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

Reefer Madness

Critics Consensus

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39%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 28

37%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 11,167

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Movie Info

High-school principal Dr. Alfred Carroll (Josef Forte) relates to an audience of parents that marijuana can have devastating effects on teens. In his story, a drug supplier entices several restless teens, including sister and brother Mary (Dorothy Short) and Jimmy Lane (Warren McCollum) and Mary's boyfriend, Bill (Kenneth Craig), into frequenting a "reefer" house. Gradually, Bill and Jimmy are drawn into smoking dope, which affects their family lives and leads to a terrible crime.

Cast & Crew

Dave O'Brien
Ralph Wiley
Thelma White
Mae Colman
Joseph Forte
Dr. Carroll
Lawrence Meade
Writer
Jack Greenhalgh
Cinematographer
Carl Pierson
Film Editor
Robert Priestley
Art Direction
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News & Interviews for Reefer Madness (Tell Your Children) (Doped Youth)

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

All Critics (28) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (11) | Rotten (17)

  • Espers' 1936 film deserves its reputation as one of the most entertainingly bad movies ever made.

    March 30, 2019 | Full Review…

    Keith Phipps

    AV Club
    Top Critic
  • 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…
  • One of the most absurdly earnest exercises in paranoia you'll ever have the good fortune to see.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    John Du Cane

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Before it became an ironic cult hit in the 1970s, Reefer Madness was a well-intentioned and unintentionally hilarious cautionary tale entitled Tell Your Children...

    March 17, 2020 | Rating: 4/10 | Full Review…
  • Strictly an amateur-hour production, filled with laughably over-the-top acting and a silly sense of self-righteousness that make it the perfect exploitation camp classic.

    February 22, 2020 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • This gloriously awful film is highly recommended to lovers of stunningly bad movies.

    March 30, 2019 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…

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

  • Nov 29, 2016
    Some movies are so bad they're actually good, or at least, entertainingly bad. This one is not. It became a cult favorite in the 70's, but unless you're seriously high, it's hard to sit through, and not because it's propaganda, that's part of the fun, but because it's boring. The main message of the film to parents clearly comes through - that your daughters will become promiscuous (gasp) and your sons will become violent if they smoke, and they'll both descend into addiction and insanity. Interestingly enough, marijuana was made illegal the following year. I loved the wild look the pot smoking piano player had, but not much else.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 07, 2013
    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. 
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 27, 2010
    a film of its time, a film depictinmg the use of reefers or marijuana, especially amounst the young, and the evils that it does, how the establishment is dead against its use and wanting parents to take a stand, oviously watching it today, it seems silly, and its oviously dated, but for its time you could imagine the time it was released, and outrage, its oviously a pro stance on banning it, the so called victims commit crimes, and ruin there lives, and the filmmakers certainly bring this to forefront, and also the effects of the reefers, uncontroled fits of laughter coming of both funny and again thinking, at the time this was seen as what it is, a entertaining film from the 30s, that shows the times for what it was, and considering marijuana is banned here, a cutting edge film to a degree
    scott g Super Reviewer
  • Oct 14, 2010
    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.
    Spencer S Super Reviewer

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