Bang the Drum Slowly is a 1973 film adaptation of the 1956 baseball novel of the same name by Mark Harris. It was previously dramatized in 1956 on the U.S. Steel Hour with Paul Newman and Albert Salmi.
It was directed by John D. Hancock and stars Michael Moriarty and a then-little-known Robert De Niro as baseball teammates. De Niro's performance in this film and in Mean Streets, released two months later, brought him widespread acclaim.
Henry Wiggen is a star pitcher for the New York Mammoths, a fictitious Major League Baseball team. He is a valuable player to his manager, Dutch, but is in a dispute with the team's ownership, holding out for a new contract and more money. Henry also has a sideline as an insurance salesman working for the Arcturus Corporation, with ballplayers as his clients.
One of Henry's teammates and best friend on the team is a catcher, Bruce Pearson, a player of limited skill and intellect. Teammates call Henry by the nickname "Author" because the brainy pitcher once wrote a book, although Bruce misunderstands the origin of the name and, with his thick Southern drawl, often calls him "Arthur" instead.
The film opens with Henry and Bruce leaving the Mayo Clinic