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The Basketball Diaries (1995)

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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)
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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

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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:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Stephen Lang was offered the role of Jim's Basketball Coach named Swifty in the script. Lang declined citing the misrepresentation of the book in the script. The part was subsequently toned down as a result. See more »

Goofs

When being picked up from the snow by Reggie, Jim bends his left leg even though he is supposed to be unconscious. See more »

Quotes

Jim: And in the next life, father, I'M gonna have the PADDLE.
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Connections

Referenced in The Jersey: Basketball Diaries (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Watusi Latin Boogaloo
Written by Joseph L. Altruda (as Joe Altruda)
Performed by The Joey Altruda Latin Explosion
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User Reviews

 
Not just another kid/drug movie
10 February 1999 | by See all my reviews

This movie was Leonardo's first leading role, and he does great work as Jim Carroll. The movie cheats him from time to time, but he gives a consistent and believable performance. He is helped by an excellent supporting cast, especially Mark Wahlberg and Lorraine Bracco. Kids who think drugs are fun and games should see this movie, which gets extra credit for not glamorizing drugs.


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