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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

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

Goofs

After the boys jump into the river, there is a gash on the right side of Jim's forehead, after he takes the drugs out of the medicine cabinet; it is on the left side. See more »

Quotes

Swifty: [after getting hit in the nose by Jim] All right. Fine. Tell them whatever you want. Nobody's gonna believe a druggie like you, anyway.
Jim: What?
Swifty: You think we're stupid? You think we don't know what you've been doin'?
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 »

Connections

Referenced in The Chase Australia: Episode #2.45 (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Riders On The Storm
Written by Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Robby Krieger (as Robbie Krieger)
Performed by The Doors
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
St. Vitus' Dance
26 June 2004 | by jotix100See all my reviews

There is a type of disease associated with St. Vitus and this film qualifies in the comparison because it's quirky, fast, and it never stops moving. Director Scott Kalvert gives the movie a 'look' that makes the Manhattan of the period when it supposedly takes place, believable.

Leonardo DiCaprio was at his best in the film. His performance is very nuanced and in your face, at the same time. Mr. DiCaprio makes you feel the pain Jim is going through; he is a lost soul. Not being a fan of Mark Wahlberg, I must confess that in this film, be it because of the direction, or whatever, he shines, as Mickey.

As Jim's mother, Lorraine Bracco has never been better in anything she has been in recent memory. Bruno Kirby is perfectly creepy as the coach of St. Vitus High School.

As far as the connection with the Columbine School massacre, since the sequence where Jim is involved is a dream, it's easy to understand how the twisted minds of the ones responsible for the killings would have taken this scene as a model for their terrible crime.


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