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Bang the Drum Slowly

Where to Watch Bang the Drum Slowly


Bang the Drum Slowly is an American baseball drama film released in 1973. Starring three big-names of Hollywood, Michael Moriarty, Robert De Niro, and Vincent Gardenia, the movie stands as a fine example of the sporting and human drama genre. Adapted from a novel of the same title by Mark Harris (also responsible for the screenplay), the movie was directed by the accomplished John D. Hancock, and it stands the test of time as an engaging, emotional and touching piece of cinema.

Michael Moriarty portrays the character of Henry Wiggen, a star pitcher for the fictional New York Mammoths. Wiggen is a skilled, intelligent, and somewhat cocky player, with his performance largely contributing to the team's success. His character shows depth and complexity, as he struggles to balance his professional ambition with his moral compass.

The plot takes a turn when Wiggen's less-skilled teammate, Bruce Pearson, portrayed by young Robert De Niro, is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Pearson is somewhat of an antithesis to Wiggen, displayed as a slow-witted catcher from Georgia. However, his vulnerability, naivety and shared love for baseball help to foster a deep friendship between the two men.

In an ERA where athletes rarely display their feelings, and certainly don't express them, it is Wiggins who decides to hold his friend’s secret. He becomes Pearson’s confidante, protector, and advocate, refusing to let his friend go through his fight alone. Their bond grows stronger throughout the season as they grapple with Pearson's illness, in racing against time.

Vincent Gardenia plays Dutch Schnell, the team's manager, bringing vitality and spirit to the role. His portrayal has a charm and wit that lightens the otherwise weighty subject matter. He stands as a grounding force for the team and leads with a perfect blend of strict discipline and genuine concern for his team.

At its core, Bang the Drum Slowly revolves around themes of friendship, courage, and humanity’s will to fight against all odds through the lens of America's favorite pastime – baseball. The film weaves a rich tapestry around these themes, with the baseball diamond forming the heart of the narrative. It unearths deep emotions as the camaraderie grows within the team and their understanding of Pearson's situation deepens, making it more than just a sports drama.

De Niro’s moving portrayal of Pearson is one of the standouts in his early career, showing the actor's ability to inhabit characters of significant emotional complexity. His performance is touching and heart-wrenching, imbuing Pearson with an innocence and vulnerability that is utterly affecting. Complimented by Moriarty’s compassionate and protective Wiggen, the acting duo forms a dynamic and heart-warming center to the film.

The film’s title, Bang the Drum Slowly, refers to a folk song sung by Pearson, and it metaphorically encapsulates the film’s essence, the inevitability of life and death, sadness and joy, and the rhythm of existence. The baseball games serve not just as thrilling, well-executed sporting sequences but also as poignant metaphors for life's ups and downs, victories and defeats.

There is a realism in Bang the Drum Slowly that is often absent in other sports films. It's not about high-action and nail-biting climaxes, but rather about the people behind the sport, their lives, their relationships, and their struggles. John D. Hancock directs with an understated style, letting the story and the performances take center stage, resulting in a film that is deeply moving without being melodramatic or excessive.

Bang the Drum Slowly is a movie that manages to be both a compelling sports drama and a poignant exploration of friendship and mortality. Its strength lies in the astounding performances of its lead actors and its heartfelt and touching narrative. It is not just a movie for baseball fans, but for anyone who values tales of human resilience and the bonds of friendship against adverse circumstances. This classic still continues to resonate and touch audiences today with its emotionally-rich storytelling.

Bang the Drum Slowly is a Drama movie released in 1973. It has a runtime of 98 min.. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 6.8. It also holds a MetaScore of 80.

How to Watch Bang the Drum Slowly

Where can I stream Bang the Drum Slowly movie online? Bang the Drum Slowly is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Amazon Prime, Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Bang the Drum Slowly for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

John D. Hancock
Robert De Niro, Michael Moriarty, Vincent Gardenia, Phil Foster, Ann Wedgeworth, Patrick McVey, Heather MacRae, Selma Diamond, Barbara Babcock
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