The war on drugs makes great fodder for drama and adventure at the movies. The latest featuring drug cartels and border battles is 'Sicario,' out in limited release September 18. In it, Benicio Del Toro stars as a hit man who appears to be helping the FBI... but is everything as it seems? While we find out, check out these other movies involving drugs and danger.
10. The Last Stand
Bear with us here. Though a box office bomb, this is really a durable, albeit ridiculous, action-adventure about a showdown between Arnold, various law enforcement and one dangerous drugpin speeding towards the border in a souped-up Corvette ZR-1.
9. Clear and Present Danger
It's sort of the underrated and unappreciated third film in the Jack Ryan series of espionage thrillers, but it's also quite good. Harrison Ford as Ryan goes full-rage mode as he navigates the treacherous political lines that are crossed and double-crossed when a pal of the president is murdered by a Colombian drug cartel.
Taylor Kitsch starred in three movies in 2012. This one was definitely the edgiest, which makes sense since it was directed by Oliver Stone. It's a wild and wacky tale about two Laguna Beach pot dealers (Kitsch, Aaron Johnson) who find themselves in a hot mess after the Mexican Baja Cartel aims for a piece of their action, and kidnaps their mutual girlfriend (Blake Lively).
7. Once Upon a Time in Mexico
This ultra-stylish chapter in Robert Rodriguez's El Mariachi series features Johnny Depp as a shady – and quirky – CIA agent who enlists Antonio Banderas' mariachi on a mission to stop a corrupt general (one with a past with our mariachi) and an evil drug kingpin who are out to assassinate the president of Mexico.
6. Miami Vice
Michael Mann's signature '80s TV series made a fairly seamless transition to the big screen in 2006 with Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx taking on the roles of drug cartel-busting cops Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs. The color palette was a BIT more muted, but there's still lots of brooding and gritty action as the duo take on a kingpin named Arcangel de Jesus Montoya.
5. End of Watch
The hook here is that a lot of it is filmed found-footage style, but really, the most engaging part of the film is the chemistry between Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena. They're thoroughly believable as police officers and BFFs who become targets of L.A.'s most dangerous drug cartel.
4. City of God
This critically acclaimed movie takes a street-level view of poverty in 1970s Rio de Janeiro, telling the fascinating story of two childhood friends. One becomes an accomplished photographer who captures the scenes of crime and decay in the city. The other rises through the ranks to become a powerful drug lord who uses his pal's images to increase his claims to fame and notoriety.
Johnny Depp's second appearance on our list is his starring role as real-life cocaine dealer George Jung. The movie follows George's humble beginnings in 1950s Boston through to his rise and fall in the 1980s as a confidant to Colombian kingpin Pablo Escobar. Penelope Cruz costars as the woman of his dreams and the mother of his young daughter.
Al Pacino's iconic role as Cuban-immigrant-turned-Miami-drug-lord Tony Montana is revered in the annals of classic movie characters because of 1) the highly stylized production surrounding him, courtesy of director Brian De Palma working at the height of his career; 2) an intense, powerhouse performance by live-wire Pacino; and 3) a bloody finale where Tony Montana introduces us to his "little friend."
Steven Soderbergh's multilayered epic tells several stories at once, all centered around the effects of the south-of-the-border drug trade, and features an all-star cast including Michael Douglas, Benicio Del Toro, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Don Cheadle and more. Beyond being exciting entertainment, the film's an intelligent, engaging conversation starter that doesn't shy away from the various complexities of the drug – and drug-cartel – issue.