Alcohol and Drug Services of Gallatin County______
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?
- 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.
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).
There is no plot to speak of in this character study, which follows AA members
I’M DANCING AS FAST AS I CAN. 1982.
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).
(from product cover) Jill Clayburgh, brings her special sensitivity to the role
ONLY WHEN I LAUGH. 1981.
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
battle for her sanity--and her life. In this urgent quest, she must discover
inner strength, independence, and ability to be truly happy.
As the main character explains . . . she laughs only when her heart is pierced
POSTCARDS FROM THE EDGE. 1990.
. . . 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).
Suzanne (Meryl Streep) is an actress, but her mother (Shirley MacLaine), also
POW-WOW HIGHWAY – 1989.
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.
Gary Farmer (Smoke Signals) is the standout in a fine film by Jonathan Wacks
SHATTERED SPIRITS. 1986.
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).
This film was first shown on TV at the boomtime of recovery when Betty Ford
SMOKE SIGNALS. 1998.
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
A coming-of-age road-trip movie, Smoke Signals follows two Coeur d'Alene
THE LOST WEEKEND. 1945.
Indians, Victor and Thomas, as they drive from Idaho to Phoenix to collect the
ashes of Victor's late father (who was an alcoholic).
Don Birnam (Ray Milland) is an aspiring novelist who spends more time drinking
THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK. 1971.
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.
Welcome to the inhabitants of New York City's `Needle Park’ - a world of pimps,
WHEN A MAN LOVES A WOMAN. 1994.
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).
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).
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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.
WALK THE LINE.
Walk the Line, about Johnny Cash's hardscrabble music
career, won for best drama.
A LOVE SONG FOR BOBBY LONG.
The winner in the "Feature Film, Limited Release" category, A Love Song for Bobby Long
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
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, 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
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.
This is the story of a successful businessman – and recovering alcoholic -
THE DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA YA SISTERHOOD.
(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.
Rebecca Wells' popular 1996 novel, from which this script was adapted, is a
MARGARITA HAPPY HOUR.
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. . .
Five single moms in New York sit around and sip drinks while indulging each
other with their stories.
Detroit police narcotics officer Nick Tellis (Jason Patric), a recovering drug
THE SALTON SEA.
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
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.
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.
Kaisa's mother sends her on a road trip with the purpose of escorting her
ACTS OF WORSHIP.
alcoholic father to a detox clinic in Aberdeen, Scotland. However, Kaisa
discovers that her mother has an entirely different plan for her father. . .
A reviewer on amazon.com wrote: Never before have I seen such realism in
depicting the devastation of heroin addiction.
Charts the slow descent of small-town sheriff Wade Whitehouse (a raspy, gruffly
ANGELA’S ASHES. 1999.
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).
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.
The true story of George Jung (Johnny Depp), a drug dealer whose rise and
THE BOOST. 1988.
fall coincides with cocaine's becoming the drug of choice for the rich and famous
in the 1970s.
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
Buddy Amaral (Ben Affleck), a cocky, self-absorbed ad executive who -- in
BROKEDOWN PALACE. 1999.
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).
Alice (Claire Danes) and Darlene (Kate Beckinsale) are best friends on their
CLEAN AND SOBER. 1988.
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).
Michael Keaton's comedic energy is transformed here into the kind of jittery
THE CORNER. 2001.
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 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).
At Pacific Palisades High, an impoverished Latino (Hernandez) falls in love with
DOWN IN THE DELTA. 1998.
a troubled (and alcoholic) rich girl (Dunst). The story revolves around the
cultural and class differences that problematize the pair's relationship.
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).
British actor Tim Roth and the rapper Tupac Shakur are an unexpectedly
HIGH ART. 1998.
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).
Syd (Radha Mitchell) works for an art magazine in New York. When she meets
HOLIDAY HEART. 2000.
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.
Ving Rhames takes on the persona of "Holiday Heart," a church choir-directing
JESUS’ SON. 2000.
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).
Billy Crudup plays a young drifter in 1970s Iowa whose drug addiction and life
JOE THE KING. 1999.
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
A worthwhile and engaging coming of age story about Joe, a teenage boy
MY NAME IS BILL W. 1989.
(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).
James Woods . . . plays Bill Wilson, the overreaching businessman from the
PERMANENT MIDNIGHT. 1998.
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).
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
A brutally realistic and rigorously unsentimental--there are no flashy camera
REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. 2000.
tricks. . . . Pusher slowly draws its net tighter and tighter, until every moment
seems charged with menace (Reviewed for amazon.com by Bret Fetzer).
Oscar winner Ellen Burstyn gets an all-too-rare starring role as a lonely shut-in
RETURN TO PARADISE. 1998.
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.
In Malaysia, three young Americans with little else in common are united in a
SHADOW HOURS. 2000.
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).
Recovering addict Michael Halloway works as a night clerk in a gas station to
THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON. 1999.
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.
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
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.
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.
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