7.0/10
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56 user 16 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)
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Bruce Pearson
Michael Moriarty ... Henry 'Author' Wiggen
Vincent Gardenia ... Dutch Schnell
Phil Foster ... Joe Jaros
Ann Wedgeworth ... Katie
Patrick McVey Patrick McVey ... Bruce's Father
Heather MacRae ... Holly Wiggen
Selma Diamond ... Tootsie, Hotel Switchboard Operator
Barbara Babcock ... Team Owner
Maurice Rosenfield Maurice Rosenfield ... Team Owner
Tom Ligon ... Piney Woods
Andy Jarrell Andy Jarrell ... Ugly
Marshall Efron ... Bradley
Donny Burks Donny Burks ... Perry
Tom Signorelli Tom Signorelli ... Goose Williams
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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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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

The character Henry Wiggen originally appeared as the hero in the novel, "The Southpaw", which was written by Mark Harris. Mr Harris wrote the novel upon which this film is based as well as the screenplay.Henry Wiggen, however, as played by Michael Moriarty, is not a southpaw, but a right-handed pitcher. See more »

Goofs

When Piney Woods is playing the guitar in the locker room during the rain delay, he clearly has a splint or heavy bandage on the index finger of his right hand. Such an injury would make it very unlikely that he would play. In a scene later that night set in a hotel room, Piney has no apparent finger injury. See more »

Quotes

Dutch Schnell: Skip the facts, just gimme the details.
See more »


Soundtracks

Streets of Laredo (The Cowboy's Lament)
(uncredited)
Performed by Tom Ligon
See more »

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User Reviews

Holds up better than Bull Durham, I think.
9 April 2003 | by khouston86See all my reviews

I have been a baseball fan all my life, I have played the game, and I have even been compared by one girl to Kevin Costner's character, Crash Davis, in Bull Durham. I like Bang The Drum Slowly better than Durham. For one, the lines stand up better. Many of Bull Durham's lines are ridiculous or unnecessary or unrealistic. The whole "I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone..." monologue, for example is silly when really looked at hard. (Who would make such a speech?) There are lines in Bang the Drum, however that stand up over time. "It's sad, it makes you wanna cry. No, it sad, it makes you wanna laugh," for example. Even though I have actually had to explain the meaning of that line to one person, I love it. Just the way the players, especially Moriarty, talk, is so authentic. "Not a bad ballplayer, either once people got off his back and let him play." Great performance by De Niro. A good little sports film that will make you cry a little and give you lines that you never forget. "From now on, I rag no one."


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