Alcohol &
Drug Services
Programs
Adolescent Resource Center
Programs
Treatment
Works
Prevention
Parenting
About Alcohol
Alcohol
Screening
Tool
Screening & Brief Intervention
Resources
Links
What's New in the News?
Home Page
Donate
 
 


 Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County______
 

 

Movies:
Entertaining and Educational



Moving stories, about the inter-relationship
of people, alcohol and other drugs. 

________________


This movie list invites you to expand your awareness of alcohol and other drugs, and the role they play in the human story.
  • Have suggestions about additions to this list? Email GRIP.
     
  • Unless otherwise noted, all synopsis of movies came from Movies.com

  •  
  • The opinions expressed by the movies listed do not reflect the policies, mission or goal of Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County or GRIP. They may not even be great movies. But, you’ll learn something while watching them.
     
  • For more information about where to draw the line between responsible and risky drinking, visit Montana Alcohol Screening.
     


General Recommendations

DAYS OF WINES AND ROSES. 1962. 
    This tale of middle-class alcoholism rings very true. Jack Lemmon and Lee
    Remick are the besotted couple who find that life is not always fun when
    viewed through rose - colored glasses. Nominated for five Academy Awards,
    it won for the title song by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer.
    (Reviewed for amazon.com by Rochelle O'Gorman).
DRUNKS. 1997.
    There is no plot to speak of in this character study, which follows AA members
    who meet in a Times Square basement to bare their souls. The performances,
    however, are dazzling. A sparse plot follows (the main character) through one
    dark, soul-searching night in which he questions his life, his choices, and his
    sobriety. . .(Reviewed for amazon.com by Rochelle O'Gorman).
I’M DANCING AS FAST AS I CAN. 1982.
    (from product cover) Jill Clayburgh, brings her special sensitivity to the role of
    Barbara Gordon, a successful television documentary producer who became
    hopelessly dependent on tranquilizers.  But this is much more than a story of
    addiction and withdrawal; it is an examination of the success syndrome that
    affects the lives of people who career triumphs are achieved at great personal
    sacrifice. It is the dramatic and suspenseful story of one woman's survival in a
    battle for her sanity--and her life. In this urgent quest, she must discover her
    inner strength, independence, and ability to be truly happy.
ONLY WHEN I LAUGH. 1981.
    As the main character explains . . . she laughs only when her heart is pierced
    . . . a recovering alcoholic. . . it is her rocky road to recovery that is the
    benchmark of this film. On the surface, it's much too easy to assess the film
    as a story about alcoholism. Actually, it's about recovery. . .
    (from a review on amazon.com).
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE. 1990.
    Suzanne (Meryl Streep) is an actress, but her mother (Shirley MacLaine), also
    an actress, is more famous and successful. The stress of work and her family
    life push Suzanne into drug and alcohol addiction until finally she's forced to
    confront her issues.
POW-WOW HIGHWAY – 1989. 
    Gary Farmer (Smoke Signals) is the standout in a fine film by Jonathan Wacks
    about an oversized Cheyenne man-child (Farmer) who decides to go on a
    spiritual quest, while simultaneously giving a ride to his lifelong Indian activist
    friend (A. Martinez). The film takes us through some pretty desolate Indian
    communities, but while Wacks makes a point of revealing harsher aspects of
    life on some reservations, the emphasis is on Farmer's delightful performance.
    (Reviewed by Tom Keogh for amazon.com).
SHATTERED SPIRITS. 1986.
    This film was first shown on TV at the boomtime of recovery when Betty Ford
    was pushing for recovery for families affected by addiction. The story portrays
    a middleclass family hiding dad's (Sheen's) alcoholism and sliding down the slope
    of denial. The reactions of the family to crises and the roles they each fall into
    are so accurately done that the viewer can get way into his/her own alcoholic
    upbringing and pain before they are aware of it. (From a review on
    amazon.com).
SMOKE SIGNALS. 1998.
    A coming-of-age road-trip movie, Smoke Signals follows two Coeur d'Alene
    Indians, Victor and Thomas, as they drive from Idaho to Phoenix to collect the
    ashes of Victor's late father (who was an alcoholic).
THE LOST WEEKEND. 1945.
    Don Birnam (Ray Milland) is an aspiring novelist who spends more time drinking
    than he does writing. . .It's been 10 days since Don's last drink, but as he and
    his brother pack for a relaxing weekend in the country, Don's cravings kick in
    and he embarks on a three-day bender, with horrifying results.
THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK. 1971.
    Welcome to the inhabitants of New York City's `Needle Park’ - a world of pimps,
    thieves and junkies. In the film that Variety dubbed ‘a total triumph,’ Al Pacino,
    in his first major movie role, plays Bobby, a heroin addict who meets his clean
    girlfriend Helen (Kitty Winn) and introduces her to a new strung-out world filled
    with young derelicts who steal, love, cheat, befriend and betray. A jungle, ruled
    by addiction and passion. (From amazon.com).
WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN. 1994.
    About a woman (Meg Ryan) whose alcoholism almost destroys her family. . .
    one of the most painful realizations comes when attractive, "good-time girl" Alice
    Green (Ryan) and her husband (Andy Garcia) begin to realize how much of a role
    alcohol played in their marriage and in bringing them together in the first place.
    The issues and experiences confronted in this movie go far beyond the stuff you see on Oprah.
    (Reviewed for amazon.com by Jim Emerson).

                                      Top of Page


PRISM Award Recipients
2006 |2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 and earlier

Every year the PRISM Awards honor movies that give an accurate depiction of drug,
alcohol and tobacco use and addiction.

Presented by the Entertainment Industries Council (EIC) in partnership with The Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse/National
Institutes of Health, the list of past winners can give your home-movie nights depth. 

Explore our favorites from those, here.



2006

WALK THE LINE. 

    Walk the Line, about Johnny Cash's hardscrabble music career, won for best drama.
     


2005

A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG. 

    The winner in the "Feature Film, Limited Release" category, A Love Song for Bobby Long --

RAY.

    The winner for the "Theatrical Feature Film" category.


2004
CITY OF GOD.
    A photographer named Buscape narrates short stories to recall his childhood growing up in one of the most crime-ridden areas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The film introduces many characters, including a boyhood friend on the path to becoming a drug dealer in what was one of the world's most dangerous areas from the late '60s to the early '80s.
THIRTEEN.
    As Tracy. . .continues through adolescence . . . (her) desire to fit in — by experimenting with sex, drugs, and petty crimes — leads her down a wild road and causes tension at home.
21 GRAMS.
    21 Grams, from the Mexican writing-directing team behind Amores Perros, interweaves stories about Christine, a single mother and former drug addict (Naomi Watts); Paul (Sean Penn), a terminally ill professor; and Jack (Benicio Del Toro), a reformed ex-convict.
WONDERLAND.
    Val Kilmer plays late adult film icon John Holmes in this biopic, but the plot isn't about porn. . .Holmes became hooked on cocaine in the late '70s, forcing him to leave the porn industry and work for Eddie Nash (Eric Bogosian), a drug kingpin. But Holmes' addiction intensified, leading to the botched robbery of Nash's house and a tragic, violent outcome.
ANYTHING BUT LOVE.
    Billie Golden (Isabel Rose) is a singer at an airport lounge who dreams of making it big and moving out of the run-down house she shares with her alcoholic mother (Alix Korey). She's also involved with two very different men . . .
IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY.
    . . .a black comedy about three generations of a dysfunctional family living in New York City and their attempts to reconcile. Michael Douglas plays the man caught in the middle, coming to terms with his life as a husband, father, and son.


2003
CHANGING LANES.
    This is the story of a successful businessman – and recovering alcoholic -
    (Samuel L. Jackson) and a high-profile lawyer (Ben Affleck) whose chance
    encounter, a minor traffic accident on New York's F.D.R. Drive, escalates to
    terrifying "I'll have my people kill your people" levels.
THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA YA SISTERHOOD.
    Rebecca Wells' popular 1996 novel, from which this script was adapted, is a
    Louisiana-based story of one woman who is able to mend her troubled
    relationship with her mother (who is alcoholic) by listening to her stories of
    friendship with her three closest female friends. . .
MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR.
    Five single moms in New York sit around and sip drinks while indulging each
    other with their stories.
NARC.
    Detroit police narcotics officer Nick Tellis (Jason Patric), a recovering drug
    addict, is assigned to investigate the murder of a young rookie cop and teams
    with the dead cop's partner, Lt. Henry Oak (Ray Liotta), who's out for blood.
    As Tellis gets closer to learning the truth, he discovers he may have been set
    up.
THE SALTON SEA.
    A gang of speed freaks don't know that among them is a police informant (Val
    Kilmer) who isn't a druggie at all but just a regular guy looking to get revenge
    for the murder of his wife.
SKINS.
    Rudy Yellow Lodge, a Sioux tribal police officer, must deal with his alcoholic
    brother, Mogie, before their lives drift too far apart.



Some Other Past Award Recipients,
2002 and earlier.


28 DAYS. 2000.
    . . . Life is just an exercise in debauchery — until Gwen's ungraceful display at
    her sister Lily's wedding, when she gets drunk, commandeers the limo, and earns
    herself a DUI and 28 days in court-ordered rehab.
ABERDEEN. 2000
    Kaisa's mother sends her on a road trip with the purpose of escorting her
    alcoholic father to a detox clinic in Aberdeen, Scotland. However, Kaisa
    discovers that her mother has an entirely different plan for her father. . .
ACTS OF WORSHIP.
    A reviewer on amazon.com wrote: Never before have I seen such realism in
    depicting the devastation of heroin addiction.
AFFLICTION. 1998.
    Charts the slow descent of small-town sheriff Wade Whitehouse (a raspy, gruffly
    restrained Nick Nolte) into violence, the legacy of the corrupt love of an
    abusive, alcoholic father. . . James Coburn, who deservedly won an Oscar for
    his mocking, sneering performance, is Wade's father, who jumps back into the
    cycle of abuse when Wade moves in to care for the aging man. (Reviewed by
    Sean Axmaker on amazon.com).
ANGELA’S ASHES. 1999.
    To quote the best-selling, Pulitzer Prize-winning book from which this Irish
    movie springs, "It was, of course, a miserable childhood." Miserable because
    the McCourt family is ultra-poor. Miserable because dad (Robert Carlyle) is an
    unemployed alcoholic. And miserable because mom (Emily Watson) is perennially
    depressed. But from this wretched tale, author Frank McCourt wrings a
    wonderful story of how he and his siblings survived their Depression-era youth.
BLOW. 2001.
    The true story of George Jung (Johnny Depp), a drug dealer whose rise and
    fall coincides with cocaine's becoming the drug of choice for the rich and famous
    in the 1970s.
THE BOOST. 1988.
    James Woods plays a fast-rising, sharp-talking salesman, a yuppie on the make
    with the good life firmly in his sights. Until he discovers cocaine – and then his
    entire live-beyond-your-means ethos blends with a ravaging addiction that
    drives his lifestyle strictly down-market. (Reviewed by Marshall Fine for
    amazon.com)
BOUNCE. 2001.
    Buddy Amaral (Ben Affleck), a cocky, self-absorbed ad executive who -- in
    desiring a tryst with the gorgeous Mimi (Natasha Henstridge), a woman he meets
    at the airport--gives up his plane ticket back to Los Angeles to writer Greg
    Janello (Tony Goldwyn). The plane crashes, and Buddy begins a downward
    spiral of alcoholism and self-loathing until he undergoes rehab. Once out, he
    decides to pay a visit to the dead man's widow. . .
    (From a description on amazon.com).
BROKEDOWN PALACE. 1999.
    Alice (Claire Danes) and Darlene (Kate Beckinsale) are best friends on their
    post-high-school whirlwind vacation. Telling their parents they're off for Hawaii,
    they head instead to Thailand, where they stay at a $6-a-night dive and sneak
    drinks at a posh hotel. They both fall sway to the charms of a handsome
    Australian (Daniel Lapaine), who invites them to Hong Kong. Off they go,
    although unbeknownst to them (or is it? this question is never fully answered),
    one of them has heroin in her backpack. Sentenced to 33 years in a Thai jail,
    they find their friendship begins to deteriorate as their trust in each other fades.
    They enlist the help of Yankee Hank (Bill Pullman), a greedy but knowledgeable
    American lawyer living in Asia. (Reviewed by Jenny Brown for amazon.com).
CLEAN AND SOBER. 1988.
    Michael Keaton's comedic energy is transformed here into the kind of jittery
    intensity that's perfect for his role, suggesting a driven personality who can
    maintain the appearance of self-control for only so long before he crashes and
    burns. After a series of setbacks, Keaton's character seeks refuge in a drug
    rehabilitation program and must confront the truth of his own addiction at the
    urging of a counselor (Morgan Freeman) who's heard every lame excuse in the
    book from addicts struggling to quit. Kathy Baker leads a superb supporting cast
    as a recovering alcoholic and battered wife whose flagging self-esteem is
    boosted by Keaton's attention. Under the careful direction of Glenn Gordon
    Caron (of TV's Moonlighting fame), Keaton and Baker handle this delicate
    material with consummate skill and grace, turning a potentially depressing story
    into a moving portrait of people who must battle their inner demons step by
    tentative step. (Reviewd by Jeff Shannon for amazon.com).
THE CORNER. 2001.
    The bleak reality of drug addiction is captured with unflinching authenticity in
    THE CORNERr, an excellent, reality-based HBO miniseries. . . This is, at its root,
    a family tragedy, focusing on errant father Gary (T.K. Carter, in a heartbreaking
    performance) a once-successful investor trapped in a tailspin of heroin
    dependency. His estranged wife Fran (Khandi Alexander) was the first to get
    hooked, and she's struggling to get clean, while their 15-year-old son DeAndre
    (Sean Nelson, from the indie hit Fresh) deals drugs, temporarily avoiding their
    deadly allure while facing the challenge of premature fatherhood.
    (Reviewed for amazon.com by Jeff Shannon).
CRAZY/BEAUTIFUL.  2001.
    At Pacific Palisades High, an impoverished Latino (Hernandez) falls in love with
    a troubled (and alcoholic) rich girl (Dunst). The story revolves around the
    cultural and class differences that problematize the pair's relationship.
DOWN IN THE DELTA. 1998.
    This family drama begins in a gritty Chicago neighborhood with a jobless,
    hopeless mother (Alfre Woodard) pouring her efforts into the bottle and various
    drugs rather than her troubled daughter and wise-beyond-his-years son. . .
    (Reviewed for amazon.com by Kimberly Heinrichs).
GRIDLOCK’D. 1998.
    British actor Tim Roth and the rapper Tupac Shakur are an unexpectedly
    charismatic and refreshing duo in this off-beat buddy movie. Closer than two
    brothers, these junkie musicians vow to kick their habits after a soul-shattering
    New Year's Eve. (Reviewed for amazon.com by Rochelle O'Gorman).
HIGH ART. 1998.
    Syd (Radha Mitchell) works for an art magazine in New York. When she meets
    a formerly famous photographer named Lucy (Ally Sheedy), Syd is enthralled by
    both Lucy and her photos. The two women begin a troubled relationship, which
    is fraught with drama in the form of Lucy's girlfriend, Greta (Patricia Clarkson),
    and heroin addiction.
HOLIDAY HEART. 2000.
    Ving Rhames takes on the persona of "Holiday Heart," a church choir-directing
    female impersonator who is openly gay, religious, and alone. His loneliness ebbs
    when he rescues Wanda (Alfre Woodard) and her daughter from her drug
    -abusing boyfriend . . . But Wanda hooks up with a well-heeled drug dealer
    (Mykelti Williamson) and soon falls back into drug addiction, leaving Holiday to
    give up his own dreams and take care of the girl. . . The film's noble desire not
    to pretty things up does make for some tough scenes and a less-than-happy
    ending. (Reviewed for amazon.com by Kimberly Heinrichs).
JESUS’ SON. 2000.
    Billy Crudup plays a young drifter in 1970s Iowa whose drug addiction and life
    of petty crime lead him down the road to self-discovery and redemption. . .
    Based on the short story collection from acclaimed writer and poet Denis
    Johnson.
JOE THE KING. 1999.
    A worthwhile and engaging coming of age story about Joe, a teenage boy
    (played by the unknown and excellent Noah Fleiss), who doesn`t seem to find
    his place in school, neighborhood and family. It doesn`t help that he has an
    abusive drunk father and a mother too busy to care, who let him constantly
    on his own and forcing him to make some (bad) choices. . .The last scenes
    with Joe and his father are actually quite well-done, never becoming too sappy
    although they make for some moving and powerful moments.
    (Reviewed by a viewer on amazon.com).
MY NAME IS BILL W. 1989.
    James Woods . . . plays Bill Wilson, the overreaching businessman from the
    Roaring '20s who went on to found Alcoholics Anonymous. Woods gets plenty
    of chances to stretch out here in Bill's headlong slide to the bottom, through
    the terrors of the Wall Street crash (which amplifies a two-fisted drinking
    problem) and into the loss of everything he holds dear. Yet Woods also is
    convincing as the man who understands just how insidious his disease is and
    learns to try to take everything one day at a time. He receives strong support
    from James Garner as the alcoholic physician who teams with Bill to make AA a
    viable proposition. (Reviewed for amazon.com by Marshall Fine).
PERMANENT MIDNIGHT. 1998.
    Jerry Stahl, a writer for TV show Alf (here a puppet called Mr. Chompers), tries
    to hold on to his $5,000-a-week job while supporting a $6,000-a-week heroin
    habit.
PUSHER. 1998.
    A brutally realistic and rigorously unsentimental--there are no flashy camera
    tricks. . . . Pusher slowly draws its net tighter and tighter, until every moment
    seems charged with menace (Reviewed for amazon.com by Bret Fetzer).
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. 2000.
    Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn gets an all-too-rare starring role as a lonely shut-in
    drifting further away from reality as she obsesses over her dream of appearing
    on a TV game show. Jared Leto plays her son, a strung-out heroin addict who's
    looking to make the big drug deal that will lift him and his mother up from the
    depths. Jennifer Connelly also stars as Leto's junkie girlfriend.
RETURN TO PARADISE. 1998.
    In Malaysia, three young Americans with little else in common are united in a
    shared enthusiasm for beer, women, and righteous hashish. Eventually, "Sheriff"
    (Vince Vaughn) and Tony (David Conrad) head back to New York. Lewis (Joaquin
    Phoenix), a spacey but good-hearted sort, stays on with the notion of helping
    save the orangutans. Two years later, a brassy lawyer (Anne Heche) shows up
    in Manhattan with the news that her client, Lewis, has spent the interim in
    a Penang prison. Arrested for a prankish misdemeanor they all shared in, he's
    taking the rap for something worse: the dope stash they left him holding was a
    fatal few grams over the limit. Unless his fellow Americans return voluntarily to
    (literally) share the weight, in eight days Lewis will be hanged as a drug
    trafficker. . . Oscar blinked, three times.  (Reviewed for amazon.com by Richard T. Jameson).
SHADOW HOURS. 2000.
    Recovering addict Michael Halloway works as a night clerk in a gas station to
    help support his pregnant wife, who has stuck by him during his struggles to get
    sober. At work one night, he meets Stuart Chappell, who convinces Halloway to
    accompany him as he researches Los Angeles nightlife. Halloway is quickly
    seduced by the exotic pleasures available.
THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON. 1999.
    Twenty years after five underdogs won the state basketball championship,
    they are cheered at a reunion and head home to reminisce. Now their big play
    is to get their friend George re-elected as mayor, but the years have driven
    wedges between the men and celebration turns to bitterness and recrimination
    . . . The film's executive producer is Gary Sinise, who plays Tom, the conscience
    of the group despite his alcoholism . . . (Reviewed for amazon.com by Lloyd
    Chesley).
TRAFFIC. 2000.
    Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Out of Sight) offers a look at the world
    of drug trafficking on both sides of the law, in an ensemble drama, with four
    storylines converging in the final act, that he has compared to Robert Altman's
    classic Nashville. At the story's center is Judge Robert Lewis (Douglas), who
    becomes the country's new drug czar even as his teenage daughter is fast
    becoming an addict herself.
TRAINSPOTTING. 1995.
    Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting is a pitch black comedy about
    a group of young Scottish drug addicts whose lives are completely immersed in
    getting, using, or quitting heroin.

 
Top of Page | Resources and Links Page | ADSGC Home Page