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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of the Best
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...
Published on November 8, 2007 by Charles E. Lewis

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't care for it at all.
You would think Al Pacino would be good....it wasn't. Sad to say I don't recommend it to anyone!!!! Love Al but hated the movie.
Published 5 months ago by no1advice


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28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still one of the Best, November 8, 2007
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This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
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.
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory For Anbody Thinking of Using, June 26, 2007
By 
David Baldwin (Philadelphia,PA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
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.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Al Pacino's first starring role, a stunning debut., April 8, 2007
This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
Thirty-six years (1971) after it came out it is finally being released on DVD. This stark and grim film was heavily criticized by critics mostly because of its brutal and honest drug content. Filmed on location in New York City, THE PANIC IN NEEDLE PARK, marked the real beginning of what was to become the amazing career of one of the greatest actors to ever grace the screen the legendary Al Pacino. Great movie that I am happy is finally making its way to video. The movie had been released in Europe for some time but never in the United States that is until now. I will definitely be purchasing this underrated movie classic that for years has become among die-hard Pacino fans one of his most sought after movies ever. To the studio that finally thought about releasing this movie after so many years of waiting I thank you kindly.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honesty rarely hurts this much..., September 19, 2008
By 
Andrew Ellington (I'm kind of everywhere) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
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.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get This Movie!, September 14, 2005
By 
tacks31 (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece!, July 13, 2007
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This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
This is Pacino's first movie and he scores a knockout his first time out. This film was made when hollywood still invested it's time and money in acting and true film making instead of today's tabloid celebrity pretty faces and CGI. Kitty Winn does an outstanding job and you feel as though you are watching a documentary about heroin addicts because her portrayal and performance is so spot on and genuine. This is what film making is about. It tells a story in a gritty and honest fashion and the characters pull you in. You will not see films made like this today, so do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, dependency and drug addiction in the crime-ridden New York of the 1970s, June 28, 2011
This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
New York is a kinder and gentler place now than it was in 1971 when this film came out. At that time, the area known as Sheridan Square was thought of as "Needle Park" because so many heroin addicts congregated there. This is a film about heroin addiction but it is also a film about love and dependency which is as deeply moving as the several shock scenes of shooting up with close-ups of needles going into the skin.

This film launched the career of Al Pacino in his first major role. He is cast as a charismatic small time drug dealer and thief who wins his way into the heart of a homeless young woman from the Midwest played by Kitty Winn. She's lost her innocence already by the time she meets Pacino and he takes care of her in the aftermath a breakup with her artist boyfriend and a traumatic abortion. Soon, they are a couple, falling in love, doing drugs together and supporting each other emotionally. Naturally, the drugs take over their common sense and there is one horrific scene in which they buy a puppy in Staten Island but their needs drive them to do drugs in a restroom on the Staten Island Ferry, neglecting the puppy who falls off the ferry and drowns.

The film is sad as the couple spiral even further downward, the young woman turning to first selling her body and then selling out on Pacino, the love of her life. How this all turns out is the stuff of pure drama with an ending that was more upbeat than I expected. This is a fine film that has not lost its impact by the test of time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars RAW, HUNGRY, LEAN, UNPOLISHED PACINO!!--PRE-GODFATHER!!, November 10, 2009
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This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
This movie was originally released in 1971, a year before Al Pacino would soar
to superstardom in the now iconic GODFATHER and it's sequels.
This movie, "Panic In Needle Park" was actually based on an off-broadway play
in which Pacino played this character along with his then girlfriend, Kitty Winn,
who also plays in this movie as his love interest as well.
By the time Pacino did this, his first film, he had already did plenty of plays and
recieved a few prestigious theatre accolades, so he was already known as a very special
up & coming talent in New York City film circles.
What you get here is a raw, hungry, lean and unpolished Pacino playing
a small time theif/hustler and heroin junkie who eeks his way out in the
rough & tumble streets of dirty early 70's NYC by any means he can!
He meets and befreind's a woman, played by his then girlfriend, Kitty Winn,
who is kind of green to the ways of the streets, but she is soon seduced by heroin
and Pacino's character's gritty charm, and soon both of them spiral into an abyss
of addiction, street life, sex, some violence, and Pacino's character is so low
that he even pimps out his girlfriend a few times to get money for drugs!
After a bad incident involving a cute puppy, the Staten Island Ferry, and the Hudson River,
she finally wakes up and sees that her boyfreind isn't her knight in shining armour,
but an opportunistic, drug-crazed, desperate sleaze-ball who would sell his grandmother
for a hit of heroin! She agrees with undercover cops who have her on prostitution charges
to have him set up and arrested in exchange for her freedom.
It works, and he is apprehended and serves time.
But in true co-dependent fashion, she still loves him, and shows up on the day
he's released from prison to cling to his side again! (Silly Broad!)
Like I said, this is a cool film to see Al Pacino's evolution as one of the greatest
actors of the last 50 yrs. He gives it to you cold & raw in this with no apologies!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Panic in Needle Park, May 21, 2011
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This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
Because of this movie, I fell in love with Al Pacino and with his acting skills. This is the movie that started it all for me, now my collection of his movies is complete. He plays a very convincing druggie that actually has a heart. You have to watch it, and once you do, you'll want to see it again and again. Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars worked for me, May 26, 2010
This review is from: The Panic in Needle Park (DVD)
I was a college freshman in 1971 and my English teacher had us go see this as a homework assignment. I had nightmares about being a drug addict for at least 15 years after that, but I never touched drugs because of it.
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The Panic in Needle Park
The Panic in Needle Park by Jerry Schatzberg (DVD - 2007)
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