We get it — you just can’t get enough psychedelic content — so we’ve put together our list of the top psychedelic documentaries and films we’ve come across so far.
This list covers 32 titles, broken up into two groups — psychedelic documentaries designed to educate and inform and fictional psychedelic-inspired films that engage, entertain, and open your mind.
If you’re looking for a good documentary to learn more about psychedelics, look no further — titles on this list cover the topics of LSD, magic mushrooms, ayahuasca, designer drugs, and much more.
There are also films on this list that tell us the story about some of the most prominent figures in the psychedelic space, including the likes of Timothy Leary, Richard Alpert, Stanislav Grof, Terence McKenna, and more.
1. The Sunshine Makers (2015)
The Sunshine Makers is a documentary about Nicholas Sand and Tim Scully — two of the pioneers of the counter-culture of the 1960s.
The duo’s story is fascinating, going from a professional chemist and engineer to the leading manufacturers of LSD in the United States.
Directed by Cosmo Feilding-Mellen
2. Psychedelia (2020)
Psychedelia explores the state of scientific research surrounding psychedelic medicine. It examines medical breakthroughs surfaced through the field dating back to the 1960s and considers the potential impact of this research in the near future.
Directed by Donick Cary
3. Fantastic Fungi (2019)
Fantastic Fungi explores the innate ‘intelligence’ of the fungal kingdom and its usefulness for healing both the planet and ourselves. This documentary is both uniquely informative and visually stunning. Featuring interviews with leading mycologists, including Paul Stamets.
Directed by Louie Schwartzberg
4. The Mind, Explained: Psychedelics (2019)
This short, 20-minute Netflix documentary dives into the effects of psychedelics on the mind and their usefulness for treating depression, anxiety, and addiction. Narrated by Emma Stone and featuring a combination of interviews and playful visualizations, this program offers an excellent jumping-off point for people interested in psychedelics.
This is just one episode in a series of 10 — covering other topics, including memory, learning, creativity, mindfulness, and dreaming.
#PsychedelicScience #Depression #Addiction #Anxiety #Documentary
Produced by Netflix Studios & VOX
5. Have A Good Trip (2020)
This documentary details the experiences and personal anecdotes of over 30 celebrities who have used psychedelics. It’s essentially a collection of trip reports from famous comedians, actors, and musicians.
Featured interviews include Sting, A$ap Rocky, Reggie Watts, Carrie Fisher, Anthony Bourdain, Ben Stiller, Deepak Chopra, Sarah Silverman, Andy Richter, and many others.
Directed by Donick Cary
6. The Way of the Psychonaut: Stanislav Grof’s Journey on Consciousness (2020)
Stanislav Grof is a renowned psychiatrist and founder of transpersonal psychology. This documentary explores his life and the ability for non-ordinary states of consciousness to change lives and treat mental illness.
This documentary examines Grof’s philosophy on consciousness, trauma, and holotropic breathwork for the purposes of spiritual exploration and healing.
#StanislavGrof #Biography #Documentary
Directed by Susan Hess
7. Neurons To Nirvana: The Great Medicines (2013)
Featuring interviews with Gabor Maté, Rick Doblin, Dennis McKenna, Dr. Julie Holland, and others, this film examines the role of 5 key psychedelics as a therapeutic agent for humanity and consciousness itself.
#Ayuahuasca #Addiction #Consiousness #Documentary
Directed by Oliver Hockenhull
8. Magic Medicine (2018)
This informative and inspiring documentary follows the work of Dr. Carhart Harris and his work examining the effects of psychedelics for treating mental illness. It covers the weight of depression on human consciousness and highlights our inefficiencies in treating it using conventional medicine.
#Depression #PsychedelicScience #Documentary
Directed by Monty Wates
9. From Shock To Awe (2018)
This telling documentary follows the stories of combat veterans suffering from PTSD as they cast aside pharmaceutical treatments in favor of psychedelic therapies, including ayahuasca and magic mushrooms.
Directed by Luc Côté
10. Dosed (2019)
Dosed chronicles the journey of a woman addicted to opiates and battling severe depression and anxiety as she seeks treatment in the form of illegal psychedelic therapy. This documentary can be confronting, especially to those with a history of addiction, but it does an excellent job at exploring the usefulness (and discomfort) of using psychedelics for mental health.
Directed by Tyler Chandler
11. Ram Dass, Going Home (2017)
Baba Ram Dass (formerly Richard Alpert) was one of the lead researchers in the Harvard Psilocybin Experiment and an advocate for the use of psychedelics. He was arguably one of the influential figures involved with the merging of Eastern philosophy with the Western world throughout the 70s and 80s.
Going Home highlights the teachings of Ram Dass surrounding life, death, and spiritual awakening.
Directed by Derek Peck
12. Tawai: A Voice From The Forest (2017)
Tawai explores the ways humans are connected to nature and the influence it has on society. English documentarian Bruce Parry travels from the rainforests of Borneo and the Amazon to give the forest a voice.
Directed by Bruce Parry & Mark Ellam
13. A New Understanding: Science Of Psilocybin (2015)
This documentary aims at the role of psychedelics in healing end-of-life depression, existential anxiety, and physical pain. Featuring the voices of Dennis McKenna, Anthony Bossis, and Albert Hofmann, this informative piece shows how the power of mystical experience can help patients come to terms with the uncomfortable experience of a terminal illness.
Directed by Robert J. Barnhart
14. The Substance: Albert Hofmann’s LSD (2011)
Albert Hofmann discovered LSD the same year the atomic bomb was created. This documentary details the events leading up to the discovery, including his initial research on the compound using himself as the guinea pig and the experiments that followed in the 1950s and 60s.
Directed by Martin Witz
15. DMT: The Spirit Molecule (2010)
DMT (dimethyltryptamine) is one of the most powerful psychedelic compounds in existence. This documentary, narrated by Joe Rogan, explores the curious research of Dr. Rick Strassman and others on the usefulness and mystery of DMT.
Directed by Mitch Schultz
16. Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia (2016)
This docuseries hosted by Hamilton Morris premiered on Viceland in 2016. It began as a column written for Vice magazine back in 2009.
Morris explores the chemistry, history, and practical use-cases of various psychedelics around the world. He interviews researchers, doctors, shamans, and many others to uncover the truth behind mainstream and fringe psychedelics alike.
Directed by Hamilton Morris.
17. Dirty Pictures (2010)
This documentary follows the life and work of Alexander ‘Sasha’ Shulgin — the creator of over 200 unique psychedelic compounds, including 2C-B and the rest of the 2C-X family of psychedelics. He’s considered the godfather of MDMA after inventing a new method of synthesizing the molecule that sidestepped a patent-protected process owned by Merck at the time.
Director: Étienne Sauret
18. Dying to Know: Ram Dass & Timothy Leary (2014)
Dying to Know celebrates two of the world’s most influential figures in the psychedelic space — Richard Alpert (Ram Dass) and Timothy Leary. Both figures began their story in the same place, at the Harvard Psilocybin Project in the early 1960s. Alpert later went on to become a spiritual teacher and guru, while Leary ignited a cultural movement and was once labeled “the most dangerous man in America” by then-president Nixon.
This documentary highlights the complex friendship between Alpert and Leary, explores their discoveries and contributions, and documents the reunion between the two at the time of Leary’s death.
Directed by Gay Dillingham
19. Terence Mckenna’s True Hallucinations (2016)
Terence Mckenna was an infamous ethnobotanist and ecologist who dedicated his life to the study of psychedelic plants and fungi.
True Hallucinations was the title of his 1994 book detailing his trip into the Amazon basin in search of psychedelic compounds.
This documentary covers the life and death of Terence McKenna, including interviews with his brother, Dennis McKenna.
Directed by Peter Bergmann
20. Aya: Awakenings (2013)
This documentary was adapted from the book Aya: a Shamanic Odyssey by Rak Razam.
Razam ventures into the Amazonian rainforest to explore the business of shamanism and spiritual tourism. This documentary is a blend of video footage and interviews with curanderos, spiritual seekers traveling to the Amazon, and retreat center owners, along with narrations taken directly from the book.
Directed by Timothy Parish & Rak Razam
Psychedelic-Inspired Films & Shows
These psychedelic-inspired movies draw from various aspects of the psychedelic experience — including dream-like visions and hallucinations, overt use of psychedelic drugs, and aspects of spirituality, death, and enlightenment.
Here’s a list of 11 movies that feature psychedelic themes or overlap in some way with the fundamentals of the psychedelic experience.
1. Midnight Gospel (2020)
Midnight Gospel is an adult animated series led by the comedian and psychedelic prominent Duncan Trussell. The creator of Adventure Time, Pendleton Ward, converts the thought-provoking interviews between Trussell and various guests into a variety of whimsical and fantastic adventures.
The series involves a spacecaster by the name of Clancy Gilroy who has access to an unlicensed multiverse simulator that he uses to visit bizarre worlds in search of characters to interview for his show.
Special guests: Special guests include Phil Hendrie, Stephen Root, Drew Pinsky, Damien Echols, Trudy Goodman, Jason Louv, Caitlin Doughty, Michael Marcanio, Maria Bamford, Joey Diaz, David Nichtern, and Deneen Fendig.
#AnimatedSeries #Philosophy #Trippy
Directed by Pendleton Ward
2. Alice in Wonderland (1951)
This classic Walt Disney Productions film is based on a series of books by Lewis Carroll. The movie follows the bizarre journey Alice takes as she drifts off to sleep while studying history in the park. The movie is based around the absurdity of dreams and features several subtle mentions of psychedelic substances, including the Amanita muscaria mushroom.
This trippy and nonsensical journey has led to a variety of interesting theories and metaphors over the years. It’s been remade several times, including a live-action movie directed by Tim Burton in 2010, along with a sequel in 2016 titled Alice Through The Looking Glass.
#LucidDreaming #AmanitaMuscaria #Animated
3. Inception (2010)
Inception doesn’t involve the use of psychedelics but does revolve around the concept of lucid dreaming. A thief (Leonardo DiCaprio) is tasked with planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. DiCaprio and his team dive several layers deep into the dreams of the CEO in order to plant the idea deep within his psyche, where it can grow and manifest into what he believes is an original thought.
Directed by Christopher Nolan
4. Lucy (2014)
Lucy, an American student in Taiwan, is tricked into becoming a drug mule by her boyfriend. Lucy is captured by an enemy gang, and the package she was meant to transport containing a research chemical nootropic and psychedelic drug called CPH4 is sewn into her abdomen, and she is forced to travel to Europe.
After being brutally beaten along the way, the package breaks open, releasing large amounts of the drug to enter her system. The drug unlocks the full power of Lucy’s brain, giving her special abilities, including telepathy, telekinesis, and mental time travel.
Directed by Luc Besson
5. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
In 1944 Spain, a psychopathic captain for the Nazi army is tasked with flushing out rebel groups from a remote forest. His new wife and stepdaughter come to live with him in the forest as he carries out his mission.
After his stepdaughter witnesses his brutal and sadistic acts of violence, she escapes into the mysterious and magical world of Pan’s Labyrinth. Here she interacts with various mythological creatures and engages on a journey to save herself and her unborn brother.
The creatures in this film are both frightening and beautiful. The graphics and thematics of this movie are incredibly well done.
Pan’s Labyrinth is a perfect depiction of how we use fantasies as a defense mechanism to escape an unbearable reality.
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
6. Enter the Void (2009)
Gasper Noé was inspired to make Enter The Void after experiences using psilocybin mushrooms and a fascination with the concepts of death and existence. He dubs this movie a psychedelic melodrama, which uses experimental cinematography to create captivating and highly visual scenes involving psychedelic drug use and reincarnation.
The movie involves concepts derived from The Tibetan Book of the Dead — a Buddhist book about the afterlife — and DMT. The main character is forced to face the decisions he’s made in his life after a fatal run-in with the police.
#PsychedelicMelodrama #DMT #Reincarnation #Trippy
Directed by Gaspar Noé
7. The Holy Mountain (1973)
This Mexican surreal fantasy was produced by the Beatles manager, Allen Klein. Both John Lennon and Yoko Ono invested in the production of the film.
This psychedelic-inspired film revolves around the caricatures of tarot cards, including the Fool and the Five of Swords, as they engage on a whimsical quest, each time having to overcome one of their fears or obsessions. The story involves a variety of bizarre characters and places, including the use of various drugs, poetry, the personification of the planets, and alchemist-led transmutation rituals.
#Fantasy #Philosophy #Trippy
Directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky
8. Climax (2018)
Climax is a horror film involving the hallucinogenic escapades of a group of French dancers after unknowingly ingesting LSD-laced sangria in the forest. This film was directed by Gaspar Noé, who also directed the psychedelic melodrama, Enter the Void.
Note: This is not a movie we recommend watching under the influence of psychedelics but does involve psychedelic-inspired themes.
Directed by Gaspar Noé
9. Pi (1998)
Number theorist Max Cohen is obsessed with the idea that the real world has an underlying order that can be defined by mathematics. Upon discovering a mysterious, seemingly prophetic number, Cohen is driven to the brink of insanity — experiencing hallucinations, cluster headaches, and paranoia.
This film involves themes of religion, mysticism, and the underlying principles of the universe in relation to mathematics.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky
10. Synchronic (2019)
This story follows two paramedics as they investigate a series of mysterious deaths surrounding the use of a newly developed psychedelic designer drug called Synchronic that challenges one’s definition of reality and the linearity of time itself.
#Horror #TimeTravel #DesignerDrugs
Directed by Justin Benson & Aaron Moorhead
11. Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Fear and Loathing is an adventure comedy film adapted from the works of the late Hunter S Thompson and his version of the “American Dream.”
The film stars Johny Depp and Benicio del Toro as Raoul Duke and his psychopathic attorney, Dr. Gonzo. The duo travel to Las Vegas toting large quantities of psychoactive drugs, including mescaline, LSD, magic mushrooms, cocaine, adrenochrome, and more.
Directed by Terry Gilliam
12. Fantastic Planet (1973)
Fantastic Planet is a 1973 experimental adult animated science fiction film based on the 1957 novel Oms en série by French writer Stefan Wul. It involves a group of humans living on an alien planet (Ygam) inhabited by giant blue humanoids called Traags.
The Traags have a technologically and spiritually advanced society and like to keep the humans as pets. However, in order to control their population, the Traags perform culls of humans periodically, leading to an uprising of a small group of humans seeking to escape the planet.
#Animated #ScienceFiction #Trippy
Directed by René Laloux
Final Thoughts: Psychedelic Movies
This is just a taste of the numerous feature films, documentaries, and television series available that explore concepts directly or indirectly related to psychedelics.
There’s been a clear uptick in productions centered around psychedelics over the past 5 years, and we expect to see many new titles getting released throughout the rest of 2022 and beyond.
While we admit there are plenty of movies that didn’t make the list if you feel a critical inclusion was left out, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also check out our List of 48 Trippy Websites To Explore.
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