The Panic in Needle Park is a 1971 American film directed by Jerry Schatzberg and starring Al Pacino in his second film appearance. The screenplay was written by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, adapted from the book by James Mills.
The film portrays life among a group of heroin addicts who hang out in "Needle Park" (the nicknames of Verdi Square and Sherman Square on New York City's Upper West Side near 72nd Street and Broadway). The film is a love story between Bobby (Pacino), a young addict and small-time hustler, and Helen (Kitty Winn), a restless woman who finds Bobby charismatic. She becomes an addict, and life goes downhill for them both as their addictions worsen, eventually leading to a series of betrayals.
To set the atmosphere, no music was used in the film, much of which features cinema verite-style footage. It is believed to be the first mainstream film to feature actual drug injection.
Didion and Dunne visited Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, during the...