergh's sharp story-telling and potent plotlines are a winning combination.

2. Dazed and Confused (1993)

This coming of age comedy revolves around a group of Texas high school seniors and their stoner summer spent taking drugs, binging on alcohol and hazing freshman. Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck and Milla Jovovich make up this star-studded cast, whose spliff smoking habits and tearaway teen behaviour are sure to give audiences a sense of nostalgia and wild abandonment. The film has accrued a cult following which includes none other than director Quentin Tarantino.

1. Trainspotting (1996)

With babies crawling on ceilings, under age sex acts and er, Dale Winton, Trainspotting is a trip and a half. Relatively unknown at the time, director Danny Boyle followed up his cinematic debut Shallow Grave, with this defining British film about the Edinburgh drug scene. Ewan McGregor takes the lead as heroin addict Renton who's desperately trying to kick his habit after experiencing some scary hallucinations and harsh realisations. Wild, weird and well worthy of a watch.

Jen has written for the MailOnline, the Express, LOVEFiLM/Amazon Instant Video, and interviewed some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. Fave films: Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Legends of the Fall, Carlito's Way, Batman Begins. Fave TV shows: The Walking Dead, The West Wing, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sex and the City.