Get This Movie!
tacks31 | San Francisco, CA | 09/14/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is a classic that is long overdue on DVD. Al Pacino makes a stunning debut. This is an intense drama whose gritty and accurate reflection of drug addiction will not easily be forgotten. Pacino's portrayal so impressed Francis Ford Coppola that he cast the new actor in The Godfather."
Compulsory For Anbody Thinking of Using
David Baldwin | Philadelphia,PA USA | 06/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was a little taken aback by the film's "PG" rating. Drug use is treated frankly, there's some strong language and fleeting nudity. But then I thought why shouldn't young people of a certain age see this film. They are the most vulnerable in being ensnared into the drug culture and maybe they should heed the film's cautionary message. I also found the timing of this film's release, 1971, interesting because it comes at a time when the drug culture was in full bloom and we were only a few years removed from "Easy Rider". The selling point is, of course, Al Pacino who is nothing short of amazing as the small-time thief who goes from pecking to full-blown addiction. I thought this was more Kitty Winn's picture, though. Her character could be anybody's daughter who for reason's unknown takes up a serious drug habit. The film is essentially a love story between Pacino and Winn's characters. I couldn't decide whether the love between the two brought a little light to their dismal straits or that they were enabling each other into a worse addiction. For obvious reasons the film's message is timeless because, unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. Pacino and director Jerry Schatzberg would later collaborate on another seventies gem, "Scarecrow", that is well worth checking out."
Still one of the Best
Charles E. Lewis | Lincoln, Ne usa | 11/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I hadn't seen this flick since it's original release. I've been waiting a looonnng time for it to come out on DVD. In my opinion it is STILL the most realistic, gritty, depressing, and believeable portrayal of the lifestyle of heroin junkies ever put on film. I worked in law enforcement and had an up-front and personal view of the kinds of people this movie was about. The only truer depiction would have to be an on the scene filmed documentary. They rarely make movies as good as this one these days."
Honesty rarely hurts this much...
Andrew Ellington | I'm kind of everywhere | 09/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There are few films that are truly able to capture what it feels like to be addicted. Probably the film that comes the closest and is the most compelling (albeit most disturbing) is `Requiem for a Dream'; at least in my humble opinion. The little known gem that is `The Panic in Needle Park' comes very close though, for like `Requiem for a Dream', `The Panic in Needle Park' strips everything bare and delivers a very harsh reality to the viewer, exploring the depths that some will stoop to just to find their next fix.
`The Panic in Needle Park' tells the story of Bobby, a young heroine addict who falls in love with Helen, a sweet and innocent young girl who is taken up by Booby's apparent bad boy persona. He is new and interesting and unlike anyone she's ever really known before. Sure, she's been around drugs but she's never really been exposed at such an alarming rate until she met Bobby. Soon she becomes are addicted as he is, getting in and out of trouble with the cops as she peddles for Bobby, buys for Bobby and scores with Bobby. Bobby's brother Hank isn't much help, for while he isn't as addicted as Bobby, his criminal activities leave him just as bad an influence. As the film spirals towards its conclusion the lives of these two lovers become more and more disjointed and frantic and the panic sets in and the addiction takes over.
The film is grim (no where near as grim as `Requiem for a Dream' so don't worry too much) and it's gritty delivery makes each and every scene seem as if it is really taking place (the lack of any musical soundtrack helps add a layer of reality to the film). The performances really elevate the film as well, drawing the audience into the mental states of these star-crossed and ill-fated individuals. Kitty Winn is marvelous as Helen, a truly devastating depiction of lost dreams and manipulated trust. As she deteriorates due to Bobby's influence we watch her addictions take over her thinking and propel her in directions she never thought imaginable. When she talks to Bobby at the prison, her face contorting to that of pain and misery you can see every fiber in her slowly fraying at the edges. Al Pacino is also flawless as Bobby. This is the performance that got him the coveted role in `The Godfather' saga; Coppola falling in love with Pacino's acting ability here. He seeps effortlessly into the mind of an addict, conveying the hunger so readily and convincingly. He is outstandingly sympathetic at one extreme and then harrowingly vile on the other. He balances this very well in order to gain out acceptance and loyalty, much like Bobby gained that of Helen.
In the end I must say that I am in awe of this film. Like I mentioned, there are few films that can capture the heart of addiction with such fiery honesty, even though many films today try. `The Panic in Needle Park' has such a rare truthfulness in its story and it rings forth with such power that one cannot help but become absorbed in its tale. It is a hard film to watch because its misery is so real, but it is an important film to see for it sheds some light on the disease that takes so many victims today."