Alcohol in the Movies: Characteristics of Drinkers and Nondrinkers in Films From 1940 to 1989


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to William D. McIntosh, Department of Psychology, Georgia Southern University, P.O. Box 8041, Statesboro, GA 30460. e-mail:


We examined depictions of alcohol use in 100 popular films spanning 5 decades. Drinkers were depicted as more attractive, more romantically/sexually active, more aggressive, and having a higher socioeconomic status than nondrinkers. No systematic changes were found across decades that might reflect the growing knowledge base regarding the adverse effects of alcohol use. We compared the depiction of alcohol use in movies to real-world demographics and found that alcohol use in movies is somewhat glamorized.