6.9/10
5,160
57 user 19 critic

Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)

The story of the friendship between a star pitcher, wise to the world, and a half-wit catcher, as they cope with the catcher's terminal illness through a baseball season.

Director:

John D. Hancock (as John Hancock)

Writers:

Mark Harris (novel), Mark Harris (screenplay)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Moriarty ... Henry
Robert De Niro ... Bruce
Vincent Gardenia ... Dutch
Phil Foster ... Joe
Ann Wedgeworth ... Katie
Patrick McVey Patrick McVey ... Bruce's Father
Heather MacRae ... Holly
Selma Diamond ... Tootsie
Barbara Babcock ... Team Owner
Maurice Rosenfield Maurice Rosenfield ... Team Owner
Tom Ligon ... Piney
Andy Jarrell Andy Jarrell ... Ugly
Marshall Efron ... Bradley
Donny Burks Donny Burks ... Perry
Hector Elias ... Diego
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Storyline

Henry Wiggen (Author to his friends) and Bruce Pearson are members of the New York Mammoths major league baseball team - Author the star pitcher, Bruce the catcher who never quite lived up to his potential - friends, and roommates when they're on the road. During the off season, Bruce is diagnosed with a terminal case of Hodgkin's disease. Author is the only person on the team who knows of Bruce's illness, with neither planning on telling anyone. Author takes extraordinary measures to ensure that he is playing ball with Bruce during what will probably be Bruce's final season before he can no longer play. Author looks after Bruce in part because Bruce is mentally a simple man who can easily be taken advantage of, especially by his opportunistic girlfriend Katie. As the season progresses, the team isn't quite gelling, despite being the best team on paper. But as information comes to light, the dynamic on the team changes to make it a memorable end of the season especially for Bruce, who... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sport

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title likely references the song "Streets of Laredo", in which a dying cowboy sings "Oh, beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly, And play the dead march as you carry me along." See more »

Goofs

All game action was shot at Shea Stadium and Yankee Stadium, but the Mammoths wore their home white and road gray jerseys at both fields. See more »

Quotes

Joe Jaros: Can you beat a Coney Island Thirty?
Bruce Pearson: What about this Double Ace Deucer?
Joe Jaros: I wish ya a lot of luck with it.
See more »


Soundtracks

Bang the Drum Slowly
Music by Stephen Lawrence
Lyrics by Bruce Hart
See more »

User Reviews

 
A Story About Real Friendship
10 April 2006 | by ccthemovieman-1See all my reviews

There was nothing hokey overly melodramatic about this story, and usually you get that with a sports story or about a good person dying. In this case, we have a combination of the two.

This is simply a mellow, sweet-natured human interest story well-acted by the two main stars: Michael Moriarity and Robert De Niro. Both are nice to watch, playing very easy-going non-offensive characters.

Moriarty plays a pitcher on a pennant-contending team who lovingly looks after his not-so-smart-but-dying teammate and friend (De Niro). By today's standards, it's slow-moving but I never got bored with it in several viewings. As nice a film as it is, there is one warning: a lot profanity by the manager (Vincent Gardenia) but it's not a kids' movie anyway.

I watched it years ago and then again recently when it came out on DVD. It's hard to get excited about it, yet it's a memorable story that I could never get out of my head. We all wish we had friends like the one Moriarty portrays here.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

9 March 1978 (Netherlands) See more »

Also Known As:

Das letzte Spiel See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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