The 1980s were a tough time for marijuana enthusiasts. “Just Say No,” the crack epidemic and the AIDS crisis conspired to make casual drug users look like absolute derelicts, or worse. But while television shows were required to show negative effects of any pot use, feature films weren’t subject to the same hypocritical rules and bribery, and, as such, portrayed a more nuanced and realistic look at cannabis use. Here are 10 of the best pot scenes in ’80s movies.
History of the World Part 1—“Roman Red”
In this Mel Brooks comedy classic, Gregory Hines, in his film debut as Josephus, discovers “a whole field of wacky weed” while on the run from Roman soldiers. He rolls it up in some papyrus to create one of the funniest smoke screen escapes of all time. The perfect start to our list of best pot scenes in ’80s movies.
Breakfast Club—“Yo waste-oid, you’re not gonna blaze up in here!”
Taking place on a Saturday in high school detention, this John Hughes classic showcases the “Brat Pack” playing several distinctly different characters. Oddly enough, the only thing that truly unites this band of misfits is a joint—Judd Nelson looks at Molly Ringwald with new eyes, Anthony Michael Hall finally loosens up and it’s all capped off by Emilio Estevez’s ridiculous dancing fit.
Back to the Future—“Listen guys, I don’t wanna mess with no reefer addicts, okay!”
The tables turn on Biff Tannen’s racist crew when they’re confronted by the band getting high in their car before the gig in this Robert Zemeckis blockbuster. The stoned musicians proceed to introduce rock and roll to the world, with Michael J. Fox as their duck-walking leader.
9 To 5—“I don’t think a cigarette is gonna make me feel better.” “I’ll bet this one will!”
Starring the outstanding trio of Lily Tomlin, Dolly Parton and Jane Fonda as fed-up, mistreated and sexually-harassed employees, this movie shows marijuana’s ability to calm nerves and decrease stress during tough times. The ladies bond over a joint and then plot their revenge on their terrible boss.
Revenge of the Nerds—“Wonder joints!”
The nerds’ party with the sorority girls is a total dud, that is until “Booger” pulls a bunch of fat spiffs out of his shirt pocket. They put on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” and the rest goes down as nerd history.
Club Paradise—“We’re looking for some primo cannabis sativa.”
This slept-on Robin Williams vehicle features some amazing performances from an ensemble cast including members of SNL and SCTV, as well as Sir Peter O’Toole, reggae singer Jimmy Cliff and fashion icon Twiggy. But, it’s the lovably inept duo of “Barry and Barry,” played by Eugene Levy and Rick Moranis, that steals the show.
Platoon—“What’chu doing in the underworld, Taylor?”
Ever wonder where the weed term “shotgun” came from? Look no further than Oliver Stone’s Vietnam epic starring Charlie Sheen getting high for the first time deep in the barracks. Later in the film, you’ll learn about the term “buzzkill,” when Tom Berenger barges in and challenges all of his men to a death-match. Definitely one of the best pot scenes in ’80s movies.
Caddyshack—“I’ve got pounds of this stuff. Here, take a puff on this big ole’ Bob Marley joint.”
While golfing, Chevy Chase’s Ty Webb encounters Bill Murray’s groundskeeper Carl Spackler and learns about a new grass hybrid you can play golf on during the day and smoke all night. The condescending Ty takes a few big puffs and continues to “play through…”
Nice Dreams—“The only way to catch a doper is when you yourself become a smoker.”
Cheech and Chong sell marijuana out of an ice cream truck in their follow up to Up in Smoke and Next Movie, until Stacy Keach, as Sgt. Stedenko, gets hot on their trail. His slow transformation into a lizard, and the reactions of his bumbling sidekicks, Drooler and Noodles, are simply hilarious.
Fast Times At Ridgemont High—”That was my skull! I’m so wasted!”
There are a couple of great pot scenes in this classic high school film, including Sean Penn’s Jeff Spicoli doing some bong hits while talking to stoner buddy Anthony Edwards. But Spicoli’s smoked-out arrival at school truly takes the cake. When they roll out of their hotboxed party bus, it’s a vaudeville throwback for the ages, making this one of the very best pot scenes in ’80s movies.