10 Best Drug Wars Movies

The justice system would stand and applaud if more people watched this list of the 10 best drug war movies. Or they would ban them because there is just something about watching bad guys in action that, well, makes you want to be bad.  Look no further than this list!

  1. "Scarface" Money, drugs, cars, girls, crooked cops and Colombian drug lords. Miami in the eighties with all of its excess. This is the story that brought the Drug War to the masses and drove the fear of a bunch of Scarface’s running around into the American public. Too bad the real political story of the Cuban exile crisis was lost in the shuffle. Al Pacino’s depiction of the ambitious, addicted, megalomaniacal Tony Montana is and will always be a classic, man.  If you don’t believe it you’ll have to “Say hello to my little friend!”
  2. "Traffic" Multiple story lines and racial overtones, this movie actually attempts to deal with specific politics and the repercussions of the U.S. ”War on Drugs.” It takes us through the entire cycle from the rural growers to foreign law enforcement to American law enforcement.  Then on up to the more corrupt cops, businessmen, attorneys and politicians. And back down to the inner-city dealers and suburban users.
  3. "The French Connection" When “H” was king and cops could do their jobs with impunity. Hard-drinking, un-PC cop, Popeye Doyle was a PR nightmare for sure. But he got the job done. One of the first real cop thrillers to deal with the international drug trade and not just street level dealers, it weaves a web of intrigue rarely duplicated since. Not to mention it has one of the best car chases ever filmed.
  4. "Cocaine Cowboys" It’s hard to believe this movie is a documentary and unbelievable to see what was going on in the heyday of Miami and the cocaine empire.  These are the tales that birthed the TV show Miami Vice, which would be on this list if it weren’t a TV show. What’s most amazing is that most of the traffickers in the film are free men because the drug laws weren’t as strict in the seventies and early eighties. 
  5. "New Jack City" “Damn… Crack.” Nino Brown told no joke when he said his crew would come off like the mob. In a fictionalized story of real New York drug Kingpin, the takeover of an entire housing project and turning the residents into addicts is brilliant, if not, diabolical.  Great soundtrack and Wesley Snipes’ portrayal of a drug lord aspires to Tony Montana status. 
  6. "Blow" People wonder how criminals learn to do what it is they do. They go to prison where the rest of the criminals are, duh. This is a classic story of the rise and fall of a drug dealer who never quite became a crime lord because of his pedigree and personal demons. Entertaining nonetheless and Johnny Depp is great.
  7. "American Gangster" The story of real-life drug lord, Frank Lucas as played by Denzel Washington. Russell Crowe plays the cop who brings him down. It shows how the drug trade flew under the radar in the late sixties and early seventies. Lucas’ brash exploitation of the Vietnam War by smuggling heroin to the U.S., in the caskets of fallen soldiers is so crafty it’s sick. The role the Italian mafia played in controlling the street drug trade in American inner cities is also detailed.  
  8. "Deep Cover" This movie tells the tale from the viewpoint of the Narc who goes undercover to bring down the big fish. Only the Narc finds out that the fish he’s supposed to bring is not the true target because he is an asset to U.S. foreign interests even if he is a drug lord. The Narc goes all vigilante and brings down the house of cards.
  9. "Rush" More undercover, only here two undercover agents become all out addicts.  A gritty depiction of what a Narc has to do to actually do his or his job.  Eric Clapton’s score for this movie is haunting and soulful.  
  10. "Midnight Express" A movie about a thirty year sentence for trying to smuggle drugs out of Turkey.
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