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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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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jim Carroll
... Jim's Mother
Marilyn Sokol ... Chanting Woman
... Pedro
... Neutron
... Mickey
Roy Cooper ... Father McNulty
... Construction Worker (as Vinnie Pastore)
... Swifty
Jimmy Papiris ... Iggy
Nick Gaetani ... Referee #1
... Bobo (as Alexander Gaberman)
... Tommy (as Ben Jorgensen)
... Counterman
... 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 | 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

Official Sites:

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Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basketball Diaries  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,424,439
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After being nominated for an Oscar for Running on Empty (1988), MTV asked River Phoenix what he wanted to do next. He responded by pulling out a beat up paperback of "The Basketball Diaries" and stated "I wanted to play Jim Carroll." Later, the Los Angeles Times declared, "River Phoenix may have wanted it too much." Leonardo DiCaprio was a fan of Phoenix. See more »

Goofs

The blood on the shirt of the kid shot in the classroom disappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

Jim: Gee whiz, ma, we oughtta have these heart to heart talks more often, they're good for us.
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Soundtracks

I've Been Down
Written and Performed by Flea
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records, Inc.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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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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