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The Best Stoner Movies of All Time

It’s late in the year, the nights are closing in and we’re all inevitably going to be watching a load of movies over the festive period. Instead of sitting through Love Actually or Home Alone for the ten millionth time, why not work your way through this list of the greatest retro stoner movies.

Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980)

Following on from their debut in 1978’s Up In Smoke, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong return in the second instalment of the original stoner movie franchise. A cult classic, Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie is widely regarded as the best of the three-part weed-a-thon, and sees the perennially stoned pair causing havoc on the streets of Los Angeles.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, Chong revealed that the duo weren’t just acting stoned, but were genuinely high while shooting the movie. “It was my job as a writer and performer to deliver the goods. So if that meant being stoned, I gladly did it,” he said. “I found that the more stoned I was, the more crazy the movie was, and the more successful we were.”

Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams (1981)

Number three in the classic series, Cheech and Chong’s Nice Dreams sees the pair peddling some seriously strong bud that turns people into reptiles. Before these guys came along, the stoner movie genre was defined by whack productions like Reefer Madness, yet this doobie-fueled trilogy sparked a whole new era of cannabis-inspired films, and is the perfect entertainment when you’re couch-locked.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

The film that first propelled Sean Penn to stardom, Fast Times at Ridgemont High sees the two-time Oscar winner play high school rebel Jeff Spicolo, whose love for surfing is matched only by his enthusiasm for getting baked. Long before Mystic River or Milk, Penn became a stoner movie icon thanks to his performance in one of the all-time great high school flicks.

Dazed and Confused (1993)

It’s the last day of school in 1976, and the seniors are out to ‘haze’ the freshmen. Starring Matthew McConaughey, Ben Affleck and Milla Jovovich, Dazed and Confused is seen by many as the ultimate stoner movie, with Slater (played by Rory Cochrane) the ultimate stoner character.

Clerks (1994)

The film that introduced stoner movie staples Jay and Silent Bob to the world, Clerks was produced on a shoestring by Kevin Smith (who plays Silent Bob) and shot in the convenience store where he worked in real life. The film centres around best friends Dante Hick and Randal Graves, who turn up for work as shop clerks before deciding to take some unauthorised leave and slack off early.

Still in love with his ex-girlfriend, Dante spends much of the film agonising over his love life and eventually finds himself taking advice from shady drug dealer Silent Bob. Unsurprisingly, things don’t turn out as planned, but by the end the audience is left with an appreciation for the sacred bond between two stoner mates.

Friday (1995)

Between the late 80s and mid-90s, Ice Cube absolutely smashed life. After attaining superstardom as part of the legendary rap outfit NWA, he turned his attention to films, playing the lead role in the urban stoner classic Friday.

The plot focuses on Ice Cube’s character Craig Jones, who spends his Friday hanging out with his best friend Smokey (played by Chris Tucker) after getting fired from his job. As the pair while away the hours getting stoned, they find themselves going through the motions of inner-city life, complete with shoot-outs and drug addicts.

The Big Lebowski (1998)

A Coen brothers cult classic, The Big Lebowski introduces us to one of the all-time great characters in Jeff Lebowski – known to most as ‘The Dude’. Featuring Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore and Steve Buscemi, the film boasts one hell of a cast for a stoner movie.

The Dude and his buddies are really only interested in drinking beer, smoking weed and bowling, yet find themselves at the centre of a major mix-up when a millionaire who also happens to be called Lebowski gets into debt with some criminals. This leads to The Dude’s favourite rug getting peed on, sparking an epic quest for an apology.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

Based on the drug-laced novel by Hunter S. Thompson, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas sees Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro team up for a rampage through Las Vegas. People turn into giant lizards, the sky fills with a swarm of bats, and someone gets hit on the hit by a grapefruit while in the bath. What more could you want?

Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)

Even for a stoner movie, this one is pretty ridiculous. Dude, Where’s My Car stars Ashton Kutcher and Seann William Scott, who (as the title suggests) lose their vehicle, and spend the entire film trying to find it while stoned. Featuring run-ins with strippers and aliens, as well as a dog that gets totally shpongled, the film won’t exactly go down as an intellectual masterpiece. Then again, if you’re just looking for some distraction while chilling with a joint or two, it’s probably going to tick all your boxes.

Pineapple Express (2008)

Actor and writer turned cannabis entrepreneur Seth Rogen teams up with James Franco in the film that inspired a cultivar. These days, you’ll find Pineapple Express on sale at most dispensaries or online outlets, yet it was this classic stoner movie that first introduced the name.

The plot sees the weed-loving pair pursued by a murderous drug dealer after they witness one of his crimes, yet the transformation of Pineapple Express from fictional strain to real-life cultivar is what makes this movie so remarkable.

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Ben Taub