IMDb > The Panic in Needle Park (1971)
The Panic in Needle Park
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The Panic in Needle Park (1971) More at IMDbPro »

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User Rating:
7.1/10   12,902 votes »
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Down 23% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
James Mills (book)
Joan Didion (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Panic in Needle Park on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
1 June 1971 (France) See more »
In the dark corner of the city, they found light See more »
Follows the lives of heroin addicts who frequent "Needle Park" in New York City. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 win & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
One of the best films I've ever seen. See more (70 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Al Pacino ... Bobby

Kitty Winn ... Helen

Alan Vint ... Hotch

Richard Bright ... Hank

Kiel Martin ... Chico
Michael McClanathan ... Sonny
Warren Finnerty ... Sammy

Marcia Jean Kurtz ... Marcie

Raul Julia ... Marco
Angie Ortega ... Irene

Larry Marshall ... Mickey

Paul Mace ... Whitey
Nancy MacKay ... Penny
Gil Rogers ... Robins

Joe Santos ... DiBono

Paul Sorvino ... Samuels

Arnold Williams ... Freddy
Vic Ramano ... Santo (as Vic Romano)
Bryant Fraser ... Prep School Boy
Dora Weissman ... Pawnshop Lady
Sully Boyar ... Doctor
Florence Tarlow ... Ward Nurse

Rutanya Alda ... Admitting Nurse (as Ruth Alda)
Anthony Palmer ... Hotel Clerk
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Anthony Caso ... Drug Addict (uncredited)
Jeffrey Walker ... Prisoner #1 (uncredited)

Directed by
Jerry Schatzberg 
Writing credits
James Mills (book)

Joan Didion (screenplay) and
John Gregory Dunne (screenplay)

Produced by
Dominick Dunne .... producer
Roger M. Rothstein .... associate producer
Cinematography by
Adam Holender (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Evan A. Lottman  (as Evan Lottman)
Art Direction by
Murray P. Stern 
Set Decoration by
Philip Smith 
Costume Design by
Jo Ynocencio 
Makeup Department
Herman Buchman .... makeup artist
Phil Naso .... hair stylist
Production Management
Roger M. Rothstein .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Robert Greenhut .... first assistant director
Jim Inch .... second assistant director (as James F. Inch)
Paul J. Crossey .... dga trainee (uncredited)
Art Department
Joseph M. Caracciolo .... property master (as Joe Caracciolo)
Edward Garzero .... scenic artist
Sound Department
Dennis Maitland .... sound mixer
Al Nahmias .... sound editor
Dick Vorisek .... sound re-recordist (as Richard Vorisek)
Katherine Wenning .... sound editor
Camera and Electrical Department
Edward R. Brown .... camera operator (as Edward Brown)
Adger W. Cowans .... still photographer
Robert Dolan .... gaffer
James Finnerty .... key grip
Emmanuel Metaxas .... assistant camera
Ron Zarilla .... second assistant camera (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
George Newman .... wardrobe: men
Marilyn Putnam .... wardrobe: women
Editorial Department
Martin Plachter .... assistant editor
Transportation Department
Raymond Hartwick .... transportation captain
Other crew
Nancy Hopton .... script supervisor (as Nancy Tonery)
Shari Leibowitz .... production secretary
Ruth A. Oberdorfer .... secretary to producer
Sue Dwiggins .... production secretary (uncredited)
Eileen Peterson .... publicist (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Pánico en Needle Park" - Mexico (imdb display title), Spain
"Panique à Needle Park" - Canada (French title), France
"Πανικός στο Νηντλ Παρκ" - Greece
"Паника в Нидл-парке" - Soviet Union (Russian title)
"Паника в Парка на дрогата" - Bulgaria (Bulgarian title)
"Esrar bitti" - Turkey (Turkish title)
"Narkomani" - Poland
"Os Viciados" - Brazil
"Pánik a Tű parkban" - Hungary
"Pânico em Needle Park" - Portugal
"Panico a Needle Park" - Italy
"Paniikki Piikkipuistossa" - Finland (video box title)
"Panik i Needle Park" - Sweden
"Panik i nåleparken" - Denmark (imdb display title)
"Panik im Needle Park" - Austria
"Panika u parku droga" - Serbia (imdb display title)
See more »
110 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (Westrex Recording System)
Australia:R | Canada:PG (video rating) | Finland:K-16 | Italy:VM18 | Netherlands:12 | Norway:15 | Norway:16 (1971) | Sweden:15 | UK:18 (video) | UK:X (re-rating) (1974) | UK:Rejected (original rating) (1971) | USA:PG | USA:R (original rating) | West Germany:16 (f)

Did You Know?

Francis Ford Coppola showed a screening of this film to Paramount executives in order to convince them that Al Pacino was suitable for the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather (1972).See more »
Continuity: When Bobby kicks the young john out of the hotel after robbing him Helen is loosely using the towel to cover her breasts. In the next shot the towel is wrapped neatly around her.See more »
Chico:You know what the best high of all is?
Helen:What is it?
See more »
Movie Connections:


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30 out of 36 people found the following review useful.
One of the best films I've ever seen., 21 August 2005
Author: MovieAddict2016 from UK

So I was scrolling through a Borders outside of London one day, looking at all the expensive R2 DVDs I didn't have enough money for, when I spotted a movie I had never even heard of starring Al Pacino - "The Panic in Needle Park." It had the same front cover (style-wise) as "Scarface," which was an obvious marketing ploy. It had a quote from Francis Ford Coppola, which claimed he chose Pacino for "The Godfather" after seeing the film and screening it to Paramount execs.

It had piqued my interest and it was only five pounds (roughly ten dollars) so I thought, "Why not? If it's awful it's still only five pounds." I bought it, went home later that night and watched it.

I was blown away because it was easily one of the more interesting character studies I'd ever seen. It's got unlikable characters, for sure, but there's still a connection to them which allowed me, at least, to relate to their struggles. (And no, I don't use heroin.) The film stars Al Pacino in one of his very first roles as a heroin addict living in New York City, an era dubbed "Needle Park," where all the junkies hang out. (I believe I saw the exact same park in another drug movie released the same year, called "Born to Win," starring George Segal and Robert De Niro.) Pacino gets a girlfriend and gets her hooked on heroin. Essentially the film just examines her downfall from prosperity to hellish misfortune - they both live for their next hit.

The movie is unflinching. It's raw, brutal, and uneasy. (I recall reading they actually hired heroin addicts for the "shoot-up" scenes, something that would never be allowed today.) I can understand how some people might be put off by the slow pace of the movie and say, "How can I be expected to enjoy a movie with such vile characters?" However, I thought it was handled well - it's on the verge of exploitation sometimes (primarily the scenes which show the junkies shooting up) but for the most part manages to walk a careful line between exploitation and study.

Pacino's performance is one of his best ever, which is a shame because he never receives credit for it. It's one of the only roles where he isn't in control and although he does yell a few times, for the most part he's more calm and subdued - Michael Corleone as a drug addict.

"The Panic in Needle Park" is a great, underrated film and I highly recommend it to anyone who thinks they can handle the content. It's not a rewarding experience in the typical sense but after spending two hours with miserable heroin addicts, it will make you feel better about your own lifestyle.

Was the above review useful to you?
See more (70 total) »


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