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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.

Director:

Scott Kalvert

Writers:

Jim Carroll (novel), Bryan Goluboff (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Jim Carroll
Lorraine Bracco ... Jim's Mother
Marilyn Sokol Marilyn Sokol ... Chanting Woman
James Madio ... Pedro
Patrick McGaw ... Neutron
Mark Wahlberg ... Mickey
Roy Cooper Roy Cooper ... Father McNulty
Vincent Pastore ... Construction Worker (as Vinnie Pastore)
Bruno Kirby ... Swifty
Jimmy Papiris Jimmy Papiris ... Iggy
Nick Gaetani Nick Gaetani ... Referee #1
Alexander Chaplin ... Bobo (as Alexander Gaberman)
Ben Monk ... Tommy (as Ben Jorgensen)
Josh Mostel ... Counterman
Juliette Lewis ... Diane Moody
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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 | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Every punk on the block says it's not going to happen to them... but it does. 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Basketball Diaries See more »

Filming Locations:

Hoboken, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,424,439
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Screenwriter Bryan Goluboff used to follow the real-life Jim Carroll around Greenwich Village in the 1980s, when the future screenwriter was a teenager and Carroll was playing music in New York City. See more »

Goofs

In the "dream" scene, when Jim is shooting his classmates, the one who gets shot in the back has a visible string attached to him which pulls him to the blackboard. When Jim has a vision on the basketball court and gets blown by explosion, the string is visible again. They were dream sequences, but it seems unlikely that he would dream of strings. See more »

Quotes

Reggie Porter: Hey white boy! Are you ready for your beatin'?
Jim Carroll: Don't let your mouth get you into something your ass can't handle.
See more »

Alternate Versions

This film was passed uncut with an 18 rating in the UK in 2000. It was previously cut by 47 seconds by the distributor. The cuts were to the dream sequence where kids are shot in school, which was removed by the distributor in response to the Dunblane massacre. See more »


Soundtracks

What A Life
Written by Glyn Bush, Richard Whittingham, Robert McKenzie
Performed by Rockers Hi-Fi (as Rockers HiFi)
Courtesy of 4th & Broadway / Island Records Ltd.
Sample: "Da Bridge Beats" courtesy of Nubian Cracker Productions on Slammin' Records
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A solid flick, with good young DiCaprio performance, good and worth-seeing
27 August 2005 | by PersianPlaya408See all my reviews

Kalvert's portrayal of a catholic school basketball star, turned junkie is touching, but definitely flawed. DiCaprio is pretty good in the lead role of Jim Caroll, although he had some problems with the drug scenes (especially the first one) and the basketball scenes (he played like he sucked), other than that his performance was pretty good. The film had a great supporting cast, with Lorraine Bracco shining as his mother and Mark Wahlberg, Bruno Kirby and James Madio were all great in their roles, as well as Michael Rapaport, who stole his single scene from DiCaprio. The problem I had was that the film was not the most realistic, although a lot of the stuff it did portray I can either relate to or have seen go on in my high school (not exactly the most safe environment, California high schools or NY...). The direction was good keeping it interesting at most times, but i felt the screenplay was a bit weak and especially in the 3rd act it fell apart, although the ending was a bit cliché, it still helped as it rescued the 3rd act which seemed to be going nowhere. The acting was good, direction was nice and music used was also well done, screenplay was lackluster however. 8/10 #207 on my list of all-time favorite films


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