Bang the Drum Slowly

Bang the Drum Slowly

John Hancock (1973)

98min
AA Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Until FIELD OF DREAMS came along, director John Hancock's moving buddy drama held the title of the best baseball movie ever made. Telling the engrossing tale of how New York pitcher Michael Moriarty helps his terminally ill catcher Robert De Niro through one more season, this 1950s-set heartbreaker resonates with emotional truths while evoking nostalgia for a more innocent era. It's superlatively performed by De Niro (then unknown) and Moriarty (whose subsequent career betrayed his talents), with excellent support from Vincent Gardenia as their manager, who was nominated for an Oscar. The underlying theme of people coming through for each other in times of dire trouble is expertly handled by Hancock from a first-class script by Mark Harris, who adapted his own novel. Get the tissues ready for the unbearably poignant climax where weak De Niro struggles in slow motion as his team-mates look on helplessly.

Cast & Crew

Bruce Pearson Robert De Niro
Dutch Schnell Vincent Gardenia
Joe Jaros Phil Foster
Katie Ann Wedgeworth
Pearson's father Patrick McVey
Holly Wiggin Heather MacRae
Tootsie Selma Diamond
Team owner Barbara Babcock
Team owner Maurice Rosenfield
Director John Hancock
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: C.I.C. (UK)