Close this search box.

Celebrating 420: 10 Must-See Stoner Movies

Jeff Bridges lies on a rug in The Big Lebowski

In honor of 420, and to help you celebrate the international herbal holiday, indulge with your favorite strain and this list of 10 must-see stoner movies.

This April 20, I, for one, will be chillin’ out, maxin’, relaxin’, all cool, but I won’t be shootin’ some b-ball outside of the school. I’ll be at home pairing two things that go together like peas and carrots: marijuana and movies. Relax, it’s just a plant that happens to have some super cool effects if you light it on fire. And let’s face it: Weed makes everything better, and when it comes to movies, it makes the bad ones good and the good ones better. It dulls your focus to heighten your senses (i.e., humor) or zones you out and presents you with a bigger picture. Either way, it’ll alter your perspective, and that’s what it and movies are all about. So, in honor of 420, here is a list of my 10 favorite must-see stoner movies to help you celebrate the international herbal holiday.

1. The Big Lebowski (1998)

Why to see it: To find out what happens when “a Chinaman” pees on a stoner’s favorite rug

Celebrating 420: 10 Must-See Stoner Movies – The Big Lebowski (Movie Trailers Cinema)

This Coen Bros. cult classic is certainly my favorite stoner flick, and it’s one of the movies I quote the most. Jeff Bridges (The Old Man) is The Dude, an easy-going hippie named Jeff Lebowski who desires nothing more out of life than to abide unscathed. How? “Oh, the usual. I bowl. I drive around … the occasional acid flashback.” But when his identity is confused with that of local Los Angeles millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski, aka The Big Lebowski, The Dude’s world erupts with chaos, and he’s pulled into a web of comedic intrigue and shenanigans that only the Coen Bros. could weave.

After having his head shoved in the toilet by an intruder, he watches as the other intruder pees—pardon me, “micturates upon”—his favorite rug. This sets Dude on a mission to seek restitution for his rug with the help of his homies, Vietnam war vet Walter Sobchak (John Goodman, of The Righteous Gemstones) and sweet, empathetic Donny Kerabatsos (Steve Buscemi, of Fargo). But when he finds himself as “the bag man” responsible for handing off a ransom in hopes of kidnappers returning The Big Lebowski’s porn-star wife, Bunny (Tara Reid, of American Pie), his chi misaligns. It’s in that juxtaposition that the film’s humor elevates and makes it a must-see.

It also stars John Turturro (Severance) as Dude’s bowling rival, Jésus, and Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights) as Maude Lebowski, a feminist avant-garde visual artist and daughter of The Big Lebowski, and Dude’s lady friend. He’s “just helping her conceive, man.” I could write all day about this movie. I highly recommend indulging in this ultimate hippie hero tale of a laid back, bathrobe-wearing, weed-smoking American legend.

2. Friday (1995)

Why to see it: Because it features Chris Tucker at the beginning of his comedic career in one of the most iconic stoner roles ever

Celebrating 420: 10 Must-See Stoner Movies – Friday (Movie Trailer World)

This stoner comedy film franchise was created by Ice Cube (Fist Fight) and DJ Pooh (Grow House), and when it hit theaters, it HIT! It takes place in South Central Los Angeles, where we follow the exploits of perpetually unemployed Craig Jones (Ice Cube), who, along with his friends and relatives, is thrust into various circumstances on a random Friday. There’s so much about this movie that is fun (and funny), but the main reason you should see it is to get acquainted with Smokey (Chris Tucker, of the Rush Hour franchise). Everyone needs a Smokey in their life.

“I know ya don’t smoke weed, man, I know this,” he tells Craig. “But I’m gonna get you high today ‘cause it’s Friday, you ain’t got no job, and you ain’t got sh*t to do. … Weed is from the earth. God put this here for me and you. Take advantage, man, take advantage!”

And that’s what Friday is about: hangin’ out, indulging in a plant of knowledge, people-watching, making jokes, and bein’ cool in the face of whatever life throws at you – in this case, a neighborhood bully named Deebo (Tom Lister Jr., of Jackie Brown) who rides around on a kid’s bike. I hope wherever you are today, you can take advantage in honor of Smokey.

Friday also stars Tommy Nia Long (Big Momma’s House), Regina King (Jerry Maguire), and the late Bernie Mac (Ocean’s Eleven franchise), among many other recognizable faces.

3. Dazed and Confused (1993)

Why to see it: Why to see it: Because it’s Matthew McConaughey’s first role as a stoner and it’s “alright, alright, alright”

Dazed and Confused Review: Effortless Classic – Loud And Clear
Richard Linklater’s stoner flick Dazed and Confused is immortalized as one of the greatest films to capture the spirit of the 1970s.

Dazed and Confused is a reminder of the simpler, more laid back days of the 1970s. It also features some of the most famous Matthew McConaughey movie quotes on the planet.

“Say, man. You got a joint?” he coolly asks a young high school kid on the way to an end-of-school party—mind you, he’s well out of high school. When the kid says no, McConaughey’s character flashes a sly grin and replies, “It’d be a whole lot cooler if you did.”

Littered with quotable dialogue, the film features an ensemble cast of authentic American high school archetypes and exploits them on the last school day of the year in May 1976, which is spent hazing younger students, searching for good times, avoiding authority at all costs, and dreaming of the future. You’ll see Parker Posey (Lost in Space), Ben Affleck (Gone Girl), Milla Jovovich (Resident Evil movies), Adam Goldberg (The Equalizer), Joey Lauren Adams (Big Daddy), and Cole Hauser (Yellowstone), to name a few.

4. Pineapple Express (2008)

Why to see it: For Seth Rogen and James Franco’s weed-fueled adventure

Seth Rogen and James Franco sit on a couch, the former holding weed and the latter smiling and looking at it, in the movie Pineapple Express
Celebrating 420: 10 Must-See Stoner Movies – Pineapple Express (Columbia Pictures)

Written by Judd Apatow, along with Seth Rogen (Superbad), this comedy is about a lazy stoner and process server (Rogen) who winds up being the sole witness to a murder by an evil drug lord (Gary Cole, of Office Space) and a corrupt cop (Rosie Perez, of White Men Can’t Jump).

Now marked for death, this stoner does what probably any stoner would do: He runs straight to his dealer (James Franco, of 127 Hours) to hide and ends up dragging him, and his supplier (Danny McBride, of The Righteous Gemstones), on a hilarious weed-fueled adventure. What ensues next will have your face hurting from laughing so hard. Also stars Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine), Ed Begley Jr. (Young Sheldon), and Joe Lo Truglio (Brooklyn Nine-Nine).

5. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

Why to see it: To find out what happens when Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, and to see a coked-up, womanizing Neil Patrick Harris

Celebrating 420: 10 Must-See Stoner Movies – Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Man, what a classic. When Korean-American office worker Harold (John Cho, The Grudge) puts off his work responsibilities and decides to smoke it up instead with his Indian-American homie Kumar (Kal Penn, Smile), together they create one of the absolute best product placements in movie history after they start craving those yummy little burgers from White Castle.

On the way there, of course, shenanigans unfold, and they run into Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother), who plays a womanizing version of himself that is so outrageous, you’ll have to back the scene up and rewatch it again. Harold and Kumar also find themselves riding a cheetah through the woods, and we get a montage featuring a life-sized anthropomorphic bag of weed that’ll have even the tiniest weed lover salivating.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle features one hell of an entertaining ride, and it’s so important because it marked a turning point in audience perception of the modern Asian man.

6. We’re the Millers (2013)

Why to see it: The comedic timing is delicious and to watch this scenario play out with an impressive stripping sequence from Jennifer Aniston

A family looks out of the window by night in the movie We’re the Millers, one of the 10 must-see stoner movies to watch on 420
Celebrating 420: 10 Must-See Stoner Movies – We’re the Millers (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Another one of my absolute favorites is We’re the Millers, a whip-smart comedy about smuggling weed across the border. The plot is pretty funny, but what makes this movie a must-see is the ensemble cast and how they feed off one another’s energy.

Jason Sudeikis (Ted Lasso) is David, a small-time weed dealer who learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished. While helping some teenagers out of a potentially dangerous situation, David is jumped by thugs and loses all his cash and his stash, which means he’s now in debt to his supplier, Brad (Ed Helms, of The Hangover franchise). To wipe the slate clean, Brad sends David to Mexico to pick up “a smidge” of marijuana and transport it back.

To avoid suspicion from the narcs, he needs a foolproof plan and decides on a family camping trip. So, he hires his stripper neighbor “Rose” (Jennifer Aniston, of Horrible Bosses) to be his fake wife, his awkward and inexperienced 18-year-old neighbor Kenny (Will Poulter, of Midsommar) to be his fake son, and a 19-year-old runaway named Casey (Emma Roberts, of American Horror Story) to be his fake daughter. But, when “the Millers” reach their destination to pick up their RV, that smidge turns out to be two tons’ worth of herb.

We’re the Millers is full of unabashedly funny performances and delivers on every outrageous element its trailer teases to audiences. From testicle-biting tarantulas to a sexed-up DEA agent and his odd wife, cue this baby up and you’ll have, wait for it, NO RAGRETS.

7. Half Baked (1998)

Why to see it: Because it’s Dave Chappelle’s first lead role in a feature film, one of his best roles to date, and one of his funniest

Celebrating 420: 10 Must-See Stoner Movies – Half Baked (UniversalMoviesINTL)

Half Baked is the seminal marijuana movie for many Generation Xers, like yours truly. It also marked the first lead role in a feature film for Dave Chappelle (Chappelle’s Show), who plays the pothead janitor—aka custodian—Thurgood Jenkins and the impotent, weed-obsessed rapper Sir Smoke-a-Lot, whom I could literally watch daily for the rest of my life.

Written by Chappelle and his “Chapelle’s Show” writing partner Neal Brennan, the film was directed by Tamra Davis (Billy Madison). The story follows Jenkins and his stoner roommates Brian (Jim Breuer, of Kevin Can Wait) and Scarface (Guillermo Díaz, of Bros), who start selling marijuana in a scheme to bail their friend Kenny (Harland Williams, of Dumb and Dumber) out of jail. Kenny’s bail is set at $1 million after Kenny accidentally fed a diabetic police horse a combination of munchies including chips, beef jerky, peanut butter, ice cream bars, popcorn, Graham crackers, marshmallows, and pizza. It’s my opinion that Half Baked is required viewing for anyone who didn’t go to Weed College. RIP Killer.

8. Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke (1978)

Why to see it: Because Cheech and Chong are the grandfathers of stoner flicks

Celebrating 420: 10 Must-See Stoner Movies – Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke (Shout! Studios)

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong (both of the Cheech and Chong’s franchise) are, without a doubt, the grandfathers of stoner comedies. The two starred together for the first time in Up in Smoke, which sees them accidentally transport a van made of marijuana from Mexico to the United States with narcotics officers hot on their trail.

Cheech and Chong go together like movies and popcorn, so it’s no surprise their easy-going camaraderie drives the movie as viewers are led on a hazy road trip from one location to another, avoiding repercussions from their actions. You don’t have to be a fan of stoner comedies to enjoy this one, but it is important to note that this flick pretty much paved the way for others in the genre; therefore, it’s a classic and a must-see.

9. The Beach Bum (2019)

Why to see it: For Moondog’s (Matthew McConaughey’s) stoner poetry

The Beach Bum: Korine’s Naughty Comeback – Loud And Clear Reviews
The Beach Bum (2023) will make you fall in love with director Harmony Korine’s post-hippy guru. Read the film review.

After his consequential flick Spring Breakers (2013), Filmmaker Harmony Korine returned to Florida for his follow-up feature The Beach Bum, a heartwarming and super hazy stoner odyssey about a poet named Moondog (McConaughey) who lives life on his own terms on the beaches of the Florida Keys.  

Chilled out and beautiful in its story, The Beach Bum plays like a classic Jimmy Buffett song in the shape of a film that showcases the very idiosyncratic islanders the iconic songwriter made a career out of immortalizing. Buffett even makes a surprise appearance.

While most of Korine’s other works represent his anger about the state of the world and the debauchery of pop culture, The Beach Bum is a fun, little escapist fantasy that just wants to have a good time with you. As a result, it’s the filmmaker’s most rewatchable film, one you can’t fully watch and grasp unless you watch it stoned.

10. Reefer Madness (1936)

Why to see it:

Celebrating 420: 10 Must-See Stoner Movies – Reefer Madness (Coolidge Corner Theatre)

The producers behind Reefer Madness probably roll in their graves every time their effort gets put on a list of stoner movies, but the unintentional hilarity of their piece of propaganda has enshrined it within cannabis culture forever. Sorry, dudes. Your tactic didn’t work.

The film was originally shot under the title Tell Your Children, and the title changed after it was bought and recut into an exploitation film. Reefer Madness tells the story of a group of innocent teenagers who are manipulated into smoking marijuana by sociopathic drug dealers. In it, audiences are led to believe that smoking weed causes severe addictions so strong, the smoker goes insane and becomes susceptible to situations like murder, rape, suicide, and even “luring children to destruction”—laughably ridiculous, I know. And that’s why it’s a must-see. The melodrama of Reefer Madness is so utterly far-fetched from reality that it’s hard not to laugh, especially if you’re smoking a joint while watching, which I recommend doing to get through this work of art … I mean bullsh*t.

But hey, it’s a classic that every herb lover should see at least once. Try not to choke mid-toke!

Other stoner flicks worthy of a good burn:

  • Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
    Why to see it: Because “strange things are a-foot at the Circle K”
  • Your Highness (2011)
    Why to see it: To experience the “glorious herbs”
  • Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
    Why to see it: Jay, Silent Bob, and the Quick Stop; why else?
  • This is the End (2013)
    Why to see it: To see why “weed is tight” during an apocalypse
  • American Ultra (2015)
    Why to see it: Because Jesse Eisenberg makes a great stoner and, in this movie, he kicks ass
  • Super Troopers (2001)
    Why to see it: To find out whose manhood is bigger: that of Vermont’s State Troopers or local cops
  • Smiley Face (2007)
    Why to see it: Because Anna Faris as a perpetually stoned actress is worth it
  • Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
    Why to see it: For iconic marijuana enthusiast Jeff Spicoli
  • Soul Plane (2004)
    Why to see it: Because it’s the crown jewel of Snoop Dogg’s splifferiffic opus
Thank you for reading us! If you’d like to help us continue to bring you our coverage of films and TV and keep the site completely free for everyone, please consider a donation.