In The Mix - Video/DVD

Jerry Schatzberg’s 1971 The Panic in Needle Park is the bone-dry story of two young heroin addicts rattling around Sherman Square in New York, searching for their next fix. Al Pacino and Kitty Winn play the junkies, and the film is notable as Pacino’s first big role. He went on to The Godfather, Dog Day Afternoon, Scarface, an Oscar and eternal iconic status; Kitty Winn went on to appear in a two-part episode of Kojak. That’s the problem—Pacino is magnetic as Bobby, a shifty hustler, but Winn, as the lost soul who loves him but descends into a life of drugs and prostitution, is out of her league. Schatzberg’s movie is prototypical ’70s filmmaking—long takes, real locations, gritty camerawork, improvisation—but in the end, it’s as skin-and-bones spare as the junkies it portrays.