The Basketball Diaries

Character: Jim Carroll
Directed by: Scott Kalvert
Written by: Jim Carroll (novel), Bryan Goluboff (screenplay)
Produced by: Chris Blackwell, Dan Genett
Other cast: Lorraine Bracco, James Madio, Patrick McGaw, Mark Wahlberg, Roy Cooper, Bruno Kirby
Release date: April 21,1995
Genre: Biography, Crime, Drama
Running time: 1h 42min

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.



“Catholic Boys”
Written and Performed by Jim Carroll

Written by Tyler Willman, Robert Martin, Steve Ross, Daniel
Kempthorne and Mariann Braden
Performed by Green Apple Quick Step

“What A Life”
Written by Glyn Rush, Richard Whittingham and Robert McKenzie
Performed by Rockers HiFi

“Down By The Water”
Written and Performed by P. J. Harvey

“Sample: Da Bridge Beats”

“Riders on the Storm”
Written by Jim Morrison , Ray Manzarek, John Densmore and Robbie Krieger
Performed by the Doors

“People Who Died”
Written by Jim Carroll, Terrell Winn, Brian Linsley, Wayne Woods, Steve Linsley
Performed by the Jim Carroll Band

“Dancing Barefoot”
Ivan Kral
Performed by Johnette Napolitano “Strawberry Wine”
Written by Paul DiBartolo and Adam Flax
Performed by Massive Internal Complications

“Coming Right Along”
Written by Jim Auer and Ken Stringfellow
Performed by The Posies

“Blind Dogs”
Performed by Soundgarten”Star”
Written by Ian Astbury and William Duffy
Performed by The Cult

“I’ve Been Down”
Written and Performed by Flea

Basketball Trailer Music

Crazy by Seal

Alternate Versions for The Basketball Diaries

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.


Boom mike visible: Shadow on the bathroom door when Jim is talking to his mother.
Continuity: Supposedly set in winter, yet deciduous trees with green leaves are visible.
Continuity: The blood on the shirt of the kid shot in the classroom disappears between shots.
Revealing mistakes: When Jim’s mother throws his trophy out of the window and the camera pans across to see it on the pavement, but you can see the actual one she threw behind Jim.
Crew or equipment visible: In the “dream” scene, when Leo is shooting his classmates, the one who gets shot in the back has a visible string attached to him which pulls him to the blackboard. When Leo has a vision on the basketball court and gets blown by explosion, the string is visible again. They were dream sequences, but it seems unlikely that he would dream of strings.
Revealing mistakes: When being picked up from the snow by Reggie, Jim bends his left leg even though he is supposed to be unconscious.