7.3/10
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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.

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Cast

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

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Details

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Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basketball Diaries  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross:

$2,424,439 (USA)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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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: Just my own naked self and the stars breathing down, it's beautiful.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Entourage: The Scene (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Down By The Water
Written by PJ Harvey (as PJ Harvey)
Performed by PJ Harvey (as PJ Harvey)
Courtesy of Island Records Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Very powerfull statement against drugs.
26 February 2000 | by (Delft, Holland) – See all my reviews

I think 'The basketball diaries' is a realistic and very important movie. It shows the road that one walks to being addicted to drugs. From taking dope once a week to taking dope every day, every hour. Leonardo DiCaprio playes a basketballplayer, a schoolkid(Jim Carrol) who walks this path. He experiments with drugs 'till there is no way back. He gets himself in all kinds of stupid situations. He starts robbing stores, ripping off money from old ladies just to get some cash for dope. His life is beginning to look like a living hell. His basketballcoach wants to have sex with him, and when he passes out on the basketballfield due to taking a wrong kind of 'pep-pil', he gets kicked out of the basketball team and from school. From this moment on everything goes in a downward spiral for DiCaprio.

An excellent scenario you would say, and it is. The acting from DiCaprio is great. We saw it earlier on in his career when he got oscar-nominated for 'What's eating gilbert grape'. A gripping drama in which he playes a disabled kid. But in 'The basketball diaries' he playes an equally difficult part. Not a lot actors would have put down this kid who's life is wrecked, and who is constantly thinking about dope as well as DiCaprio did.

The statement the movie delivers is a powerfull one. Being addicted to drugs is horrible. Usually people learn about this aspect trough seminars or televisonshows such as Oprah Winfrey. But it never really gets the kind of attention and understanding from the audience as 'The Basketball diaries' delivers.

The amazing performance by DiCaprio, the fact that this movie is actually based on a true story and the reality the movie is set in, 'The basketball diaries' deserves a 9 out of 10.


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