With the advent of the Hippie counterculture movement of the late 1960s came the arrival of the cinematic stoner subgenre. Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda were at the forefront of the movement with their landmark 1969 film Easy Rider, which paved the way for five decades of successive cinematic stoner duos. The bar had been set mighty high.
As marijuana continues to be decriminalized across the United States, it’s fair to assume more movies and TV shows will introduce a slew of like-minded hash-heads and pot-smokers. As of right now, there are some truly memorable and iconic stoner duos who have appeared in movies over the years.
10 Billy & Brady – Leaves Of Grass (2009)
Tim Blake Nelson’s little-known intellectual stoner film Leaves of Grass not only features one of the best twin-performances by a single actor but the two diametrically opposed siblings also make one of the best stoner duos ever seen in a movie.
Edward Norton plays Bill and Brady Kincaid, two brothers with wildly different lifestyles. Bill is an Ivy League professor while Brady is an Oklahoma pot grower. When Brady feigns his death to get Bill back to their hometown, a hilariously botched crime plot ensues as the two brothers bond over doobies and bong rips.
9 Louis & Melanie – Jackie Brown (1997)
Although it ends in cold-blooded murder, the relationship between ex-con Louis Gara (Robert De Niro) and surfer girl Melanie (Bridget Fonda) is entirely founded on their penchant for smoking weed together in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown.
Tarantino often features stoners in his movies, but none are as memorably entertaining as watching Louis and Melanie sit on the couch watching TV and trading bong hits while Odell (Samuel L. Jackson) does all the hard criminal work.
8 Jamal & Silas – How High (2001)
Real-life stoners and hip-hop compatriots Method Man and Redman make the perfect duo in How High as Jamal and Silas, two brilliant underachievers who get a chance to experience higher education at Harvard University.
Directed by Bob Dylan’s son Jesse, How High features a magical brand of weed cultivated from the ashes of Silas’ dead friend, Ivory (Chuck Deezy). When the potent weed strain allows Silas and Jamal to see Ivory in a ghostly form, they get into Harvard. Once there, they must buckle down and hit the books before they’re kicked out of school.
7 Bill & Ted – Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989)
Although Bill S. Preston Esquire (Alex Winter) and Ted Theodore Logan (Keanu Reeves) are never seen actually smoking anything on the screen, their wacky dazed and confused demeanor indicates that they’re two of the biggest potheads ever filmed.
The two intellectually-challenged teenagers face the biggest hurdle of their life when given two short days to study for their history exam. If they fail, they don’t pass the course. Through a mystifying telephone booth time machine, Bill and Ted are whisked through the annals of history where they learn through experience some of the world’s biggest events.
6 Smokey & Craig – Friday (1995)
Although Craig (Ice Cube) had never indulged prior to the fateful day in the film, by the end of the night he and Smokey (Chris Tucker) become one of the all-time best cinematic stoner duos.
After being fired on his day off for a crime he did not commit, Craig turns to his friend and neighbor Smokey, a huge pothead who has been smoking more weed than he’s supposed to sell. When his dealer Big Worm (Faizon Love) comes calling for his money, Craig and Smokey spend a paranoid night staying out of trouble.
5 Dale & Saul – Pineapple Express (2008)
If for no other reason than introducing the world to the newfangled cross-joint, Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) and Saul Silver (James Franco) from Pineapple Express easily ranks among the top cinematic stoner buddies of all time.
Named for the strain of weed that features prominently in the plot of the film, Dale and his whacked-out dope dealer Saul get far more than they bargained for when accidentally witnessing a murder perpetrated by a dirty cop. In leaving a roach from the titular strain of weed at the scene of the crime, the murders identify Dale and put a hit on his head.
4 Harold & Kumar – Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle (2004)
First introduced in their trip to White Castle in 2004, Harold (John Cho) and Kumar (Kal Penn) have continued their hazy weed-fueled adventures over the course of the three films to date. The two not only escaped from Guantanamo Bay in 2008, but they also celebrated A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas in 2011.
What makes the lovable stoner duo so memorable is how they defy stereotypes and buck conventional depictions of Asian-American and Indian-American movie characters.
3 Jay & Silent Bob – Clerks (1994)
One of the longest-running cinematic stoner duos of all-time includes Jay (Jason Mewes) and Silent Bob (Kevin Smith), two lovable joint-rolling weed dealers who first appeared in Clerks in 1994 and last appeared in Jay and Silent Bob Reboot in 2019.
With a quarter-century of tolerance built up, Jay and Silent Bob continue to enjoy high times onscreen with their comic-book alter egos, Bluntman and Chronic. Ironically, Jason Mewes no longer smokes weed in real life, while Kevin Smith only began smoking weed for real as late as 2007-08 while filming Zack and Miri with Seth Rogen.
2 Billy & Wyatt – Easy Rider (1969)
The cultural impact of Dennis Hopper’s trailblazing buddy road-film Easy Rider cannot be overstated. The film revolutionized independent cinema, shifted the Hollywood trend toward more personal, auteur-driven stories, and introduced one of the best stoner duos in history.
Billy (Hopper) and Wyatt (Peter Fonda) are two joint-hitting bikers who hit the open road for a journey of self-discovery across America. Real marijuana was smoke1d on screen by the characters, giving them a level of authenticity few can match.
1 Cheech & Chong – Up In Smoke (1978)
Without a doubt, Cheech & Chong are the most prolific and pioneering cinematic stoner duo ever filmed in a motion picture. Together, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong have made eight films over the course of 30 years as the word’s preeminent weed-puffing pals.
In addition to their first and best film, Up In Smoke, the two starred in Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie, Nice Dreams, Things Are Tough All Over, Still Smokin, Cheech & Chong’s Corsican Brothers, Get out of My Room, and Cheech & Chong: Roasted.
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