7.0/10
4,840
56 user 12 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:

(as John Hancock)

Writers:

(novel), (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:
... Bruce Pearson
... Henry 'Author' Wiggen
... Dutch Schnell
... Joe Jaros
... Katie
Patrick McVey ... Bruce's Father
Heather MacRae ... Holly Wiggen
Selma Diamond ... Tootsie, Hotel Switchboard Operator
... Team Owner
Maurice Rosenfield ... Team Owner
... Piney Woods
Andy Jarrell ... Ugly
... Bradley
Danny Burks ... Perry
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:

Language:

|

Release Date:

9 March 1978 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Das letzte Spiel  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert De Niro auditioned seven times before he finally landed the lead role. See more »

Goofs

The same tunnel is used to represent both the home and away venues, the only difference being the removal of a stretcher hanging from the wall in the away venue. See more »

Quotes

Henry Wiggen: See, it was no double birdie.
Mr. Pearson: Double Birdie?
Bruce Pearson: Whereas for, it coulda been a spread eagle.
Henry Wiggen: Probably you've been playing Southeastern Tegwar all your life, but in the Majors the boys all play Western Canadian style. Which, for my money, is much faster. That leaves you free for a Butchered Hog most any time, whereas, uh.
Bruce Pearson: Whereas uh.
Mr. Pearson: Wh, Whereas what?
Bruce Pearson: Whereas, it, uh, keeps you from dropping dead on the board.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Hollywood's Top Ten: Batter Up! (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Home On The Range
(uncredited)
Lyrics by Brewster M. Higley and music by Daniel E. Kelley
Arranged by Nick Manolff
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Story About Real Friendship
10 April 2006 | by See 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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