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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2,051 ( 103)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Jim Carroll
Lorraine Bracco ... Jim's Mother
Marilyn Sokol ... Chanting Woman
James Madio ... Pedro
Patrick McGaw ... Neutron
Mark Wahlberg ... Mickey
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 Jorgensen ... Tommy
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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Studio executives originally wanted the film to be set in Seattle, Washington. Director Scott Kalvert had read The Basketball Diaries when he was fifteen years old, and compared it to Catcher in the Rye. "Nobody really wanted to make the movie," Kalvert claimed. "Some wanted the locale changed to Seattle, because Seattle was cool. Someone wanted to change it so Jim wasn't the one involved in drugs, and I had a specific take on it." See more »

Goofs

When Jim's mother throws his trophy out of the window and the camera pans across to see it on the pavement, but you can see the actual one she threw behind Jim. See more »

Quotes

Jim: Know this. There's different types of users of junk. You got your rich dilettante square-ass who dabbles now and then and always has enough money to run off to the Riviera if he feels he's fucking around to the danger point. Street junkies hate these pricks, but they're always suckers, and their money makes them tolerable. Then you got your upper-middle-class Westchester preppies... same as the others, basically. What they're good for is opening their mommy and daddy's eyes to this social virus...
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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 »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Leonardo DiCaprio Performances (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Star
Written by Ian Astbury, Billy Duffy (as William Duffy)
Performed by The Cult
Courtesy of Beggars Banquet Records, Ltd.
(except for USA, Beggars Banquet Records, Ltd. / Sire Records)
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User Reviews

 
Very scary and realistic movie. As real as it gets.
3 August 2006 | by bobi1369See all my reviews

Beings that this was Leonardo's first leading role, he was very impressive as Jim Carroll. The movie also stars Lorraine Bracco, Marc Wahlberg, James Madio and Patrick McGaw as his mother and sidekicks respectfully. As an ex-addict myself, I could relate to his story and everything he went through. The movie was so real it brought up a lot of old memories that I thought I had forgotten. I wish every young person was made to see this movie as it takes the fun and games out of even recreational drug use. Not even the strong survive. I give it two thumbs way up and my sincere thanks to Jim Carroll for fighting off his demons to write "The Baasketball Diaries".


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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Basketball Diaries See more »

Filming Locations:

Hoboken, New Jersey, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$765,335, 23 April 1995

Gross USA:

$2,381,087

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,402,438
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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