The Panic In Needle Park

  • 1971
  • Movie
  • R
  • Drama

Al Pacino tries hard in his first starring role, but even his considerable talents can't breath life into this dreary, exploitative, and ultimately distasteful look at young heroin addicts in New York City. Helen (Kitty Winn), a pregnant girl from the Midwest, arrives in New York City for an abortion. While recovering at the apartment of her former lover...read more

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Al Pacino tries hard in his first starring role, but even his considerable talents can't breath life into this dreary, exploitative, and ultimately distasteful look at young heroin addicts in New York City. Helen (Kitty Winn), a pregnant girl from the Midwest, arrives in New York City for

an abortion. While recovering at the apartment of her former lover (Raul Julia), she takes up with Bobby (Pacino), a young, heroin-addicted dope dealer. Helen is soon sharing his habit, and the pursuit of heroin becomes an all-consuming obsession. In order to pay for his drugs and hopefully marry

Helen, Bobby agrees to help his brother Hank (Richard Bright) knock over a warehouse, but Bobby gets caught and is sent to prison. By the time he's released, Helen has taken up with Hank and has turned to prostitution to finance her heroin habit. Supposedly a no-holds-barred look at the seamy

heroin subculture, THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK is really little more than a boring romance between two dullards intercut with close-ups of filthy needles being jabbed into scarred veins. Director Jerry Schatzberg and writers Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne attempt to show the horrors of drug abuse

by plunging the film into the sleazy underworld and letting the camera linger on the degradation, but the characters are never fully developed. The viewer is naturally repulsed, but a deeper level of understanding is never achieved. It becomes the cinematic equivalent of a yellow journalism

expose: all sensation, but little content.

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  • Released: 1971
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Al Pacino tries hard in his first starring role, but even his considerable talents can't breath life into this dreary, exploitative, and ultimately distasteful look at young heroin addicts in New York City. Helen (Kitty Winn), a pregnant girl from the Midw… (more)

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