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Stoner movies are a genre that is often misunderstood, and typically will have lifespans of about a year to two years. Over the decades, there have been many movies in this genre that were specifically made to be filled to the brim with cannabis jokes, stonerisms, and goofy humor that tends to be very popular with people who smoke.
That being said, some classic stoner-approved movies live for years after they first made. You only need to look at The Big Lebowski or any Cheech and Chong movie to see why they are so popular.
Certain potsmoking movies are just works of art in their own right, and deserve to be called classics. Here are some of the ones every stoner should know—and why.
This 1936 movie is a classic, as well as a slice of American history that's worth seeing for education's sake. Reefer Madness, you see, was meant to be a propaganda movie warning the youth against the "horrors of marijuana."
What it turned into, of course, was one of the most hilariously bad stoner movies of all time. This ridiculously poorly acted and atrociously written movie shows a bunch of teenagers going crazy and accidentally dying because they "smoked reefer."
The teens are totally out of control thanks to reefer and jazz! Watch this movie, and try not to laugh. You won't be able to stop giggling after your first toke.
Fritz the Cat
Fritz The Cat is another retro movie that's worth watching and knowing, simply because of both its cultural and historic impact. Oh, and it's also really good.
This movie involves a hedonistic, sex-crazed, pot-smoking cat as he traverses different parts of the country in what can only be called an acid trip from hell. Sounds extreme, right? Well that's because it is.
Modern stoner movies would never be able to do what they did in Fritz the Cat. This is one of the only X-rated cartoons to hit mainstream movie theaters. Once you watch it, you'll see why.
The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat
Another unique offering from the 70s is The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat. After having settled down with a mouthy wife and having witnessed many of his wilder times passed, Fritz has gotten a bit depressed.
Though not X-rated, Fritz still manages to make some serious stuff go down in hilarious (and very politically incorrect) ways. Expect to see political figures lampooned, sex scenes that don't make much sense, and plenty of reefer.
Though some might not consider this to be one of the more blatant stoner movies on this list, it's hard to ignore the contribution that Heavy Traffic offered stoner culture.
Heavy Traffic tells the story of an indie cartoonist who's trying to make his life stable. He navigates the world while dealing with his mafioso father, overbearing mother, and his beautiful African American love interest.
Trippy imagery, revolutionary thoughts, and seriously "WTF" moments make this a great choice for anyone who enjoys a stoner movie that makes you think.
Cheech & Chong's Next Movie
You might already know Cheech and Chong from Up in Smoke, because it's considered to be one of the most famous stoner films of all time. But, did you know that they had a sequel? It's true.
Cheech & Chong's Next Movie is a great sequel that involves Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong getting into hijinks all in the name of getting high. The two green-loving weirdos are at it again, and it's amazing.
Cheech and Chong are credited with widening awareness of cannabis' good traits and showing that it's actually not that bad for you. So, it's still a pretty awesome look at 70s cannabis culture.
Okay, this is the last Cheech and Chong movie that we're going to add on this list, otherwise it will be a list that's nothing but stoner movies made by these two. Nice Dreams has the two of them trying to sell weed out of an ice cream truck they called "Happy Herb's Nice Dreams."
As you can imagine, things go awry and it ends with the two of them being strippers while on the run from LAPD. (Hey, it's the 70s. It makes sense.)
Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused is one of the few stoner movies to (somewhat) double as a coming-of-age film. It might also be one of the first teen movies to really glorify the end of high school and ask the question of, "What now?"
That being said, it's not a very dark movie at all. There's partying, hazing of incoming freshmen, and a pretty good example of the "pothead creep" stereotype who somehow still keeps his charm intact.
Whether you're looking for a slice of 70s American culture, or just looking for a hilarious party movie, Dazed and Confused will always remain a clear choice.
In the 90s, a new comedy duo took the reins from Cheech and Chong. They were Jay and Silent Bob, New Jersey natives who produced Clerks as a college film school project.
Realistic dialogue, hilarious comedy, and plenty of over-the-top situations are what made Clerks a smash hit among potheads and straight-laced people alike.
It's really interesting to see how stoner culture changes as days pass. When you take a look at Up in Smoke then watch Clerks, the differences are striking—though many things stay the same.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Most stoner movies are pure and simple fiction, and to a point, it should be that way. The world would be a bit too chaotic if some movies were actually factual. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is different because it is a movie that's based on facts.
This movie is follows Hunter S. Thompson on a drug-fueled trip while he's supposed to record events like a motorcycle rally. Pot is regularly featured in this film, as is just about every other vice you could imagine.
Anyone who wants to see a literary great scare the shit out of people while riding in a convertible totally high should watch Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
The Big Lebowski
Along with promoting one of the most iconic movie cocktails ever made, The Big Lebowski was known for being one of the few stoner movies to really confront the "lazy stoner" trope in a head-on way. Sorta.
It involves "the Dude" and his bowling buddies on a trip to save a kidnapped woman. Like other stoner-approved movies, there's plenty of gags and pot to go around.
However, there's also that underlying idea that, hey, if he was really lazy, he wouldn't be doing this. For that reason alone, The Big Lebowski has a way of giving stoners a nice pat on the back.