Reefer Madness (1936)
"Tell Your Children" (original title)

PG  |   |  Drama  |  1938 (USA)
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Ratings: 3.7/10 from 5,988 users  
Reviews: 103 user | 64 critic

Cautionary tale features a fictionalized and highly exaggerated take on the use of marijuana. A trio of drug dealers lead innocent teenagers to become addicted to "reefer" cigarettes by holding wild parties with jazz music.


(as Louis Gasnier)


(original story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Short ...
Lillian Miles ...
Thelma White ...
Warren McCollum ...
Jimmy (as Warren McCullom)
Patricia Royale ...
Agnes (as Pat Royale)
Joseph Forte ...
Dr. Carroll (as Josef Forte)
Harry Harvey Jr. ...


Propaganda film that relates the story, as told by high school principal Dr. Carroll to parents at a PTA meeting, of the scourge of marijuana. The tale revolves around Mae and Jack, accomplices in the distribution of marijuana, who manage to entice the local high school kids to stop by Mae's apartment to smoke reefer. The lives of all who are involved with this menace are inevitably shattered. One man becomes so addicted to the killer weed that the guilt over framing a teen for murder causes a judge to order him to be committed for life to a mental hospital! Dr. Carroll closes by advising us to not incur the same tragedy. Written by Rick Gregory <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


SEE youthful marijuana victims - what actually happens! See more »




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dope Addict  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Inspired by the case of Victor Licata, who killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister with an ax in Tampa, Florida on October 16, 1933, allegedly while under the influence of marijuana. Declared unfit to stand trial for reasons of insanity, subsequent psychiatric examination at the Florida State Mental Hospital determined that Licata suffered from schizophrenia with homicidal tendencies. The Licata case was used to propagandize for the passage of the federal Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 that effectively outlawed legal sales of the "demon weed". See more »


When Jimmy falls into the Lane's fountain and Mrs. Lane helps him out of it, he says "It's all right, I'm fine," etc., without moving his mouth. See more »


[Jimmy finishes a reefer before driving back]
Jimmy: Let's go, Jack. I'm red-hot!
Jack: Better be careful how you drive, or the first thing you know you'll be ice cold.
See more »

Crazy Credits

FOREWORD: The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you. It would not have been possible, otherwise, to sufficiently emphasize the frightful toll of the new drug menace which is destroying the youth of America in alarmingly-increasing numbers. Marihuana is that drug - a violent narcotic - an unspeakable scourge - The Real Public Enemy Number One! Its first effect is sudden, violent, uncontrollable laughter; then come dangerous hallucinations - space expands - time slows down, almost stands still ....fixed ideas come next, conjuring up monstrous extravagances - followed by emotional disturbances, the total inability to direct thoughts, the loss of all power to resist physical emotions... leading finally to acts of shocking violence... ending often in incurable insanity. In picturing its soul-destroying effects no attempt was made to equivocate. The scenes and incidents, while fictionized for the purposes of this story, are based upon actual research into the results of Marihuana addiction. If their stark reality will make you think, will make you aware that something must be done to wipe out this ghastly menace, then the picture will not have failed in its purpose.... Because the dread Marihuana may be reaching forth next for your son or daughter....or yours....or YOURS! See more »


Featured in Bigger Stronger Faster* (2008) See more »

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User Reviews

Well. it's an alternative classic
18 December 2004 | by (Worcester, MA) – See all my reviews

Believe the hype. This is one of the most hilariously over-the-top pieces of propaganda ever committed to celluloid. It's constantly unintentionally hilarious, especially Dave O'Brein's performance as Ralph.

So, what happens when a bunch of clean-cut teenagers (who strangely look like they're in their thirties) take one of puff of the evil vile devil's weed? They become homicidal perverted rapist dope-head fiends! There is so much useful information to be obtained from this film. For instance, did you know that marijuana is worse than cocaine? Or did you know how to hide your joints in your high heel shoes? Or that marijuana causes lifetime insanity? It's all here in this underground cult classic. (5/10)

26 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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