Technically speaking, a stoner film is a subgenre of comedy centering on marijuana use, with the plant driving most of the plot. Stoner movies tend to share common themes, such as a protagonist or a quirky duo of friends who have or are trying to find some weed, then set off to complete a task. Others revolve on stoners escaping the notice of families, friends, and other authority figures – or anyone who disapproves of their cannabis use. These are, of course, portrayed comically.
As early as the 1930s, marijuana-related movies were already in the works. The infamous film Reefer Madness (1936), for instance, had such an excessive – bordering on the melodramatic – anti-drug message that some modern viewers consider it a self-parody. It was only in the 1970s when quintessential “stoner movies” rose into prominence, especially with the likes of Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke(1978).
Today, as cannabis grows ever more popular, the motion picture industry goes with the tide and releases more weed-themed films. Some adopt the classic stoner film elements, while others are more informative. If you are baked enough, though, literally anything can be a stoner movie, even if it does not involve marijuana use.
That said, here are ten films and documentaries about pot and stoners, or are crazy enough to be enjoyed while deep in the high.
1. Dazed And Confused (1993)
Dazed and Confused, directed by Richard Linklater, is a coming-of-age comedy flick set in Texas in the mid-1970s. A large crew of brilliant actors who would later become stars headlined the cast. They include Jason London, Ben Affleck, Milla Jovovich, Adam Goldberg, Joey Lauren Adams, Rory Cochrane, and Matthew McConaughey.
The film is about the adventures of teenagers during their last day of school. Things, suffice to say, got crazy, with the teens being involved in (or escaping) a hazing, partying, indulging in alcohol and weed, getting into fights, and smoking more marijuana. The characters are diverse, featuring nerds, geeks, bullies, jocks, dream girls, and, of course, the typical high school stoner.
2. Half Baked (1998)
Half Baked, directed by Tamra Davis, is an archetypal stoner comedy movie starring Dave Chappelle (Thurgood Jenkins), Guillermo Díaz (Scarface), Jim Breuer (Brian), Harland Williams (Kenny Davis), and many more.
It revolves around four ganja-loving friends (Thurgood, Scarface, Brian, and Kenny) living together in New York City. One day, Thurgood bought home an insanely potent weed from the medical lab where he works, and the four smoke it. Once blazed, the usually gentle Kenny accidentally kills a cop’s diabetic horse by giving it junk food, resulting in his imprisonment and a whopping 1 million dollar bail. Now, it is up to his friends to bail Kenny out. And, the guys thought, what better way to earn money fast than to sell some pot?
3. Scary Movie 2 (2001)
Scary Movie 2, directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans, is the second installment in the Scary Movie franchise – an American film series that parodies horror movies. The cast features Anna Faris (Cindy Campbell), Regina Hall (Brenda Meeks), Shawn Wayans (Ray Wilkins), and Marlon Wayans (Shorty Meeks).
In this particular film, a Professor dupes four teens (Cindy, Brenda, Ray, and Shorty) into visiting a haunted house, presumably for a school project. Unsurprisingly, they were in for a bizarre night. Probably one of the most amusing scenes in the movie is when a marijuana-monster rolls the stoner Shorty into a joint and attempts to smoke him.
4. Tenacious D In The Pick Of Destiny (2006)
Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, directed by Jack Liam Lynch and starring Jack Black (JB) and Kyle Gass (KG), is a stoner comedy film with a touch of musical fantasy.
It follows the story of two slackers, JB and KG, who want to form the greatest rock band of all time. To fulfill this dream, the two friends set on a quest to steal a legendary guitar pick – which grants the user phenomenal guitar skills – from a maximum-security museum. Throughout the film, the characters are portrayed buying and smoking weed, with KG saying the quotable line, “Go score me a dime bag.”
5. Knocked Up (2007)
Knocked Up is a romantic comedy directed by Judd Apatow, starring Seth Rogen (Ben Stone) and Katherine Heigl (Alison Scott). Almost every cannabis user, of course, has heard of Seth Rogen, who is a known stoner and weed enthusiast himself.
In the film, he plays Ben – a fun-loving and irresponsible slacker who loves smoking marijuana or visiting theme parks. He gets the shock of his life when Alison, a career-minded woman, confronts him eight weeks after their one-night stand, telling him she is pregnant with his child. Now, Ben has to prove to her that he is father material, and the two try to make their relationship work.
6. Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay (2008)
If you have seen the Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, then you will be pleased to know that the second installment is available on Netflix. If you haven’t yet, don’t fret. This stoner comedy movie is enjoyable enough to watch as a standalone.
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, directed by Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg, is an adventure comedy film starring John Cho (Harold) and Kal Penn (Kumar). After attempting to sneak in a bong on a flight to Amsterdam, the two stoner friends are mistaken as terrorists and locked up in Guantanamo Bay. They successfully escape and return to the United States – but with law enforcement officers on their tail.
7. Pineapple Express (2008)
Pineapple Express, directed by David Gordon Green, is an American buddy stoner film with an action twist. In this highly acclaimed movie, stoner Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) unwittingly witnesses a dangerous drug lord, and a cop committing murder. Terrified out of his wits, Dale dropped his roach before fleeing the crime scene. Unfortunately, the marijuana is so rare – a new strain called Pineapple Express – that it can be traced back to him and his dealer, Saul Silver (James Franco). Left with no choice, the two run for their lives, with a nasty drug lord and the cops in hot pursuit.
8. Mac & Devin Go To High School (2012)
Mac and Devin Go to High School, directed by Dylan C. Brown, is a comedy starring two known rappers and cannabis aficionados, Snoop Dogg (Mac Johnson) and Wiz Khalifa (Devin Overstreet).
The movie follows the story of two high school students – a geek and a genius (Devin), and the other a stoner already in his fifteenth year of school (Mac). What happens when their paths cross? A lot of craziness and getting blitzed – that is for sure. Just make sure that you are already knee-deep in the high before watching it.
9. Sausage Party (2016)
Sausage Party – a raunchy adult animated movie that parodies Disney and Pixar films – is as insane as it can get. No doubt, you will think that the writers Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Seth Rogen, and Evan Goldberg were buzzed when they were jotting it down.
It chronicles the story of the sausage Frank (Seth Rogen) as he discovers the truth about their existence – that he and his food friends are bound to become human meals. What follows is their attempt to escape their fate. The absurd premise will surely sit well with a marijuana-addled brain.
10. Grass Is Greener (2019)
Grass is Greener, directed by Fab 5 Freddy, is set apart from the other titles in this list. This documentary film explores the complicated relationship of America with marijuana – from history to its impact on music, pop culture, and society, and to its current market state, among others. It also includes interviews with celebrities, figures, and experts who are also cannabis proponents, including B-Real, Steven Hager, Damian Marley, Snoop Dogg, and many more.
11. The Addams Family
The Addams Family is one of the best movies to watch stoned on Netflix. This is true for two reasons: its comedy factor and the sheer amount of surrealism that it involves. Everyone, at one point or another, has wanted to be a member of the Addams Family — and when you’re high, watching this movie feels just a little bit more familiar.
You’ll love the slapstick, and adore the characters… and maybe ogle Morticia Addams a bit, because sexy goth chicks never go out of style. Need we say any more?