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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:

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:

 »
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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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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To prepare for his role, Leonardo DiCaprio hung out in Greenwich Village and went to a poetry reading with Carroll. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of the movie, just after the by was beaten by the Father. They walked towards the door to leave dressed in their school uniforms and when they got to the other side of the door, they were are dressed in street clothes. See more »

Quotes

Jim Carroll: You're growing up. And rain sort of remains on the branches of a tree that will someday rule the Earth. And it's good that there is rain. It clears the month of your sorry rainbow expressions, and it clears the streets of the silent armies... so we can dance.
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Connections

Referenced in Degrassi: The Next Generation: Basketball Diaries (2001) 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
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A Powerful Indictment Against Drug Addiction...
27 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

An uncompromising script and a solid performance from Leonardo Di Caprio help make THE BASKETBALL DIARIES a powerful and memorable film experience. Leo plays Jim Carroll, a high school student with a love of basketball and a flare for writing whose life goes right down the toilet when he becomes a heroine addict. Yes, perhaps Leo gets hooked a little too quickly but everything that happens to him after he gets hooked is totally real. Along with CLEAN AND SOBER, this movie so clearly and honestly demonstrates where drug addiction can take you...how nothing else becomes important but how and where that next high is coming from. There is one harrowing scene after another here. We see Jim returning to his mother (Lorraine Bracco) after being kicked out of the house and we see Jim turn from begging child to threatening thug in a matter of seconds, a scene brilliantly performed by DiCaprio. We see Jim and his friends beat up an old lady for her purse and we even see Jim prostitute himself with a man in order to get money. It's a frightening and realistic spiral downward that Jim takes and he does make it back, but it is important to remember when watching this film that a lot don't. DiCaprio gets solid support from future star Mark Wahlberg, Bruno Kirby, Jr., Juliette Lewis, and Michael Imperioli. A harrowing film experience that will not be forgotten once the credits roll.


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