The propaganda film Reefer Madness stirred up anti-marijuana hysteria in 1936, so much so that marijuana was prohibited a year later. In 1971, the film was discovered in the Library of Congress archives by NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) founder Keith Stroup. He bought a print for less than $300 and distributed the film to college campuses in the coming decades.
Robert Mitchum Gets Pinched
In 1948, actor Robert Mitchum was the first celebrity to be busted for pot. His Los Angeles arrest landed him in jail for 60 days. A half a century later, it was recounted in Curtis Hanson's Oscar-winning L.A. Confidential.
In 1969, Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper taught Jack Nicholson how to smoke a joint in the famous campfire scene in Easy Rider, cementing their own anti-hero cool and that of a generation of filmmakers.
Bob Marley, Peter Tosh
Reggae legend Bob Marley only lived for 15 years after releasing his first studio album with The Wailers in 1965, but his legend endured for decades beyond through astronomical catalog sales and a constant pot culture presence. In 1976, former Wailer Peter Tosh wrote the ultimate weed anthem, "Legalize It."
Cheech & Chong
In 1978, Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke, directed by Lou Adler, kicked off the stoner comedy era. Though relations between the standup duo of Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin grew strained for a stint, the two reunited 40 years later for a successful comedy tour.
Paul McCartney Gets Busted
In 1980, Paul McCartney was caught entering Japan with a half-pound of pot. After spending 10 days in jail, the cute Beatle was deported. In February 2012, Sir Paul declared that he gave up toking at the age of 69. "I smoked my share," he told Rolling Stone. "When you’re bringing up a youngster, your sense of responsibility does kick in, if you’re lucky, at some point."
Dr. Dre's The Chronic
In 1992, Dr. Dre's The Chronic album features a weed leaf on its rolling papers-inspired cover and a young rapper named Snoop Dogg. Decades later, rapper Kanye West described the album, named after a popular flavor of marijuana, as "the hip-hop equivalent to Stevie Wonder's Songs in the Key of Life."
Dazed and Confused
Directed by Richard Linklater and featuring a then unknown Matthew McConaughey, the low-budget indie film about the last day of high school in Austin, Texas in 1976 hit theaters in 1993 and instantly birthed a new generation of pot devotees.
The Big Lebowski
In 1998, Jeff Bridges drinks White Russians and smokes pot as the ultimate slacker in the Coen brothers cult classic. Though the absurdist comedy didn't do gangbusters at the box office, it inspired the annual and now traveling Lebowski Fest, a gathering of like-minded fans who dress as their favorite characters and can recite every line.
Harold & Kumar
The first installment of the Harold and Kumar franchise came in 2004 when the atypical stoners went on a late-night White Castle run and hijinks ensued, among them: a random run-in with Neil Patrick Harris, playing a drugs- and sex-obsessed bad boy version of himself. Two more films followed: 2008's Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay and 2011's A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.
In 2005, Showtime premiered this series about a suburban housewife driven to dealing pot. Eight years later, the topsy turvy world of Nancy Botwin (played by Mary Louise Parker) is still must-see TV for stoners.
In 2011, TV dog Wilfred, played by Australian actor Jason Gann, did bong hits on FX's oddball comedy series costarring Elijah Wood. Season 2 is slated to premiere on June 28.
Who better to judge the best movies of all time than the people who make them? Studio chiefs, Oscar winners and TV royalty all were surveyed as THR publishes its first definitive entertainment-industry ranking of cinema's most superlative. View gallery