Insanity is a hard thing to define, but there are a number of characters in films who are definitely nuts in some way. Here’s a quick rundown:
1. Francis Begbie
Francis Begbie from Trainspotting was played by Robert Carlyle. A violent, intimidating psychotic, he seems to thrive on the devastation that the drug trade brings. He has little control over his temper, especially in the final scene, after Renton (Ewan McGregor) has stolen £16,000 (around $25,000) of drug money from him. He destroys a hotel room and attracts the attention of police. Not what you want to do after you’ve just made a huge drug deal.
2. Eddie Nash
Eddie Nash was a cocaine trader in the film Wonderland. A kingpin of the Los Angeles drug trade, Nash arranged for multiple murders after he was robbed. He forces the lead character, Holmes (Val Kilmer) to reveal who robbed him by threatening to kill every name in Holmes’ address book. The psychopathic portrayal by Eric Bogosian ensured that he hits our list. The scariest thing is that the character is based on a real-life drug dealer of the same name.
3. Nino Brown
Nino Brown is the central character of New Jack City, and he’s a rising star in the world of crack cocaine. Characterized by brutality and murder, Snipes’ portrayal of the character is easily one of his better roles. Whether it’s telling stories of murdering young women as a young gang member or ordering the execution of rival gang members, Brown is one drugged-up character you don’t want to mess with.
Scarface is an iconic film about the drug trade in Miami, and it’s a coked-up Tony Montana who gets the insane label. Played by Al Pacino, he rises to the top of the Florida drug trade by treating human life as valueless as long as he isn’t able to use the people around him. He murders his boss and another dozen characters along the way while snorting ample quantities of the powdery white stuff he sells.
5. Sara Goldfarb
Requiem for a Dream tells the tale of several addicts who gradually spiral into madness after becoming addicted to drugs. Sara Goldfarb, played by Ellen Burstyn, is a widow who wants to regain her lost youth, so she ends up taking amphetamines to lose weight and a sedative at night. She ends ups losing her mind and winds up in a hospital. This is perhaps one of the most depressing movies you’ll ever watch with one of the most miserable ending scenes. But that’s the nature of unchecked addiction.
6. Raoul Duke
Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) is the central character in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and he takes enough drugs to stun a small rhino. When one of the early scenes is of the lead character hallucinating that a check-in receptionist is a moray eel, you know the guy has an issue with drugs. Whether he’s insane or not is a good question, but you can’t help but feel that his life would be a lot more straightforward without LSD.
7. James Spader
Less than Zero is all about drug taking and the tragic consequences of drugs Of course, who better to play an addict than Robert Downey Jr.? The character of Rip (James Spader) is the one who is truly nuts—a violent addicted drug dealer who pushes Downey’s character to the limit, ultimately resulting in death from heart failure.
8. William Lee
Naturally, thinking you’re on a secret mission from some sort of giant bug should be enough to get you committed; in Naked Lunch, William Lee (Peter Weller) does exactly that. He ends up accidentally killing his wife and ends up writing lots of reports for his handler. The movie is very messed up—but what’s even more messed up is that it’s based on the author’s life, albeit rather loosely. This is an adaptation of one of William S. Burroughs’ finer works
9. Michael Calvess
Narc is a complex film about the activities of several narcotics officers, one of whom has become a junkie himself. Some of the film is recounted in flashbacks, and they center around Michael Calvess (Chi McBride)—a narc who had apparently been murdered. He’d actually shot himself in despair, but that had been covered up. Whether he qualifies as insane or not, it’s still a haunting insight into the consequences of addiction.
10. Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason
Finally, Rush is a disturbing 1991 movie about two undercover cops who are forced into addiction through their aliases. Jason Patric and Jennifer Jason Leigh play the main characters, who end up setting up the main drug dealer in the film. The film ends brutally, with Leigh’s character murdering the dealer after a court acquits him.
Whether you feel Hollywood glamorizes drugs or not, you probably know that in real life there’s nothing funny about behavioral or substance abuse addictions. If you or someone you know needs help for either, or has a dual-diagnosis involving both, call our treatment advisors to discuss your options or insurance coverage – 1-888-744-0069 .