7.3/10
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163 user 42 critic

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:

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

The movie became one of several subjects to a lawsuit filed shortly after the 1997 shooting at Heath High School, where a group of praying students were shot and killed by a fourteen-year-old. The infamous (now disbarred) attorney Jack Thompson, who filed the suit, claimed that this film, as well as several video game companies, two internet porn sites, and the 1994 film "Natural Born Killers" were directly responsible for influencing the shooter. The case was ultimately dismissed in 2001. See more »

Goofs

The blood on the shirt of the kid shot in the classroom disappears between shots. See more »

Quotes

Jim: All I've been doing is reading this diary wondering how the hell I'm still alive?
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 Beyond Clueless (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

Blind Dogs
Written by Kim Thayil (as Kim A. Thayil), Chris Cornell (as Christopher J. Cornell)
Performed by Soundgarden
Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
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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