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James Mills (born 1932) is an American novelist, screenwriter and journalist.

Mills wrote two New York Times bestsellers, Report to the Commissioner, a novel, and The Underground Empire, a study of international narcotics trafficking. As a result, he testified before a panel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee as an expert. His books The Panic in Needle Park and Report to the Commissioner were later made into major motion pictures by 20th Century Fox and United Artists respectively.


Mills worked for UPI, Life magazine, and for three US commercial television networks as a writer and consultant.

The 1971 film The Panic in Needle Park, starring Al Pacino in his second film appearance, was based on Mills' book of the same name about the heroin culture at Verdi Square [1] and Sherman Square on New York City's Upper West Side near 72nd Street and Broadway.[2] The screenplay was written by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne.

The Harvard Crimson review stated of Report to the Commissioner that: "James Mills has created just such an interloper: a story of deep suspense which moves on several planes of confrontation, ambition and human interaction. Slickly written, carefully strung together, Report to the Commissioner skirts the obvious and pivots on the unexpected; in the best tradition of detective stories[3] The 1975 film version of Report to the Commissioner, featuring Richard Gere in his screen debut with a minor supporting role, was made after "the movie rights were snapped up by a motion picture industry starved for clever suspense stories."[3]

Nonfiction booksEdit

  • The Prosecutor. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1969. ISBN 0-374-23836-7
  • On the Edge. Doubleday, 1975. ISBN 0-385-09853-7
  • The Underground Empire: Where Crime and Governments Embrace. Doubleday, 1986. ISBN 0-385-17535-3

Fiction booksEdit



  1. ^ Shepard, Richard F., "Strolling Up Broadway, The West Side's Spine", The New York Times, April 8, 1988
  2. ^ Greenspun, Roger (1971-07-14). "Screen: Schatzberg's 'The Panic in Needle Park'; Drug Addicts Trapped on Upper West Side Kitty Winn and Pacino Are Ill-Fated Lovers". The New York Times. Filmmuseum Berlin - Deutsche Kinemathek
  3. ^ a b Decherd, Robert (1972-07-28). "Report to the Commissioner | News | The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved 2013-11-25.

External linksEdit