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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.



(novel), (screenplay)
2,521 ( 298)



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


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


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:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basketball Diaries  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,424,439 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the scene where Leonardo DiCaprio is pushing Bobby to the peep show; in the background you can see a news ticker reporting on the investigation into the 1994 Black Hawk Down incident. See more »


Supposedly set in winter, yet deciduous trees with green leaves are visible. See more »


Mickey: I'll tell you what, if our school was this nice I would go there more than once a week.
See more »


Followed by Curtis's Charm (1995) See more »


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 »

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User Reviews

A good adaption of a book of the tragic life of Jim Carrol
12 November 2003 | by (Chicago, Illinois) – See all my reviews

May I say, that I was impressed with this movie. It shows the truth of drugs and what they can do to you. After I saw this movie, I went out and found the book and read it. It's more sad then the movie, but still seeing Leonardo's performance is very effective.

Jim Carrol is a high school basketball player who once in a while gets stoned with his friends. But eventually he becomes brutally addicted to the drugs and looses everything he has worked for.

To Leonardo, you did good.


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