7.0/10
4,884
56 user 14 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 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 »

Filming Locations:

Clearwater, Florida, USA 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

To prepare for his role, Robert De Niro went to Florida to watch baseball teams in spring training, then travelled to Georgia and tape recorded conversations to study their accents. See more »

Goofs

In the same at-bat Bruce Pierson is seen facing pitchers from the Pirates and Indians. See more »

Quotes

[last lines]
Henry Wiggen: From here on in, I rag nobody.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Directors: The Films of Martin Scorsese (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
A movie find
6 October 1999 | by JudgerSee all my reviews

I first saw this movie when it was first released to TV in the early '70s. Although I had seen De Niro in some films, such as Mean Streets, he was really unrecognizable in this part as a Georgia Hillbilly. At the time, I thought the film was insightful, funny and extraordinarily touching.

I've seen he film several times over the years, and each time I've found the movie to be even more entertaining and moving. When a movie deals effectively with real life, as this does, the viewer will find different insights at different stages of their own life. The first time I saw it, I was struck by the insights into the world of baseball. As I've aged, I'm more impressed by the film's insight into the human condition.


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