The Panic in Needle Park


This movie is a stark portrayal of life among a group of heroin addicts who hang out in "Needle Park" in New York city. Played against this setting is a low-key love story between Bobby, a young addict and small-time hustler, and Helen, a homeless girl who finds in her relationship with Bobby the stability she craves. She becomes addicted too, and life goes downhill for them both as their addiction deepens, eventually leading to a series of betrayals. But, in spite of it all, the relationship between Bobby and Helen endures. Internet Movie Database





Directed by
Jerry Schatzberg

Writing credits
James Mills (book)
Joan Didion ...
John Gregory Dunne
Al Pacino .... Bobby
Kitty Winn .... Helen, Bobby's Girlfriend/Mrs. Rogers
Alan Vint .... Narcotics Detective Hotch
Richard Bright .... Hank the Burgler/Bobby's Brother
Kiel Martin .... Chico, Junkie
Michael McClanathan .... Sonny, Junkie
Warren Finnerty .... Sammy, Junkie
Marcia Jean Kurtz .... Marcie
Raul Julia .... Marco, Junkie Artist
Angie Ortega .... Irene
Larry Marshall .... Mickey, Junkie
Paul Mace .... Whitey
Nancy MacKay .... Penny
Gil Rogers .... Robins
Joe Santos .... Detective DiBono

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John Gregory Dunne, Novelist and Screenwriter, Dies at 71 After Suffering a Heart Attack 



RICHARD SCHIFF (from the TV show The West Wing)

Appeared on the Rosie O'Donnell Show in April:

ROSIE: Now how were you able to do this (referring to I Am Sam, the movie he was there to promote) while still doing the West Wing? Because, doesn't your schedule go all year round?
It was actually interesting, it was part of the problem, figuring out what to do because there were two movies that I was asked to do at the same time. One was this one and the other was with um... I just saw myself [in the monitor] and now I don't want to talk anymore... (Rosie laughs) and the other one was a movie called People I Know with Al Pacino. And so at one point I was asked to make kind of a "Sophie's Choice", to pick... and I was very lucky because the directors and writers of the two movies were best friends with Aaron Sorkin and Tommy Schlommy who run the West Wing. So they all did favors... no one cared about me... they all did favors for each other...
ROSIE: Right, and they Let you out.
And they let me out and I was able to kind of fulfill a dream... my day job was The West Wing and then I got to work with these amazing people (referring to the cast of "I Am Sam" sitting next to him) and with Al Pacino who is the reason I got interested [in acting] in the first place.
ROSIE: No kidding. What was the role you saw him in that made you want to be an actor? Do you remember what it was?
Oh, just pick it, but probably Dog Day Afternoon.   Panic in Needle Park you know was shot in my neighborhood on the west side.
ROSIE: Right.
You remember that was his first movie. You probably remember that, right?
He played a drug addict back when the west side was a bad neighborhood and that's where I lived. It wasn't a bad neighborhood but it was all mixed up and stuff.
ROSIE: Right, right.
And I saw neighborhood kids in the windows of shots cuz they would shoot up in buildings and I'd see Maria... like you know...
ROSIE: Like your friend...
my friend...
ROSIE:  from 4th grade up there...
There was one scene where they were playing stickball in the street and they shot up to some kid looking and it was a kid I went to school with.  But I was aware of him [Al] from the very beginning of his movie career."




Only available in region 2 so far. (Europe, Middle East, and Japan) (UK) (thanks Vlakor for this info)
It's not listed as being released in the US yet. Maybe it will be at some point.
DVD region 2
Region 2 encoding (Europe, Middle East & Japan only)
Special Edition, PAL

(274k) Babe Ruth of West 81st St.
(34k) When did that happen? (about his girlfriend trying drugs for the first time)



Currently unavailable on dvd but there are a few used videos at




Buy the DVD at (region 2 only, Europe, Middle East and Japan) it won't work on American DVD players which are Region 1.
Internet Movie Database (IMDB)
E! Online Factsheet
movieguide database, tvgen
Mr. Showbiz
IMDB review