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Top 10 Movie Drug Dealers

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Craig Butler. They’re not role models, but they’re definitely unforgettable. Movie drug dealers come in all shapes and sizes: some are mean, some are hilarious, some are terrifying, some dip into their own stash, some deal on the streets and some only work with high-class clients. And while they’re all very different characters, one thing’s for sure: all movie drug dealers are memorable characters, even if they only appear for a few minutes. In honor of the release of "We’re the Millers," starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Sudeikis, on August 7th, 2013, counts down our picks for the top 10 movie drug dealers.

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Top 10 Movie Drug Dealers

They’re not role models, but they’re definitely unforgettable. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 movie drug dealers.

#10 – Thurgood Jenkins: “Half Baked” (1998)

Dave Chappelle’s career got a huge boost from his hilarious and half-baked Thurgood Jenkins in none other than “Half Baked.” A “master of the custodial arts,” Jenkins starts dealing drugs only to bail a friend out from jail. But when business takes off and Jenkins comes to the unwanted attention of a drug kingpin, Chappelle says “no more Mr. Nice Guy” and turns ordinary stoner humor into pure gold.

#9 – Lance: “Pulp Fiction” (1994)

A bathrobe-wearing drug connoisseur, “Pulp Fiction”’s Lance is scuzzy and selfish, but he still attracts the ladies. Like other Tarantino characters, Lance has the gift of inane pop culture gab. But he makes his big impression in the high-impact adrenaline shot scene: Is he helping because he’s concerned for Vincent and Mia, or because an overdose would be bad for Lance’s business – and Lance’s life? You tell us.

#8 – Saul Silver: “Pineapple Express” (2008)

Saul needs his drug money to keep his dear old granny in a retirement home. And while he may be a slacker, he knows his business; unfortunately, even a little fish in the drug world can make the big fish really, really mad. Watching Saul’s seat-of-the-pants escapes from the underworld and the police show us that stoned resourcefulness is still better than none.

#7 – Li’l Ze: “City of God” (2002)

Drug dealing is perfect for someone with no soul, and that describes Li’l Ze. Was he born malicious or did his environment make him heartless? Either way, this guy is all about power, greed and sadistic destruction for its own sake. Made real by Leandro Firmino, Li’l Ze is frightening and monstrous, yet fascinating – especially after the death of his only friend severs his only tie to humanity.

#6 – Jay and Silent Bob: “Clerks” (1994)

This stoner duo first appeared as supporting players in Kevin Smith’s “Clerks” and took off from there. With his particularly foul mouth, Jay can be cruel and self-centered, but that frees the audience to laugh at him when things don’t go his way. Silent Bob lives up to his name; but when he does talk, it’s worth the wait. Without their weed, who knows if these two could even tolerate themselves?

#5 – George Jung: “Blow” (2001)

The exploits of real-life cocaine smuggler George Jung became the basis for a 1993 book and this 2001 film. As portrayed by Johnny Depp, he’s a lowlife with a buried core of vulnerability; he may be destroying lives and looking out for number one, but at least part of him is conflicted about it. Never exactly sympathetic, Depp’s Jung still has a tragic center that engages the viewer, even as his actions repel.

#4 – Drexl Spivey: “True Romance” (1993)

Psychopaths are scary but, onscreen at least, they’re fascinating. That’s certainly true of Gary Oldman’s Drexl Spivey. Brutal, vicious and epically messed up, Spivey is the kind of person who reeks of bad news. He’s only in the film a short while before he’s killed, but his impact as a pimp and drug dealer leaves a void that haunts the rest of the movie.

#3 – Frank White: “King of New York” (1990)

Even Oldman must bow to Christopher Walken: when it comes to psychos, no one touches him, and Frank White is one of his most accomplished performances. Walken mines every bit of White’s immorality, but also runs with the complexities of the character. This dealer is pure evil one minute, then turns around and reveals unexpected stores of compassion. He’s at war with himself, but there’s never any doubt his evil will ultimately win out.

#2 – Nino Brown: “New Jack City” (1991)

That’s the philosophy of Nino Brown, the drug lord in 1991’s “New Jack City.” Brought to chilling life through Wesley Snipes’ charismatic performance, Nino has no compunctions about destroying entire communities in pursuit of money and power. His downfall comes when his need for control outweighs his need to guarantee profits. In the end, not even his brilliant manipulations can save him from retribution.

#1 – Tony Montana: “Scarface” (1983)

It only takes one line for this character to assure his place in cinematic history. Al Pacino’s haunting, hypnotic performance as this Cuban dealer is a grand piece of old-style Hollywood acting, combined with moments of surprising nuance. He grabs you by the throat and commands your attention for the entire movie, making you almost hate yourself for secretly cheering for this despicable killer.

Do you agree with our list? Which movie dealer gives you the best fix? For more top 10s about your favorite film characters, be sure to subscribe to

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