10 Greatest Drinking Moments In Movie History

Iconic scenes of sozzlement​

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Some say that alcohol reveals the truth. That may or may not be true, but it certainly has a part to play in some of the most honest and authentic scenes in movie history.

Here are just some of the brilliantly boozy moments that have left a sticky stain on our grey matter…

TRAINSPOTTING

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Character: Francis Begbie. Trainspotting's kitchen sink psychotic, who was more addicted to punch-ups than his long-suffering mates were to… you know, heroin.

The scene: Begbie's holding court in the upstairs seating area of a pub, regaling everyone about the time he intimidated a "hard cunt" who was staring straight at him, as if to say "square go".

As he reaches the end of his underwhelming tale (which later turned out to be a complete fabrication), surrounded by a sea of eye-rolls and deep breaths, he decides that the story needs a fitting end. So he picks up his pint glass, casually lobs it into the crowd below, and descends downstairs into the bloody chaos to begin a melee.

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CASABLANCA

Character: Rick Blaine. Embittered American expatriate, tuxedo addict and owner of Rick's Café Américain, a night club/gambling den in Casablaca.

The scene: Earlier on in the night, the long lost love of Rick Blaine's life made a surprise appearance at his club, accompanied by her new husband. Oof. Awkward.

Come closing time, Rick slouches down over a glass of the good stuff and drawls his iconic decry of loss regained: "Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, she walks into mine."

WITHNAIL & I

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Character: Withnail (Richard E Grant), an alcoholic out-of-work actor who, along with his housemate Marwood, has ditched his squalid Camden digs to stay at his uncle's countryside cottage in Penrith.

The scene: This movie is drenched in more booze than a Wetherspoons bar mat, so it's difficult to choose a single moment.

But the Penrith tea room scene sticks out the most. Bored in the countryside and on the hunt for alcohol and entertainment, the pair stop by a quaint cafe. After the proprietor tries to get them to leave, Withnail simply replies: "Balls. We want the finest wines available to humanity. We want them here, and we want them now."

It's no wonder that the film has since become the subject of a (pretty intense) drinking game.

OUR MAN IN HAVANA

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Character(s): James Wormold (Alec Guinness), a hapless vacuum salesman who's been bafflingly drafted in by the world's intelligence agencies as a spy against Cold War-era Cuba, and suspicious police chief Captain Segura.

The Scene: Despite basing itself on Graham Greene's straight-faced novel of the same name, this 50s adaptation took on a far more comedic tone than its source – but that's not to say it wasn't without its more serious moments.

At one point, Segura visits Wormold at his home and challenges him to a game of chess – with small bottles of whiskey in place of game pieces. If a player captures a bottle with a clever move, he must drink it.

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As the two men become increasingly pissed, they both realise the inevitable paradox that the game provokes: the better a player does, the drunker they get, diminishing their chances of winning. They can't see a way out of this conflict – besides testing their tolerance to the limit.

COCKTAIL

Character: Charming ex-soldier Brian Flanagan (Tom Cruise) who, under the tutelage of mentor Doug Coughlin, has become one of the most popular bartenders in New York, thanks to his handsome face and ability to catch things.

The scene: Hordes of big-haired eighties New Yorkers are swarming around Brian and Doug as they show off their bartending act in a trendy nightspot.

Because Tom Cruise's weirdness manages to inhibit all of his characters, Brian launches into a self-penned poem. It manages to impress a lady in the crowd, who tries it on with him while he's mid-way through his rhyming cocktail menu (which he takes in good spirit despite the fact that it is, quite frankly, rude.)

GOODFELLAS

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Character: Tommy (Joe Pesci), a pint-sized psychopath who has recently earned the honour of being declared a Made Man (a title that inspires trust and respect) by the New York Sicilian Mafia.

The scene: As Tommy walks into a bar to meet his friends, he's spotted by Billy Batts, a Mafia elder statesman who begins to "bust [Tommy's] balls" over his childhood as a shoe shiner for older Mafia men.

Visibly annoyed, Tommy states that "I don't shine shoes no more", and after a small argument Billy apologises. But as soon as the confrontation appears to peacefully disappear, Billy attempts to have the last word: "Now go home and get your fucking shinebox."

What follows is one of the most gruesome moments in Martin Scorsese's filmography, as Tommy and his Mafia cohorts beat the life out of Billy on the bar room floor, firmly setting their downfall in motion.

THE SHINING

The character: Jack Torrence (Jack Nicholson), a writer who accepts a job to become the caretaker of a mountain-isolated hotel, built on the site of a Native American burial ground during the snowed-in winter. This, as you probably know, is a bit of a gaff.

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The scene: Half way through The Shining, after a stressful few months of complete mental collapse, Jack Torrence sits down at his empty hotel bar to sip at a well-deserved glass of the hard stuff.

Out of nowhere, an apparitional barman named Lloyd pours him out some Jack Daniels. Jack begins to ruefully explain to Lloyd that he had never laid a hand on his unsettled family (untrue: he'd previously hurt his son, Danny), and proceeds to complain about their presence at the hotel.

It's the first sign that Jack has gone dangerously insane, and the moment that his violent, frustrated temper turns its attention towards his innocent family members. 

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FIGHT CLUB

Character: Our unnamed, unhappy, unfulfilled narrator, who has arrived home from a business trip to find that his IKEA-clad flat has exploded, possibly due to a gas leak.

The scene: He reaches into his pocket and finds the number of an eccentric, aggressively handsome soap salesman he met on the plane named Tyler Durden, who offered to buy him a beer.

So they meet up at a local bar. Tyler begins to lecture him about the evils of consumerism in a way that would make even a A-Level philosophy student wince nowadays, but seemed pretty profound in 1999.

And then they step out into the cold, and Tyler makes one request: that the narrator hit him, as hard as he can. After briefly shying away, they begin to throw fists at each other, unintentionally christening the very first meeting of the soon-to-be world famous Fight Club.

LOST IN TRANSLATION

Character: Bob Harris (Bill Murray), a frowny Hollywood legend who has flown over to Tokyo to shoot a wallet-stretching TV advertisement for Suntory Whisky.

The scene: A Japanese director is passionately barking stage directions at Bob, who is slumped on a leather chair, looking snazzily existential. Bob's mid-life crisis is in full flow, and it's safe to say that this isn't going to be a performance of a lifetime

But the Japanese director is determined not to let Bob go through the motions. As he repeats take after take of the simple scene, we see that an easy life isn't all it's cracked up to be. Especially if you're a miserable bastard.

OLD SCHOOL

Character: Legendary college boozer-turned-domestic square Frank 'The Tank' Ricard. If it weren't for his role as Ron Burgundy in Anchorman, this would be the defining role of Will Ferrell's career so far.

The scene: After succumbing to a beer chugging contest at a frat party, Frank's straight-edged façade completely crumbles away. Before long, he finds himself on stage with Snoop Dogg (shh, it didn't make much sense in the film either) completely naked, trying to convince everyone to go streaking with him.

Needless to say, nobody decides to join his junk-jangling jog – but that doesn't stop him going it alone, completely billy bollocks, until his wife and her friends drive past and pick him up.