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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

Opening Weekend USA:

$765,335, 23 April 1995

Gross USA:

$2,381,087

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,381,087
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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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

A popular misconception holds that River Phoenix was set to play the lead before tragically dying on the Los Angeles sidewalk. This is not entirely accurate. Phoenix was a big fan of the book, and as the film version entered various stages of readiness, he was always the front runner. However, prior to his death, he had declined the role, due to a combination of feeling he was too old to play a fifteen year old, and trying to broaden his range with more adult roles. See more »

Goofs

When Jim is playing basketball and explaining how he plays and Pedro steals from the locker rooms, each time there is a point scored you can clearly hear the crowd cheering but visually the crowd is very calm. See more »

Quotes

Jim: I was just gonna sniff a bag but one guy says if you're gonna sniff you might as well pop it and another guys says if you gonna pop it you might as well mainline.
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

Dancing Barefoot
Written by Patti Smith, Ivan Král
Performed by Johnette Napolitano
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Very powerfull statement against drugs.
26 February 2000 | by Michiel WaaijerSee all my reviews

I think 'The basketball diaries' is a realistic and very important movie. It shows the road that one walks to being addicted to drugs. From taking dope once a week to taking dope every day, every hour. Leonardo DiCaprio playes a basketballplayer, a schoolkid(Jim Carrol) who walks this path. He experiments with drugs 'till there is no way back. He gets himself in all kinds of stupid situations. He starts robbing stores, ripping off money from old ladies just to get some cash for dope. His life is beginning to look like a living hell. His basketballcoach wants to have sex with him, and when he passes out on the basketballfield due to taking a wrong kind of 'pep-pil', he gets kicked out of the basketball team and from school. From this moment on everything goes in a downward spiral for DiCaprio.

An excellent scenario you would say, and it is. The acting from DiCaprio is great. We saw it earlier on in his career when he got oscar-nominated for 'What's eating gilbert grape'. A gripping drama in which he playes a disabled kid. But in 'The basketball diaries' he playes an equally difficult part. Not a lot actors would have put down this kid who's life is wrecked, and who is constantly thinking about dope as well as DiCaprio did.

The statement the movie delivers is a powerfull one. Being addicted to drugs is horrible. Usually people learn about this aspect trough seminars or televisonshows such as Oprah Winfrey. But it never really gets the kind of attention and understanding from the audience as 'The Basketball diaries' delivers.

The amazing performance by DiCaprio, the fact that this movie is actually based on a true story and the reality the movie is set in, 'The basketball diaries' deserves a 9 out of 10.


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