7.3/10
85,656
152 user 38 critic

The Basketball Diaries (1995)

A teenager finds his dreams of becoming a basketball star threatened after he free falls into the harrowing world of drug addiction.

Director:

Writers:

(novel), (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
1,340 ( 935)

On Disc

at Amazon

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Marilyn Sokol ...
...
...
...
Roy Cooper ...
...
Construction Worker (as Vinnie Pastore)
...
Jimmy Papiris ...
Nick Gaetani ...
...
Bobo (as Alexander Gaberman)
Ben Monk ...
Tommy (as Ben Jorgensen)
...
...

What You Missed at San Diego Comic-Con 2017

From the madness of the convention floor to the emotional panel reveals and star-studded interviews, catch up on all the unforgettable sights from Comic-Con.

Browse Our Guide to Comic-Con

Edit

Storyline

Film adaptation of street tough Jim Carroll's epistle about his kaleidoscopic free fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school basketball squad, Jim's life centers around the basketball court and the court becomes a metaphor for the world in his mind. A best friend who is dying of leukemia, a coach ("Swifty") who takes unacceptable liberties with the boys on his team, teenage sexual angst, and an unhealthy appetite for heroin -- all of these begin to encroach on young Jim's dream of becoming a basketball star. Soon, the dark streets of New York become a refuge from his mother's mounting concern for her son. He can't go home and his only escape from the reality of the streets is heroin for which he steals, robs and prostitutes himself. Only with the help of Reggie, an older neighborhood friend with whom Jim "picked up a game" now and then, is he able to begin the long journey back to sanity. Written by Mark Fleetwood <mfleetwo@mail.coin.missouri.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The true story of the death of innocence and the birth of an artist See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for graphic depiction of drug addiction with related strong violence,sexuality and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basketball Diaries  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Gross:

$2,424,439 (USA)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Jim Carroll was unaware of who Leonardo DiCaprio was at first. "When they first told me it was gonna be Leo, I didn't know who he was," Carroll told The Los Angeles Times. "If they'd said the kid from Growing Pains (1985), I would have known, because when I first saw that kid, I said, 'This kid has a lot of presence.' I said, 'That kid is very pretty. He's gonna do well.'" See more »

Goofs

The NBA ball signed by the players would not have been around at that time. Spalding didn't start manufacturing the NBA ball until 1982 or 1983. See more »

Quotes

Jim: You gotta have presence on the court. Presence like a cheetah rather than a chimp. Sure, they both got it, but Chimpy gotta jump his nuts around to get it. The shy cheetah moves with total nonchalance, stickin' it to them in his sexy, slow strut. Me? I play like a cheetah.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Degrassi: The Next Generation: Basketball Diaries (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

People Who Died
Written by Jim Carroll, Terrell Winn, Brian Linsley, Wayne Woods,
Stephen Linsley (as Steve Linsley)
Performed by The Jim Carroll Band
Courtesy of Earl McGrath Music
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
St. Vitus' Dance
26 June 2004 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

There is a type of disease associated with St. Vitus and this film qualifies in the comparison because it's quirky, fast, and it never stops moving. Director Scott Kalvert gives the movie a 'look' that makes the Manhattan of the period when it supposedly takes place, believable.

Leonardo DiCaprio was at his best in the film. His performance is very nuanced and in your face, at the same time. Mr. DiCaprio makes you feel the pain Jim is going through; he is a lost soul. Not being a fan of Mark Wahlberg, I must confess that in this film, be it because of the direction, or whatever, he shines, as Mickey.

As Jim's mother, Lorraine Bracco has never been better in anything she has been in recent memory. Bruno Kirby is perfectly creepy as the coach of St. Vitus High School.

As far as the connection with the Columbine School massacre, since the sequence where Jim is involved is a dream, it's easy to understand how the twisted minds of the ones responsible for the killings would have taken this scene as a model for their terrible crime.


26 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page