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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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2,419 ( 66)

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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

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

Supposedly set in winter, yet deciduous trees with green leaves are visible. See more »

Quotes

Jim's Mother: Idle time is the devil's play thing
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 Jersey: Basketball Diaries (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Dizzy
Written by Tyler Willman, Robert Martin, Steve Ross, Daniel Kempthorne, Mariann Braden
Performed by Green Apple Quick Step
Courtesy of The Medicine Label
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A Sorry True Story
26 September 1999 | by roland-27See all my reviews

Leonardo Di Caprio puts in the best performance of his career in this sickening true story of boys growing up in a man's world. Him and his friends(including boogie night's Mark Wahlberg) start a life threatening race of drugs and murder.

Ernie Hudson puts in a small appearance as Reggie, the do gooder who tries to put Leo on the right tracks. Juliette Lewis is smartly placed as the local prostitute, and Bruno Kirby plays the gay basketball coach to perfection.

The most disturbing scene for me was when Reggie tries to get Jimmy(leo) off of drugs by locking him in a room for a long time. Both actors do well with Leo in a polished performance. The Basketball Diaries is disturbing, but at the same time, it tells the truth in a way that keeps the images in your mind. If it had one fault, it was under using Lorraine Bracco and Michael Imporliano(both appeared in Goodfellas and The Sopranos). Rating=3/5


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