Best Movies About Alcohol Addiction

Top 10 Best Movies About Alcohol Addiction That Covered It The Right Way

There is no dearth of movies dealing with gritty subjects like substance abuse and recovery. However, many times, such movies either fail to make any mark, or they deal with this sensitive issue in a frivolous manner that just perpetuates, or even glamorizes, drunk stereotypes.

However, there are several films which looked deep into the issue and presented new perspectives on addiction.  So if you’re ready to spend a fun sober night in, curled up on the couch with some popcorn and soda, these are our picks for the best movies about alcohol addiction to help make your recovery stronger.


Flight is one of the best movies about alcohol addiction in recent years.  This movie took a straightforward approach to present the realities of alcoholism and substance abuse. The protagonist is an airline pilot called Whip Whitaker, played by Denzel Washington, whose life has been turned upside down by his addictions. However, he has to face his demons once he is found to be flying while intoxicated. The film provides an honest portrayal of addiction and how it impacts people.

This movie is fantastic, but ask yourself: if you were a flight attendant, how dumb would you have to be to knowingly get on an airplane fully aware that the pilot is drunk and high?

2James White

Released in 2015, the movie revolves around James White, who is trying to get hold of his life and the responsibilities it entails. In order to deal with his problems, he tries to soothe himself with alcohol, leading to his ultimate addiction.

Christopher Abbott playing the titular role offers an extremely convincing portrayal of a person who is not only dealing with life’s uncertainties, but also with his addiction to alcohol. The movie deals with the perils of using alcohol to fill the void in one’s life.

3Leaving Las Vegas

The movie tells the story of Ben and Sera, who embark upon a strange relationship. Ben is an alcoholic, who does not realize his alcohol abuse issues. As their relationship grows, they try to explore their lives and the challenges. Ben, who is already dealing with abandonment issues after being left by his wife and son, now has to deal with his growing resentment about Sera’s occupation. The movie explores human nature and its impact on alcohol abuse.

Plus, Nicolas Cage and Elizabeth Shue – amazing!

4Clean and Sober

This movie goes above and beyond alcohol addiction, as the hero of the movie is also addicted to cocaine. Michael Keaton (side note: American Assassin was awesome!), in the role of a real estate agent called Daryl Poynter, provides a memorable performance. His life takes a dramatic turn when a woman is found dead in his bed. In order to escape from the clutches of the law, he enters a rehab program.

To make the matters more complex, Poynter has also embezzled money from his company’s bank accounts. Entering the rehab provides him temporary relief from police, but it also forces him to have a new outlook about his life and his addiction issues.


The film provides a succinct portrayal of alcohol abuse and its devastating impact on a person’s life. Mickey Rourke (also outstanding in The Wrestler), playing the role of Henry Chinaski, is a destitute alcoholic who finds solace in writing.

In between his menial jobs, he tries to present his world views through his poems and short stories. Despite being ravaged by alcohol abuse, Chinaski displays intelligence and acute awareness of his circumstances. The movie gives a no-holds-barred portrayal of alcohol addiction playing havoc with people’s lives.

6Crazy Heart

This is another masterpiece in which art meets alcohol. Jeff Bridges’ Otis “Bad” Blake is a washed-up singer and songwriter, who is also an alcoholic. Once a country music star, Otis has fallen into rough times and makes his living by playing music in small town bars. His alcoholism has left him with no family, despite his being married more than four times.

Always on the road, alcohol is the only company Otis has, further complicating his relationships with other human beings. The movie takes you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions as Otis tries to heal this life and face his issues head on.

7The Lost Weekend

This movie belongs to another era as it was released in 1945. However, this remarkable classic takes a gritty approach towards alcohol and substance abuse. Part of why The Lost Weekend is so iconic is that it was made during a time when the film industry largely ignored substance abuse issues and considered them taboo. The movie follows Ray Milland, whose weekend bender goes awry, and he ends up in a hospital. The Lost Weekend looks at the connection between substance abuse and self-harm.

While the attitude of the subject may seem dated to some audiences, the film nevertheless is a masterpiece in its category. Watch out for that famous iconic shot showing a whiskey bottle hung outside an apartment window by a thin rope.

8Everything Must Go

The film stars funnyman Will Farrell, but Everything Must Go is anything but funny. Its somber depiction of a man dealing with alcohol issues is heartrending. His addiction to alcohol costs him his wife and his job, as he keeps falling deeper and deeper into a black hole of destructive behavior. The protagonist eventually decides to hold a garage sale of his belongings in order to make a new start. He receives help from his new neighbor and faces his ultimate demons.

9Home Run

If you are looking for an inspirational movie about alcohol addiction and recovery then Home Run is the one for you. The movie follows the life and problems of Cory Brand, a professional baseball player. Dealing with his addiction, Cory injures his brother in a boozy crash.

The accident forces Cory to undergo a rehab program, where he starts to coach a Little League team. The rehabilitation camp allows him to come to terms with his troubled past and make amends. He beats his addiction in order to reunite with his high school sweetheart and patch up his relationship with his family.

10When a Man Loves a Woman

The movie chronicles the life of a married couple who seemingly have a perfect life. The wife called Alice Green, played by Meg Ryan, falls into an alcohol addiction as she tries to beat loneliness. The addiction brings out the reckless and dangerous side of her persona.

While she is normally a loving and responsible person, Alice turns into a completely different person under the influence of alcohol. Her husband Michael, an airline pilot, decides to help Alice beat her addiction. The movie successfully deals with the tricky subjects of alcohol rehabilitation and co-dependent relationships.


What Do You Think Are The Best Movies About Alcohol Addiction?

We know these aren’t all the best movies about alcohol addiction, so tell us your thoughts!  What do you think should be included in our next list of the best movies about alcohol addiction?  And keep an eye out for more lists like this to come!  Tell us what movies, TV shows, documentaries, books, magazines, blogs, podcasts, music, art, poetry, etc., you think portray alcohol abuse in the best, most inspiring, most informative, most helpful, or maybe even the saddest or most ridiculous or worst ways.  Leave your comments below, or email the Editor at [email protected]

Sources: Rolling Stone, Mental Floss, LA TimesNew York Times, Vanity Fair, Metacritic