Moving The Product: 6 Movies About Drug Trafficking
Everyone with at least a middle school education knows that "drugs are bad." Fortunately, for the moviegoing public, the international drug trafficking network also makes for good movies. Sure, millions might be suffering from addiction and other drug related problems. But have you seen "Scarface"? It's so cool. With this sentiment in mind, here are six movies about drug trafficking.
"Scarface." Perhaps the definitive movie about drug trafficking, "Scarface" is actually a remake of a gangster movie of the same name from the 1930s. However, this remake was cleverly updated to change the Prohibition, during which alcohol was briefly criminalized, to the cocaine trade of the early 1980s. Makes you think, doesn't it? Anyway, "Scarface" teaches you lots of lessons about drug trafficking, most famously the immortal adage "don't get high on your own supply." A valuable lesson for those in the industry.
"The French Connection." Here's a good movie for everyone who's ever wondered why people pay so much for drugs. Answer: It's really hard and expensive to get it into the country without the authorities finding out. The "French Connection" mentioned in the film's title—some rich French guy—was having an okay time with it until detectives Sunny and Doyle got a whiff of his trail. Then his scheme of smuggling cocaine into the United States hidden in cars, abandoned, and then sold at police auction to the right people eventually came crashing down.
"Traffic." Here's a movie about drug trafficking that has the word "traffic" right there in the title? And unlike most movies about the drug trade, "Traffic" covers many different aspects of drug trafficking, from the political side, to law enforcement, to drug use and distribution. Filmmaker Steven Soderbergh handles each of these different aspects with a slightly different cinematic style, so even newbies to the drug business can keep track.
"The Third Man." Sometimes it's easy to forget that the drug business isn't all glitz and glamour. This 1940s noir classic shows the even darker side to the drug trade, as it depicts Orson Welles as Harry Lime, selling watered down penicillin that doesn't get anybody high, but ends up maiming and killing innocent children. It's a nasty business, and Harry's a nasty guy, but Welles plays him with just the right amount of evil charm. "It's a living," he'd have you believe. For everybody but his customers.
"Clockers." Spike Lee's crime classic "Clockers" is about the street-level drug trade, similar to that which was later depicted to such brilliant effect on the HBO series "The Wire." It shows how even a basically good kid, like Strike, the main character in the movie, can get caught up in the dangerous business of murder if he gets too close to drugs. And just because it's all handled with Lee's characteristic stylistic flourish doesn't mean it's not depicting a very real and dangerous world.
"New Jack City." Wesley Snipes' character Nino Brown probably feels he's just filling a need in his community. That need happens to be crack cocaine, but whatever. Any good businessman knows that the way to big profits is to find a need and fill it. The fact that selling crack is a detriment to the community and, you know, illegal, gives no pause to Brown. That is until he's pursued by an elite squad of law enforcement officers headed up by Mario Van Peebles and Ice T. The movie may be a little heavy-handed at times, particularly during the famous "it's a death thing" scene. But perhaps it was a necessary heavy-handedness at the time, as this film was conceived at the height of the crack epidemic.
Here they are, six movies about drug trafficking. Fair warning once you watch one of them, you may be hooked for life. Good thing movies don't have the same side-effects that drugs have.