Reefer Madness (1936)

Published on Apr 10, 2015 by Inter-Pathé

Reefer Madness (1936) [Enhanced] – Public Domain Universe – Louis J. Gasnier
This unabashed propaganda film most popularly known as Reefer Madness, but originally known by the title Tell Your Children, a dead giveaway, has become a cult classic of comically bad cinema due to its dated, alarmist views on the dangers of “marijuana addiction” and the exaggerated symptoms thereof. After the onscreen prologue that declares “Something must be done to wipe out this ghastly menace,” Reefer Madness launches into a case study of clean-cut WASP couple Bill (Kenneth Craig) and Mary (Dorothy Short), high schoolers who play tennis and drink tea on the back porch. Their friend Jimmy (Warren McCollum) introduces them to a pot dealer named Jack (Carleton Young), who invites Bill up to his den of inequity, where stoned ne’er-do-wells laugh fiendishly, dance, and play the piano. After one joint, Bill is hooked, and his life begins to plummet down the tubes — he starts flunking school and becomes a promiscuous regular in Jack’s apartment. When a worried Mary tracks Bill down, she too is given a joint and begins giggling uncontrollably while being aggressively fondled by the bizarre addict Ralph (Dave “Tex” O’Brien). When Bill bursts out of the bedroom to tangle with Ralph, hallucinating and blacking out, Mary is accidentally shot. This prompts a string of guilt and calamitous occurrences, including several more deaths and courtroom sentences to mental institutions, all because of the devil weed. The film ends with the ominous warning, “The dread marijuana may be reaching forth next for your son or YOURS!”
Note: some minor enhancement work was done to improve the quality of the old source picture and soundtrack. Nothing was added or removed. Enjoy this full free movie!

9 thoughts on “Reefer Madness (1936)

  1. This documentary and the Handbook 1984 are the official Federal Guidelines for living life as an American is supposed to live.
    Learn it, live it, love it? Methinks NOT!

  2. I saw this film back in the 1970’s at a midnight showing, If I remember I was blasted. The film became one of the earliest cult comedy hits during the golden age of the “midnight movie” in which theaters, especially those near colleges, would run the film at special screenings late at night during weekends.
    Reefer Madness was 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”.
    Edward LeSaint, judge in the case of the people v. William Harper, was also the judge in The Three Stooges short Disorder in the Court (1936).

    1. Hi Andrew:

      I have heard of this film since I was a teenager, and understood it’s basic content was pure propaganda, but I have never actually seen it,… until just tonight,.. WOW!,… WHAT AN UNADULTERED PIECE OF PURE PROPAGANDA IT ACTUALLY IS!!!!!

      Thanks for posting this Laura, and thanks for the some of the background history related to this Andrew, as I had never heard of the Licata case before, and didn’t know that was the thread of reality they weaved into this to help try and make it believable.

      JD – US Marines – I know of this film for decades, and that it was a “cult classic”,… but there is nothing like experiencing propaganda first hand to fully appreciate attempted brain washing by our EFIO (Enemy-Force-In-Occupation).


  3. LOL… have this one on dvd… along with ‘Cocaine Fiends’ (1935), and ‘Marihuana: Assassin of Youth’ (1937)… (came as a set)

    Classic propaganda.

    1. Yes #1,… and I’m sure this film with the other classics of propaganda you mentioned will soon be joined by a whole NEW generation of propaganda classics, such as:

      – “Climate Change And You! – Why We Need A Carbon Tax!”

      – “Fresh Food Madness”

      – “Home Ownership’s Demons”

      – “Freedom Is For Freaks”

      – “Clean Water Kills!”

      and lastly….

      – “Why Hillary Clinton Is The ONLY One That Can Save Us!”

      JD – I feel some madness coming on alright……



  4. They had propaganda campaigns for prohibition of alcohol you might find hilarious too. Look at the current campaign against tobacco. They put a lot of tax payer money into social engineering to try to control the people.

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