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Alcohol in the Movies

[Absinthe] The Four Earliest Known Absinthe-related Films
Presents four movies from the silent film era concerning the distilled, highly alcoholic spirit absinthe. Almost from the very outset motion picture producers found a lucerative niche producing films with an anti-alcohol message. The 1902 film "Les victimes de l'alcoolisme" was the first attempt by the newly formed Pathé company to exploit the burgeoning demand for anti-absinthe and anti-alcohol propaganda. "Les Victimes de l'alcool" (1911), a far more sophisticated film, was enthusiastically promoted by the temperance movement and was a huge success for Pathé. "Absinthe" (1913) is the only surviving U.S.-made absinthe related motion picture from the pre-ban era, featuring one of the very few filmed versions of absinthe being prepared and consumed. Contents: La Bonne absinthe / produced by Gaumont Film Company ; directed by Alice Guy (1899, 1 min.) -- Les Victimes de l'alcoolisme / produced by Pathé ; directed by Ferdinand Zecca (1902, 4 min.) -- Les Victimes de l'alcool / produced by Pathé ; directed by Gerard Bourgeois (1911, 26 min.) -- Absinthe / produced by the Gem Motion Picture Company ; starring Glen White and Sadie Weston (1913, 12 min.) DVD X2294

The Alcohol Years (2005)
A film by Carol Morley. A poetic retrieval of the years filmmaker Carol Morley spent in Manchester, where in the early 1980s, her life was lost in an alcoholic blur. In Morley's search for her lost self, conflicting memories and viewpoints weave in and out, revealing a portrait of the city, its pop culture, and the people who lived it. 79 min. DVD 4127

Altered States (1980)
Directed by Ken Russell. Cast: William Hurt, Blair Brown, Bob Balaban, Charles Haid. An American researching different states of consciousness with the aid of mind altering drugs and an isolation chamber begins to experience disturbing physical changes in his body that point toward an evolutionary regression. Based on the novel by Paddy Chayefsky. 73 min. DVD 4556; also DVD 291; VHS 999:110
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Chayefsky, Paddy. The screenplays / Paddy Chayefsky. New York : Applause Books, 1995. (Main (Gardner) Stacks Call No. PS3505.H632 A19)

Bank Dick (1940)
Directed by Eddie Cline. Cast: W.C. Fields, Una Merkel, Cora Witherspoon, Franklin Pangborn, Shemp Howard, Grady Sulton. Egbert Souse accidently foils a bank robbery and is hired as a bank guard. "How could you pick a single performance from the late, great W.C. Fields to honor? He essentially played a drunk wallowing in some state of dysfunction or another in every movie he made. Perhaps our favorite for the purposes of the drunk list? His role as Egbert Souse ('soo-say!') in The Bank Dick, a classic Fields film by any measure. The quotes attributed to Fields (in character and out of it) are a running homage to drinking, including his classic line: 'A woman drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank her.' No, W.C. Thank you." [] 73 min. DVD 4556; also DVD 291; VHS 999:110
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Barfly (1987)
Directed by Barbet Schroeder. Cast: Faye Dunaway, Mickey Rourke, Alice Krige, J. C. Quinn, Frank Stallone. Quasi-autobiography of writer-alcoholic Charles Bukowski and life on the skids in L.A.'s bars and flophouses and his choice between that booze-ridden existence or a new life as a poet. 99 min. DVD 3367
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Bukowski, Charles. The movie, "Barfly" : an original screenplay by Charles Bukowski ; for a film by Barbet Schroeder. Santa Rosa, CA : Black Sparrow Press, 1987. (Main (Gardner) Stacks PN1997 .B263 1987)

Betty (France, 1991)
Directed by Claude Chabrol. Cast: Marie Trintignant, Stephane Audran, Jean-Francois Garreaud, Yves Lambrecht, Christiane Minazzoli, Pierre Vernier. Betty Etamble, a promiscuous and alcoholic woman who has lost her family, ends an evening at a bar and meets Laure, an elegant retiree who lives in a luxury hotel. Laure takes the girl under her wing, and gradually details of her sinister story unfold and evolves into a lethal game of cat and mouse. 105 min. DVD 6597
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Birds Anonymous (1957)
Directed by Friz Freleng. Animated short. In this spoof of Alcoholics Anonymous, pussy cats are cast as bird-eating addicts and go through the 12-step process to deal with their addiction. Sylvester, who could never quite get the best of the object of his desire, Tweety Bird, joins and resolves to quit chasing and eating the canary. Tweety innocently asks the puddy "Don't you wike me anymo'?" setting off a series of events which will test the puddy tat's resolve. Several attempts to get his mind off eating Tweety backfire, leading him to a delirious attempt to eat the bird. Sam (Sylvester's B.A. sponsor, introduced earlier) intervenes and shows how birds and cats can peacefully co-exist, but he falls off the wagon when he kisses Tweety and thus getting a taste of him and wanting a lot more! DVD 9503; DVD 4875

Blotto (1930)
Directed by James Parrott. Cast: Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, Anita Garvin, Tiny Sandford, Frank Holliday, Charlie Hall (Blotto) Blotto: Stan purloins his wife's secret bottle of liquor to have a wild night out at the Rainbow club with Ollie. However Mrs Laurel has replaced the booze with a noxious mixture of cold tea, mustard power and other hot ingredients. This doesn't prevent the boys from getting tipsy on the contents! DVD also contains La vida nocturna: Blotto in an extended Spanish language edition. 64 min. DVD X323
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La Bonne Absinthe (1899)
Directed by Alice Guy. Long thought lost, this tiny flickering fragment from the dawn of film history - just 56 seconds long - is the earliest filmed version of an absinthe being prepared and drunk. Directed by the pioneer female director Alice Guy it tells a short, comical story: a man walks into a café, orders an absinthe, the waiter brings a bottle and adds a large dose to his glass, the man adds water from a carafe in an absent minded way while reading his newspaper, not realising that he's missing the glass entirely. Without looking he takes a deep drink, and almost chokes on the undiluted alcohol. In a rage he starts attacking the waiter with his cane. The waiter chases him away with a soda syphon, to the great amusement of the other onlookers. 56 sec. DVD X2028

Bottle Shock (2008)
Directed by Randall Miller. Cast: Alan Rickman, Chris Pine, Bill Pullman, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodríguez, Dennis Farina, Eliza Dushku. Napa Valley, 1976. For connoisseur Steven Spurrier, there is no finer art than French wine. But rumors bandy about of a new California wine country that holds the future of the vine. Positive the small Napa wineries are no match for established French vintages, Spurrier challenges the Americans to a blind taste test. He finds the valley full of ambitious, and talented, novice vinters like Jim Barrett and his son Bo and realizes his publicity stunt may change the history of wine forever. Special features: Commentary by Randall Miller, Jody Savin, Ross Schwartz, Lannette Pabon, Chris Pine, J. Todd Harris, Bill Pullman & Eliza Dushku; "An underdog's journey:" the making of Bottle shock; "Chateau Montelena:" one winery's search for excellence; deleted scenes; trailer. 108 min. DVD X1113
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Bright Lights, Big City (1988)
Directed by James Bridges. Cast:Michael J. Fox, Kiefer Sutherland, Phoebe Cates. Jamie Conway, an aspiring writer, abandons the wheat fields of Kansas for the skyline of Manhattan, and the city's seductive party subculture. Hitting the clubs night after night, Jamie soon spins out of control, and he risks losing everything and everyone he loves. Based on the novel by Jay McInerney. Special features: Commentary with author/screenwriter Jay McInerney; commentary with cinematographer Gordon Willis; exclusive featurettes: Jay McInerney's The light within ; Big city lights; still photo gallery. 108 min. DVD X3774
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A Chapter in Her Life (1913)
Directed by Lois Weber. Cast: Jane Mercer, Claude Gillingwater, Eva Thatcher, Frankie Raymond, Jacqueline Gadsdon. A little girl's guileless faith warms the heart of her wealthy but misanthropic grandfather and helps a young man to give up drinking. 84 min. vhs 999:3624
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Charlie's Drunken Daze (aka Charlie's Night Out) (1915)
Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Charlie and Ben Turpin are drunks about town, starting at a cafe and ending in a risque hotel room mix-up with a pretty girl. DVD 74

Clean (Canada / France / UK, 2004)
Directed by Olivier Assayas. Cast: Maggie Cheung, Nick Nolte, Jeanne Balibar, Don McKellar, James Dennis, Martha Henry, James Johnston, Remi Martin, Laetitia Spigarelli, Tricky, Beatrice Dalle. Emily Wang, the wife of recently overdosed and dead washed-up North American rock star, Lee Hauser, is arrested for possession and spends 6 months in prison. Custody of her son is given to her parents-in-law. When she gets out, she returns to Paris to get herself clean so that she can get her son back. 111 min. DVD 6095
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Clean and Sober (1988)
Directed by Glenn Gordon Caron. Cast: Michael Keaton, Kathy Baker, Morgan Freeman, M. Emmet Walsh, Tate Donovan. A young, hotshot real-estate broker has a drug abuse problem he refuses to acknowledge. When he gets in trouble with his company and the law, he decides to hide out in a detox program. What he doesn't count on is that the drug rehab program will force him to face himself, admit his addiction and come clean. 124 min. DVD 7111
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The Country Girl (1954)
Directed by George Seaton. Cast: Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, William Holden, Anthony Ross, Gene Reynolds, Jacqueline Fontaine, Eddie Ryder, Robert Kent, John W. Reynolds. Frank Elgin is an alcoholic actor and singer who gets a second chance at stardom. His long suffering wife, Georgie, and their marriage is put to the test. Frank is desperate to make a come back and Bernie Dodd is the hotshot Broadway director in need of a "name" star for his new stage production. Georgie is both weary of her husband's weaknesses and Dodd's motives. When Georgie appears to be dragging Frank down, Bernie tries to force her to leave. 104 min. DVD 5133
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Basic, Margaret M. "Reading the alcoholic film: analysis of The Country Girl." The Sociological Quarterly 33.n2 (Summer 1992): 211(17) UC users only
Robinson, Linda A. "Bing on a Binge: Casting-Against-Type in The Country Girl." In: Going my way : Bing Crosby and American culture / edited by Ruth Prigozy and Walter Raubicheck. Rochester, NY : University of Rochester Press, 2007. (Music ML420.C93 G65 2007)

Crazy Heart (2009)
Directed by Scott Cooper. Cast: Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall. The powerful story of a country music star's rocky road to redemption. Bad Blake is a boozy, broken-down singer who reaches for salvation with the help of Jean, a journalist who discovers the real man behind the music. But will Bad's hard-livin' ways and crazy heart cost him his last chance at a comeback? 111 min. DVD X3218
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The Cure (1917)
Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Cast: Charlie Chaplin (Alcoholic Gentleman at Spa), Edna Purviance (Fellow Guest at Spa). Chaplin causes mayhem, finds romance, and cures his alcohol addiction at a fancy hotel/spa-resort. DVD 8

Days of Wine & Roses (1962)
Directed by Blake Edwards. Cast: Jack Lemmon, Lee Remick, Charles Bickford, Jack Klugman, Alan Hewitt, Tom Palmer. A domestic drama which reveals the corrosive effects of alcoholism on a hardened young advertising executive and his attractive young wife, both of whom drink heavily to compensate for their insecurity. 117 min. DVD 4677
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Days of Wine & Roses (TV, 1958)
Directed by John Frankenheimer. Cast: Piper Laurie, Cliff Robertson, Charles Bickford. Originally broadcast by CBS on the Playhouse 90 television series on Oct. 2, 1958; rebroadcast on PBS during the 1980-81 season. This television production of the play by J.P. Miller uses flashbacks to tell the story of a young couple's fall to the lowest depths of alcoholic despair and the man's choice of sobriety over his still-alcoholic wife. 88 min. DVD X2374; Video/C 9668

Devdas (India, 1955)
Directed by Bimal Roy. A remake of P. C. Barua's Devdas (1935) for which Bimal Roy was a cameraman, this is the tragic story of Devdas' inability to marry his childhood sweetheart Paro, his descent into alcoholism and death at her doorstep. In Hindi without subtitles. 159 min. DVD 2488; VHS 999:2940
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Devdas (India, 2002)
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali. Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Madhuri Dixit, Aishwarya Rai, Jackie Shroff. A 2002 remake of the love story which tells the tragic story of Devdas' inability to marry his childhood sweetheart Paro, his descent into alcoholism and death. Based on the novel by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. 170 min. DVD 2526
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Don't Come Knocking (2005)
Directed by Wim Wenders. Cast: Sam Shepard, Jessica Lange, Tim Roth, Gabriel Mann, Sarah Polley, Fairuza Balk, Eva Marie Saint. Howard Spence, a washed-up Western movie star, uses alcohol, drugs, and young women to escape from the pain of his life. One day he suddenly flees the set of his latest Western on horseback and goes to visit his mother in Nevada. She tells him that he might have a grown son in Montana, where he once had a fling with a local waitress. Howard sets out to meet his son with an insurance agent from his abandoned film in pursuit. 111 min. DVD 9212
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Drunken Angel (Yoidore tenshi) (Japan, 1948)
Director: Akira Kurosawa. Cast: Takashi Shimura, Toshiro Mifune, Reizaburo Yamamoto, Michiyo Kogure, Chieko Nakakita, Noriko Sengoku, Shizuko Kasagi. Set in post-war Tokyo in 1945, a tuberculosis-infected criminal starts an unhealthy relationship with an alcoholic doctor. The patient needs to feel better so that he can retain his status as gang-leader after the ex-leader is released from prison, and the doctor needs to feel like he has a place in society and that life is worth living. Special features: Commentary soundtrack by film scholar Donald Richie, a making-of documentary (31 min.), a short (25 min.) looking at the challenges from censors that Kurosawa faced in making Drunken angel, and a booklet featuring an essay by cultural historian Ian Buruma and excerpts from Kurasawa's autobiography. 98 min. DVD 8890
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A Drunkard's Reformation. (1909)
Directed by D.W. Griffith. "A drinking man arrives home, late and sozzled as usual. His wife reminds him that he promised to take their child to a play. The play proves to be a morality tale about the evils of drink; he sees the parallels in his own life and swears off the demon brew." [Internet Movie Database] DVD X3236; vhs 999:2775; VHS copy 2: 999:593
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Gunning, Tom. "From the Opium Den to the Theater of Morality: Moral Discourse and the Film Process in Early American Cinema." In: The silent cinema reader / edited by Lee Grieveson and Peter Kr�mer. London ; New York : Routledge, 2004. (Main (Gardner) Stacks; PFA PN1995.75 .S547 2004)
Smith, Diane; Singer, Robert. "A drunkard's representation: the appropriation of naturalism in D.W. Griffith's Biograph films." Griffithiana: Journal of Film History; May 1999, Issue 65, p97, 15p

Drunks (1995)
Directed by Peter Cohn. Cast: Richard Lewis, Faye Dunaway, Spalding Gray, Amanda Plummer, Diane Wiest. Story of a small group of recovering alcoholics who meet in a Times Square church basement for an AA meeting. Collectively they share their hopes, fears triumphs and frailties -- keeping their faith even as a dramatic upheaval threatens the life of a man they all admire. 88 min. DVD 7148
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Factotum (2005)
Directed by Bent Hamer. Cast: Matt Dillon, Lili Taylor, Marisa Tomei, Fisher Stevens, Didier Flamand, Adrienne Shelly, Tom Lyons, Karen Young. This drama centers on Hank Chinaski, the fictional alter-ego of author Charles Bukowski, who wanders around Los Angeles, trying to live off jobs which don't interfere with his primary interest, which is writing. Based on the novel by Charles Bukowski. 94 min. DVD 6751
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Felix the Cat Woos Whoopee (1928)
Directed by Otto Messmer. Animated short. "Long before Felix the Cat used his magical �Bag of Tricks� to foil the nefarious plans of the Professor, Rock Bottom, and the Master Cylinder (Anyone else grow up in the 70�s?) he got bombed out of his skull in the silent short subject Felix the Cat Woos Whoopee. The plot of the cartoon is simple--Felix carouses until 6 a.m. at the Whoopee Club, chugging beer, wine, and anything else he can lay his hands on, while his wife waits up impatiently with a rolling pin. As the fuddled feline teeters home, monstrous hallucinations block his path, including dragons, a winged ape, and a walking trombone. It�s a toss up as to whether the missus or Felix�s own imagination poses a greater threat to his well being." [Booze Movies] DVD 8500

A Free Soul (1931)
Directed by Clarence Brown. Cast: Norma Shearer, Leslie Howard, Lionel Barrymore, James Gleason, Clark Gable, Lucy Beaumont. In A Free Soul, Lionel Barrymore captured an Oscar for his portrayal of a brilliant alcoholic lawyer Stephen Ashe, who successfully defends dashing gangster Ace Wilfong (Clark Gable) on a murder charge only to find that his headstrong daughter, Jan (Norma Shearer), has fallen in love with his client. Jan, a fun-loving socialite seeking freedom from her blue-blood upbringing, is only too eager to dump her aristocratic boyfriend (Leslie Howard) for the no-good gangster. She runs away from her childhood home to become Ace's mistress, embarking on a series of seedy adventures in New York's underbelly. Desperate to save his daughter's tainted reputation, Stephen finds her and makes her a deal: He'll stop drinking if she'll stop seeing Ace. The thrilling conclusion might just tear them apart forever. Shearer and director Clarence Brown also received nominations for their work in this powerful and moving film. 93 min. DVD 9397
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Gervaise (France, 1956)
Directed by René Clément. Cast: Maria Schell, François Périer, Suzy Delair, Jacques Harden, Jany Holt, Mathilde Casadesus, Florelle, Armand Mestral. A story of mid-19th-century Parisian slums in which a young girl's dreams of a happy home and a successful laundry are cruelly destroyed by a drunken husband. Based on Emile Zola's L'Assommoir. 117 min. DVD X4386
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Directed by Peter Berg. Cast: Will Smith, Charlize Theron, Jason Bateman, Jae Head, Eddie Marsan. "The powerful superhero John Hancock has become a joke because of his alcoholism and clumsiness. He has also become the most hated man in Los Angeles. Though he has saved many lives, he also destroyed a lot of property, costing the city millions every time he goes into action. When he saves the life of PR expert Ray Embrey from an oncoming train, the executive is thankful and believes he can restore Hancock's image as a true superhero. He brings the anti-hero home for dinner and introduces him to his son Aaron, a big fan, and to his wife, Mary. But for some mysterious reason Mary doesn't want Hancock anywhere near her or her family." Special features: Superhumans : the making of Hancock; Seeing the future : an in-depth look at the scenes of Hancock using pre-visualization, film and behind-the-scenes footage; Building a better hero : special effects featurette; Bumps and bruises : stunts featurette; Mere mortals : behind the scenes with "Dirty Pete," the directing style of Peter Berg. 102 min. DVD X5324
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The Hangover (2009)
Directed by Todd Phillips. Cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zack Galifianakis, Heather Graham, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor. Two days before his wedding, Doug and his groomsmen take off for a 24-hour stag party in Las Vegas. The morning after their arrival in Vegas, they awaken in their Caesars Palace hotel suite each with the worst hangover. No one remembers what happened in the past twelve or so hours. The suite is in shambles and Doug is missing. Phil, Stu and Alan try to find Doug using only what little pieces of information they have at hand and go on a journey of discovery. However, it's a race against time since they need to find Doug and get him back to Los Angeles in time for the wedding. 100 min. DVD X4226
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High and Dizzy(1920
Director, Hal Roach. Cast: Harold Lloyd, Mildred Davis, Roy Brooks, Wallace Howe. After a long wait, a young doctor finally has a patient come to his office. She is a young woman whose father has brought her to be treated for sleep-walking, but the father becomes annoyed with the doctor, and takes his daughter away. Soon afterward, the young doctor shares in a drinking binge with another doctor who has built a still in his office. After a series of misadventures, the two of them wind up in the same hotel where the daughter and her father are staying, leading to some hazardous predicaments. 27 min. DVD 4324

I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
Directed by Daniel Mann. Cast: Susan Hayward, Richard Conte, Eddie Albert, Jo Van Fleet, Don Taylor, Ray Danton. Biographical film that tells the story of Lillian Roth, who battled alcoholism as she worked her way to Broadway stardom. After her fall from fame to a booze-hazy existence on L.A.'s Skid Row, she fought her way back with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. 110 min. DVD 8930
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Indebted (2005)
Directed by Jose Rosete. Cast: Jose Rosete, Dona Wood, Katie McKinley-Colman. Ramon battles many issues in his life, including alcoholism, financial debt, and his own insecurities. As a result, his relationships with his ex-wife and daughter suffer. All of this has taken a toll on him and Ramon contemplates giving up on life altogether. Presented at the International Latino Film Festival held in the San Francisco Bay Area. 15 min. DVD X4041
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Intoxicating (2003)
Directed by Mark David. Cast: Mark David, William Tabanou. The story of the downward spiral of a charismatic heart surgeon who abuses alcohol and drugs, trading stolen pharmaceuticals for cocaine. The film follows him through a maze of clubs and binges and surgeries, into the heart of drug abuse. 108 min. DVD 5392
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Jack Daniels(2005)
Director, Miguel Creus. A drama examining the impact of a man's drunken behavior on his wife and child. 7 min. DVD X6986

Julia(France | USA | Mexico | Belgium, 2008)
Director, Erick Zonca. Cast: Tilda Swinton, Saul Rubinek, Kate Del Castillo, Aidan Gould, Jude Ciccolella, Bruno Bichir, Horacio Garcia Rojas, Kevin Kilner, John Bellucci, Ezra Buzzington, Roger Cudney, Eugene Byrd, Neko Parham. Julia is a 40-year-old alcoholic on the constant decline. She spends the nights partying, usually not knowing where she is, when she wakes up. Because of that, she loses her job. Her only friend, Mitch, a recovering alcoholic himself, makes her go to an AA meeting, where she meets her neighbor, Elena. Elena tells Julia that she wants to kidnap her son who is living with his very rich grandfather and go back to Mexico with him and she needs Julia to help her. If Julia agrees, Elena will pay her $50,000. Out of control, Julia convinces herself to commit this violent crime. 144 min. DVD X7293
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Karanja, The Suffering Alcoholic: Is There Hope?(Kenya, 1999)
Director, Steve Kiura. A drama created in Kenya to encourage alcoholics to seek help. Karanja, a family man is caught in the trap of alcoholism. His colleague Frank, a recovering alcoholic, tries to help but Karanja ignores him. Soon he loses his job and family. At rock bottom, Karanja comes to the realization that he really needs help. At this point Frank convinces him that alcoholism is a sickness and that he is powerless by himself. Karanja joins the Alcoholics Anonymous support group, finds a new life and is reunited with his family. 67 min. vhs 999:3793

Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Directed by Mike Figgis. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Elisabeth Shue, Julian Sands. Ben Sanderson, an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter whom lost everything because of his drinking, arrives in Las Vegas to drink himself to death. There, he meets and forms an uneasy friendship and non-interference pact with prostitute Sera. 112 min. DVD 5035
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Academy Award - Best Actor (Nicolas Cage)
Golden Globes - Best Actor, Drama (Nicolas Cage)
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards - Best Picture; Best Director; Best Actor, Drama (Nicolas Cage); Best Actress (Elisabeth Shue)
National Board of Review, USA - Best Actor (Nicolas Cage)
National Society of Film Critics Awards, USA - Best Director; Best Actor (Nicolas Cage); Best Actress (Elisabeth Shue)
New York Film Critics Circle Awards - Best Film; Best Actor

Fried, John. "Leaving Las Vegas." Cineaste 22:1 (April 1996) p. 64 UC users only
Nick James. "Intoxication." Sight and Sound 7:2 (February 1997) p. 26-28UC users only
Piano, Doreen. "Leaving Las Vegas: Reading the Prostitute as a Voice Abjection." In: Exclusions in feminist thought : challenging the boundaries of womanhood / edited by Mary Brewer. Brighton ; Portland, Or. : Sussex Academic Press, 2002. (Main Stack HQ1206.E98 2002)
Roth, Bennett E. "Order anything you want: "Leaving Las Vegas."" Psychoanalytic Review, 1996, Vol. 83 Issue 4, p625-628, 4p UC users only
Stenberg, Douglas. "'A Kind of View Into the Other Side of Time': Echoes Of Dostoevsky's Notes From Underground in Leaving Las Vegas." Literature Film Quarterly, 2000, Vol. 28 Issue 3, P214, 8p UC users only
Thomson, David. "The hole you're in." Film Comment; Nov/Dec95, Vol. 31 Issue 6, p36, 4pUC users only

The Legend of the Holy Drinker (La leggenda del Santo Bevitore) (Italy | France, 1988)
Directed by Ermanno Olmi. Cast: Rutger Hauer, Anthony Quayle, Sandrine Dumas, Dominique Pinon. Rutger Hauer plays an alcoholic derelict in 1930s Paris who comes into a large sum of money. Though his benefactor is a human stranger, Hauer attributes his windfall to Santo Bevitor, or the "saint of drunkards." When Hauer tries to pay back the favor, he is constantly thwarted by society's "better" people. Based on the novel by Joseph Roth. 125 min. DVD X5037
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Long Day's Journey Into Night(1962)
Directed by Sidney Lumet. Cast: Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards Jr., Sir Ralph Richardson, Dean Stockwell. Based on Eugene O'Neill's 1956 autobiograpy, this film depicts a day in the life of a family deteriorating under drug addiction, alcoholism, and imminent death. 180 min. DVD 5035
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Lost Weekend (1945)
Directed by Billy Wilder. Cast: Ray Milland, Jane Wyman, Phillip Terry, Howard da Silva, Doris Dowling, Frank Faylen. A would-be writer's dissatisfaction with his life leads him on a three-day binge. This film gives an uncompromising look at the devestating effects of alcoholism. 100 min. DVD 535
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Academy Award - Best Picture; Best Director
Cannes Film Festival - Grand Prize of the Festival
Golden Globes, USA - Best Motion Picture - Drama; Best Director
New York Film Critics Circle Awards - Best Film; Best Director

Wilder, Billy. The lost weekend / Billy Wilder ; screenplay by Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder ; with an introduction by Jeffrey Meyers. Berkeley : University of California Press, c2000. (Main (Gardner) Stacks PN1997.L748 W55 2000)

Mabel's Married Life (1914)
Director, Charles Chaplin. Cast: Charles Chaplin, Mabel Normand. Mabel goes home after being humiliated by a masher whom her wimpy husband won't fight. The husband goes off to a bar and gets drunk. She buys a boxing dummy hoping it will inspire her husband, but when he returns he gets in a fight with it, taking it to be the ladykiller. 17 min. DVD 65
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A Night Out (aka. Champagne Charlie, Charlie's Drunken Daze, Charlie's Night out, His Night Out)(1915)
Directed by Charlie Chaplin. After a visit to a pub, Charlie and Ben cause a ruckus at a posh restaurant. Charlie later finds himself in a compromising position at a hotel with the head waiter's wife. 33 min. DVD 74

Nil by Mouth (UK | France, 2006)
Directed by Gary Oldman. Cast: Kathy Burke, Ray Winstone, Charlie Creed-Miles, Laila Morse, Edna Dore. A raw, unflinching look at a dysfunctional family as it copes with alcoholism, drug abuse, petty crime and domestic violence in South East London. PAL, region 2. 128 min. DVD X3931
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Douthwaite, John; Zurru, Elisabetta. "Patriarchy and Alterity: Reconsidering (Female) Identity and Its Construction." Textus; 2009, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p77-112, 36p UC users only
Godfrey, Sarah. "Villainous Victims: The Paradox of the 'Damaged' Man in Naked and Nil by Mouth." eSharp: Electronic Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts Review for Postgraduates, vol. 9, 2007 Spring
Lane, Anthony. "Nil by Mouth." New Yorker, February 9 1998, Vol. 73, p83-84, 2p
Quart, Leonard. "Nil by Mouth." Cineaste, 1998, Vol. 23 Issue 4, p49-50, 2p UC users only

Notre Histoire (Our History)(France, 1984)
Director, Bertrand Blier. Cast: Alain Delon, Nathalie Baye. A desperate alcoholic reaches a turning-point in his life when he meets a strange woman in a railway carriage: they make love, but then she leaves. Chasing after the girl, he clings to her as if she were his final chance. 111 min. DVD X4673
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One A.M. (1917)
Directed by Charlie Chaplin. Cast: Charlie Chaplin. Charlie arrives home inebriated and tries to get into his house, upstairs and to bed. 2 min. DVD 10
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Revenge of the Drunken Master (1984)
Directed by Godfrey Ho. Cast: Johnny Chan, Eagle Han, Bruce Cheung, Wang Sao. Fei Hong is a happy go lucky kung fu master who becomes a target of the Black Mask Ninja Gang. They set out to make sure Fei Hong and Sam the Seed never meddle in their schemes again. Big mistake! English language version. 81 min. DVD 6256
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Scram! (1932)
Directed by Raymond McCarey. Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Arthur Housman, Vivien Oakland, Rychard Cramer. "Ordered out of town by angry Judge Beaumont, vagrants Stanley and Oliver meet a congenial drunk who invites them to stay at his luxurious mansion. The drunk can't find his key, but the boys find a way in, sending the surprised woman inside into a faint. They revive her with what they think is water, but is actually gin, and all get tipsy in the process. Outside, the drunk realizes he's at the wrong house and stumbles off. Eventually, the real homeowner arrives, none other than Judge Beaumont." [IMDB] 20 min. DVD X317
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Sideways (2004)
Directed by Alexander Payne. Cast: Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virgina Madsen, Sandra Oh. Miles is a divorced man and a failed writer who teaches junior high school English. He decides to take his best friend, somewhat famous actor Jack, on a weeklong drive through California's wine country. There they explore their failures and question their relationships. 127 min. DVD 719
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Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards - Best Picture
Golden Globes, USA - Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards - Best Picture; Best Director
New York Film Critics Circle Awards - Best Film
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award - Best Picture; Best Director

Abeel, Erica. "Grapes of Mirth." Film Journal International; Nov2004, Vol. 107 Issue 11, p22-26, 3p,
UCB users only
Denby, David. "Drinking and Driving: Alexander Payne's " Sideways"." The New Yorker 80:32 (25 October 2004) p. 96-97
UCB users only
Heyraud, Joyce King. "Sideways." Psychological Perspectives, Dec2005, Vol. 48 Issue 2, p339-341, 3p
UCB users only
Hoffman, Thomas. "Hysteria in Wine Country." Psychoanalytic Psychology, 23:667-674.
Jacobson, Harlan. "Movie of the Moment: Sideways." Film Comment, vol. 40, no. 5, pp. 24-27, Sept 2004
UCB users only
Nystrom, Derek. "Fear of Falling Sideways: Alexander Payne's Rhetoric of Class." Postmodern Culture 16.1, 2005
UCB users only
Reitano, Natalie. "American Squander: Sideways and the Extravagance of Self-Pity." Senses of Cinema vol. 34, pp. (no pagination), Jan 2005
Ruf, Frederick J. "Sideways." Journal of Religion & Film, Oct2005, Vol. 9 Issue 2, p10-10, 1p
UCB users only
Turlejski, Dorota M. "Sideways." Journal of Feminist Family Therapy; 2005, Vol. 17 Issue 1, p81-83
Vanneman, Alan. "Sideways to Hell, maybe!" Bright Lights, February 2005 | Issue 47
Payne, Alexander. Sideways / screenplay by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor ; introduction by Peter Travers ; afterword by Rex Pickett. New York : Newmarket Press, c2004. (Pacific Film Archive PN1997. S58 P39 2004)

16 years of Alcohol (UK, 2003)
Directed by Richard Jobson. Cast: Kevin McKidd, Laura Fraser, Susan Lynch, Jim Carter, Ewen Bremner. An intelligent but angry man, who has had a rough upbringing and has spent years leading a street gang in Edinburgh, meets the love of his life and he is forever changed. 96 min. DVD 4698
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Smash-up: The Story of a Woman(1947)
Directed by Stuart Heisler. Original story, Dorothy Parker, Frank Cavett. Cast: Susan Hayward, Eddie Albert, Lee Bowman, Marsha Hunt, Carl Esmond, Carleton Young, Charles D. Brown, Janet Murdoch. "Angie Evans, fast-rising nightclub singer, interrupts her career to marry struggling songwriter Ken Conway. When Ken lucks into a career as chart-topping radio crooner, Angie is forced into idle luxury which proves her downfall. Her potential alcoholism burgeons and Ken remains clueless concerning his responsibility for her problems." [IMDB] 104 min. DVD X3766
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Sophie (2002)
Directed by Helen Haeyoung Lee. Cast: Monique Dami Lee, Elizabeth Lee, John Shin, Satya Lee, Charlie S. Lee. A somber, disquieting portrait of a Korean American family trapped in the miserable grasp of an abusive, alcoholic patriarch, told from the point of view of Sophie, a girl in the family. 29 min. Video/C MM1124

The Struggle (1931)
Directed by D. W. Griffith. Cast: Hal Skelly, Zita Johann, Evelyn Baldwin, Edna Hagan, Charlotte Wynters. In this, D.W. Griffith's last film, he returns to minimalist production values to tell the story of Jimmie Wilson, a hard-working American everyman who falls victim to the debilitating affliction of alcoholism. 77 min. DVD X622; vhs 999:3489
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Smith, Diane; Singer, Robert. "A drunkard's representation: the appropriation of naturalism in D.W. Griffith's Biograph films." Griffithiana: Journal of Film History; May 1999, Issue 65, p97, 15p

The Temptress (1931)
Directed by Fred Niblo. Cast: Greta Garbo (Elena), Antonio Moreno (Manuel Robledo), Marc MacDermott (M. Fontenoy), Lionel Barrymore (Canterac), Armand Kaliz (Marquis de Torre Bianca), Roy D'Arcy (Manos Duras). An unhappy wife (Elena) falls in love with a Spanish engineer (Robledo). When it is revealed that Elena is not only married, but has also been the mistress of a banker (Fontenoy), Robledo returns to South America. Years later Robledo returns to Paris and runs into Elena who does not seem to recognize him. Elena has become a pathetic drunkard who is apparently beyond Robledo's help. Based on the novel La tierra de todos by Vicente Blasco-Ibáñez. 115 min. DVD 4286
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Ten Nights in a Barroom (1931)
Directed by William O'Connor. Cast: William Farnum, Thomas Santschi, Patty Lou Lynd, Robert Fraser, Phyllis Barrington. A melodrama about the degrading effects of alcohol. Set in a small western town around 1910, this is the story of a well-respected man who avoids the local saloon until by chance he succumbs to drink and his life falls apart. Released during the Prohibition era as a statement for temperance. 72 min. DVD X531
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Tender Mercies (1983)
Directed by Bruce Beresford. Cast: Robert Duvall, Tess Harper, Allan Hubbard, Betty Buckley, Ellen Barkin. An alcoholic drifter comes into the life of a lonely widow and her young son in the barren flatlands of Texas. But when Mac is revealed to be a once-famous country singer, he must confront a painful past that includes his bitter superstar ex-wife. Special features: "Miracles & mercies" featurette - featuring interviews with stars Robert Duvall, Tess Harper and Allan Hubbard, director Bruce Beresford, and writer/co-producer Horton Foote; theatrical trailer. 92 min. DVD X3761
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Denzin, Norman K. "Reading "Tender Mercies": Two Interpretations." The Sociological Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 1 (Spring, 1989), pp. 37-57 UC users only

The Thin Man series
Featuring the hard-drinking, urbane husband and wife detective team, Nick and Nora Charles. "The important thing is the rhythm," Nick explains to a bartender, cocktail shaker in hand. "You always have rhythm in your shaking. Now, a Manhattan you shake to fox-trot time. A Bronx, to two-step time. But a dry martini you always shake to waltz time." Nick is joined a few moments later by his wife and his wire-haired terrier. The former inquires how much he's had to drink and is told he's on his sixth martini. As she downs her first, she flags down a waiter: "Will you bring me five more martinis and line them up right here?"

The Thin Man(1934)
DVD 4154
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After the Thin Man (1936)
DVD 4155
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Another Thin Man(1939)
DVD 4156
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Shadow of the Thin Man(1941)
DVD 4157
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The Thin Man Goes Home(1944)
DVD 4158
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Song of the Thin Man(1947)
DVD 4159
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Trois films de Prévention (France, 1918)
Directed by O'Galop. Animated film presenting the dangers of alcoholism.

Watch this film online (via the Europa Film Treasures)

28 Days (2000)
Directed by Betty Thomas. Cast: Sandra Bullock, Viggo Mortensen, Dominic West, Diane Ladd, Elizabeth Perkins, Steve Buscemi. A high-flying party girl gets herself a DUI and 28 days in rehab -- and ends up discovering that real happiness must come from within. 104 min. DVD 7112
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Two Hearts in Wax Time(1935)
Musical short. A department store employee who carries mannequins tends to overindulge in alcohol. One evening after work, he sees his "coworkers" come to life in the store's display window. Included on DVD 6400
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Under the Volcano (1984)
Directed by John Huston. Cast: Albert Finney, Jacqueline Bisset, Anthony Andrews. Withering from alcoholism, British consul Geoffrey Firmin stumbles through a small Mexican village amidst the Day of the Dead fiesta, attempting to reconnect with his estranged wife, but only further alienating himself. Based on the novel by Malcolm Lowry. Special features (Disc 1): Audio commentaries by Michael Fitzgerald, Wieland Schulz-Keil, and Moritz Borman on the film, by Guy Gallo on selected scenes, and by Danny Huston on the main title sequence ; Theatrical trailer. Special features (Disc 2): Interview with Jacqueline Bisset (2007) ; Notes from Under the volcano (60 min. documentary on the film's production, 1984) directed by Gary Conklin ; Volcano, an inquiry into the life and death of Malcolm Lowry (99 min. documentary about author Malcolm Lowry, 1976) narrated by Richard Burton ; Audio interview with John Huston (1984). 112 min. DVD X2038
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The Verdict (1982)
Directed by Sidney Lumet. Cast: Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden, James Mason, Milo O'Shea. An alcoholic lawyer stumbles upon one last chance to redeem himself by taking on a controversial court case against seemingly insurmountable opposition. 129 min. DVD 5652
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

What Drink Did(1909)
Director, D.W. Griffith; Cast: David Miles, Florence Lawrence. A man leaves his wife and two daughters for work in a carpentry shop. At work, he initially refuses a beer with lunch, then gives in. After work, two friends take a little while to convince him to go for a refreshing malt beverage, then to have another and another. Meanwhile, the family waits. He arrives home late and abusive. The next day, hung over, he takes much less convincing to have the drinks; he's gone so long that his wife sends a daughter looking for him. She eventually finds him, can't convince him to return home, goes home, sees her mother's distress, and returns to the bar. This time, her father gets more abusive, a fight ensues, a shot is fired, and tragedy strikes. DVD X3234; vhs 999:593; vhs 999:2775
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Smith, Diane; Singer, Robert. "A drunkard's representation: the appropriation of naturalism in D.W. Griffith's Biograph films." Griffithiana: Journal of Film History, May 1999, Issue 65, p97, 15p

What! No Beer? (1933)
Directed by Edward Sedgwick. Cast: Buster Keaton, Jimmy Durante, Rosco Ates, Phyllis Barry, John Miljan, Henry Armetta, Edward Brophy, Charles Dunbar, Charles Giblyn. Two of comedy's greatest masters, Buster Keaton and Jimmy Durante, appear together in this effervescent and irreverent slapstick about a couple of regular guys trying to cash in on the end of Prohibition. 66 min. vhs 999:3947
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When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)
Directed by Luis Mandoki. Cast: Andy Garcia, Meg Ryan, Lauren Tom, Ellen Burstyn. Alice and Michael are a passionate couple whose once-stable marriage is rocked by her increasing dependence on alcohol. As they strive to overcome this challenge, they discover a renewed sense of love and commitment. 126 min. DVD X3764
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Whisky Galore (Tight Little Island) (Ealing Studios, UK, 1949)
Director, Alexander Mackendrick; Cast: Basil Radford, Joan Greenwood, James Robertson Justice, Gordon Jackson.When a ship loaded with whisky is wrecked on a Scottish island, a battle of wits ensues between the canny Scots islanders and the local customs inspector. DVD 7401; also DVD 3671 (non-US standard); vhs 999:520
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McArthur, Colin. Whisky Galore! and The Maggie. / Colin McArthur. London ; New York : I. B. Tauris ; New York : Distributed in the U.S.A. by Palgrave, 2003. (Full text online (UCB users only); print: Main (Gardner) Stacks & PFA PN1997.W515 M32 2003)

You're Telling Me! (1934)
Directed by Erle C. Kenton. Cast: W.C. Fields, Larry "Buster" Crabbe, Joan Marsh, Adrienne Ames, Louise Carter, Kathleen Howard, Tammany Young, Del Henderson, James B. "Pop" Kenton, Robert McKenzie, Nora Cecil, George Irving. Sam Bisbee is an inventor who is the laughingstock in his small town. After demonstrating another failed invention, he meets a princess who promises to use her celebrity to turn his luck around. "Although W.C. Fields drank immoderately on and off camera, he rarely played a scene in which he appeared pie-eyed drunk. The major exception can be found in You�re Telling Me, the first sound film in which the Great Man was given the solo lead. The movie opens with a masterful drunk scene, in which Fields staggers home, removes his shoes to avoid waking his wife, loses his hat repeatedly, and has to resort to using a funnel to insert his key into the keyhole. Once indoors, he gets caught in the decorative ropes that hang from the hallway curtains and nearly strangles himself in his efforts to become disentangled." [Booze Movies] 106 min. DVD 7430
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W.C. Fields bibliography

Other Films with Alcoholic Central Characters

After the Rehearsal (Efter repetitionen) Director, Ingmar Bergman (Sweden, 1983) DVD 5369; vhs 999:2029
Bajo las estrellas Directed by Felix Viscarret. (Spain, 2007) DVD 9833
Cat Ballou Directed by Elliot Silverstein (1965) DVD X857
A Delicate Balance Directed by Tony Richardson (USA | Canada | UK, 1973) DVD 1786
Dr. T & the Women Directed by Robert Altman. (2000)DVD 8112
El Dorado Director, Howard Hawks. (1967)DVD 8320
Educating Rita Directed by Lewis Gilbert (UK, 1983) DVD X1977
Everything Must Go Directed by Dan Rush (2010) DVD X6533
The Golden Chance Directed by Cecil B. DeMille (1915) DVD 5033
House of Sand and Fog Directed by Vadim Perelman (2003) DVD 2562
Humoresque Director, Jean Negulesco (1947) DVD 4049; vhs 999:1228
Idol Dancer Director, D.W. Griffith. (1920) DVD X3236
Jism: The Dark Side of Desire Directed by Amit Saxena (India, 2003) DVD 1619
Mariposas en el estómago (Butterflies in the Belly) Directors: Isaac Ruiz, Ibis Lopez y Eduardo Dueñas (Mexico, 2007) DVD X2207
A Moon for the Misbegotten Directors, José Quintero, Gordon Rigsby (1975) DVD 1451; Video/C 8266
Mouchette Director, Robert Bresson (France, 1967) DVD 7392
The Night of the Iguana Directed by John Huston (1964) DVD X3073; vhs 999:646
Nightmare Alley Directed by Edmund Goulding (1947) DVD 4028
Le petit lieutenant Director, Xavier Beauvois (France, 2005) DVD 8240
Red Circle (Le cercle rouge) Directed by Jean-Pierre Melville (France, 1970) DVD 2201
Rio Bravo Directed by Howard Hawks (1959) DVD 4270; vhs 999:51
The Secret of Santa Vittoria Directed by Stanley Kramer (1969) DVD X2617
The Small Back Room Directors, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger (UK, 1949) DVD X95
A Star Is Born Director, George Cukor(1954) DVD 572; vhs 999:1018
A Star Is Born Director, William A. Wellman (1937) DVD 3284; vhs 999:737
A Star Is Born Director, William A. Wellman (1937) DVD 3284; vhs 999:737
The Strange Love of Martha Ivers Directed by Lewis Milestone (1946) DVD 685; vhs 999:1860
Tender Mercies Directed by Bruce Beresford (1983) DVD X3761
Time Without Pity Directed by Joseph Losey (UK, 1957) DVD 3606
Tombstone Directed by George P. Cosmatos (1993) DVD X4778
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Directed by Elia Kazan. (1945) DVD X5362
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf Directed by Mike Nichols (1966) DVD 8565; DVD 5574; vhs 999:212

Drugs in the Movies

Propaganda films(for anti-drug educational films, 1920-1970)
Teens and Schools in the Movies

The Acid House (UK, 1998)
Directed by Paul McGuigan. Cast: Cast: Ewen Bremner, Kevin McKidd, Maurice Roeves, Martin Clunes, Jemma Redgrave, Stephen McCole, Michelle Gomez, Arlene Lockburn, Gary McCormack. This surreal collection of short stories combines a vicious sense of humor with hard talking drama as it plunges the viewer into increasingly bizarre situations: hapless Boab has a chance encounter with a vengeful God; soft-centered Johnny is forced to contend with a psychotic neighbor and a wayward wife; and Coco takes an acid trip that literally takes him back to the womb. 15 min. DVD 862
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Another Day in Paradise (1997)
Directed by Larry Clark. Cast: James Woods, Melanie Griffith, Vincent Kartheiser, Natasha Gregson Wagner. In the hope of a big score, two junkie couples team up on a cross-country crime spree committing various drug robberies which go disastrously wrong leading to dissent, violence and murder. 101 min. DVD 5779
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Assassin of Youth (1937)
Directed by Elmer Clifton. Cast: Luana Walters, Arthur Gardner A high-school girl gets involved with a ring of teenage marijuana smokers, not realizing that she is being framed by greedy relatives out to prevent her from getting an inheritance, and starts down the road to ruin. A reporter poses as a soda jerk to infiltrate the gang of teen dope fiends and save the clean and wholesome youth of the town from the horrors of marijuana addiction. 73 min. DVD 8612; also DVD X971
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The Awakening of the Beast: Ritual of the Maniacs (O Despertar da Besta: Ritual dos Sadicos) (Brazil, 1968)
Directed by José Mojica Marins. Cast: José Mojica Marins, Sérgio Hingst, Ozualdo Candeias, Andréa Bryan. A psychiatrist conducts experiments on volunteer drug addicts with LSD, to prove that illegal drug use leads to sexual perversion and other immoral behaviors. A surreal exploitation flick, which seems to start out as a documentary but quickly turns farcical. Banned for more than 20 years by the Brazilian government. 92 min. DVD X3113; vhs 999:1417
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Maddin, Guy. "The Beardo: José Mojica Marins." Exile cinema : filmmakers at work beyond Hollywood / Michael Atkinson, editor. Albany : State University of New York Press, c2008. (Main (Gardner) Stacks PN1993.5.D44 E97 2008)

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)
Directed by Werner Herzog. Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Alvin 'Xzibit' Joiner. Lt. Terence McDonagh is a rogue detective who is as devoted to his job as he is to scoring drugs while playing fast and loose with the law. He wields his badge as often as he wields his gun in order to get his way. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, he becomes a high-functioning addict who is a deeply intuitive, fearless detective reigning over the ruins of New Orleans with authority and abandon. Complicating his tumultuous life is the prostitute he loves and together they descend into their own world marked by desire, compulsion, and conscience. Based on the novel by Jim Carroll. 121 min. DVD X3124
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The Basketball Diaries (1995)
Directed by Scott Kalvert. Cast: Faye Dunaway, Mickey Rourke, Alice Krige, J. C. Quinn, Frank Stallone. "Film adaptation of street tough Jim Carroll's epistle about his kaleidoscopic free fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school basketball squad, Jim's life centers around the basketball court and the court becomes a metaphor for the world in his mind. A best friend who is dying of leukemia, a coach ("Swifty") who takes unacceptable liberties with the boys on his team, teenage sexual angst, and an unhealthy appetite for heroin -- all of these begin to encroach on young Jim's dream of becoming a basketball star. Soon, the dark streets of New York become a refuge from his mother's mounting concern for her son. He can't go home and his only escape from the reality of the streets is heroin for which he steals, robs and prostitutes himself. Only with the help of Reggie, an older neighborhood friend with whom Jim "picked up a game" now and then, is he able to begin the long journey back to sanity." [Internet Movie Database] Based on the novel by Jim Carroll. 102 min. DVD 5979
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Benjamin, Richard. "The Sense of an Ending: Youth Apocalypse Films." Journal of Film and Video, Winter 2004, Vol. 56 Issue 4, p34-49, 16p UC users only

Bigger Than Life (1956)
Directed by Nicholas Ray. Cast: James Mason, Barbara Rush, Walter Matthau. Schoolteacher Ed Avery, who's been suffering bouts of severe pain and even blackouts, is hospitalized with what's diagnosed as a rare inflammation of the arteries. Told by doctors that he probably has only months to live, Ed agrees to an experimental treatment: doses of the hormone cortisone. Ed makes a remarkable recovery, and returns but he must keep taking cortisone tablets regularly to prevent a recurrence of his illness. But the 'miracle' cure turns into its own nightmare as Ed starts to abuse the tablets, causing him to experience increasingly wild mood swings. 92 min. DVD X239
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The Blackout (1999)
Directed by Abel Ferrara. Cast: Matthew Modine, Claudia Schiffer, Beatrice Dalle, Sarah Lassez, Dennis Hopper. Matty is a drug-addicted film star who, visits the underground nightlife of Miami Beach with his fiancee Annie and their mutual friend Mickey. In a relatively sober moment, Annie reveals a secret; they fight and she leaves. Matty then goes on a wild night of sex and drugs with Mickey, at the end of the night Matty passes out. Eighteen months later Matty lives in New York, is sober and has a new relationship. But, he is haunted by images of Annie and that wild night, so he returns to Miami to find out what happened. 98 min. DVD X6243
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Blow (1956)
Directed by Nicholas Ray. Cast: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Franka Potente, Rachel Griffiths, Paul Reubens, Jordi Molla, Cliff Curtis, Max Perlich, Miguel Sandoval, Ray Liotta. Based on the true story of George Jung. This is an uncompromising look at the rise and fall of the man who became the largest importer of Colombia cocaine to the United States in the 1970's. Based on the book by Bruce Porter. Special features: documentary: "Lost paradise: cocaine's impact on Colombia"; documentary: "Addiction: body and soul"; George Jung interviews; fact and trivia subtitle track; filmmaker commentary with director Ted Demme and the real George Jung; deleted scenes with optional commentary by Ted Demme; production diary; character outtakes; Nikka Costa music video "Push and pull"; theatrical teaser and trailer; cast and crew filmographies. 123 min. DVD X3768
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Breaking Bad (TV series)
See TV listing

Bright Lights, Big City (1988)
Directed by James Bridges. Cast:Michael J. Fox, Kiefer Sutherland, Phoebe Cates. Jamie Conway, an aspiring writer, abandons the wheat fields of Kansas for the skyline of Manhattan, and the city's seductive party subculture. Hitting the clubs night after night, Jamie soon spins out of control, and he risks losing everything and everyone he loves. Based on the novel by Jay McInerney. Special features: Commentary with author/screenwriter Jay McInerney; commentary with cinematographer Gordon Willis; exclusive featurettes: Jay McInerney's The light within ; Big city lights; still photo gallery. 108 min. DVD X3774
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Chappaqua (1966)
Directed and written by Conrad Rooks. Cast: Jean Louis Barrault, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Swami Satchidananda, Ornette Coleman. The bizarre hallucinations of a heroin addict in withdrawal provide the basis for this unstructured, semi-autobiographical film by director Conrad Rooks. It begins as protagonist Russel Harwick arrives strung-out in Paris for a sleep-cure. As the strange visions begin, the story jumps haphazardly between 'reality' and Harwick's dream-world memories of growing up in Chappaqua, New York. The score was composed and played by sitarist Ravi Shankar. 82 min. DVD X5667; vhs 999:2818
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Cisco Pike (1972)
Directed by Bill L. Norton. Cast: Gene Hackman, Karen Black, Kris Kristofferson. A once famous rock singer is released from prison where he served time for drug dealing. He wants to go straight but is blackmailed by a crooked cop and is forced back into the drug dealing business. 94 min. DVD X4020
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Clean and Sober (1988)
Directed by Glenn Gordon Caron. Cast: Michael Keaton, Kathy Baker, Morgan Freeman, M. Emmet Walsh, Tate Donovan. A young, hotshot real-estate broker has a drug abuse problem he refuses to acknowledge. When he gets in trouble with his company and the law, he decides to hide out in a detox program. What he doesn't count on is that the drug rehab program will force him to face himself, admit his addiction and come clean. 124 min. DVD 7111
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The Cocaine Fiends (aka The Pace That Kills)(1936)
Directed by William A. O'Connor. Cast: Lois January, Noel Madison, Sheila Manners, Dean Benton, Lois Lindsay. A drug dealer on the run from the law meets an innocent young girl and her brother, and turns them into "cocaine fiends." A lurid depiction of the horrors of cocaine use. 68 min. DVD X531; also DVD X971
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Confessions of an Opium Eater (1962)
Directed by Albert Zugsmith. Cast: Vincent Price, Linda Ho, Richard Loo, King Vidor, Florence Vidor. Set in San Francisco's Chinatown during the Tong wars of the 1800s, women are sold as slaves by an evil drug lord named Ling Tang. DeQuincey is hired to find a woman who has escaped the slave trade and bring her back. As he hides out in Chinatown he discovers the wonders of the opium trade and the drug's hallucinogenic effects. "Filled with absurd dialogue, Asian stereotypes and A-typical Zugsmith exploitation touches, the film is a classic of the early 60's sleaze genre." 85 min. DVD 5141
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Kutner, C. Jerry. "Albert Zugsmith's Opium Dreams." Bright Lights November 2002 | Issue 38 UC users only

The Connection. (1961)
Filmed version of a play with the same title by Jack Gelber. Based on the Living Theatre production created in 1961, as directed by Judith Malina and designed by Julian Beck. Credits: Writer, Jack Gelber; producers, Lewis Allen, Shirley Clarke; director/editor, Shirley Clarke; production designer, Richard Sylbert; art director, Albert Brenner; director of photography, Arthur J. Ornitz; introduction, J.J. Burden. Performers: Warren Finnerty, Carl Lee, the Freddie Redd Quartet. 105 min. DVD X6189 [preservation copy]; vhs 999:893

Shirley Clarke bibliography

The Corner (TV, HBO, 2000)
Director, Charles S. Dutton.. Cast: T.K. Carter, Khandi Alexander, Sean Nelson, Clarke Peters, Glenn Plummer, Toy Connor, Tasha Smith. Based on a true story, this TV mini series chronicles a year in the lives of 15-year-old DeAndre McCullough, his mother Fran and father Gary, along with their friends, enemies, and neighbors. Ever present in their world is illicit drugs-- heroin and cocaine-- the need that fuels the business, and the business that fuels the need. Based on the book "The corner: a year in the life of an inner-city neighborhood" by David Simon and Edward Burns. 360 min. DVD 5694
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Dealer (Germany, 1999)
Director, Thomas Arslan. Can is a small time drug dealer in a Turkish "guest worker" community in Berlin. He is not happy with his situation, constantly trying to reconcile the irreconcilable elements in his life: drugs, family, street violence and love. When his boss Hakan promises to make him a bar manager his hopes are raised but then Hakan is killed and Can is eventually arrested and condemned to four years in prison. PAL format. In German and Turkish. In German and Turkish. 80 min. vhs 999:2997
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

The Devil's Needle(1916)
Director: Chester Withey Cast: Norma Talmadge, Tully Marshall, Marguerite Marsh. Norma is a drug-addicted artist's model who cheers up after giving herself a needle. Tully Marshall is the artist who resists at first, but later becomes the crazed lunatic which he always played so well. 59 min <DVD X4477
Information about Nightmail from the Internet Movie Database

Dokter Pulder zaait papavers(Netherlands, 1975)
Directed by Bert Haanstra. Cast: Kees Brusse, Ton Lensink, Dora van der Groen, Henny Orri, Karin Loeb, Manon Alving, Peter Römer. A smalltown doctor gets a visit from an old friend, now a famous neurologist. What he doesn't know is that this former surgeon has become a junkie and wants to steal his morphine. 102 min. DVD X2165
Information about Nightmail from the Internet Movie Database

Drugstore Cowboy(1989)
Director, Gus Van Sant. Cast: Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch, James Remar, James Le Gros, Heather Graham, William Burroughs, Max Perlich, Grace Zabriskie, Beah Richards. A band of drug addicts, led by a husband and wife team, resort to robbing drugstores to stay high. They are successful in avoiding capture until their luck begins to run out, and the husband has to accept the fact that he must give up drugs to survive. 104 min. DVD 4975
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Easy Rider(1969)
Director, Dennis Hopper. Cast: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson. "Two long-haired bikers from Los Angeles take off on a cross-country trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. On the way they meet several unusual characters. A rancher and his family, a hitchhiker and the hippie commune where he lives, hookers, red-necks, but most noticeably George Hansen played by Jack Nicholson. Mr. Nicholson gained national attention for his role as the "law'er with the ACLU". Dennis Hopper won "Best New Director" at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival." [Internet Movie Database] Special features on DVD X5299: Disc 1. audio commentary featuring the Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, and Paul Lewis. Disc 2. Two "making-of" documentaries: "Born to be wild" (1995) and "Easy Rider : shaking the cage"; television excerpts showing Hopper and Fonda at the Cannes Film Festival; new video interview with BBS cofounder Steve Blauner. DVD X5299; DVD 4647; vhs 999:229
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Awards & Honors
National Film Registry Selection

Roger Corman bibliography

The Enter the Void (France | Germany | Italy | Canada, 2009)
Directed by Gaspar Noé. Cast: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy, Olly Alexander, Masato Tanno. "Tokyo's nasty underside, seen primarily through the eyes of Oscar, a druggie, whose sister Linda is a stripper. Oscar also has flashbacks to his childhood when trauma upends the siblings. Oscar's drug-fed hallucinations alter Tokyo's already-disconcerting nights, and after the police shoot him, he can float above and look down: on his sister's sorrow, on the rooms of a love hotel, and on life at even a molecular level. The spectrum's colors can be beautiful; it's people's colorless lives that can be ugly. And what of afterlife, is there more than a void?" [IMDB] 161 min. DVD X5558
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Directed by Terry Gilliam. Cast: Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro, Craig Bierko, Ellen Barkin, Gary Busey. Fueled by a suitcase full of pharmaceuticals, journalist Raoul Duke and his sidekick Dr. Gonzo set off on a fast and furious ride in Las Vegas through nonstop neon, surreal surroundings and a crew of crazy characters. 119 min. DVD 508
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

For His Son (1912)
Directed by D.W. Griffith. Cast: Charles Hill Mailes, Charles West, Blanche Sweet. A father, anxious for his son's financial well being, develops a special soda pop called Dopokoke which is laced with cocaine. Dopokoke is advertised as relief "for that tired feeling." The drink is a success, but the son becomes addicted to it, much to his father's regret. Loosely based on the allegations that the Coca-Cola company and other soft drink manufacturers laced their soda with dope. DVD 1399; vhs 999:3392
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Friday (1995)
Directed by F. Gary Gray. Cast: Ice Cube; Chris Tucker; Nia Long; Tiny "Zeus" Lister, Jr.; Regina King; Anna Maria Horsford; Bernie Mac; John Witherspoon. "Craig and Smokey are two guys in Los Angeles hanging out on their porch on a Friday afternoon, smoking and drinking, looking for something to do. Encounters with neighbors and other friends over the course of the day and night, and their ensuing antics, make up the rest of the movie." [Internet Movie Database] 91 min. DVD 8974; vhs 999:2809
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Gridlock'd (1997)
Directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall. Cast: Tupac Shakur, Tim Roth, Thandie Newton. When a friend dies of a drug overdose, Spoon and Stretch decide to kick their drug habits and attempt to enroll in a government detox program. Their efforts are hampered by seemingly endless red tape, as they are shuffled from one office to another while being chased by drug dealers and the police. 91 min. DVD X2998
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Groove (2000)
Directed by Greg Harrison. Cast: MacKenzie Firgens, Lola Glaudini, Denny Kirkwood, Hamish Linklater, Rachel True. Set in San Francisco in the subculture of the raves, the film's main characters include Leyla who recently arrived from New York, neo-hippy Harmony who is celebrating her birthday with her boyfriend Colin and Colin's nerdy brother David who would much rather read than rave. As the film charts David's first taste of chemically-induced Ecstasy and his budding romance with Leyla, who serves as his trip guide, the film also includes a small vignette of the tattoo and piercing set, including blissed-out drug dealers and their attempts at scamming on chicks, a skinhead looking for trouble, and a gay couple who can't figure out where the rave is. 86 min. DVD 409
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

Heroes for Sale (1933)
Directed by William A. Wellman. Cast: Cast: Richard Barthelmess, Aline MacMahon, Loretta Young, Gordon Westcott, Robert Barrat. Host, Leonard Maltin. One of the "social conscience" films of the 1930s, this tells the story of Tom Holmes whose return home as a wounded morphine-addicted World War I doughboy is just the beginning of a chain of woes involving joblessness, the building and loss of a successful business and unjust imprisonment. But no matter how many times he's knocked down, he always gets back up ... a tough hero for a tough time. DVD special features: Commentary on "Heroes for sale" by historian John Gallagher; commentary on "Wild boys of the road" by William Wellman, Jr. and historian Frank Thompson; S.S. Van Dine detective short "The trans-Atlantic mystery;" 2 classic cartoons "One step ahead of my shadow" and "Sittin' on a backyard fence;" theatrical trailers.71 min. DVD X1427; vhs 999:3311
Credits and other information from the Internet Movie Database

William Wellman bibliography

I Love You Alice B. Toklas(1968)

Drug rehabilitation (often drug rehab or just rehab) is the processes of medical or psychotherapeutic treatment for dependency on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, prescription drugs, and street drugs such as cocaine, heroin or amphetamines. The general intent is to enable the patient to confront substance dependence, if present, and cease substance abuse to avoid the psychological, legal, financial, social, and physical consequences that can be caused, especially by extreme abuse. Treatment includes medication for depression or other disorders, counseling by experts and sharing of experience with other addicts.[1]

Psychological dependency[edit]

Psychological dependency is addressed in many drug rehabilitation programs by attempting to teach the patient new methods of interacting in a drug-free environment. In particular, patients are generally encouraged, or possibly even required, to not associate with friends who still use the addictive substance. Twelve-step programs encourage addicts not only to stop using alcohol or other drugs, but to examine and change habits related to their addictions. Many programs emphasize that recovery is a permanent process without culmination. For legal drugs such as alcohol, complete abstention—rather than attempts at moderation, which may lead to relapse—is also emphasized ("One is too many, and a thousand is never enough.") Whether moderation is achievable by those with a history of abuse remains a controversial point, but is generally considered unsustainable.[2]

Types of treatment[edit]

The brain’s chemical structure is impacted by drugs of abuse and these changes are present long after an individual stops using, This change in brain structure increases risk for relapse, making treatment an important part of the rehabilitation process.[3]

Various types of programs offer help in drug rehabilitation, including: residential treatment (in-patient/ out-patient), local support groups, extended care centers, recovery or sober houses, addiction counselling, mental health, and medical care. Some rehab centers offer age- and gender-specific programs.

In a survey of treatment providers from three separate institutions (the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, Rational Recovery Systems and the Society of Psychologists in Addictive Behaviors)[where?] measuring the treatment provider's responses on the Spiritual Belief Scale (a scale measuring belief in the four spiritual characteristics AA identified by Ernest Kurtz); the scores were found to explain 41% of the variance in the treatment provider's responses on the Addiction Belief Scale (a scale measuring adherence to the disease model or the free-will model addiction).[4]

Scientific research since 1970 shows that effective treatment addresses the multiple needs of the patient rather than treating addiction alone.[citation needed] In addition, medically assisted drug detoxification or alcohol detoxification alone is ineffective as a treatment for addiction.[5] The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) recommends detoxification followed by both medication (where applicable) and behavioral therapy, followed by relapse prevention. According to NIDA, effective treatment must address medical and mental health services as well as follow-up options, such as community or family based recovery support systems.[6] Whatever the methodology, patient motivation is an important factor in treatment success.

For individuals addicted to prescription drugs, treatments tend to be similar to those who are addicted to drugs affecting the same brain systems. Medication like methadone and buprenorphine can be used to treat addiction to prescription opiates, and behavioral therapies can be used to treat addiction to prescription stimulants, benzodiazepines, and other drugs.[7]

Types of behavioral therapy include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy, which seeks to help patients to recognize, avoid and cope with situations in which they are most likely to relapse.
  • Multidimensional family therapy, which is designed to support recovery of the patient by improving family functioning.
  • Motivational interviewing, which is designed to increase patient motivation to change behavior and enter treatment.[8]
  • Motivational incentives, which uses positive reinforcement to encourage abstinence from the addictive substance.[9]

Treatment can be a long process and the duration is dependent upon the patient’s needs and history of abuse. Research has shown that most patients need at least 3 months of treatment and longer durations are associated with better outcomes.[10]


Certain opioid medications such as methadone and more recently buprenorphine (In America, "Subutex" and "Suboxone") are widely used to treat addiction and dependence on other opioids such as heroin, morphine or oxycodone. Methadone and buprenorphine are maintenance therapies intended to reduce cravings for opiates, thereby reducing illegal drug use, and the risks associated with it, such as disease, arrest, incarceration, and death, in line with the philosophy of harm reduction. Both drugs may be used as maintenance medications (taken for an indefinite period of time), or used as detoxification aids.[11] All available studies collected in the 2005 Australian National Evaluation of Pharmacotherapies for Opioid Dependence suggest that maintenance treatment is preferable,[11] with very high rates (79–100%)[11] of relapse within three months of detoxification from LAAM, buprenorphine, and methadone.[11][12]

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), patients stabilized on adequate, sustained doses of methadone or buprenorphine can keep their jobs, avoid crime and violence, and reduce their exposure to HIV and Hepatitis C by stopping or reducing injection drug use and drug-related high risk sexual behavior. Naltrexone is a long-acting opioid antagonist with few side effects. It is usually prescribed in outpatient medical conditions. Naltrexone blocks the euphoric effects of alcohol and opiates. Naltrexone cuts relapse risk during the first 3 months by about 36%.[11] However, it is far less effective in helping patients maintain abstinence or retaining them in the drug-treatment system (retention rates average 12% at 90 days for naltrexone, average 57% at 90 days for buprenorphine, average 61% at 90 days for methadone).[11]

Ibogaine is a hallucinogenic drug promoted by certain fringe groups to interrupt both physical dependence and psychological craving to a broad range or drugs including narcotics, stimulants, alcohol and nicotine. To date, there have never been any controlled studies showing it to be effective, and it is accepted as a treatment by no association of physicians, pharmacists, or addictionologists. There have been several deaths related to ibogaine use, which causes tachycardia and long QT syndrome. The drug is an illegal Schedule I controlled substance in the United States, and the foreign facilities in which it is administered tend to have little oversight, and range from motel rooms to one moderately-sized rehabilitation center.[13]

A few antidepressants have been proven to be helpful in the context of smoking cessation/nicotine addiction, these medications include bupropion and nortriptyline.[14] Bupropion inhibits the reuptake of norepinephrine and dopamine and has been FDA approved for smoking cessation, while nortriptyline is a tricyclic antidepressant which has been used to aid in smoking cessation though it has not been FDA approved for this indication.[15]

Acamprosate, disulfiram and topiramate (a novel anticonvulsantsulphonated sugar) are also used to treat alcohol addiction. Acamprosate has shown effectiveness for patients with severe dependence, helping them to maintain abstinence for several weeks or months.[16] Disulfiram (also called Antabuse) produces a very unpleasant reaction when drinking alcohol that includes flushing, nausea and palpitations. It is more effective for patients with high motivation and some addicts use it only for high risk situations.[17] Patients who wish to continue drinking or may be likely to relapse, should not take disulfiram as it can result in the disulfiram-alcohol reaction mentioned previously, which is very serious and can even be fatal [18]

Nitrous oxide, also sometimes known as laughing gas, is a legally available gas used for purposes that include anesthesia during certain dental and surgical procedures, as well as food preparation and the fueling of rocket and racing engines. Substance abusers also sometimes use the gas as an inhalant. Like all other inhalants, it's popular because it provides consciousness-altering effects while allowing users to avoid some of the legal issues surrounding illicit or illegal drugs of abuse. Abuse of nitrous oxide can produce significant short-term and long-term damage to human health, including a form of oxygen starvation called hypoxia, brain damage, and a serious vitamin B12 deficiency that can lead to nerve damage.

Although dangerous and addictive in its own right, nitrous oxide has been shown to be an effective treatment for a number of addictions.[19][20][21]


In-patient residential treatment for alcohol abuse is usually quite expensive without proper insurance. Most American programs follow a traditional 28–30 day program length. The length is based solely upon providers' experience in the 1940s that clients needed about one week to get over the physical changes, another week to understand the program, and another week or two to become stable.[22] 70 to 80 percent of American residential alcohol treatment programs provide 12-step support services. These include, but are not limited to AA, NA, CA, Al-Anon[22] One recent study suggests the importance of family participation in residential treatment patient retention, finding "increased program completion rate for those with a family member or significant other involved in a seven-day family program."[23]

Experimental treatment[edit]

The Nature of Things, a CBC Television program by David Suzuki, explored an experimental drug treatment by Dr. Gabor Maté in which the substance Ayahuasca was used to treat addicts in Vancouver.[24]


The definition of recovery remains divided and subjective in drug rehabilitation, as there are no set standards for measuring recovery. The Betty Ford Institute defined recovery as achieving complete abstinence as well as personal wellbeing[25] while other studies have considered "near abstinence" as a definition.[26] The wide range of meanings has complicated the process of choosing rehabilitation programs.

Criminal justice[edit]

Drug rehabilitation is sometimes part of the criminal justice system. People convicted of minor drug offenses may be sentenced to rehabilitation instead of prison, and those convicted of driving while intoxicated are sometimes required to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. There are a number of ways to address an alternative sentence in a drug possession or DUI case; increasingly, American courts are willing to explore outside-the-box methods for delivering this service. There have been lawsuits filed, and won, regarding the requirement of attending Alcoholics Anonymous and other twelve-step meetings as being inconsistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution, mandating separation of church and state.[27][28]

In some cases, individuals can be court ordered to drug rehabilitation by the state through legislation like the Marchman Act.


Traditional addiction treatment is based primarily on counseling.

Counselors help individuals identifying behaviors and problems related to their addiction. It can be done on an individual basis, but it's more common to find it in a group setting and can include crisis counseling, weekly or daily counseling, and drop-in counseling supports. They are trained to develop recovery programs that help to reestablish healthy behaviors and provide coping strategies whenever a situation of risk happens. It's very common to see them work also with family members who are affected by the addictions of the individual, or in a community to prevent addiction and educate the public. Counselors should be able to recognize how addiction affects the whole person and those around him or her.[29] Counseling is also related to "Intervention"; a process in which the addict's family requests help from a professional to get this person into drug treatment. This process begins with one of this professionals' first goals: breaking down denial of the person with the addiction. Denial implies lack of willingness from the patients or fear to confront the true nature of the addiction and to take any action to improve their lives, besides of continuing the destructive behavior. Once this has been achieved, professional coordinates with the addict's family to support them on getting this family member to alcohol drug rehabilitation immediately, with concern and care for this person. Otherwise, this person will be asked to leave and expect no support of any kind until going into drug rehabilitation or alcoholism treatment. An intervention can also be conducted in the workplace environment with colleagues instead of family.

One approach with limited applicability is the Sober Coach. In this approach, the client is serviced by provider(s) in his or her home and workplace – for any efficacy, around-the-clock – who functions much like a nanny to guide or control the patient's behavior.

Twelve-step programs[edit]

The disease model of addiction has long contended the maladaptive patterns of alcohol and substance use displayed by addicted individuals are the result of a lifelong disease that is biological in origin and exacerbated by environmental contingencies. This conceptualization renders the individual essentially powerless over his or her problematic behaviors and unable to remain sober by himself or herself, much as individuals with a terminal illness are unable to fight the disease by themselves without medication. Behavioral treatment, therefore, necessarily requires individuals to admit their addiction, renounce their former lifestyle, and seek a supportive social network who can help them remain sober. Such approaches are the quintessential features of Twelve-step programs, originally published in the book Alcoholics Anonymous in 1939.[30] These approaches have met considerable amounts of criticism, coming from opponents who disapprove of the spiritual-religious orientation on both psychological[31] and legal[32] grounds. Nonetheless, despite this criticism, outcome studies have revealed that affiliation with twelve-step programs predicts abstinence success at 1-year follow-up for alcoholism. Different results have been reached for other drugs, with the twelve steps being less beneficial for addicts to illicit substances, and least beneficial to those addicted to the physiologically and psychologically addicting opioids, for which maintenance therapies are the gold standard of care.[33]

Client-centered approaches[edit]

In his influential book, Client-Centered Therapy, in which he presented the client-centered approach to therapeutic change, psychologist Carl Rogers proposed there are three necessary and sufficient conditions for personal change: unconditional positive regard, accurate empathy, and genuineness. Rogers believed the presence of these three items in the therapeutic relationship could help an individual overcome any troublesome issue, including alcohol abuse. To this end, a 1957 study[34] compared the relative effectiveness of three different psychotherapies in treating alcoholics who had been committed to a state hospital for sixty days: a therapy based on two-factor learning theory, client-centered therapy, and psychoanalytic therapy. Though the authors expected the two-factor theory to be the most effective, it actually proved to be deleterious in outcome. Surprisingly, client-centered therapy proved most effective. It has been argued, however, these findings may be attributable to the profound difference in therapist outlook between the two-factor and client-centered approaches, rather than to client-centered techniques per se.[35] The authors note two-factor theory involves stark disapproval of the clients' "irrational behavior" (p. 350); this notably negative outlook could explain the results.

A variation of Rogers' approach has been developed in which clients are directly responsible for determining the goals and objectives of the treatment. Known as Client-Directed Outcome-Informed therapy (CDOI), this approach has been utilized by several drug treatment programs, such as Arizona's Department of Health Services.[36]


Psychoanalysis, a psychotherapeutic approach to behavior change developed by Sigmund Freud and modified by his followers, has also offered an explanation of substance abuse. This orientation suggests the main cause of the addiction syndrome is the unconscious need to entertain and to enact various kinds of homosexual and perverse fantasies, and at the same time to avoid taking responsibility for this. It is hypothesised specific drugs facilitate specific fantasies and using drugs is considered to be a displacement from, and a concomitant of, the compulsion to masturbate while entertaining homosexual and perverse fantasies. The addiction syndrome is also hypothesised to be associated with life trajectories that have occurred within the context of traumatogenic processes, the phases of which include social, cultural and political factors, encapsulation, traumatophilia, and masturbation as a form of self-soothing.[37] Such an approach lies in stark contrast to the approaches of social cognitive theory to addiction—and indeed, to behavior in general—which holds human beings regulate and control their own environmental and cognitive environments, and are not merely driven by internal, driving impulses. Additionally, homosexual content is not implicated as a necessary feature in addiction.

Relapse prevention[edit]

An influential cognitive-behavioral approach to addiction recovery and therapy has been Alan Marlatt's (1985) Relapse Prevention approach.[38] Marlatt describes four psychosocial processes relevant to the addiction and relapse processes: self-efficacy, outcome expectancies, attributions of causality, and decision-making processes. Self-efficacy refers to one's ability to deal competently and effectively with high-risk, relapse-provoking situations. Outcome expectancies refer to an individual's expectations about the psychoactive effects of an addictive substance. Attributions of causality refer to an individual's pattern of beliefs that relapse to drug use is a result of internal, or rather external, transient causes (e.g., allowing oneself to make exceptions when faced with what are judged to be unusual circumstances). Finally, decision-making processes are implicated in the relapse process as well. Substance use is the result of multiple decisions whose collective effects result in consumption of the intoxicant. Furthermore, Marlatt stresses some decisions—referred to as apparently irrelevant decisions—may seem inconsequential to relapse, but may actually have downstream implications that place the user in a high-risk situation.[citation needed]

For example: As a result of heavy traffic, a recovering alcoholic may decide one afternoon to exit the highway and travel on side roads. This will result in the creation of a high-risk situation when he realizes he is inadvertently driving by his old favorite bar. If this individual is able to employ successful coping strategies, such as distracting himself from his cravings by turning on his favorite music, then he will avoid the relapse risk (PATH 1) and heighten his efficacy for future abstinence. If, however, he lacks coping mechanisms—for instance, he may begin ruminating on his cravings (PATH 2)—then his efficacy for abstinence will decrease, his expectations of positive outcomes will increase, and he may experience a lapse—an isolated return to substance intoxication. So doing results in what Marlatt refers to as the Abstinence Violation Effect, characterized by guilt for having gotten intoxicated and low efficacy for future abstinence in similar tempting situations. This is a dangerous pathway, Marlatt proposes, to full-blown relapse.

Cognitive therapy[edit]

An additional cognitively-based model of substance abuse recovery has been offered by Aaron Beck, the father of cognitive therapy and championed in his 1993 book Cognitive Therapy of Substance Abuse.[39] This therapy rests upon the assumption addicted individuals possess core beliefs, often not accessible to immediate consciousness (unless the patient is also depressed). These core beliefs, such as "I am undesirable," activate a system of addictive beliefs that result in imagined anticipatory benefits of substance use and, consequentially, craving. Once craving has been activated, permissive beliefs ("I can handle getting high just this one more time") are facilitated. Once a permissive set of beliefs have been activated, then the individual will activate drug-seeking and drug-ingesting behaviors. The cognitive therapist's job is to uncover this underlying system of beliefs, analyze it with the patient, and thereby demonstrate its dysfunctionality. As with any cognitive-behavioral therapy, homework assignments and behavioral exercises serve to solidify what is learned and discussed during treatment.[40]

Emotion regulation and mindfulness[edit]

A growing literature is demonstrating the importance of emotion regulation in the treatment of substance abuse. Considering that nicotine and other psychoactive substances such as cocaine activate similar psychopharmacological pathways,[41] an emotion regulation approach may be applicable to a wide array of substance abuse. Proposed models of affect-driven tobacco use have focused on negative reinforcement as the primary driving force for addiction; according to such theories, tobacco is used because it helps one escape from the undesirable effects of nicotine withdrawal or other negative moods.[42]Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), is showing evidence that it is effective in treating substance abuse, including the treatment of poly-substance abuse and cigarette smoking.[43][44]Mindfulness programs that encourage patients to be aware of their own experiences in the present moment and of emotions that arise from thoughts, appear to prevent impulsive/compulsive responses.[42][45] Research also indicates that mindfulness programs can reduce the consumption of substances such as alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines, marijuana, cigarettes and opiates.[45][46][47]

Behavioral models[edit]

Main article: Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training

Behavioral models make use of principles of functional analysis of drinking behavior. Behavior models exists for both working with the substance abuser (Community Reinforcement Approach) and their family (Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training). Both these models have had considerable research success for both efficacy and effectiveness. This model lays much emphasis on the use of problem solving techniques as a means of helping the addict to overcome his/her addiction.


Despite ongoing efforts to combat addiction, there has been evidence of clinics billing patients for treatments that may not guarantee their recovery.[1] This is a major problem as there are numerous claims of fraud in drug rehabilitation centers, where these centers are billing insurance companies for under delivering much needed medical treatment while exhausting patients' insurance benefits.[2] In California, there are movements and law regarding this matter, particularly the California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (IFPA) which declares it unlawful to unknowingly conduct such businesses. [2]

Under the Affordable Care Act and the Mental Health Parity Act, rehabilitation centers are able to bill insurance companies for substance abuse treatment.[48] With long waitlists in limited state funded rehabilitation centers, controversial private centers rapidly emerged.[48] One popular model, known as the Florida Model for rehabilitation centers, is often criticized for fraudulent billing to insurance companies.[48] Under the guise of helping patients with opioid addiction, these centers would offer addicts free rent or up to $500 per month to stay in their "sober homes", then charge insurance companies as high as $5,000 to $10,000 per test for simple urine tests.[48] Little attention is paid to patients in terms of addiction intervention as these patients have often been known to continue drug use during their stay in these centers.[48] Since 2015, these centers have been under federal and state criminal investigation.[48] As of 2017 in California, there are only 16 investigators in the CA Department of Health Care Services investigating over 2,000 licensed rehab centers.[49]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ab"Investigation Uncovers Fraud by California Rehab Clinics - Partnership for Drug-Free Kids - Where Families Find Answers". Partnership for Drug-Free Kids - Where Families Find Answers. Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  2. ^ abc"Fraudulent Insurance Claims in Alcohol and Drug Rehab Centers". Retrieved 2017-10-24. 
  3. ^Abuse, National Institute on Drug. "Principles of Effective Treatment". 
  4. ^Schaler, Jeffrey Alfred (1997). "Addiction Beliefs of Treatment michael vick Providers: Factors Explaining Variance". Addiction Research & Theory. 4 (4): 367–384. doi:10.3109/16066359709002970. ISSN 1476-7392. 
  5. ^Abuse, National Institute on Drug. "Principles of Effective Treatment". 
  6. ^NIDA InfoFacts: Treatments Approaches for Drug Addiction National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Retrieved on 2010-08-17
  7. ^Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)>
  8. ^"Motivational Interviewing". SAMHSA. Archived from the original on 13 December 2012. 
  9. ^Stitzer ML, Petry NM, Peirce J. "Motivational incentives research in the National Drug Abuse Treatment Clinical Trials Network". Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Mid Atlantic Node. 38 Suppl 1: S61–9. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2009.12.010. PMC 2866424. PMID 20307797. 
  10. ^Abuse, National Institute on Drug. "Principles of Effective Treatment". 
  11. ^ abcdefMattick RP; Digiusto E; Doran CM; O'Brien S; Shanahan M; Kimber J; Henderson N; Breen C; Shearer J; Gates J; Shakeshaft A; NEPOD Trial Investigators (2004). National Evaluation of Pharmacotherapies for Opioid Dependence (NEPOD): Report of Results and Recommendations(PDF). National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Sydney. Commonwealth of Australia. ISBN 0-642-82459-2. Monograph Series No. 52. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2011-03-09. 
  12. ^"National Evaluation of Pharmacotherapies for Opioid Dependence (NEPOD) Report of Results and Recommendations". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. 
  13. ^K.R. Alper; H.S. Lotsof; C.D. Kaplan (2008). "The Ibogaine Medical Subculture". J. Ethnopharmacol. 115 (1): 9–24. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2007.08.034. PMID 18029124. Archived from the original on 6 February 2008. Retrieved 5 October 2010. 
  14. ^Klein, Jared Wilson (July 2016). "Pharmacotherapy for Substance Use Disorders". Medical Clinics of North America. 100 (4): 891–910. doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2016.03.011. 
  15. ^Klein, Jared Wilson (July 2016). "Pharmacotherapy for Substance Use Disorders". Medical Clinics of North America. 100 (4): 891–910. doi:10.1016/j.mcna.2016.03.011. 
  17. ^Pharmacotherapies National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Retrieved on 2010-08-17
  19. ^Daynes, G; Gillman MA (1994). "Psychotropic analgesic nitrous oxide prevents craving after withdrawal from alcohol, cannabis and tobacco". Int J Neurosci. 76 (1-2): 13–16. doi:10.3109/00207459408985987. 
  20. ^Gillman MA (1994). "Analgesic nitrous oxide for addictive withdrawal". S Afr Med J. 84: 516. 
  21. ^"South African Brain Research Institute". 
  22. ^ abGlaser, Gabrielle. "The Bad Science of Alcoholics Anonymous". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2016-02-29. 
  23. ^McPherson, Carson; Boyne, Holly; Willis, Robert (2017). "The Role of Family in Residential Treatment Patient Retention [pre-print]". International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction. 15 (4): 933–941. doi:10.1007/s11469-016-9712-0. ISSN 1557-1874. 
  24. ^"Jungle Prescription". The Nature of Things. 10 November 2011. CBC-TV. 
  25. ^""What is recovery? A working definition from the Betty Ford Institute""(PDF). 
  26. ^White, William L. (March 2012). "Recovery/Remission from Substance Use Disorders"(PDF). 
  27. ^Egelko, Bob (8 September 2007). "Appeals court says requirement to attend AA unconstitutional". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2007-10-08. 
  28. ^"United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit"(PDF). 
  29. ^Counselors United States Department of Labor. Retrieved on 2010-08-17
  30. ^Alcoholics Anonymous (June 2001). Alcoholics Anonymous (4th ed.). Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. ISBN 1-893007-16-2. OCLC 32014950. 
  31. ^Bandura, A. (1999). "A sociocognitive analysis of substance abuse: An agentic perspective". Psychological Science. 10 (3): 214–7. doi:10.1111/1467-9280.00138. 
  32. ^Wood, Ron (7 December 2006). Suit challenges court ordered 12-step programs: Constitutionality of forced participation in program questioned. The Morning News. Retrieved 2008-5-22.
  33. ^Moos RH, Finney JW, Ouimette PC, Suchinsky RT (March 1999). "A comparative evaluation of substance abuse treatment: I. Treatment orientation, amount of care, and 1-year outcomes". Alcohol. Clin. Exp. Res. 23 (3): 529–36. doi:10.1111/j.1530-0277.1999.tb04149.x. PMID 10195829. 
  34. ^Ends EJ, Page CW (June 1957). "A study of three types of group psychotherapy with hospitalized male inebriates". Q J Stud Alcohol. 18 (2): 263–77. PMID 13441877. 
  35. ^Cartwright AK (December 1981). "Are different therapeutic perspectives important in the treatment of alcoholism?". Br J Addict. 76 (4): 347–61. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.1981.tb03232.x. PMID 6947809. 
  36. ^Division of Behavioral Health Services, ADHS/DBHS Best Practice Advisory Committee. "Client Directed, Outcome Informed Practice (CDOI)". 
  37. ^Hopper E (December 1995). "A psychoanalytical theory of 'drug addiction': unconscious fantasies of homosexuality, compulsions and masturbation within the context of traumatogenic processes". Int J Psychoanal. 76 (Pt 6): 1121–42. PMID 8789164. 
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