8 Must-See Movies About Addiction on Netflix

Movies about addiction can be sources of both information and motivation. But how do you sort through the masses and find the ones truly worth watching? Here are just 8 great addiction movies on Netflix.

1. Trainspotting

Trainspotting is one of the most famous addiction films ever. Based on a book by Irvine Welsh, it follows a group of heroin addicts in 1980s Scotland who find themselves in increasingly dire straits. Though it’s technically a black comedy, there are emotional moments as well, and many addicts have found meaning in the struggles, hopes and relationships of these characters. Trainspotting is highly praised among critics and audiences alike; the British Film Institute (BFI) actually ranks it number 10 out of their 100 best movies of all time.

2. Rachel Getting Married

Anne Hathaway stars in this film about a woman temporarily released from rehab to attend her sister’s wedding. Mixing family drama with the trials and tribulations of addiction, it’s a serious, sober look at how drugs can warp perceptions even among people who love each other. It isn’t always the happiest film, but it’s one that will offer many relatable moments to viewers working on their own sobriety.

3. Less Than Zero

Based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, Less Than Zero chronicles a college student who comes back home and discovers that his old friends have fallen into the world of drugs. Despite his concern for them, he’s quickly assimilated into their chaotic, turbulent lives, and a subsequent tragedy will change all of them forever. This film is notable for being very true-to-life for the drug scene in the ’80s as well as being one of the earlier projects of people like James Spader, Jami Gertz and Robert Downey Jr.

4. Smashed

If you’re wondering how to find balance in recovery, this may be the film for you. Smashed doesn’t focus on the homeless, desperate drug addicts that Hollywood loves so much; it follows the story of two married alcoholics and their attempts to get sober while also juggling the demands of work and family. It’s a great movie for affirming your goals and fighting your demons in the light of day, so if you’re tired of hopelessness in your drug movies, Smashed might be exactly what you need to stay positive.

5. Candy

Another film based on a novel, this one stars Heath Ledger and adapts the events of Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction by Luke Davies. Ledger plays an attractive young man who entices a lover named Candy into his world of drugs, but as their addictions deepen, their lives take a turn for the worse. This movie is an excellent cautionary tale about the dangers of mixing sex, love and drugs.

6. Enter the Void

Enter the Void is a very unique film that’s sure to leave an impression. Set around the neon, psychedelic drug scene in Tokyo, it follows a drug dealer who gets shot by police and has a subsequent out-of-body experience that allows him to experience the rest of the film while incorporeal. It’s strange, surreal and entirely one-of-a-kind, and it’s also a good look at how drugs can inform and misshape your reality. Give it a try if you’re looking for a non-traditional drug movie.

7. Flight

Flight is a rare movie where the main character’s drug addiction isn’t their defining trait. Denzel Washington plays an alcohol- and cocaine-abusing pilot who is nonetheless the best chance of a plane’s survival when it suddenly breaks down in mid-air. Despite his addiction, he’s still a hero, and his struggle with drugs is only part of a greater whole.

8. The Panic in Needle Park

The Panic in Needle Park is another movie about the dangers of drawing someone else into your addiction. Al Pacino, a heroin user, starts the mess by falling in love with the un-addicted Kitty Winn, but after introducing her to the world of drugs, she winds up more dependent on the stuff than he is. What follows next is a series of tragedies, betrayals and misunderstandings as the two lovers struggle to define themselves and their affection for each other despite their reliance on heroin.

These are just a few great movies about addiction that are currently available on Netflix. Whether you’re looking for slice-of-life films or action-packed dramas, there should be something on this list that suits you.

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