The following is a list of movies in which African American's are dealing with substance abuse.
African American Substance Abuse in Movies
Ali (R) (2001)
Directed by Michael Mann. Cast includes: Will Smith, Jon Voight, Jamie Foxx and Mario Van Pebbles. This film is the story of heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali, following his early days as Cassius Clay and his rise in sports and polictics. In this film we witness Bundini Brown and his addiction to heroin which leads him to be undependable and in the end he sells Ali's belt. Running time is 2hr 37min.
Baby Boy (R) (2001)
Directed by John Singleton. Cast includes: Tyrese Gibson, Taraji P. Henson, Omar Gooding and Adrienne-Joi Johnson. Jody (Tyrese Gibson) is a twenty-year-old who has fathered tow daugthers by two different women but still lives at home with his mother. He can't seem to find a directino for his chaotic life. There are many scenes of alcohol consumption; not sure about drug use. Running time is 2hr 10min.
Bird (R) (1988)
Directed by Clint Eastwood. Cast Includes: Forest Whitaker, Diane Venora, Michael Zelniker,
Sam Wright, Keith David. A gripping drama of the life of legendary jazz saxophonist Charlie "Yardbird" Parker. Past and future overlap as the movie explores Bird's relationship with his steadfast wife Chan Parker; his soaring skill and destructive excesses with alcohol and drugs. Film uses actual recordings by Parker skillfully blending his solo recordings with modern musicians attuned to the Yardbird's improvisations. Running time is 2hr 41min.
Birth of a Nation (NR) (1915)
Directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lilian Gish. Adapted from Thomas Dixon's novel, The Clansman. A Civil War spectacular, portraying "life in the South" during and after the Civil War as revealed in a story depicting the war itself; the conflict between the defeated Southerners and emancipated renegade Negroes; the despoiling of the South during the carpetbagger period, and the revival of the Southern white man's honor through the efforts of the Ku Klux Klan. May depict Blacks as intoxicated rapists. Running time is 3hr 10min.
Boyz'n the Hood (R) (1991)
Directed by John Singleton. Cast includes: Ice Cube, Cuba Gooding Jr., Morris Chestnut, Laurence Fishburne, Nia Long, Tyra Ferrell and Angela Bassett. For three young men growing up in South Central Los Angeles, the 'hood is a place of drive-by shootings, unemployment, drugs and pain. But their reactions to the world around them vary; one is an unambitious drug dealer, his brother is a college bound teenage father, and the brother's best friend is guided by a strong father who hopes for a better life for his son. Running time is 1hr 51min.
Cabin in the Sky (NR) (1943)
Directed by Vincente Minnelli and Busby Berkeley. Cast includes: Ethel Waters, Eddie Anderson, Lena Horne. In the film Petunia Jackson, a poor but devout woman, is burdened with a shiftless husband called Little Joe. When Little Joe is seriously wounded in a fight and it seems he is about to die, the forces of heaven and hell begin a battle for his soul. Running time is 1hr 38min.
Carmen Jones (NR) (1954)
This film is a contemporary version of the Bizet opera, with new lyrics and staged with an all-black cast. Carmen Jones is the main character who is desired by many of the men in an army camp. In the film Carmen wants Joe who is engaged to another woman, Cindy Lou. Going after Joe, Carmen succeeds only in getting Joe into the stockade. There are many bar scenes, the character Joe may murder Carmen after getting intoxicated. Running time is 1hr 45min.
Claudine (PG) (1974)
Directed by John Berry. Cast includes: James Earl Jones, Diahann Carroll, David Kruger. In the film Claudine struggles to support herself and her six children in Harlem. While working as a maid for a wealthy family, Claudine meets a charming garbage man, Roop. Although Roop is smitten with the lovely single mother, his own life troubles make him slow to respond to her invitation to a lifetime of love. Running time is 1hr 32min.
Cleopatra Jones (PG) (1973)
Directed by Jack Starrett. Cast includes: Tamara Dobson, Bernie Casey, Shelley Winters. In this classic blaxploitation potboiler a beautiful, tough drug enforcement agent intercedes when a menacing drug ring attempts to stage a retaliatory raid on a Los Angeles drug rehabilitation center. Running time is 1hr 29min.
Clockers (R) (1995)
Directed by Spike Lee. Cast includes: Harvey Keitel, John Turturro, Mekhi Phifer, Isaiah Washington, Delroy Lindo, David Keith, Pee Wee Love, Regina Taylor. In this film two brothers grow up together in the same Brooklyn housing projects, but they are as opposite as good and evil. Victor Dunham has a family, works two jobs and leads a respectable life. His 19-year-old brother, Strike, hangs out with his friends on a bench and sells crack cocaine. Strike agrees to kill a rival dealer as a favor to Rodney, the neighborhood drug kingpin, but when the man is murdered, it is Victor who confesses. Detective Rocco Kleine won't buy Victor's confession, and begins to attempt to break down the stories of both brothers in order to save Victor. Running time is 2hr 8min.
Coffy (R) (1973)
Directed by Jack Hill. Cast includes: Pam Grier, Booker Bradshaw, Robert Doqui, William Elliott, Allan Arbus, Sid Haig. In the film Coffy is a nurse turned avenger, becoming a one-woman, anti-drug vigilante who roots out the dealers who "turned on" her 11 -year-old sister. This violent, sexy drama is a variation on urban vigilante flicks, where family members fight crime more effectively than the cops, and in much more provocative ways. Running time is 1hr and 31min.
Cooley High (PG) (1975)
Directed by Michael Schultz. Cast includes: Glynn Turman, Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs, and Garrett Morris. A fun-loving black "American Graffiti," this film is a comedy about high school life in Chicago in the 1960's. Features a dynamic soundtrack of Motown music. Running time is 1hr 47min.
Cotton Comes to Harlem (R) (1970)
Directed by Ossie Davis. Cast includes: Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques, Calvin Lockhart, Judy Pace, Redd Foxx, John Anderson, Emily Yancy, Lou Jacobi, Eugene Roche, J.D. Cannon. In the film Johnson and Grave Digger Jones are two Harlem plain-clothes cops investigating a "Back to Africa" campaign run by a shady preacher. Running time is 1hr 37min.
Crooklyn (PG-13) (1994)
Directed by Spike Lee. Cast includes: Zelda Harris, Alfre Woodard, Delroy Lindo and David Patrick Kelly. In this film Director Spike Lee fashions a bold, flavorful picture of family life in a crowded but cozy Brooklyn neighborhood nicknamed "Crooklyn" by the Carmichaels, who experience one very special summer in their hometown under difficult but often wonderful circumstances. Running time is 1hr 55min.
Do the Right Thing (R) (1989)
Directed by Spike Lee. Cast Includes: Spike Lee, Danny Aiello, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. The film is set in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn on a hot day when everyone's hate and bigotry smolders and builds until it explodes into violence. Running time is 2hr.
Down in The Delta (PG-13) (1998)
Directed by Maya Angelou. Cast includes: Alfre Woodard, Al Freeman Jr., Mary Alice, and Esther Rolle. "Down in The Delta" is a story where big city meets small town, young meets old, parents reconnect with children and life for everyone becomes something they never expected. In the film Loretta is headed down a destructive path as she succumbs to the drug and alcohol-ridden streets of her neighborhood in Chicago. In an effort to pull her daughter and grandchildren out of harm's way, Rosa Lynn (Loretta's mother) pawns her most valuable family heirloom- a candelabra known as "Nathan" and moves the family back to Mississippi. Running time is 1hr 52min.
Fences (PG-13) (2016)
Directed by Denzel Washington. Cast includes: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, and Stephen Henderson. In this film, Troy Maxson (Actor Denzel Washington), makes his living as a sanitation worker in the 1950's in Pittsburgh. Troy dreamed of being a major league baseball player, but was seen as too old when the major leagues allowed black athletes to play. Bitter as a result of his missed opportunity he created tension in his relationship with his son. He refused to allow the son to accept a scholarship to play college football. Throughout the movie, Troy used alcohol to cope with work related racism and stress, financial distress and the emotional pain caused by the loss of his baseball dream. Running time is 2h 18min.
Flight (R) (2012)
Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Cast includes: Denzel Washington, Nadine Velazquez and Don Cheadle. In this film, airline pilot Whip Whitaker (played by Denzel Washington) has a problem with alcohol and cocaine. On one flight the plane experienced a mechanical malfunction and Whip pulled off a miraculous landing saving the life of over 100 passengers. A drug test was performed on Whip following the flight and it is learned then taht he was under the influence of alcohol during the flight. As his addiction progressed he wound up in prison. Towards the end of the film he celebrated his first year sober. Running time is 2h 18min.
Friday (R) (1995)
Directed by F. Gary Gray. Cast includes: Ice Cube, Chris Tucker, Nia Long, Tiny "Zeus" Lister, Jr., Regina King, Anna Maria Horsford, Bernie Mac and John Witherspoon. Ice Cub and Chris Tucker leads the nonstop laughs in this hip-hoppin' look at a day in the life of the 'hood. Craig (Ice Cube) is an alright guy with some crazy friends. Like Smokey (Chris Tucker) who has 24 hours to pay back Deebo, South Central's nastiest thug, or else. Trouble is, neither Craig's mother nor his main squeeze has the bread. As time ticks away, the chance this pair will ever see Saturday is fading fast. Running time is 1 hr 31min.
Gridlock'd (R) (1997)
Directed by Vondie Curtis-Hall. Cast includes: Tupac Shakur, Tim Roth, Thandie Newton, Charles Fleischer. In this film two drug addicted musicians decide to kick their drug habits and attempt to enroll in a government detox program however their efforts are hampered by seemingly endless red tape. Running time is 1hr 31 min.
Harlem Nights (R) (1989)
Directed by Eddie Murphy. Cast includes: Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Redd Foxx and Danny Aiello. In this film "Sugar" Ray is the owner of an illegal casino, who contend with the pressures of vicious gangster and corrupt policemen who want to see him go out of business.
He Got Game (R) (1998)
Directed by Spike Lee. Cast includes: Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, Milla Jovovich and Rosario Dawson. With promises of a reduced sentence, Jake Shuttlesworth (Washington) is granted temporary release from state prison in order to persuade the nation's top college basketball recruit, his estranged son Jesus, to play ball for the governor's alma mater. But just as the son faces intense pressures and irresistible temptations contemplating his big decision, the father is also forced to consider not only what's best for himself but what's best for his son. Running time is 2hr 15 min.
Here and Now (R) (1983)
Directed by Richard Pryor. Cast includes: Richard Pryor. This is the continuation of Richard Pryor doing stand-up reflecting on his life including drug use.
House Party (R) (1990)
Directed by Reginald Hudlin. Cast includes: Christopher Reid, Christopher Martin, Robin Harris, and Martin Lawrence. "House Party" is a 1990 comedy about stars Kid and Play of the popular hip hop duo. Running time includes 1hr 40 min.
How Stella Got Her Groove Back (R) (1998)
Directed by Kevin Rodney Sullivan. Cast includes: Angela Bassett, Whoopi Goldberg, Taye Diffs and Suzzanne Douglas. Stella (Angela Bassett) is a single mother at the age of 40 who seems to have it all but she has lost her groove. Her friend urges her to take a vacation in Jamaica where she meets a young 20 year old native who catches her attention. Running time is 2 hr 4 min.
Hustle & Flow (R) (2005)
Directed by Craig Brewer. Cast includes: Terrence Howard, Anthony Anderson, Taryn Manning, and Taraji P. Henson. In this film an aspiring emcee from the south who is trying to make it in the hip-hop world has to deal with many different types of peolpe who try to bring him down. Running time is 1hr 56min.
Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (R) (1999)
Directed by Martha Coolidge. Cast includes: Halle Berry, Loretta Devine, LaTanya Richardson and Tamara Taylor. Filmed over the span of a few weeks the film was aired as a teleplay and is drawn exclusively from the biography of Dorthy Dandridge by Earl Mills. Running time is 2hr.
Jackie Brown (R) (1997)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino. Cast includes: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster and Bridget Fonda. "Jackie Brown" is Tarantino's first feature since "Pulp Fiction" and is an adaption of the novel Rum Punch by Elmore Leonard. Running time is 2 hr 34min.
Jungle Fever (R) (1991)
Directed by Spike Lee. Cast includes: Wesley Snipes, Annabella Sciorra, Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, and Anthony Quinn. An Afro-American architect begins an affair with his working class Italian secretary. Their relationship causes them to be scrutinized by their friends, cast out from their families and shunned by their neighbors in this moving view of inner city life. Running time is 2hr 12min.
Lady Sings the Blues (R) (1972)
Directed by Sidney J. Furie. Cast includes: Dianna Ross, Richard Pryor, Billy Dee Williams and James T. Callahan. "Lady Signs the Blues" is a 1972 biographical drama about jazz singer Billie Holiday. Running time is 2hr 24min.
Live on the Sunset Strip (R) (1982)
Directed by Joe Layton. Cast includes: Richard Pryor. One of comedian Richard Pryor's live performances where the stand up talks about racism and about his addiction. Running time is 1hr 22min.
Losing Isaiah (R) (1995)
Directed by Stephen Gyllenhaal. Cast includes: Jessica Lange, Halle Berry, David Strathairn and Cuba Gooding Jr. In this film a crack addicted mother abandons her baby then seeks custody after she recovers and finds out her son is not dead like she thought he was. Running time is 1hr 51min.
Mahogany (PG) (1975)
Directed by Berry Gordy. Cast includes: Diana Ross, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Perkins and Jean-Pierre Aumont. Diana Ross plays an ambitious beauty, rising from a Chicago 'hood, who becomes a rich international supermodel who soon learns that la dolce vita isn't what it's cracked up to be. Running time is 1hr 49min.
Malcolm X (PG-13) (1992)
Directed by Spike Lee. Cast includes: Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Albert Hall and Al Freeman. This film is a screen version of the life of Malcolm X, who through his religious conversion to Islam, found the strength to rise up from a criminal past to become an influential civil rights leader. Running time is 3hr 22min.
Menace II Society (R) (1993)
Directed by Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes. Cast includes: Tyrin Turner, Larenz Tate, Samuel L. Jackson and Glenn Plummer. This urban nightmare chronicles several days in the life of Caine Lawson, following his high-school graduation, as he attempts to escape his violent existence in the projects of Watts, CA. Running time is 1hr 37min.
Mo' Better Blues (R) (1990)
Directed by Spike Lee. Cast includes: Denzel Washington (Bleek Gillian), Spike Lee (Giant), Wesley Snipes (Shadow Henderson), Giancarlo Esposito (Left Hand Lacey), Robin Harris (Butterbean Jones), Joie Lee (Indigo Jones), Bill Nunn (Bottom Hammer) and Cynda Williams (Clarke Betancourt). In this film talented trumpeter Bleek Gilliam is obsessed by his music and indecisive about his girlfriend’s Indigo and Clarke. But when he is forced to come to the aid of his manager and childhood friend, Bleek finds his world more fragile than he ever imagined. Running time is 2hr 9min.
Monsters Ball (R) (2002)
Directed by Marc Forster. Cast includes: Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry, Peter Boyle and Heath Ledger. In this film, Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) is an embittered prison guard who lives with his racist father, Buck and his own young adult son Sonny. Hank and Sonny work for the local prison where they are preparing the electric chair for a black inmate. After the man is executed Hank falls in love with Letitia the inmate's widow. This forces Hank to re-evaluate how deeply prison work and his father's infectious hatred have affected his soul. Running time is 1hr 51min.
Straight Outta Compton (R) (2015)
Directed by F. Gary Gray . Cast Includes: O'shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell. . This film is a biographical story about Southern California rap group NWA. This group was credited with having created Gangster Rap Music. The Group formed when the war on drugs intensified. The movie begins with rapper Easy E attempting to make a drug sells which ends up interrupted by a police raid. Throughout the movie there is a number of drinking and drug scenes. Running time is 2h 27min.