WTF Really Happened to Cocaine Bear?

We dig into the true story behind Cocaine Bear, the recent smash hit horror-comedy by Elizabeth Banks. How much actually happened?

If you’re one of the many people who went to see Cocaine Bear recently in theaters, you might have been confused by the title card that suggested the film was based on a true story. Indeed, there was a real cocaine bear. On September 11th, 1985, a drug smuggler named Andrew C. Thornton II was flying a load of cocaine from Columbia to the states and was forced to ditch his load over Knoxville, Tennessee, when his plane went down. Thornton died after jumping from the plane when his parachute failed to open (although the film gives a much more fanciful interpretation of what might have happened). Overall, more than 75 pounds of cocaine, with a street value of $20 million, had been ditched, and when the authorities went looking for the load, they found a dead black bear who had ingested much of the cocaine. The bear’s stomach was apparently packed to the brim with cocaine, and as a result, the bear became a local legend. The bear was taxidermied and is now a popular tourist attraction.

Of course, if you’ve seen the movie, you’ll note that this all sounds a bit different than director Elizabeth Banks’ comic-horror mash-up, so In this episode of WTF Really Happened to this Movie , we’re going to separate fact from fiction as we dig into the true story behind Cocaine Bear ! This episode of WTF Really Happened to this Movie is written by Eric Walkuski, narrated and edited by Adam Walton, and produced by Taylor James Johnson.

Cocaine Bear is now playing in theaters ( read our review ) and stars Keri Russell, the late Ray Liota, O’Shea Jackson Jr, Alden Ehrenreich, Margo Martindale, Isiah Whitlock Jr and more!

Did you like ocaine ? Let us know in the comments what you thought of the movie and its fanciful take on what really happened.