The Best Stoner Movies Of All Time

Photo: Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock.
Hey dudes and dudettes. As they say in stoner movies: It’s 4:20 somewhere — a.k.a. the unofficial official time of day to spark a blunt, hit the bong, toke up, vape, and please insert some more expressions synonymous with smoking pot here.
According to The Huffington Post, the roots of that particular time — and, of course, the corresponding holiday, 4/20 — can be traced back to a group of five friends who called themselves the Waldos at San Rafael High School in California. In the fall of 1971, they heard that a member of the Coast Guard had a marijuana crop ready to be harvested, and he could no longer tend to it. Ever the opportunists, the Waldos agreed to meet up after school at 4:20 p.m. to begin their trek into the forest to pick the bud.
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They never did find the Coast Guard serviceman’s crop, but they continued to meet to smoke in one of their cars at 4:20 p.m. on the reg. All they had to say to get the plan in motion was, obviously, “420.” The Waldos had familial connections to The Grateful Dead — one of their brothers was friends with Phil Lesh and frequently smoked with him, so that’s probably how the term “420” caught on in Haight-Ashbury circles, and then spread from there.
Eventually, High Times got word of 420, and in the ‘90s, it purchased 420.com. The magazine takes credit for spreading the concept of 420, but really, who’s to say exactly how something like this spreads throughout the world? All we can agree on is the fact that A. 4:20 p.m. is the most appropriate time of day to smoke some weed, and B. every April 20, stoners everywhere get really baked in honor of their favorite herb.
Whether or not you observe 4:20 and/or 4/20, you can still enjoy some of the best stoner flicks of all time. Remember to stock up on munchies before you press play. We know; we don’t have to remind you. This isn’t amateur hour.
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The Wackness (2008)

It's New York City in 1994, and high school senior Luke Shapiro (Josh Peck) is putting his marijuana dealing to a noble use. Luke trades pot in exchange for therapy sessions with his psychiatrist, Dr. Jeffry Squires (Ben Kingsley), and so begins an unconventional buddy comedy. At its heart, this is a sweet coming-of-age movie that focuses on a small-time drug dealer on the cusp of the rest of his life.
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Yellow Submarine (1969)

Somewhere deep in the sea, there's a music-filled paradise called Pepperland. When the Blue Meanies, gremlins from neighboring hills, invade Pepperland, Old Fred has no choice but to hop into his Yellow Submarine and get help. He rallies Paul, George, John, and Ringo, and for a technicolor trip.

This is less a movie about stoners than it is one for stoners. Deploy this vintage animated gem to enhance every night, whether it's down to earth or high in the sky.
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Leaves of Grass (2010)

Leaves of Grass is as intellectual as stoner flicks come. Edward Norton plays a philosophy professor pulled back to his hometown after the death of his twin brother, also played by Edward Norton (but with much seedier hair). But it turns out that his brother isn’t actually dead — just trying to pull off a massive drug-dealing stunt. The inventor of a hydroponics system that can grow enough marijuana for the entire state, the brother first has to murder a local drug kingpin before he can unveil his grand system.
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Mallrats (1995)

This lesser-known prequel to Clerks (though it came out a year later) takes place the day before the events of Clerks. It stars Jason Lee and Jeremy London as two BFFs (Shannen Doherty and Claire Forlani) who head to the mall after breaking up with their respective girlfriends. With the help of drug dealers Jay and Silent Bob (Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith), they try to dismantle a dating show being filmed there — on which one of their girlfriends is set to appear. It's pretty dumb and pretty funny. And keep an eye out for a dumb Ben Affleck.
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Super Troopers (2001)

The Broken Lizard comedy quintet's first major movie is about a troop of highway patrol officers who go from spending their days pulling pranks to uncovering a drug-smuggling operation at the Canadian border. It quickly rocketed to cult status — not least because of its apologetically stoner-friendly sense of humor, beginning with the classic opening scene involving pothead teens busted at a traffic stop. Sixteen years after its release, the love is still strong: A sequel hits the big screen this year.
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Clerks (1994)

While purists might not consider Kevin Smith's cult hit to be a true stoner film, we'd argue otherwise. The black-and-white comedy checks all the boxes: The meandering plotlessness, the duo of lovable slacker besties, the amusing situations they find themselves in, and the brilliantly dumb dialogue that's funny when you're sober and even funnier when you're high. Plus, Clerks marks the birth of Smith's stoner icons Jay and Silent Bob.
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Up In Smoke (1978)

Cheech & Chong's film debut has often been credited as the original stoner movie. The movie follows a pot-smoking slacker (Tommy Chong) and the equally rad stoner dude (Cheech Marin) he meets hitchhiking. The weed-hazed adventures that ensue are perfectly ridiculous. They evade prison, unwittingly smuggle a van full of weed across the border and end up playing their hearts out in a rock band contest.
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Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)

Alex Winter and a very young Keanu Reeves star as Bill and Ted, two permanently stoner-faced SoCal slackers in danger of flunking out. The loopy premise: In a future society, Bill and Ted are revered as the "Two Great Ones." The future leaders send one of their own back in time to 1988 in order to ensure the BFFs pass their history project (and thus stay on track towards humanity-altering greatness). With help from a time-traveling phone booth, the pair explore the past and meet leaders like Socrates, Freud, Joan of Arc, Napoleon and Beethoven. It is most excellent, dude.
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This Is the End (2013)

Pineapple Express duo James Franco and Seth Rogen reunited for this star-studded stoner flick that, oddly enough, is also one hell of an apocalypse movie. Franco, playing himself, invites some celeb friends — including Emma Watson and Michael Cera, also playing themselves — to an epic rager at his house. Unfortunately, their boozing and blazing comes to a grinding halt when the fiery pits of hell open up because the rapture has arrived. Just kidding — of course they light up when the world's about to end.
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Dazed and Confused (1993)

Richard Linklater’s slice-of-life film about the last day of school at Lee High School in Texas in 1976 includes plenty of stoners, like Ron (Rory Cochrane), and recreational weed usage by characters from every social group. School’s out for summer, y'all.
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Reefer Madness (1936)

Originally made by a church group with the intention of showing parents the dangers of their children getting hooked on marijuana, Reefer Madness went onto become a cult classic in the ‘70s after people noted how campy and satirical the hysterical, exploitative panic it tries to peddle actually is.
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Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

Friends Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) get high and try to go to White Castle for some sliders. It wouldn’t make for a very interesting movie if they achieved their goal on the first try, though, so they encounter all sorts of hurdles. These include: getting high with a cheetah (who then takes them in the wrong direction), having to perform surgery on a gunshot victim, running into Neil Patrick Harris (who is high on ecstasy and trying to hitchhike), and turning down a foursome. If only Postmates existed back then so Harold and Kumar could have had their White Castle delivered and avoided the whole madcap adventure.
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Up in Smoke (1978)

In Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong’s first feature-length film, the duo play Pedro De Pacas and Anthony “Man” Stoner, a stoner drummer whose parents tell him to get a job, or he’s going to military school. Man decides to run away, and he finds a kindred spirit (read: another stoner) in Pedro, who picks Man up when he’s hitchhiking. The two must go procure more weed at some point, which is the plotline of most of these movies, and that of course gets them into all sorts of trouble.
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Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Sean Penn plays one of the best stoners of all time, Jeff Spicoli. “I’ve been thinking about this, Mr. Hand. If I’m here, and you’re here, doesn’t that make it our time?
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The Big Lebowski (1998)

Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski (Jeff Bridges) just wants to get high, bowl, and drink White Russians. Unfortunately, he gets confused for another Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston, playing the Big Lebowski in the film’s title), which draws him into a wealthy family’s web of deceit, crime, and nihilism.
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PCU (1994)

This movie, which is over 20 years old, captures today’s extremely sensitive, politically correct student bodies at many small liberal arts schools nationwide in a way that’s almost eerie.
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Pineapple Express (2008)

Process server Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) goes to buy some weed from his dealer Saul Silver (James Franco). Saul’s kind of needy, and won’t let Dale leave without smoking some of his newest strain, Pineapple Express, together. While they're blazing, they realize that Saul knows the next person Dale is serving. Unfortunately, that person turns out to be a dangerous drug lord (Gary Cole), who’s only sold Pineapple Express to Saul. Dale drops a roach outside the drug lord's house, where he witnesses a crooked cop (Rosie Perez) shoot someone, so of course, he and Saul are forced to go on the run. Is trying to evade a big-time drug lord who has scary henchmen with guns with a pontificating small-time dealer ever a good idea? No. It is not.
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Friday (1995)

This famous stoner comedy celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015, and Ice Cube, the film’s co-writer and star, told Rolling Stone exactly how to enjoy the cult classic. “To me, it's one of the Number One movies you check out when you're baked or you're getting down...There's people that have Friday parties, where they rent all three movies and just kind of enjoy 'em.” Just don’t tell your guests “Bye, Felicia” when the night is over. “[Y]ou know that means they're fed up with your ass,” Ice Cube explained about the now-iconic line.
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Half Baked (1998)

When their friend Kenny (Harland Williams) accidentally kills a diabetic police horse by feeding it junk food, stoners Thurgood (Dave Chappelle), Brian (Jim Breuer), and Scarface (Guillermo Díaz) steal marijuana from the lab where Thurgood works as a janitor to sell, in order to raise money for Kenny’s bail. Unfortunately, their drug dealing business becomes too popular, and it catches the attention of Samson Simpson (Clarence Williams III), who controls the drug game in the area. Thurgood and his friends agree to work with the police to bring down Samson’s drug ring so that they can get out of the dealing business and also get Kenny out of jail.

This is also the movie in which Bob Saget famously says, “Marijuana is not a drug. I used to suck dick for coke. Now that’s an addiction, man. You ever suck some dick for marijuana? I didn’t think so.” It will ruin your image of Danny Tanner forever.
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Dude, Where’s My Car? (2000)

Best friends Jesse (Ashton Kutcher) and Chester (Seann William Scott) wake up one morning, having partied so hard the night before, that not only have they completely forgotten what happened the night prior, they also can’t locate Jesse’s car. They set out on a quest to locate said automobile, but since they are stoner bros, it’s a stumbling, bumbling quest that soon becomes cosmically thwarted when they run into rival groups of aliens and a cult all vying for the continuum transfunctioner, a device that could destroy the universe. Yes, the fate of all life in the universe rests in the hands of two dudes who just want to get high and get laid. Sweet. And yet, there was no place for Jake Gyllenhaal in the film.
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Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)

This slacker comedy (which doesn't overtly mention marijuana) starts far in the future — specifically, the year 2688. We lay our scene in Futuristic City, which is a utopian society that exists because of the wisdom of what they call the Two Great Ones: Bill (Alex Winter) and Ted (Keanu Reeves). The leaders of Futuristic City send Rufus (George Carlin) back in time to 1988 to ensure that Bill and Ted, who are presently failing history class, get an A+ on a report. If they don’t, Ted’s dad will send him to military school, which will break up Bill and Ted’s band. This will destroy Futuristic City, which owes its beautiful utopia to the dulcet metalhead tunes of Wyld Stallyns.

Rufus arrives with the future versions of Bill and Ted in the time machine, and they take high school Bill and Ted to various historical eras to introduce them to important historical figures, who help them with their report. How this movie didn’t win at least one Oscar is incredibly unclear.
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Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)

When Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith) find out that Bluntman and Chronic, a comic book based on them, is being adapted into a terrible movie without their consent (nor will they be receiving any royalties or credit), they set out to Hollywood to become involved with the production.
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Smiley Face (2007)

Anna Faris plays Jane, a functional stoner who accidentally eats an entire plate of special cupcakes. In an effort to course-correct, she makes a list of everything she wants to accomplish that day, and then tries to do everything on this list. But, you know, it’s kind of hard when you’re exceptionally stoned.
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How High (2001)

Jamal (Redman) and Silas (Method Man) use the ashes of their dead friend to fertilize their marijuana crop. Smoking it makes them see their dead friend’s ghost, and he’s able to give them the answers to the THC’s. No, not tetrahydrocannabinol; here, THC stands for Testing for Higher Credentials, a.k.a. How High’s analog for the SAT’s.

Jamal and Silas do extremely well on the THC’s, and they get into Harvard. Once they’re there; however, they run out of the weed they smoked to get in. They try smoking the ashes of other smart dead people, but to no avail. How will they stay at Harvard? You’ll just have to watch and see.
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