The Basketball Diaries

The Basketball Diaries


Film adaptation of street tough Jim Carroll's (Leonardo DiCaprio) 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 appetite for heroin all 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 cannot 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, which ultimately ends with Jim's incarceration in a state penitentiary. The film is set in the early 90s, while Carroll's actual book recounts experiences from growing up in the 60s.

Rated R

Directed by Scott Kalvert
Produced by Liz Heller
John Bard Manulis
Written by Jim Carroll
Bryan Goluboff (screenplay)
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio
Lorraine Bracco
James Madio
Mark Wahlberg
Bruno Kirby
Music by Graeme Revell
Cinematography David Phillips
Editing by Dana Congdon
Studio Island Pictures
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) April 21, 1995
Running time 103 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Leonardo plays Jim Carroll, a basketball player and drug-addict.

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