Movies are often praised for their high-tech special effects, choreographed fight scenes and heart-warming love scenes, but drunk scenes have never gotten the attention they deserve. It’s not easy to act convincingly inebriated. Just try it. Look in the mirror and try it. We’ll wait. See? It’s hard. To make the case for a “Best Drunk Scene” Oscar category, here are some of the best, award-worthy drunk scenes in movie history.
13. Casablanca (1942)
Not all drunk scenes are fun and games. In Casablanca, expat Rick Blaine, played by Humphrey Bogart, drinks his sorrows away after the long lost love of his life, Ilsa, shows up at his underground gambling establishment/nightclub with her husband. Even if you’ve never been threatened by Nazi sympathizers or had your pianist friend disobey your orders and play the one song that breaks your heart, we can all relate to poor Rick’s drunken lamentation.
12. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Enjoying his time on earth, E.T. kicks back a couple of cold ones and watches some TV. Getting a little tipsy in the safety of the living room seems like harmless alien indulgence—except E.T. happened to have psychic connection with poor Elliot, played by a young Henry Thomas. While E.T. is having a blast, Elliot is stuck in fifth grade, belching, slouching into his chair, and embarrassing himself in front of his classmates, 11 years too early.
11. The World’s End (2013)
Trying to relive the glory days of hometown bar crawls with his old friends, Gary King, played by Simon Pegg, rounds up his buddies to complete the infamous World’s End bar crawl, which they failed to finish when they were younger. Their night ends up much more eventful than they thought because, as it turns out, everyone in their hometown has been turned into androids. That doesn’t stop Gary and his buddies from boozing their way through the pubs, getting into bar fights, such as the one above, and stumbling onto many other twists and turns.
10. Superbad (2007)
A big part of Superbad’s charm is its relatability. The night Seth and Evan, played by Jonah Hill and Michael Cera respectively, went through isn’t far off from a night you might’ve had when you were their age: getting into a cool party, trying to score booze, and, as Seth does in this top-notch drunk scene, offering your heart on a platter to your biggest crush—only to have that liquid courage come back to bite you. You might not have passed out mid-convo and headbutted your crush in the face, but you get the idea.
9. North by Northwest (1959)
In Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, advertising executive Roger Thornhill, played by Cary Grant, escapes the clutches of men who mistook him for a U.S. secret agent, only to be apprehended by the police and charged with a DUI. In his one afforded phone call from the police station, Thornhill drunkenly explains to his mother that of course he hasn’t been drinking, and that he had bourbon forced into him―with no chaser―all the while insulting the sergeant and explaining to the physician how much he had to drink by spreading out his hands and saying “this much.”
8. Can’t Hardly Wait (1998)
The high school parties we went to paled in comparison to the rager in Can’t Hardly Wait—and we certainly never experienced anything quite like Will, played by Charlie Korsmo. The nerdy student’s epic Guns N’ Roses performance is what happens when inebriation meets karaoke prodigy. After choking down some “bad beer,” Will takes the main stage with his newfound liquid courage, and propels himself from nerd to riches by channeling his inner Axl Rose, scoring attention from the ladies and a ton of cool points. A true American success story.
7. Old School (2003)
It takes a bold person―or, at least, a very drunk one―to try and get an entire party (including Snoop Dogg) to strip off their clothes and streak the neighborhood, but that’s exactly what Frank, played by Will Ferrell, tries to do. The result? He gets caught running bare naked (solo) in the street by his wife, embarrassing her in front of all her friends in the process. But Frank’s drunken ambition to never stop trying to take a party to the next level deserves applause.
6. Animal House (1978)
Animal House is the quintessential college party movie, in which Delta house throws a toga party so wild, that it gets them evicted from their frat house. But as Bluto, played by the legendary John Belushi, says after downing an entire handle of Jack Daniels, when the going gets tough...the tough get going. Editor’s note: While this scene doesn’t qualify as a drunken scene (it’s more of a prelude to a drunken scene), it is too iconic not to include on this list.
5. Beerfest (2006)
In this scene, Barry, played by Jay Chandrasekhar, masterfully displays how we all think we look versus how we actually look after we’ve had a few. During a drinking game at a bar, Barry is deemed “The Asshole” and forced to do the bidding of his mates, getting very inebriated in the process. After “breaking the seal” in the bathroom, Barry comes out feeling like a million bucks, chatting up the ladies with smooth lines (read: incoherent mumbling) and showing off his slick dance moves (read: a lot of drunken wobbling).
4. Bridesmaids (2011)
Kristen Wiig fulfills our dreams of infiltrating first class in this drunken plane scene. Fueled by booze (and a pill or two), Wiig’s character, Annie, stands up for all that’s right by drunkenly braving the passive-aggressive flight attendant who repeatedly and hilariously sends her back after she keeps trying to hang with her pals.
3. Billy Madison (1995)
This scene takes place early in the movie, when Billy (Adam Sandler), heir to a Fortune 500 hotel company, wakes up from a bender. Still drunk, Billy hallucinates and thinks he sees a penguin, which his poor gardener assures him is not there. Not to be dissuaded, Billy pursues the penguin in order to get him back to the zoo (ruining his flowers in the process). We’ve personally never hallucinated any giant animals after drinking, but there’s still time.
2. 10 Things I Hate About You (1999)
In this romantic teen movie (which hits you right in the feels, especially after the tragic passing of Heath Ledger), rebel outcast Kat, played by Julia Stiles, is coerced into going out on a date by Ledger’s character Patrick as part of a deal with new kid Cameron, played by a super young Joseph Gordon-Levitt. As you might’ve guessed, Patrick starts to fall for Kat, so much so that he looks after the tipsy, table-dancing gal, even after she throws up on his shoes.
1. The Wedding Singer (1998)
You only get one shot at a wedding…well, hopefully. And everyone, especially the people working the wedding, should understand that and strive to ensure that your special day goes off without a hitch. But after finding yourself at the wrong end of love (and a bottle of booze), you can start to lose some respect for the institution. That’s precisely what happened to wedding singer Robbie Hart, played by Adam Sandler. And since he was the one with the microphone, everyone heard all about it.