Hey, take it easy man! Although stoners are prone to getting themselves into a lot of inadvertent trouble—especially in movies—there's actually a lot we can learn from their laid-back attitude to life. Yes, even if you aren't a stoner yourself and have no intention of ever doing drugs.
From hippies to surfers, there have been all kinds of stoner characters in movies who spend most of their on-screen time "dazed and confused"—and many of them have gathered cult followings over the years.
Here are our picks for the best stoner movies to watch when you want to sit back and relax, and why they're great.
8. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Is there anything more chilled out than surfing? Not really!
Jeff Spicoli is the epitome of a carefree pothead, riding the waves of California in Amy Heckerling's Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Tumbling out of his smoky VW campervan, Spicoli has no regard for school rules and always argues with his uptight history teacher Mr. Hand.
Writer Cameron Crowe came up with the script for Fast Times at Ridgemont High when he went undercover as a student in a San Diego high school. Spicoli is even (partly) based on a real person!
Sean Penn's performance is simultaneously buzzing and cool, forever walking around with that mischievous grin on his face.
7. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)
Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle is the first installment in a series about best mates Harold and Kumar (played by John Cho and Kal Penn) who get into all kinds of hilarious mishaps. It all begins when they're smoking marijuana and watch an ad for White Castle fast food.
As the munchies set in, going out for hamburgers seems like the logical next step, right? But not so easy when you're stoned. Not only is this movie funny, but it was praised for its subversion of racial stereotypes. It's practically the only stoner film with Asian leads.
6. True Romance (1993)
Most of True Romance has little to do with smoking weed, but the bit that does is simply iconic. Plus, the character inspired another character on this list: Saul Silver of Pineapple Express (see below).
In True Romance, Brad Pitt is the embodiment of the lazy couch potato who does nothing but smoke, eat, and watch TV all day.
Written by Quentin Tarantino and directed by Tony Scott, True Romance is your classic guns-blazing, drug-smuggling crime thriller. In it, Floyd lounges around his apartment, unbothered by the chaos around him.
5. Inherent Vice (2014)
Though cannabis consumption—especially among teens—boomed in America during the 90s, it all began during the 60s and 70s. Hippies were the emblem of the counterculture movement, who advocated for love and psychedelic expansion over war and materialism.
Joaquin Phoenix is nearly unrecognizable behind those huge sideburns, posing as the ultimate hippie stereotype Larry "Doc" Sportello.
In Inherent Vice, Oscar-nominated director Paul Thomas Anderson puts a twist on the usual investigator archetype: instead of wearing a suit and drinking whiskey, Doc walks barefoot around the office, smoking a joint.
From the groovy wardrobe and set design to the stunning cinematography, Inherent Vice is a neo-noir mystery like no other.
4. Pineapple Express (2008)
In Pineapple Express, Saul Silver (played by James Franco) is the pot dealer who's essentially Floyd from True Romance if he were to ever leave his apartment. And his client? Seth Rogen.
Seth Rogen is known for his real-life love of smoking marijuana, and he even co-founded the cannabis company Houseplant in 2019. So, obviously, he makes the perfect co-star for this film.
Rogen appears as a suited-up process server, fleeing from a hitman with his bleary-eyed drug dealer Saul. David Gordon Green directs this surprisingly violent stoner comedy, and it's just one of the many hilarious collaborations between Franco and Rogen.
3. Dazed and Confused (1993)
Pretty much every character in Dazed and Confused is high at one point or another. But Ron Slater is the most stoned throughout the movie, sporting the traditional long hair and rambling monologues of a stoner.
You'd be hard-pressed to find another film that's as chill as this cult-classic coming-of-age comedy set during the hip 1970s.
Named after the Jake Holmes song, Dazed and Confused is directed by Richard Linklater and stars an ensemble cast of actors before they rocketed to stardom (including Matthew McConoughey and Ben Affleck).
2. Easy Rider (1969)
New Hollywood made way for a whole new genre of experimental films as it moved away from studio dramas to on-location character studies. Film scholars often cite Easy Rider, directed by Dennis Hopper in 1969, as the trigger for this cinematic revolution.
This road movie follows two Harley-Davidson motorcyclists who are smuggling drugs into Los Angeles. Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, and Jack Nicholson lead the film, smoking real weed for "authenticity."
Perhaps that's what makes Wyatt (played by Peter Fonda) one of the best stoner characters out there... because he really is stoned!
1. The Big Lebowski (1998)
Of course, the number one stoner movie can be none other than The Big Lebowski. Jeffrey Lebowski (aka "The Dude") is one of the Coen brothers' most beloved characters, played by Jeff Bridges.
In his flip-flops and open robe, the White-Russian-drinking pothead gets accidentally involved in a kidnapping, but manages to keep his cool. In fact, The Dude is so cool, he even sparked a real-life religion. The philosophy of "Dudeism" is simple: take it easy and go with the flow.
The Big Lebowski is a black-comedy that plays out against the sunny skies of Los Angeles, where the iconic slacker wants nothing more than to play bowling and smoke on his beloved rug.