Mardis Gras is a good time to get all of your sinning out of the way in time for Lent. Sometimes even secular people want to celebrate Mardis Gras. One cool way to do that is to watch movies featuring the festival. As you might imagine, Mardis Gras makes it into a lot of movies because it is an immediately recognizable and visually dynamic cultural touchstone. And because there's a strong possibility of boobs. With that in mind, here are three of the best Mardis Gras movies.

"Easy Rider"

A lot of people forget that the famous cross-country road trip in "Easy Rider" is at least in part to make it to New Orleans in time for Mardis Gras. Sure, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper spend more time tripping on acid at a nearby cemetery than partying in the French Quarter, but the spirit of Mardis Gras is alive and well in the movie's celebration of freedom.


Clint Eastwood plays a cop in "Tightrope," but he is almost as far from "Dirty Harry" as you can get without putting on a Dolly Parton wig. Wes Block has a weakness for prostitutes, so he is understandably a little too close for comfort when a New Orleans maniac serial killer is targeting them. Like a lot of police thrillers, "Tightrope" uses local color (in this case New Orleans and Mardis Gras) to establish some mood, atmosphere and texture, but the grim sexuality of the subject matter takes Mardis Gras to a scary new level.

"The Drowning Pool"

Here is another detective drama that uses New Orleans and Mardis Gras for a bit of local color. It also has a villain who is such a perfect picture of greed that he cooks up pots and pots of gumbo only to feed it to the sharks (his doctor says he can not handle spicy foods). Add in cinemtography from the legendary Gordon Willis, a perfect performance from Paul Newman as well as one of the best suspense set-pieces of all time and you are liable to forget all about Mardis Gras.