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Reefer Madness (Tell Your Children) (Doped Youth) (1936)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 0



liked it
Average Rating: 2.9/5
User Ratings: 10,891

My Rating

Movie Info

This unabashed propaganda film (also 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


Drama, Classics, Cult Movies

Arthur Hoerl, Paul Franklin

Jul 30, 2002

NCM/Fathom - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (25) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (13) | DVD (23)

The original antimarijuana film (1936), offering the true inside story of the devil weed that drives men to savage lusts and women to unspeakable depravities, along with a little bit of dumb fun.

March 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comment (1)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

One of the most absurdly earnest exercises in paranoia you'll ever have the good fortune to see.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

All the performers either overact laughably or underact to the point of just standing in place and speaking lines in a monotone.

March 28, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

"Reefer Madness" is so outrageously over the top that it's tough to imagine it was taken seriously even in the 1930s.

January 21, 2007 Full Review Source: Arizona Daily Star
Arizona Daily Star

The film is so idiotic that it almost demands being seen to confirm how bad it is.

February 28, 2006 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

As the evidence mounts before us, it becomes clear that the general purpose of Reefer Madness was not pedantry, but vicarious lasciviousness.

August 24, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

The most famous of all the vintage "message" movies from the 30s and 40s only gets, uh, better with age.

April 19, 2004 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

...probably the granddaddy of all so-bad-it's-good cult films. I'm not sure it started a welcome trend.

March 11, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

A true guilty pleasure; laughable today. More fun than educational.

February 25, 2004
Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)

A laughable and ignorant indictment of marijuana culture. Even the camp appeal isn't worthwhile.

March 19, 2003

Not as funny as it sounds.

March 18, 2003
San Francisco Examiner

This is neither the best nor the worst of this sort of thing -- nor even the most salacious. It may, however, be the silliest.

February 2, 2003 Full Review Source: Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

The film is more interesting as a video time capsule reflecting what some saw as a threat to America's moral fiber.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

a campy classic, full of awful acting and blatant misinformation

July 29, 2002
Kalamazoo Gazette

Campy and just plain awful

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source:

Those of you who enjoy gathering with a bunch of friends and making fun of movies will get a huge kick out of this one, as will viewers who are stoned out of their flowery little minds.

January 1, 2000
Matt's Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Reefer Madness (Tell Your Children) (Doped Youth)

Dr. Carroll: Yes. I remember. Just a young boy... under the influence of drugs... who killed his entire family with an axe. 

"Tell your children!"

I finally broke down and watched Reefer Madness after being told by countless friends and family that it is a hilarious movie to watch high. Hilarious? No. I mean sure, I chuckled a couple of times at the extreme exaggeration with the subject, but it was not all that funny to me. It was more infuriating to me. The film was pure propaganda which was thrown out as the truth to the masses and this film and likeminded thinking lead to the demonization of marijuana.

So basically the plot of this so call movie, is about a group of teenagers who fall under the "addictive" and "dangerous" "drug" called marijuana. Before long they go into fits of uncontrollable laughter as they slowly lose their minds underneath the spell of the all destroying reefer. Then pre-marital sexual activities go on(Oh, my god. Teenagers having sex? Who'd of thought that?), then there's a hit and run while driving high, then there's cheating, lying, and failing. Then ultimately there's murder, and you know what? This could happen in your home. So tell your children.

Since the making of Reefer Madness, the public has become aware of what the government already knew. Marijuana isn't a, quote on quote, "dangerous drug." We can look back at this film and see it for what it really is, propaganda. We can also look back and say that anyone who watched this shit and believed it is a complete moron. 

So it's a propaganda film that is terribly made, acted, and scripted. I see why some get a kick out of watching the extreme exaggerations, but for me it is just sick exploitation and a disgusting piece of propaganda. 
March 13, 2013
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Filmmaking isn't just the art form that aspiring directors yearn for, but a means to exclude and brainwash the public. The thirties and forties saw an increase in films with skewed views towards the US government, lack of immoral behavior, and patriotism with our entrance into WWII. Because of the Hays Code, instituted around this time but not fully enforced for several years, many propaganda films were produced, including the infamous Reefer Madness. Nowadays the public has dubbed this as campy comedy, a sad remnant of the paranoia fueled ignorance of the early twentieth century. I was disappointed in viewing this film, as I was expecting some shenanigans and tomfoolery so inconsistent with drug use that it was over the top. The film does have some corny lines and strange scenes, but is very serious in its message of keeping people drug free. Watching the sheer inaccuracy of the subject material, and the supposed research into it just made me increasingly angry, the authority this film held and the lack of objectivity in reviewing the effects of the drug seriously harmed America's education of magician (spelt wrong throughout the film). Not only do characters in this film uncharacteristically laugh in cackles like a maniacal crow, but they murder, lie, commit suicide, and apparently become promiscuous, leading to rape in some cases. There are even links to insanity, deep circles under the reefer user's eyes, a madness on their lips. Neither funny nor medically relevant, this is good for a curious venture but not a serious view.
August 16, 2011

Super Reviewer

This movie barely has a story, and then there isn't much going on. Plus the quality is bad, so it's hard to watch.
September 15, 2010

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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