Search icon


01st Dec 2022

First trailer for Cocaine Bear film based on a true story has been released

Steve Hopkins

The bear ate millions of dollars of cocaine then went a little mad

The first trailer for Cocaine Bear has dropped and it is about as crazy as it sounds.

The movie tells the bizarre story of a bear went a little too hard on the white powder in 1985, consuming several million dollars worth of the Class A drug.

The black comedy thriller, directed by Hunger Games star Elizabeth Banks, is inspired by unbelievable events that arose in Kentucky – though the premise of the film takes the madness much further. The bear does eat the cocaine, what happens afterwards is just for entertainment.

Cocaine Bear, as the name suggests, tells the story of a black bear who goes on a bender after the drug is accidentally airdropped into a Georgia forest in a botched smuggling operation. Fuelled by a drug-induced rage and an apparent desire for more gak, the bear embarks on a killing spree, wreaking havoc on the local population.

The drug smugglers, led by the late Ray Liotta in his final role, search the wilderness for their missing stash, never suspecting they’re in danger of coming becoming bear food.

The movie synopsis reads: “Inspired by the 1985 true story of a drug runner’s plane crash, missing cocaine, and the black bear that ate it, this wild dark comedy finds an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500-pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of cocaine and gone on a fuelled rampage for more blow … and blood.”

In reality, the story is somewhat different as Entertainment Weekly noted.

In 1985, investigators searching for drugs dropped by airborne smuggler Andrew Thornton’s plane discovered the ripped-up remnants of cocaine packages in the Chattahoochee–Oconee National Forest. Each of the 40 packages reportedly held a kilogram of cocaine, or about 88 pounds in all, thought to be worth around $20 million at the time.

A dead black bear was found nearby.

According to an Associated Press article from the time, officials believed the bear had eaten “several million dollars worth of the cocaine.”

“The bear got to it before we could, and he tore the duffel bag open, got him some cocaine and OD’d (overdosed),” Gary Garner of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation told the outlet.

A medical examiner, who looked inside the bear, said: “Its stomach was literally packed to the brim with cocaine. There isn’t a mammal on the planet that could survive that.”

According to The Independent, Thornton was a former lawyer and narcotics police officer, but he’d been on a cocaine smuggling run in a Cessna aircraft from Colombia and was dropping packages off in northern Georgia.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigations claimed that Thornton fell to his death when he jumped out of the plane and “hit his head on the tail of the aircraft” and failed to open his parachute.

The 40-year-old was found in a driveway in Knoxville, Tennessee, wearing night vision goggles, a bulletproof vest and Gucci loafers. He had $4,500 in cash on him, guns, knives and the keys to a plane.

The bear, dubbed ‘Pablo Eskobear’, is now stuffed and can be seen at the Kentucky For Kentucky store in Lexington.

The movie stars Keri Russell, Margo Martindale, Alden Ehrenreich, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Kristofer Hivju, Kahyun Kim, Christian Convery, Brooklynn Prince and Ray Liotta.

The film will be released on 24 February 2023.


Related links