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"High Times' lists its top 25 drug films

Published Jun. 8, 1999|Updated Sep. 29, 2005

High Times, a magazine that for a quarter-century has advocated the legalization of marijuana, has released its list of the top 25 drug movies, films in which mind- and mood-altering substances have played a significant role. Among those on the selection committee were Oliver Stone, who wrote the script for No. 11 Midnight Express, and Amy Heckerling, who directed No. 22 Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

The choices are specifically drug films, so you won't find movies that address alcohol addiction, such as The Days of Wine and Roses, The Lost Weekend or Cat Ballou.

Easy Rider, starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson, topped the list with its unabashed love of marijuana. The same could be said for Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke (No. 4); Trainspotting, which introduced Ewan McGregor (No. 6); Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, an adaptation of Hunter S. Thompson's druggy excursion through the land of neon sin (No. 21); Drugstore Cowboy, starring Matt Dillon (No. 3); Dazed and Confused, Richard Linklater's ode to high school and herb, (No. 12); Reefer Madness, a well-intentioned but hilariously loopy anti-drug propaganda film from the 1930s (No. 9); and The Man with the Golden Arm, which earned Frank Sinatra an Oscar nomination as a smack addict trying to clean up (No. 13).

Some of the other choices are less obvious. At No. 10 is Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas, which has as its final act Ray Liotta's Henry Hill snorting just as much cocaine as he is selling; Scarface, one of the great bad films of all-time, with Al Pacino (No. 5); Woodstock, (No. 15), a documentary about the famed 1969 concert as well-known for warnings about brown acid as for performances by Jimi Hendrix and Santana; and The Bad Lieutenant, (No. 20), with Harvey Keitel as a drug-mad, out-of-control cop.

The rest of the list is Apocalypse Now (No. 2); A Clockwork Orange (No. 7); The Harder They Come (No. 8); Altered States (No. 14); The Trip, (No. 16) an obscure 1967 film directed by Roger Corman and written by Jack Nicholson; Sid and Nancy (No. 17) Pulp Fiction; (No. 18); The French Connection (No. 19); Naked Lunch (No. 23); Boogie Nights (No. 24); and Jacob's Ladder (No. 25).

Noteworthy exclusions are The Breakfast Club, with Judd Nelson, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Ally Sheedy and Anthony Michael on Saturday detention; Platoon, where Charlie Sheen learns of an alternative use for a rifle barrel in Vietnam; The Panic in Needle Park, with Pacino and Kitty Winn as a couple joined by their love for each other and heroin; and the underrated Clean and Sober, with Michael Keaton and Morgan Freeman.


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