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The Basketball Diaries (1995)

A teenager finds his dreams of becoming a basketball star threatened after he free falls into the harrowing world of drug addiction.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Marilyn Sokol ...
Chanting Woman
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Roy Cooper ...
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Construction Worker (as Vinnie Pastore)
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Jimmy Papiris ...
Iggy
Nick Gaetani ...
Referee #1
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Bobo (as Alexander Gaberman)
Ben Monk ...
Tommy (as Ben Jorgensen)
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Counterman
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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 | Add 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 »

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Details

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Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Basketball Diaries  »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,424,439
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many links to The Sopranos - Lorraine Bracco (Dr Melfi) plays Jim's mom. Michael Imperioli (Christopher Moltisanti) plays the friend who dies of Leukemia. Vincent Pastore (Big Pussy) is the guy that gets vomited on while on the ferry. The same three actors were also in Goodfellas (1990). Bracco as Karen Hill, Imperioli as Spider and Pastore as Man with Coatrack. See more »

Goofs

Shadow on the bathroom door when Jim is talking to his mother. 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.
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Soundtracks

Catholic Boy
Written by Jim Carroll
Performed by Jim Carroll with Pearl Jam
Pearl Jam appears courtesy of Epic Records
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Best anti-drug movie I have ever seen
25 July 2000 | by See all my reviews

This is a very good depressing movie. But, you can't make a good anti-drug movie without making it depressing. DiCaprio is brilliant. Arnie from What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Richard from The Beach, and Jim Carroll from the Basketball Diaries are about Leo's deepest characters. He is an excellent actor. The scenes that get you the most are the withdrawal scenes, and everytime he confronts his mother in the movie. This movie deserves a 10


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