The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Americana, Sports Drama  |   Release Date - Jul 16, 1976 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 110 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Ever since its original 1976 release, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings has been warmly regarded but not wildly heralded. Seen years later, it remains a wonderful tale with effortless acting by a top-notch ensemble, but it's not a "big finisher" that stays with you for very long. As a baseball movie, Bingo Long is a superb collection of scenes from the days when African Americans were not permitted to play in major league baseball, so they banded together and barnstormed the country, having a lot of fun while doing it. This conviviality and the romantic aura of the period are the strongest emotions that come across. Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones star in that rarest of films, the nearly all-black cast, lighting up the screen with their antics. The story's structure wobbles a bit, and the drama of the end is obscured by the lack of a clearly delineated villain, but the movie has terrific appeal, particularly to baseball aficionados who will be awestruck by the idea that a pitcher would not let his team take the field in the first inning until after he had pitched to the first batter (apparently, Satchel Paige did this in reality). Try that, Roger Clemens.