Charlie Chaplin Does Cocaine and Saves the Day in Modern Times (1936)

When you think of drug movies, flicks like Easy Rid­er, Drug­store Cow­boy and pret­ty much every­thing by Cheech and Chong might spring to mind. Add to this list Char­lie Chap­lin’s mas­ter­piece Mod­ern Times. In the movie, Chaplin’s icon­ic Lit­tle Tramp char­ac­ter does a whole lot of blow and ends up a bet­ter man for it. You can see a clip above.

After get­ting mis­tak­en for a Com­mu­nist demon­stra­tor, the Tramp is thrown in the clink. In the prison mess hall, a hulk­ing pris­on­er sit­ting next to him refus­es to let him have any of the com­mu­nal bread. Mean­while, the shifty look­ing guy on the oth­er side of him dumps a bunch of “nose pow­der” into a salt­shak­er before get­ting hauled away by the prison guards. Chap­lin sprin­kles lib­er­al amounts of this “salt” on his meal and soon he starts show­ing all of the tell­tale symp­toms of cocaine use – bugged out eyes, exces­sive ener­gy and unshake­able self-con­fi­dence. He also shows some less com­mon side effects like com­pul­sive twirling and a propen­si­ty to jam food in his ear.

With his new­found chem­i­cal courage, Chap­lin not only faces down this thug­gish neigh­bor but he also sin­gle-hand­ed­ly thwarts a prison break. The author­i­ties are so pleased with Chaplin’s coke-addled hero­ics that they release him. So remem­ber, kids, drugs can get you out of (and more like­ly back into) jail.

Of course, this wasn’t the first time that Chap­lin depict­ed drug use in his movies. In his clas­sic short Easy Street, Chaplin’s love inter­est, a vir­ginal pastor’s daugh­ter, gets locked in a base­ment with a remark­ably ener­getic hero­in addict. You can watch it below. And if you’re jonesing for some more Chap­lin, there are 65 Free Chap­lin Movies you can watch right here.

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