The hard-hitting 1971 The Panic In Needle Park is the film that launched the career of a young Al Pacino, his performance here being enough to convince Francis Coppola (and the studio execs when he showed them this film) to cast Pacino in the pivotal role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather.
Jerry Schatzberg (Scarecrow – another fine Pacino performance) directs this grim drama following lost soul Helen (Kitty Winn – The Exorcist) as she slides into the world of drug dependency. Following an illegal botched abortion she has a chance meeting with small-time crook Bobby (Al Pacino). The pair fall hard for each other and soon Helen becomes embroiled in Bobby's world of heroin addiction in Manhattan's Needle Park. Surrounded by prostitution, overdoses and the panic of a major drug bust, the couple weathers the storm of their bleak existence.
Kitty Winn won the best actress award at Cannes Film Festival in 1971 and the film was nominated for the Palme D'Or award.
Banned in the UK for four years for its stark portrayal of heroin addicts in New York City, The Panic in Needle Park comes to DVD in its first UK widescreen release as a Special Edition on 5th September 2011 courtesy of Second Sight Films at the RRP of £15.99.
The following extra features will be included:
- Panic In The Streets Of New York – featuring interviews with director Jerry Schatzberg and cinematographer Adam Holdender;
- Writing In Needle Park – an interview with writer Joan Didion.