Top Five Most Realistic Movies About Addiction


Popular culture has a tendency to make light of difficult situations like addiction.  Addiction and substance abuse in particular are difficult subjects when it comes to Hollywood.  Producers, actors, directors, and writers sometimes have a hard time walking the fine line between telling the real story and glamorizing addiction.  There have been some movies that walk that line very well and give the best and most accurate picture of what addiction is like.  Addicts who watch these movies during their recovery and after may find that they are reminded of how hard they have worked, how far they have comes, and what it could mean to go back there.  On the other hand, some of these movies may be triggers so please watch with caution.

The Boost

The Boost is the much overlooked picture of a life gone wrong.  A husband, played by James Woods, have a recreational cocaine habit that eventually turns into true addiction.  He gets his wife hooked too and they lose everything – jobs, money, home, friends.  It may be a bit over the top, but this sad story of a regular couple undone by drugs to too true and happens to often to not make a realistic movie.


Based on the book by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting was a controversy from the start.  Depicting a group of Scottish youths who turn to heroin as a way to escape their lives, this movie has moments of hilarity that led some to believe that it was making light of drug use and glorifying it.  Eventually, the characters come to realize that there are no easy solutions to the banalities of life when things do not go exactly as planned.  Some sink into addiction and some get out – just like in real life.

Drugstore Cowboy

Nothing like a jaunt through the Pacific Northwest robbing hospitals and pharmacies to keep your family together.  The family in question is a gang of drug users who will go to great lengths in order to keep their habits going.  After tragedy strikes the gang, actor Matt Dillion decides to get clean, but then finds out that it is much more difficult than just not taking drugs to get yourself out of that life.

Days of Wine and Roses

Made in 1962 by director Blake Edwards starring Jack Lemmon and Lee Remick, Days of Wine and Roses draws an all too real portrait of a husband and wife who lose everything because of alcohol addiction.  He was a social drinker who started drinking more to deal with the stress from his job.  She started drinking more to be able to deal with him.  They both descend into madness.  It is said that Blake Edwards, Jack Lemmon, and Lee Remick all sough help for alcohol abuse after the making of this film.

Requiem for a Dream

Requiem for a Dream is one of the most well-known movies there is about addiction.  It has been touted as the most realistic portrayal of drug users ever depicted in film.  This film shows the effects of drug addiction on people of all ages.  As the addictions for the four main characters get stronger because of their inability to step away from the life, they are trapped in their own delusions until reality comes crashing down over them.  Actress Ellen Burstyn was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance depicting addiction in older people.

Any or all of these movies could be enough to scare a person away from the life of drug and alcohol addiction.  They all show that there is little glamour and much tragedy associated with it.  Some have even become required viewing in drug and alcohol recovery programs.

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