May 29, 2015

Since the dawn of modern film, the MPAA, FCC, and concerned mothers everywhere have argued over the harmful and direct effects of seeing drugs on film and television. This videographic, which was created by the New York Film Academy from our previous infographic on the subject, investigates the relationship between drugs, film, and society and how each influences the other. Ultimately, movies and drugs make up a two-way street: while movies undoubtedly shape our popular perceptions of drugs, social and governmental forces also influence how drugs are portrayed on screen and how often.

From early drug films such as Mystery of the Leaping Fish to modern classics such as Requiem for a Dream, we’ve found that the frequency of drugs appearing on screen often mirrors the popular and governmental trends of the time. However, over the past twenty years, there has been a surge of drug films and drugs appearing much more often in movies, at a rate that is more than triple of that just twenty years ago. While drug use is on the rise in the U.S., on film, it’s an outright epidemic.

So join us as we delve into the extensive and evocative world of drugs and film and decide for yourself: Do movies encourage drug use?