Movies have often dealt with different kinds of addiction, from alcohol to drugs and some of the most memorable performances have come out from these painful experiences, sometimes based on true events. There have been numerous flicks where we followed the destinies of the protagonists who got themselves into different sorts of trouble due to their drug addiction problems and in this list, we are bringing you the top 10 movies about heroin addiction.
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
What it’s about: This difficult drama tells the story of a number of addicts, including Sara Goldfarb who spends her days watching tv, especially a particular self-help show of which she wishes to be part. She lives with her son, Harry, a drug addict who dreams of becoming a drug dealer, together with his best friend Tyrone. Harry’s girlfriend is beautiful and skilled Marion who could have been a great designer but got drawn into his world of drugs. While we are following their struggle with addiction, Sara develops her own, taking pills that will help her lose weight.
Why you should watch it: Darren Aronofsky directed one of the best and most disturbing addiction movies of all time. This is a must-see for everyone, just to make the audience aware of what addiction can do to people. It is dark and atmospheric, with brilliant performances by Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, and Jennifer Connelly.
Drugstore Cowboy (1989)
What it’s about: This cult crime drama introduces us to a group of drug addicts in the 1970s who start robbing drug stores, hospitals, and pharmacies in order to get money to buy drugs. Bob Hughes is a 26-year-old addict who travels across Pacific Northwest with his wife Dianne, his best friend Rick, and his teenage girlfriend Nadine who help with his endeavors.
Why you should watch it: Gus Van Sant took a true story and made it into an unforgettable movie that always stays with you. When you have an interesting story and an excellent cast, including Matt Dillon, James Remar, Kelly Lynch, and Heather Graham, you should make a movie like this, a true masterpiece.
What it’s about: Mark Renton and his best friends are deeply immersed in Edinburgh’s drug scene. When one day Mark decides to give up his heroin addiction, we will be deeply drawn into his problems with his family and friends. Sick Boy, Spud, Begbie, a 14-year-old girl Diane and Tommy who has never tasted drugs are portrayed in this dark and depressing story where nothing seems to go as it should.
Why you should watch it: This cinematographic masterpiece is a movie that every true movie buff has already seen or must-see. Based on a cult novel by Irvine Welsh, it tells the story of a group of friends living and working in the 1990s Edinburgh, completely immersed in the world of heroin, becoming addicted to it, and forgetting everyone and everything around them.
What it’s about: Abbie Cornish plays a poet who falls in love with an art student, played by Heath Ledger. Soon, her infatuation with him brings her closer to another love of his, heroin and we begin to witness the destructiveness of their relationship, a combination of lust and love for one another, but also for this wicked drug.
Why you should watch it: This is another brilliant portrayal of what drug addiction can do to people. It takes everyone, the most gifted and talented, the shy ones, the loud ones. The movie is slow and extremely painful, bringing us closer to the fall of two young people who could have had it all.
The Basketball Diaries (1995)
What it’s about: This is a biographical sports drama about basketball player Jim Carroll whose life revolves around basketball. But his dreams about becoming a big basketball star are being clouded by various situations happening around him. His best friend is dying of leukemia, his coach is taking inappropriate advantage of the boys from his team and he is slowly becoming addicted to heroin.
Why you should watch it: Before becoming world famous for his role in Titanic, Leonardo di Caprio made a number of brilliant performances, including this one, the portrayal of a troubled young man, disappointed in life and the people around him. This is a movie everyone should watch, to understand the pressure of society on young minds.
Less Than Zero (1987)
What it’s about: This is a crime drama about Clay, an 18-year-old college freshman who returns to Los Angeles after his first term at Princeton to spend the Christmas holidays with his complicated wealthy family. He finds out that his former girlfriend Blair is now in a relationship with his former best friend Julian. When Blair tells him about Julian’s problems with drugs and huge debts, Clay gets involved in many situations which brilliantly depict the problems of wealthy youth in Beverly Hills.
Why you should watch: Even though this movie doesn’t directly deal with drugs and heroin addiction, it is still an excellent choice to learn the ways of some youngsters in 1980s California. A great cast and an interesting storyline make it a movie worth watching.
What it’s about: This excellent crime drama tells the story of the United States’ war on drugs, seen through the eyes of various people, including a conservative judge, a newly appointed drug lord and his heroin-addicted daughter, two DEA agents, a wife of a drug kingpin currently in jail and a Mexican policeman who begins to question his boss’s motives.
Why you should watch it: This is one of the best movies dealing with the drug problem in the United States and its war with Mexico regarding this serious topic. Unfortunately, it shows the improbability of ever stopping the war on drugs which makes it pretty painful to watch.
What it’s about: This is a biographical drama with Angelina Jolie who plays Gia Carangi, a beautiful young girl who comes from Philadelphia to New York, eager to become a model. She soon becomes one of the most wanted faces and bodies for major American magazines but her addiction to drugs will take her places she never expected to find herself in.
Why you should watch it: This is an interesting and very painful story about a promising young woman who ruined her life with drug addiction. It shows us all the ugly consequences drugs cause and through Jolie’s impeccable performance, we are presented with a tv movie that should gain more attention.
Midnight Cowboy (1969)
What it’s about: Joe Buck arrives from Texas in New York City where he befriends the outcast Ratso Rizzo. They will find themselves in a strong relationship, always against the others and the world around them, slowly progressing into something more dangerous than Joe could have ever imagined.
Why you should watch it: This John Schlezinger masterpiece with Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight in leading roles is one of the most important movies that deals with drug addiction. It has it all, a great storyline and brilliant writing, an excellent soundtrack, and two of the most memorable male performances ever.
What it’s about: Raynor is an uncovered cop who chooses Kristen, a good-looking but inexperienced cop to be his partner on his next assignment. They are going after Gaines, a dangerous drug dealer and this new case will bring them more problems than imagined. While trying to defeat this notorious drug dealer, they will are going to get sucked into the drug world and fall in love with each other.
Why you should watch it: This is a very brave look into what drugs can do to their users and a portrayal of two detectives who succumb to the drug call once they are drawn into its world. The movie is interesting, and exciting, with great performances by Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jason Patric.