3.8/10
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115 user 67 critic

Reefer Madness (1936)

Tell Your Children (original title)
PG | | Drama, Thriller | 1938 (USA)
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.

Director:

(as Louis Gasnier)

Writers:

(original story), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dorothy Short ...
Kenneth Craig ...
Lillian Miles ...
...
Thelma White ...
Mae
...
...
Jimmy (as Warren McCullom)
Patricia Royale ...
Agnes (as Pat Royale)
Joseph Forte ...
Dr. Carroll (as Josef Forte)
Harry Harvey Jr. ...
Junior
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Storyline

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 <rag.apa@email.apa.org>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

65 years later, audiences are still hooked! See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

1938 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Dope Addict  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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 »

Goofs

In the close-up of Mary lying dead on the couch, a shadow of the camera's barn doors falls on the arm rest just above her head. See more »

Quotes

Opening Scroll: FORWARD: 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...
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 »

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User Reviews

 
1930's potheads become hopelessly and incurably insane?

This movie is funny. Not just regular funny but inexplicably funny. I wish public schools all over the country would show this movie in classes. This cult classic gives what is supposed to be a serious warning of the dangers of marijuana. Instead the over exaggeration of the side effects of weed become un-intentionally and absurdly funny. I smoked grass in my day but I sure haven't killed anyone yet. This movie is legendary. Anyone who has ever smoked should view this. Just if only to see how this whole silly "war on drugs" thing got started. Is pot ever to be legalized? Probably not so long as there are people who take this movie seriously. As for the rest of us laugh yourself into hopeless and incurible insanity for 67 minutes.


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