10 Mainstream movies that introduced us to cannabis

It’s a confusing world, isn’t it? Class B to Class C then back to B again. You can’t have any on you, then you can have some, providing you admit it on being questioned by the police. Arguably safer than nicotine and alcohol but still not legal? Confusing is the word. Spare a thought for film buffs who love categorising cinema offerings that now balk at the additional genres of ‘Marijuana Movies’ and ‘Stoner Films’.

Typically, these films have all-male sexually-frustrated protagonists who come close to the pleasures of the female form. Bizarre bad luck or simple ineptitude usually compounds their frustrations further.  Other times, the guys just want to find themselves or their place in the world.

1. Easy Rider

The biker duo use cannabis and other narcotics as a means of release and relaxation. Their encounter with alcoholic Jack Nicholson quickly turns to cannabis. He’s initially reluctant, fearing getting hooked and it leading on ‘to the harder stuff’ but his inhibitions soon drop.


2. Withnail and I

The 1960s is the end of the ‘greatest decade in the history of mankind [and] there are going to be a lot of refugees.’ In their reverie the unusual trio get high smoking a ‘Camberwell carrot’ (joint).


Saving Grace

As a departure from the usual idiom, Saving Grace, features Brenda Blethyn as a newly widowed lady who turns to the growing and selling of cannabis to pay off her debts.


4. Scary Movie

Marlon Wayans succumbs to the horror as his ‘pot’ plant grows to gigantic proportions, rolls him in his bed sheet and smokes him. Luckily it gets the munchies and is persuaded to drop him in return for crisps.


5. Wonder Boys

Struggling writer, Michael Douglas, spends his free time smoking pot and getting high. Through a series of increasingly extreme personal encounters his outlook on life changes and his writer’s block lifts.


6. Ali G Indahouse

Popular character Ali G uses this full length feature as an archetypal marijuana movie; lots of getting high, bongs aplenty and screwball comedy.

There is also a lot of homophobic ‘wit’ on show which annoys but then he tries it himself at the end and enjoys it…


7. American Beauty

Life, Rebirth and Death are the themes in this higher brow movie. Kevin Spacey turns his life around, enjoys the occasional reefer but then he has a homosexual encounter, lusts after a young Mena Suvari and gets his head blown off. Oh the perils of weed.


8. Road Trip

Classic, repeatable dialogue, a bunch of lovable hapless guys that have love or sex on their minds travelling through America? Road Trip has it in spades.


9. Dude, Where’s My Car?

This comic flick is primarily an adventure between two hapless friends desperate to get their ‘birthday treats’ from their girlfriends in their as-yet unconsummated relationships. Amnesia, pot-sniffing dogs and out-there plot developments cement this as a hilarious stoner film.


And finally…

10. Smiley Face

This was the first ‘Stoner Film’ to feature a female lead, in Anna Faris. Perhaps the world wasn’t ready for the next step of having her get high deliberately (well it destroys the wholesome ‘girl next door’ image) but she inadvertently eats cannabis laced cakes and then embarks on a series of comic misadventures. Simply spliffing.


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