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Bingo long cast

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Richard Pryor, Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones star in this winning story about a team of renegade players looking to score big during the heyday of baseball’s Negro League.

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The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings

Synopsis

They put the ball in baseball.

Tired of the slave-like treatment of his team’s owner, charismatic star Negro League pitcher Bingo Long takes to the road with his band of barnstormers through the small towns of the Midwest in the 1930’s.

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Alternative Title

The Bingo Long Traveling All Star And Motor Kings

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110 mins More details at IMDb TMDb Report this film

Popular reviews

CW: race, class, ableism, fatphobia

The rise and fall of communism in a baseball movie: the workers get frustrated with the ruling class, they form their own team with equal pay and equal say guided by competent and compassionate leaders, and outside imperialist forces try repeatedly to destroy them until finally they give up and just assimilate them instead. And they lie to do it.

This film exists at the intersection of race and class (mostly). It carefully interjects variations on racist interactions into every scene, from the manner in which the black players have to act like clowns while they win so they don’t get lynched to the way steps toward integration are used against them (separate but unequal…

My kingdom for Billy Dee Williams’ orange cream suits.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love the Harlem Globetrotters as much as the next fella but as I see it there are three deficiencies that keep them from being one of my absolute favorite things:

1) They’re a basketball team not a baseball team.
2) Their uniforms were not designed by Rainbow Brite.
3) Their roster does not include Richard Pryor impersonating a Cuban.

Thankfully, The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings is here to rectify all of these problems.

“What do we never run out of in this country? White folk!”

Set just prior to World War II, this film deals with attempts of black professional baseball players to break free from the slave-like conditions of the Negro Leagues and start their own all-star team of barnstormers. Led by pitching sensation Bingo Long (Billy Dee Williams) and hard-hitting catcher Leon Carver (James Earl Jones), they start out by playing against non-professional teams of black players. But when the Negro League owners take measures to keep them off the field, the independent all-stars start playing against white clubs and begin adding hilarious antics to their pitching, batting and fielding repertoire, rather like the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball.…

Ok between this, Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, and The Empire Strikes Back, there is a case to be made that Billy Dee Williams is the most beautiful man alive

(Most certainly not what I was supposed to be focused on but)

you know how everyone is like “hey you should watch inside llewyn davis it’s got poe dameron and kylo ren in a 60s band together” well this is similar except no one’s heard of it, and it’s got lando and darth vader playing baseball in the 1930s

i’m starting a petition to put Billy Dee Williams on Mount Rushmore

#5 of scavenger hunt 23 – a movie about a black athlete

One of those occasional 70s forays into more mainstream black cinema. A rather pleasant period comedy about a renegade group of black baseball players that don’t quite have as much bite as it could, but makes up for it by given plenty of solid material for often undersaved actors and some unexpected undercurrent of sadness. John Badham directs a bit before breakingthrough with Saturday Night Fever and as usual does better than one might expect from his material.

I found it very amusing that a gleeful–if pandering–buddy-sports movie would gesture so obviously towards a Marxist approach to labor and economics. “Seizing the means of production” is a line frequently repeated in The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars, and while the film isn’t merely an apology for economical Marxism, it clearly has that on its mind. It’s also effortlessly enjoyable to see Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones play against one another here. Their performances in Star Wars are certainly more recognized, but they’re given more to work with here. It’s very lovely:)

May Slate 18/30
If I’m interpreting this movie correctly, I think Billie Dee Williams is the baseball version of Lenin? Because this is weirdly close to an exploration of communism as filtered through a mid-1940’s baseball analogy.

There’s a basic thrill watching Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones kicking back and having a lark. Billed as a family film about the negro leagues and baseball’s color barrier, BINGO LONG can’t escape some of the broader tendencies of the blaxploitation genre. For better and worse. Rendering its status as a family film questionable at best. The clumsy final act lets down an otherwise entertaining film. Recommended for baseball fans that love Lando and can overlook a few glaring flaws.

It wasn’t until I watched a load of Richard Pryor films a few years back that that I became aware of the Bingo Long Travelling All-Stars & Motor Kings. For some bizarre reason it escaped my viewing until now. I love me some baseball movies. Of all the American sports it’s the one with the most heart and the most accommodating to Hollywood. Movies like Major League, Bull Durham and A League of Their Own are as much a part of my growing up as British institutions like pork pie, football hooliganism or World of Sport.

Bingo Long (etc) is another of those great baseball movies that tells a simple story but tells it really well and without getting too serious.…

In “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings”, Darth Vader and Lando Calrissian star as two Negro League baseball stars who decide they’ve had enough of their owners’ domineering ways and go into business for themselves. Along with a few other of the Negro League’s top stars, they form the travelling company named after Billy Dee Williams’ character (Bingo Long) and tour the country playing pickup games for money against local teams all the while trying to ward off the disgruntled owners’ attempts to sabotage them. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings pays tribute to the glory days of the Negro League system that produced some of the best baseball players the world has ever seen with Williams and…

Recent reviews

A goofy, lovingly made love letter to the Negro Leagues

The second best baseball movie made in 1976. by a lot.

A surprisingly carefully crafted reproduction of Negro Leagues baseball in the 1930s. The costumes were great, the sets (which largely look to be perfectly chosen location shooting) are brilliant at capturing the look and feel of the era.

Billy Dee Williams is shockingly good in this. Pryor and Jones are both fine, as is the rest of the cast, but Williams takes over. He believably leads the show, as the biggest star on the field and off.

If there’s any downside, it’s one of tone. The movie has an opportunity, it feels like, to go into some really interesting, difficult places. But eventually it always swerved for easy closure. It keeps a tone of levity that much of the subject…

Ok between this, Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, and The Empire Strikes Back, there is a case to be made that Billy Dee Williams is the most beautiful man alive

(Most certainly not what I was supposed to be focused on but)

Still somewhat unsure what to make of it, but I believe I enjoyed it. The film’s message is worn well on its sleeve (most of the time) with some deeply uncomfortable encounters. Aesthetically speaking, it was thoroughly enjoyable with a fun stylistic interpretation of the late depression era “aw shucks” ragtime romp, which juxtaposes well with the sudden realist cutaways to ominously silent white crowds only being held back by a fence between bleachers and a baseball field. I feel there was a bit of a missed opportunity to break away from the traditional underdog sports team narrative and go for an even more caustic and blunt plot-line not unlike Robert Altman’s “Buffalo Bill and the Indians, or Sitting Bull’s History Lesson.” I’m also still somewhat apprehensive about the predominately white production team behind the camera.

Billy Dee Williams and James Earl Jones both do incredible work here. I wish the movie was big enough to carry the weight of those performances. It’s fun!, don’t get me wrong, it’s just that it could’ve been a lot more fun. Pace it like A League of Their Own and I think you have a masterpiece. Spielberg was originally supposed to direct and I’m glad we didn’t get that version because I think it might’ve ended up worse than this. I don’t know that there was a black director working in the Hollywood majors at the time but I know it should’ve been made by a black director. I like it but I wish I liked it more.

An incredibly rewatchable movie that should be required viewing for any fans of baseball.

Likable nostalgia centers around baseball players in the Negro League who break from their unscrupulous owners to barnstorm on their own. Film has the right lighthearted tone but is curiously flat. Way too long.

Viewed in 1976. Funny movie about a Negro Baseball League in the 1930’s. Terrific cast and prejudicial issues were addressed.

In “The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings”, Darth Vader and Lando Calrissian star as two Negro League baseball stars who decide they’ve had enough of their owners’ domineering ways and go into business for themselves. Along with a few other of the Negro League’s top stars, they form the travelling company named after Billy Dee Williams’ character (Bingo Long) and tour the country playing pickup games for money against local teams all the while trying to ward off the disgruntled owners’ attempts to sabotage them. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings pays tribute to the glory days of the Negro League system that produced some of the best baseball players the world has ever seen with Williams and…

A pro-labor baseball movie about a collection of Negro League players who create their own barn-storming independent team. Directed by John Badham a year before “Saturday Night Fever,” it’s a breezy film with surprisingly rich themes about the intersection of race and class. You don’t expect to hear the phrase “means of production” once, let alone twice, in a baseball film, but here we are.

It’s a shame this one has fallen through the cracks. I’m a lifelong baseball fan and a film critic, and yet I’d never heard of this one until a friend mentioned it to me on Twitter last year. Why has it been forgotten? Likely because baseball culture has become deeply conservative and and less black than ever, so films like this one just don’t fit in.

Tired of the slave-like treatment of his team's owner, charismatic star Negro League pitcher Bingo Long takes to the road with his band of barnstormers through the small towns of the Midwest in the 1930's.