Bang the Drum Slowly

Watch Bang the Drum Slowly

"Nothing is more important than friendship. Not fame, not money, not death."
  • PG
  • 1973
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 6.8  (6,149)
  • 80

Bang the Drum Slowly is a touching sports drama from 1973 that stars Michael Moriarty, Robert De Niro, and Vincent Gardenia. Directed by John D. Hancock, the film tells the story of a baseball player named Henry Wiggin (Michael Moriarty) who befriends and takes under his wing his teammate and friend, Bruce Pearson (Robert De Niro), who is dying of a terminal disease.

Henry is a pitcher for the fictional New York Mammoths baseball team, and Bruce is a catcher who is at the end of his career due to his illness. Despite the fact that he knows he is dying, Bruce keeps it a secret from everyone, including his girlfriend Katie (Ann Wedgeworth), and the team management. The only person he confides in is Henry, who becomes his closest friend and source of support.

Henry and Bruce share a bond that transcends the game of baseball. As Henry learns of Bruce's illness, he becomes determined to make sure that his friend's legacy is not lost when he is gone. He even helps Bruce write his autobiography, titled "Bang the Drum Slowly," which includes intimate details of his life, his struggles with the disease, and his friendship with Henry.

The film depicts the strong relationship that Henry and Bruce have, and how their connection changes over time. Initially, Henry is a selfish and aloof athlete who only cares about his own success. However, as he grows closer to Bruce, he shows a new level of compassion and loyalty that was not apparent before.

The film also touches upon themes of loyalty, friendship, and the inevitability of death. It shows how the characters deal with their emotions and reactions to Bruce's fate. Henry, in particular, faces a difficult choice when he is asked to trade Bruce to another team for a better player. He must weigh the potential success of his team against his loyalty to his friend.

Michael Moriarty delivers a subtle and nuanced performance as Henry Wiggin. He conveys the character's inner turmoil and growth with ease, and his scenes with De Niro are especially poignant. Robert De Niro, too, shines in his role as Bruce Pearson, convincingly portraying the character's physical and emotional pain. Vincent Gardenia rounds out the cast as Dutch Schnell, the Mammoths' manager, who is both strict and compassionate.

The film's cinematography, by Robert M. Baldwin, is also noteworthy. It captures the grittiness of the baseball world, highlighting the contrast between the glamour of the sport and the mundane life of its players. The film's score, composed by Stephen Lawrence, is also a memorable aspect of the film, as it complements the emotional tone of the story.

Overall, Bang the Drum Slowly is a powerful and moving film that explores the complexities of friendship, loyalty, and acceptance. It's a must-watch for fans of sports dramas, as well as those who appreciate character-driven films that deal with important themes. It's a reminder of the importance of human connection and the impact that one person's life can have on another.

Bang the Drum Slowly is a 1973 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.8 and a MetaScore of 80.

Bang the Drum Slowly
Where to Watch Bang the Drum Slowly
Bang the Drum Slowly is available to watch free on Pluto TV and Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Bang the Drum Slowly for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.8  (6,149)
  • Metascore