S.I.M Rating: 8.05 out of 10 (16 Votes)
Cast: Michael Moriarty, Robert De Niro, Vincent Gardenia, Phil Foster
Bang the Drum Slowly is a 1973 baseball drama starring Michael Moriarty, Robert De Niro and Vincent Gardenia.
Moriarty stars as Henry Wiggen, ace pitcher for the New York Mammoths. Wiggen isn't your run-of-the-mill baseball player, moonlighting as an insurance salesman as well as once having written a book. His best friend and batterymate, catcher Bruce Pearson (De Niro), is a journeyman athlete, not very intelligent, but he and Wiggen's friendship is genuine. When Pearson learns that he has Hodgkin's Disease and isn't expected to live long, Wiggens is by his side and accompanies his friend to his Georgia hometown.
No one else on the team knows of Pearson's condition, and when Wiggens stages a hold-out when management hints at releasing Pearson, both teammates and front office are puzzled. Wiggens finally agrees to a contract but only if Pearson is included.
This film, along with the release of Mean Streets shortly afterward, served to propel the young De Niro's then-fledgling career.