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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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2,142 ( 198)

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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:

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:

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

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

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: ...did I ever tell you about the first time I did heroin?
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

Featured in 42nd Street: River to River (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Down By The Water
Written by PJ Harvey (as PJ Harvey)
Performed by PJ Harvey (as PJ Harvey)
Courtesy of Island Records Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Another heroin-addict diary...
22 August 2004 | by rainking_esSee all my reviews

When you've watched plenty of movies based on some drug-addict life story you can't help compare them... I mean, the story is always the same: a guy begins having drugs for fun, or because he's boring, or just because he's young and wants to try new experiences, then he gets hooked, starts to rob or to prostitute himself, and eventually ends up in prison. That's what we see in Christiane F., El Pico, Trainspotting, Drugstore Cowboy... There may be differences in the form, and in the characters, but the content is always the same.

The dinstictive feature of Basketball Diaries is that the main character actually exists: Jim Carroll, a writer-singer-performer born in NYC in the 50's. And this is supposed to be his autobiography (or the cinema adaptation of some diaries he wrote when he was a teenager, heroin-addicted). Because of that, Basketball D. is more poetic than the rest of the movies I named before, the voice over of DiCaprio's character is present all along the film, telling us about his thoughts (rather nihilistic's) , with a style near to Burroughs or Jack Kerouac, urban poetry, tough and without ornament. Maybe that's the strong point of Basketball Diaries, because movies such as Christiane F. or El Pico recreates much better what it means to be a drug-addict, they're much more explicit, more dirty, much harder...

DiCaprio's performance deserves a new paragraph, 'cause it's simply astonishing. His best performance EVER, plenty of different shades. As he did in Gilbert Grape or This Boy's Life, he shows us how versatile he can be. If only he'd choose better the films he works in.

My rate: 7/10


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