A guaranteed tear-jerker, Bang the Drum Slowly centers on professional baseball player Bruce Pearson (Robert DeNiro) and his team mate Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty), who supported Bruce to the bitter end after learning that the young catcher was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease and would soon die. When hayseed Pearson first joined the team, he and Wiggen, the team's red-hot pitcher were oil and water. The other team members were none to thrilled to have Pearson on their team. Wiggen changes his attitude when he learns of Pearson's illness, and when the other team members find out, they too become more helpful until the inevitably teary ending. Look for popular character actor Danny Aiello in his feature film debut. The story is based on a novel by screenwriter Mark Harris and was first filmed for television.
Bang the Drum Slowly 5 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Usually ranked in the top 10 of all-time baseball movies, "Bang the Drum Slowly" is full of viewer surprises. Hearing the plot, you might dismiss it as a baseball "Brian's Song," but it's actually a funny, very human story of an unlikely friendship between a star pitcher and journeyman catcher. The cast members would later go on to success in film, TV and theatre to a stunning degree (Moriarty, DeNiro, Gardenia, Signorelli, Babcock, Wedgeworth and Aiello). BTDS debuted the same year as "Mean Streets" giving the film world an early insight into the breadth of DeNiro's acting talents. Of all the fine performances, Vince Gardenia's harried coach is the standout; he justifiably was nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actor. The baseball, BTW, is convincing and compelling, though the film's low-budget look has not aged well. However, the story, adapted from one of Mark Harris' four Henry Wiggen novels by Harris himself, has held up quite well. Highly recommended.