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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Good Movies  |  THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK (1971) « previous next »
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Author Topic: THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK (1971)  (Read 2564 times)
The Burgomaster
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« on: June 20, 2007, 09:36:42 PM »



This is one of those "excellent movies that hardly anyone has seen."  The DVD release has been announced and canceled 3 or 4 times over the past couple of years . . . but it's finally available and I bought it.

Al Pacino and Kitty Winn play two heroin addicts in New York's City's "Needle Park."

This movie captures the streets of New York in the same gritty way as movies like TAXI DRIVER, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, SHAFT and MIDNIGHT COWBOY.  In fact, there is no music score.  Instead, all you hear are the sounds of the city:  sirens, horns, buses, baby's crying in tenement hallways . . . this all adds to the film's realism and makes it feel almost like a documentary.

If you're looking for fun, you won't find it here.  This movie is about desperation, hopelessness, betrayal, paranoia, self-destruction . . . just about every downbeat theme you can imagine.  And the scenes of addicts shooting up are unflinching and sometimes disturbing.

You can, however, entertain yourself by looking for familiar faces throughout the movie.  You will see Raul Julia, Paul Sorvino, Warren Finnerty, Alan Vint, Richard Bright (who went on to play Al Neri in THE GODFATHER movies), and Joe Santos.

A dark, depressing movie that you won't soon forget, magnificently directed by Jerry Schatzberg.
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DodgingGrunge
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« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2007, 10:37:30 PM »

Thumbup Thumbup  AGH!  Thank you SO much for posting this; I didn't realize it had come out!  I've been looking for a copy for many years now.  I mention this film every time someone brings up Trainspotting or Requiem for a Dream, but you're right, nobody has seen this.  This is really one of Al Pacino's best performances!  Sweet!
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lester1/2jr
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« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2007, 03:42:40 PM »

they show this on TCM sometimes.  It is indeed really depressing.   They didn't have a very good sense of nutrition then.
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RCMerchant
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« Reply #3 on: June 21, 2007, 04:40:37 PM »

I saw it on cable a few years back...and I agree-a VERY bummed out movie...but VERY good. Another forgotton movie thay comes to mind when I think of this one,for some reason,is JOE(1970) another NYC based story involving drug addicts with Peter Boyle as an angry hardhat bigot. Both great movies...both largly forgotton.
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The Burgomaster
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2007, 07:00:12 PM »

Yup . . . JOE also holds a proud spot in my DVD collection . . .
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lester1/2jr
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« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2007, 12:42:39 PM »

I don't get the fascination people have with junkies.  they're losers.    Shaft is bagning white women in hot tubs and these guys are taking drugs and begging like homeless people
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« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2007, 05:16:22 PM »

I don't get the fascination people have with junkies.  they're losers.    Shaft is bagning white women in hot tubs and these guys are taking drugs and begging like homeless people

Good question. What IS the fasination with this kinda movie? I guess if it's well written,it makes for good drama. If not,well...it's just kinda depressing. Why do people watch Fox TV's COPS show? It's kinda voyeouristic,and  I don't really enjoy seeing people's misery,but I watch anyway. I dunno. Question
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\"Supernatural?...perhaps. Baloney?...Perhaps not!\" Bela Lugosi-the BLACK CAT (1934)


Interviewer-"Does Dracula ever end for you?"
Lugosi-"No. Dracula-never ends."





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The Burgomaster
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2007, 05:59:10 PM »

I don't get the fascination people have with junkies.  they're losers.    Shaft is bagning white women in hot tubs and these guys are taking drugs and begging like homeless people

I guess it's similar to the fascination that most people who contribute to this forum have about watching zombies eat people, maniacs hack people apart with machetes, psychos grind people into pulp with chainsaws, etc.  It's our fascination with the unusual . . . taboos that you don't see every day . . . lifestyles that you aren't familiar with . . .
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DodgingGrunge
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2007, 08:45:04 PM »

I don't get the fascination people have with junkies.  they're losers.

The fascination, from an outside perspective, is like anything else.  Through the magic of cinema, you can vicariously live the lives of dangerous and destructive characters.  And you're kidding yourself if you think drugs have no appeal.  Drugs are awesome (in the original sense of the word).  They engender emotional and physical responses in extremes that simply are not possible to achieve naturally.  For many, distortions in perception and perspective borderline religious epiphany.  But as a species, human beings are not mature enough to handle this sensory overclocking while maintaining a healthy corporeal existence.  As such, riding the milder peaks and troughs of a fictitious person's drug addiction is an attractive alternative.

Growing up in Chicago, I lost a lot of friends to substance addiction, chiefly heroin*.  And I can tell you first hand, junkies are not losers, they are the shells of once bright, wonderful people.  I consider myself a clever, capable person, but had circumstances been just slightly different, I wouldn't be here now to talk to you.  Nobody actually decides to become a junkie; that's asinine.  But when you first try heroin, it is like nothing else.  Your whole body goes numb, fuzzy; there is a warmth and peace that is hard to articulate.  But you survive the experience, cherish it, and thinking you know the wiser, you'll try it again, maybe weeks or even months later.  This isn't some Reefer Madness addiction.  It is much more subtle.  Like masturbation.  Once you discover the sensation, you'll recreate it from time to time.  Eventually it becomes hard to remember life without the sensation.  And in the case of heroin and crystal meth in particular, life without it suddenly seems so empty and wrong.  Nobody can stand up to that.  As human beings, we are wired to respond to chemical sensations of good and bad (peptides); acting to the contrary is going against our very nature.  Junkies are not losers; they are human.

Sorry, I didn't mean to rant or preach.  I just felt you could use some perspective from the other side.

* There are dangers beyond the mere toxicity of a substance.  I've lost two friends to AIDs-related diseases and one to a robbery gone awry.
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« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2007, 08:37:31 AM »

I guess I just can't relate.  It seems like some bohemian nonsense like socialism
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DodgingGrunge
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« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2007, 09:35:27 AM »

I guess I just can't relate.  It seems like some bohemian nonsense like socialism

Socialism indeed requires relation.  It presupposes needs for the species on a whole, regardless of the subjective worth of a particular individual; things like health care, education, safety.  I for one think people are more or less equal, and their successes and follies are largely the product of their environment.  I was *this* close to pursuing an endless cycle of substance abuse, but as it should happen, the right woman entered my life at precisely the right moment and everything changed.  I don't mean to negate accountability, but my foresight, living in the lower socio-economic stratus, certainly lacked the clarity retrospection now affords.

It is a good thing that you cannot relate to the circumstances of such characters.  But certainly you can relate to their pain, misery, misfortune?  Empathy is a large part of what makes human beings such a capable species.  And it's also what allows us to love and hate the fictitious characters presented before us on the silver screen.
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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2007, 09:52:09 AM »

I see.  So the themes of the movie may resonate with someone like me more than a superficial fascination with  junkies.


" things like health care, education, safety"

to you.  If you have a negative view of government as I happen too, these things simply becomes tools of oppression.  tools in the hands of fools who are not cool.

smash the welfare-warfare state!  liberty!
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DodgingGrunge
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2007, 10:04:30 AM »

to you.  If you have a negative view of government as I happen too, these things simply becomes tools of oppression.  tools in the hands of fools who are not cool.

smash the welfare-warfare state!  liberty!

TeddyR TeddyR

Well, I've never had health coverage, dental, vision, etc.  But that's because insurance is a privatized business which exists to make a profit.  As such, statistically I would stand to spend more on the coverage than any actual health services.  I have chosen to invest my money in liquid ING funds instead.

FYI: The United States used to have privatized fire fighters.  You would purchase a medallion from one or another company and place it on your house.  In the event of a fire, they'd first check to see if you had their medallion.  Some things, it seems to me, should be granted.
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Bela
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« Reply #13 on: June 23, 2007, 10:58:35 AM »

I guess I just can't relate.  It seems like some bohemian nonsense like socialism

I don't know why anyone else is fascinated by it...but I know why it interests me...it is because I can identify with it. I have close family,many who ARE drug addicts. I am a recovering alchoholic. It is not about being cool at all. Maybe at first...too hang out and be accepted by a certain crowd,I started drinking( and yes I did lots of drugs as well...and I do mean LOTS), but it quickly changes into a whole differnt story soon...it becomes YOUR LIFE. It not only is a good part of life...it is the ONLY THING in life. I lived,breathed and sh1t for my fix. The only reason I got up in the morning to stagger to work was to make money so I could buy booze. Being "hip" or "cool" was loong in the past. Hell, I drank alone! Noone wanted to hang out with me except for druggies and drunks. I'ts only by the grace of God that I am alive today,because I had nothing to do with it. Iguess the reason I watch movies like this would be the same reason that vets watch war movies..or recount war stories...not because it was fun...it's because you seem to be a part of you forever after...and I don't ever want to romantize it ,myself. TV shows or dumb s**t that makes drinkng and drugs look fun have no appeal to me. Give me PANIC in NEEDLE PARK over CHEECH and CHONG any day!
  ( Though I love when Stacy Keach turns into a human iguana! Smile)
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\"Supernatural?...perhaps. Baloney?...Perhaps not!\" Bela Lugosi-the BLACK CAT (1934)


Interviewer-"Does Dracula ever end for you?"
Lugosi-"No. Dracula-never ends."





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