The Panic in Needle Park

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A gruelling but highly responsible film about the influence of heroin on a New York street romance. Schatzberg moves with considerable force over the urban territory of Midnight Cowboy, using hand-held cameras and a sustained editing rhythm to convey the couple's gradual descent into hell as mercilessly as he shows the needles entering his characters' veins (in close-up). Pacino, as the boy, proves that he didn't need Coppola to make him act, but Kitty Winn is less satisfactory, and the film is finally subject to an iron law of diminishing returns after its plot plumbs the depths and can find nothing to do except batter us some more. In fact, the anti hard drugs message comes on so strong and so realistically that the British censor's ban (lifted in 1975) seems positively malicious: it's precisely this kind of suppression of information which results in junkie mythologies. (From the novel by James Mills.

Release details

Cast and crew

Director: Jerry Schatzberg
Screenwriter: Joan Didion, John Gregory Dunne
Cast: Al Pacino
Kitty Winn
Alan Vint
Richard Bright
Kiel Martin
Michael McClanathan
Warren Finnerty
Marcia Jean Kurtz
Raúl Julia
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