Recovery Related Films & Movies


Understanding the Limits of Self-Help Books, Movies, Films or Movies for Addiction Treatment

Although self-help books do offer some important benefits in recovery, they should not be used as a replacement for traditional forms of addiction treatment. Detox, counseling, and holistic treatments provide the best foundation for sobriety. 

If you wish to use these as part of your addiction recovery, they are best incorporated into your aftercare plan for maintaining sobriety following appropriate treatment.

Break Every Chain

Facing the threat of losing his job as a police officer, the loss of his wife and daughter, and contemplating suicide, a man turns to faith and finds hope and redemption.

The Wisdom of Trauma

The film follows physician, bestselling author and Order of Canada recipient Dr. Gabor Maté and explores the hidden wisdom of our deepest pain and the interconnected epidemics of anxiety, addiction, and chronic illness plaguing Western society.


The documentary centers on the opioid epidemic, specifically its effect on Huntington, West Virginia, where the overdose rate is 10 times the US average.

Ben is Back (2018)

On Christmas Eve, nineteen-year-old Ben Burns returns to his family's suburban home. Holly, Ben's mother, is relieved and excited, but she is concerned about her son's drug addiction. New truths are exposed over the course of a tumultuous 24 hours, and a mother's unconditional love is put to the test as Holly does everything she can to keep Ben pure.

28 Days (2000)

When a hard-drinking New York journalist knocks over her sister's wedding cake and crashes the bridal limousine, she goes too far with her reputation as the life and soul of the party. When a court sentences her to go to treatment for a month, she initially refuses, but she eventually comes to grips with her substance abuse.

Four Good Days

Directed and co-written by Rodrigo García, the film is based on Eli Saslow's Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post article, "How's Amanda? A Story of Truth, Lies and an American Addiction," which chronicled Alexander's experience with daughter Amanda Wendler.

Clean and Sober (1988)

Daryl (Michael Keaton), a hotshot real estate salesman, has a terrible cocaine habit. He wakes up next to a girl who has overdosed after embezzling his company's money. To avoid the cops, he enrols in a recovery programme that guarantees his anonymity. Daryl recognises that he has a substance misuse issue thanks to the guidance of counsellor Craig (Morgan Freeman). Daryl begins to commit to a new clean life after falling in love with fellow patient Charlie (Kathy Baker).

Basketball Diaries (1995)

The life of Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio) as a high school basketball star consumes him. Jim develops a craving for heroin under the influence of a ruthless coach (Bruno Kirby) and a worried mother (Lorraine Bracco). The mean streets of New York City soon became his primary destination, replacing the basketball court. To get narcotics, Jim and his companions scavenge, steal, and prostitute themselves. Reggie (Ernie Hudson), a neighbourhood friend and hoops partner, may be Jim's sole hope of overcoming his addiction.

A Star Is Born (2018)

A seasoned singer, Jackson Maine, encounters and fell in love with a struggling painter, Ally. She'd almost given up on her goal of becoming a famous singer when Jackson persuades her to pursue it. Even as Ally's profession soars, their connection is deteriorating as Jackson struggles with his own issues.


The Pharmacist (2020)

In 1999, after losing his son in a drug-related shooting in New Orleans and lacking answers from police, a small town pharmacist - Dan Schneider - beats the odds when he embarks on a dogged pursuit to find and bring his son's killer to justice. But months later, the ripple effects of his son's addiction and tragic death would find him again when a troubling number of young, seemingly healthy people begin visiting Dan's pharmacy with high dose prescriptions for OxyContin. Sensing a crisis long before the opioid epidemic had gained nationwide attention, Dan stakes a mission: Save the lives of other sons and daughters within his community. Then take the fight to Big Pharma itself.

When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

Alice Green (Meg Ryan), a wife and mother of two daughters, has acquired a serious drinking problem. While her husband, Michael (Andy Garcia), has been patient in dealing with the situation, it quickly becomes evident that he has been enabling her addiction. Alice decides to enter a treatment centre after her addiction threatens the safety of her children. When she returns home, she discovers that her new lifestyle has caused an unanticipated rift with Michael, prompting the couple to do some soul-searching.

When Love Is Not Enough (2010)

This epic tale of dedication, rehabilitation, and optimism is based on the true storey of Lois Wilson, co-founder of Al-Anon, and her alcoholic husband Bill Wilson, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous, and their enduring but tormented love.

Flight (2012)

Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington), a commercial airline pilot, has an alcohol and drug problem, but he's been able to complete his flights safely so far. When a catastrophic mechanical failure sends his plane plunging toward the ground, his luck runs out. Whip pulls off a stunning crash-landing with only six people killed. Whip swears to stay sober after being shaken to his core, but when his addiction is revealed during the crash inquiry, he finds himself in an even worse scenario.

Home Run (2013)

After his agency drags him into a recovery facility in his hometown, Cory, a successful baseball player and an alcoholic, rediscovers himself and finds himself managing a Little League team. Parents should be aware that Home Run explores the effects of alcoholism. It follows a self-centered pro baseball pitcher who is forced to coach a Very little League team, only to learn that the small pleasures in life, such as family and faith, can provide beyond what he can find in a bottle.

Russell Brand - From Addiction to Recovery (2012)

In this movie, Brands, in his inimitable approach, questions traditional theory and practice and government policy, tackling the realities of addiction head on. He draws through his own experiences along the journey to try to assist one of the addicts he encounters in taking the initial steps toward rehabilitation.

Rocketman (2019)

'Rocketman,' a biopic of Elton John, shows how the star's childhood trauma is linked to his later problems with mental health and SUDs. The film follows his adolescent years and ascension to fame as his battle with addiction worsens. Finally, it shows him entering a drug rehab facility to address his substance abuse and make a full recovery.

Drugstore Cowboy (1989)

This crime drama film follows a group of drug-addicted friends as they rob hospitals and drug stores across the Pacific Northwest. A fatal overdose affects the entire group, and their leader Bob tries to put his past issues behind him. This proves to be a difficult task, but one that can be completed with perseverance.

The Boost (1988)

This film depicts how a change in one's fortune can lead to addiction. As Lenny and Linda become addicted to cocaine, their lives begin to unravel. It depicts the various paths people take as they struggle with substance abuse.

The Fighter (2010)

'The Fighter,' based on the true storey of boxer Micky Ward, focuses on Micky and his half-brother-turned-trainer Dicky (a former professional boxer). As Dicky succumbs to cocaine addiction and becomes the subject of an HBO documentary, the film shifts its focus to substance abuse, relapse, and recovery.

Requiem for a Dream (2000)

Based on the same-named novel, this film tells the stories of four people dealing with various types of addiction. It's one of the most graphic depictions of the horrors that substance abuse disorders can cause. In an intense psychological drama, it addresses both mental and physical health.

The Anonymous People (2013)

The Anonymous People (2013)

This documentary depicts the real lives of people suffering from alcohol and drug addiction. It features ordinary people as well as celebrities discussing their journeys to addiction recovery. The documentary aims to dispel the negative stigma associated with AUDs and SUDs by demonstrating how rehabilitation is possible.

Everything Must Go (2010)

Everything Must Go (2010)

When salesman Nick Halsey arrives at work drunk one too many times, he loses his long-term job and his wife abandons him. The film explores the negative effects that alcohol addiction can have on a person's personal and professional life, as well as their mental health. It also demonstrates how it is possible to recover from alcoholism and how life changes can help a person become aware of the issues and begin the process of addiction recovery.

Beautiful Boy

The film, based on two memoirs from a father and son dealing with the latter’s addiction to crystal meth, is a grim endurance test that’s undeniably flawed but in doggedly aiming to portray this unbearable pain with rare authenticity, it has a raw, haunting power. Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

Recovery Boys (2018)​

Four men support each other as they try to rebuild their lives and mend their broken relationships after years of addiction and drug abuse. Set in the middle of this crisis, the film provides an exploration of male emotions will be refreshing to anyone who has grown accustomed to staid representations within popular culture, as will the film’s focus on people in recovery instead of people suffering from addiction.

The Anonymous People

Leaving Las Vegas

Half Nelson

Everything Must Go


Beautiful Boy

Rush (1991)



Beautiful Boy


Drugstore Cowboy

Requiem for a Dream

The Boost

The Fighter

The Lost Weekend

Days of Wine and Roses





Uncut Gems

The Hustler

The Panic in Needle Park

Doctor Sleep

Phantom Thread