The Basketball Diaries Movie Poster
  • Released
  • February 1, 1996
  • R, 1 hr 42 min
  • Drama
  • 5 Fan Ratings

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Common Sense Says
Common Sense Media

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this story is a gritty look a group of teenage friends as they succumb to drug addiction, and as such is probably only appropriate for the most emotionally mature teenagers. Early in the film, the friends are deeply affected by the untimely death (due to leukemia) of their pal Bobby. Obscene language is the norm rather than the exception as are scenes of violence, including muggings and robberies perpetrated by the main characters. Men routinely offer money to Carroll for sex, including his coach. While there are ultimately consequences for these behaviors, scenes depicting the highs of cocaine and heroin use do convey a sense of elation and excitement. One such drug-induced dream has the trenchcoat-clad protagonist shooting his classmates –- a scene much discussed in the wake of Columbine. The total effect of the film is shown to be the source of the real life Carroll's later success. Also, the presence of DiCaprio and Wahlberg make this film one likely to pique the interest of teens.

  • Positive messages
  • Violence
  • Sexual
  • Language
  • Consumerism
  • Drinking & drugs
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