What to know

critics consensus

In spite of its young leading man's heroic efforts to hold it all together, a muddled message prevents The Basketball Diaries from compelling as a cautionary tale. Read critic reviews

You might also like

User image

Verified

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)



  • You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Step 2 of 2

    How did you buy your ticket?

    Let's get your review verified.

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

    You're almost there! Just confirm how you got your ticket.

  • User image

    Super Reviewer

    Rate this movie

    Oof, that was Rotten.

    Meh, it passed the time.

    It’s good – I’d recommend it.

    Awesome!

    So Fresh: Absolute Must See!

    What did you think of the movie? (optional)

  • How did you buy your ticket?

    • Fandango

    • AMCTheatres.com or AMC AppNew

    • Cinemark Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Regal Coming Soon

      We won’t be able to verify your ticket today, but it’s great to know for the future.

    • Theater box office or somewhere else

The Basketball Diaries Photos

Movie Info

Jim Carroll (Leonardo DiCaprio) is consumed by his life as a high school basketball star. Pressured by a wicked coach (Bruno Kirby) and a concerned mother (Lorraine Bracco), Jim develops an appetite for heroin. Soon, the mean streets of New York City have replaced the basketball court as his main destination. Jim and his friends scrounge, steal and prostitute themselves to score drugs. Jim's only chance to escape addiction may be Reggie (Ernie Hudson), a neighborhood friend and hoops companion.

Cast & Crew

News & Interviews for The Basketball Diaries

Critic Reviews for The Basketball Diaries

All Critics (40) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (18) | Rotten (22)

Audience Reviews for The Basketball Diaries

  • Apr 28, 2014
    Leonardo's acting was brilliant. But aside from that, I don't think there is any more to look forward to in seeing this film.
    Maymay A Super Reviewer
  • Nov 22, 2012
    The Basketball Diaries (1995) is not initially about the sport itself, but the abuse of drug consumption. The message here falls flat with it excellent cast barely saving the film from being just another "Say no to drugs" service announcement. The Basketball Diaries recall the true events of author Jim Carroll's falling victim to drugs and seeing his world collapse in front of him. The film has a good moral to send out, but fails to give us deep characters. The film just expects to care about these character because they are just teenagers ruining their life; though skipping over character developments does it moral no favor. Some scenes that were meant to powerful just fall short, like when Leonardo dreams about killing his students and teachers Terminator style, fall flat because of a lack of depth. The dialogue here is odd, just don't expect award winning material from a film that has the line "Time sure fly by when your young and jerking off" in it. The only saving grace come from it cast, especially Leonardo DiCaprio who gives a fantastic dramatic performance. He simply shines in this and in spite the lack of the character development, his good performance is good enough make you care what he's going through. He gives the film one very memorable and powerful film when he begs his mother for money. The rest of the cast is solid as well. Even Mark Wahlberg was good; though he never interest me as an actor (he barely chooses an interesting leading role in my opinion). Every single one the actors have great chemistry with one another making up for the writing shortcoming. The Basketball Diaries has an excellent cast that makes up for it plot which lack depth. It's solid film with a good message that fails to be as effective as it could have been or as inspiring as it source material.
    Caesar M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 16, 2011
    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 s Super Reviewer
  • Jun 12, 2011
    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

Movie & TV guides