Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)

Bang the drum slowly is what sports movies in the 1970’s were really about, heart and soul stories about real people who face real adversity. When I think of this rather unknown baseball movie starring Robert DeNiro, I think of Brain’s Song. Both stories feature a professional athlete who just happens to find themselves catching one of the baddest breaks in life, cancer. For someone to sit down today and watch this movie, they would be hard pressed to sit through the entire movie without a burning desire to turn it off. I’ve now seen it twice and can say I’d be okay with never watching it again. A lot of research will tell you that the main emphasis of the film is friendship, not baseball or illness. Having watched it a second time, I finally get where those people are coming from, I just don’t know if I agree with it. Although this story and characters are purely fictional, you have to believe someone somewhere has probably been through an experience like this. I didn’t go into this movie looking to see a lot of baseball action, but I did go into it expecting a better performance out of DeNiro. This movie got me thinking of who would fit the bill today, to remake this movie in today’s society, where health care is so much better and secrets are harder to keep, and I can’t come up with a name. The only somewhat enjoyable part of the movie is the stories the guys on the team keep coming up with to throw their overly curious manager off their trail. Coming to terms with sickness and death were not the same a few decades ago, some things were far more easy to accept and Bang the drum slowly allows for one man to accept the fate of his best friend and make the most of the situation. 4/10


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