6.9/10
5,067
56 user 17 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:
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

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: I don't know why you don't live it up all the time when dyin's just around the corner, but you don't. You'd think you would, but you don't. I don't know why.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Bang the Drum, Ashley (1990) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

An Excellent Movie
22 November 2001 | by cocaine_rodeoSee all my reviews

I watched 'Bang the Drum Slowly' on AMC the other night and it was nothing I expected. I figured that De Niro would be the big, tough talkin' hot shot (which he does very well anyway), but instead, he's the dumb country boy.

The friendship the two men create is the big reason to watch this movie. As the hardships occur, the stronger the frienship gets. Robert De Niro does an outstanding job, in one of his first real big hit next to 'Mean Streets', as Bruce Pearson, the ignorant country boy (you can tell he used the same accent in 'Cape Fear') from Georgia who is dying of Hodgkin's Disease, and Michael Moriarty is also fantastic as Henry Wiggen, the tough talkin' hot shot New Yorker.

The two men are trying to keep De Niro's illness a secret so that it won't spill out into the media, so they have to find excuses for going to hospitals and such. The film is a powerful drama, yet it also has a good dose of comedy. I recommend this movie to anyone who likes great acting and unbreakable friendship. 9/10


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