The Basketball Diaries (1995)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Basketball Diaries Videos & Photos

Movie Info

Adolescent drug addiction provides the focus for this timely drama based on author Jim Carroll's best-selling 1978 autobiography. As a young man, Carroll and his three friends loved to hang out and play basketball. The boys' innocent drug experimentation leads them into heroin addition and threatens to destroy their lives.

Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Brian Goluboff, Bryan Goluboff, Bryan Gloumboff
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 30, 1998
PolyGram Video

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as Jim Carroll

as Jim's Mother

as Swifty

as Reggie Porter

as Pedro

as Drug Dealer #1

as Confessional Priest

as Father McNulty

as Counterman

as Diane Moody

as Chanting Woman

as Subway John

as Construction Worker

as Construction Worker

as Stripper

as Drug Dealer

as Mugging Victim

as Referee No. 1

as Referee No. 2

as Policeman

as Kenny

as Frankie Pinewater

as Juju Johnson

as Mr. Rubin

as Policeman

as Billy the Bartender
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Critic Reviews for The Basketball Diaries

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (13)

For those few soul-freezing moments, you get a glimpse of the great actor Leonardo DiCaprio is going to be.

Full Review… | March 24, 2008
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Significantly, the movie keeps the hero's reformation offscreen as well as unexplained; it's more interested in shock effects than in candor or elucidation.

Full Review… | March 24, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The angel-faced DiCaprio is a gifted actor, but he lacks the authority and physical presence to keep us with him.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The star shines, but the movie is hard to watch.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

You leave The Basketball Diaries believing that Leonardo DiCaprio can do anything.

May 12, 2001
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Although it masquerades as a cautionary tale about the horrors of heroin, this epic of teen-age angst is more accurately seen as a reverential wallow in the gutter of self-absorption.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Basketball Diaries

Used to despise Caprio initially, but now he's growing on me. Probably I was not qualified to see how talented an actor is. But I guess I'm progressing with time, at least in that direction. Or maybe it's vice versa. [Hell, whenever I comment, for most of the times, it's not entirely concentrated on the movie itself. Instead of asking (begging would come last, if at all) for your pardon, I'd rather that you get used to it. Even better, stop wa.....]

Back to the movie. Oh, hadn't started in the first place!!! The movie entertains as long as it depicts the teenage kiddo activities of Jim and company. It's fun for that part except for the sobby Bobby track in which Leonardo sucks. But the movie sort of descends with his downfall. It tries to portray the frustrations of an addicted teenager and how his relationships are worsened, but doesn't get it right. It becomes a bit too melodramatic, and some cliched dialogues only make it worse. And once he runs out of money to fetch drugs, it becomes tough not only for him but also for us. Wish it was the same for the recovery part.

However, on the whole, the movie's worth a shot. If you decide to see "The Basketball Diaries", please be cautious enough to not to piss on it.

familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

"Man, who da hell axed you to suck dat dick!?"

Coxxie Mild Sauce

Super Reviewer


Leo makes this movie awesome. His acting skills are amazing in this.

The film didn't really show Jim's spiral into addiction. It was kind of just like one minute he's clean, then the next he's a full fledged druggie. The plot was supposed to be based on a true story, but it was pretty damn unrealistic e.g. the guy falling off the roof, the coach being a pervert, the excessive mugging etc. It was all way too dramatized. I didn't like that.

Other than that, it was pretty good. Leo pretty much made the movie.

Japes .

Super Reviewer

The Basketball Diaries Quotes

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– Submitted by Shamir M (4 years ago)

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