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Top 8 Recovery Videos


Updated June 25, 2014

These movies look at recovery options available to those who are trying to overcome alcoholism as well as others affected by their drinking.

1. My Name is Bill W. (1989)

My Name Is Bill W.
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In his Emmy Award-winning performance, James Woods gives an unforgettably moving portrayal of Bill Wilson, the man who would eventually begin Alcoholics Anonymous along with co-founder Dr. Bob (played by James Garner). The 1989 television movie accurately depicts how the A.A. program works on the basic level, one alcoholic helping another. JoBeth Williams plays Bill's wife Lois.

2. When a Man Loves a Woman (1994)

When A Man Loves A Woman
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A picture-perfect family is threatened by the wife's dependence on alcohol and her husband's reaction to her drinking. Andy Garcia plays the husband who makes many of the mistakes family members make in dealing with an alcoholic spouse, played by Meg Ryan.
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3. 28 Days (2000)

28 Days
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Sandra Bullock, who usually plays "good girl" roles, does an excellent job portraying a party girl in need of a wake-up call in this story that takes place at treatment center. The movie portrays the phases that many who go through treatment experience, including a final spiritual awakening about how alcohol has affected their lives.
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4. Clean and Sober (1988)

Clean and Sober
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A real-estate salesman, Michael Keaton, whose addiction to drugs and alcohol is destroying his life, reluctantly enters a detoxification program and turns his life around with the help of a no-nonsense counselor (Morgan Freeman) who has heard all of the excuses and a woman trying to find her own self-esteem (Kathy Baker).
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5. Days of Wine and Roses (1962)

Days of Wine and Roses
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A failed public relations flack convinces his wife that the couple that drinks together, stays together with tragic results. This film is not about recovery, but rather depicts the devastating affects of alcoholism when it overwhelms a family. The movie, starring Jack Lemon and Lee Remick, received five Academy Award nominations.
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6. The Lost Weekend (1945)

The Lost Weekend
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This classic film chronicles three days in the life of an alcoholic writer whose self-destructive binges wreak havoc on his life and loved ones. Because of its stark, uncompromising look at the devastating effects of alcoholism, the movie was almost not released after reactions from a preview audience. It ended up winning the Academy Award for Best Picture of 1945.
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7. Leaving Las Vegas (1995)

Leaving Las Vegas
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An alcoholic movie executive decides to drive to Las Vegas and commit suicide by drinking himself to death. He meets a prostitute who is also hitting bottom and the two of them accept each other just as they are, forging a relationship that changes both of their lives. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards. Nicolas Cage won Best Actor and Elisabeth Shue was nominated for Best Actress in 1995.
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8. Barfly (1987)

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The besotted adventures of skid-row writer Henry, played by Mickey Rourke, who begins a romance with fellow barfly Wanda, played by Faye Dunaway. This film is likewise not about recovery but rather a portrayal of how chronic alcoholism affects every aspect of life. It is based on a true story, written by Charles Bukowski.
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