Kingpin (1996)



Critic Consensus: Kingpin has its moments, but they're often offset by an eagerness to descend into vulgar mean-spiritedness.

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Movie Info

In the '70s, Roy Munsen (Woody Harrelson) was a bowling phenomenon. He was none too sharp about picking friends, though, and the champion he had to beat, "Big Ern," takes him under his supposedly friendly wing. Big Ern (Bill Murray) shows him the high-living lifestyle, and induces him to go on the road with him, hustling small-town bowlers. A couple of the men he bilks take exception to the scam, and show their displeasure with Roy by mangling his hand. Twenty years later, Roy (who now has a hook in place of his hand), earns his living as a salesman. On a visit to a bowling alley, he cannot help but notice the incredible talents of an Amish boy, Ishmael (Randy Quaid). Bowling is not part of the Amish lifestyle, but Ishmael occasionally sneaks into the bowling alley and plays a frame or two. Roy takes Ishmael under his wing, and together they begin a quest for bowling success. This comedy is directed by Peter and Robert Farrelly, who also directed Dumb and Dumber. Like those comedies, it contains a lot of gross-out jokes and bathroom humor.
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MGM Home Entertainment

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Woody Harrelson
as Roy Munson
Randy Quaid
as Ishmael
Bill Murray
as Ernie McCracken
Vanessa Angel
as Claudia
Chris Elliott
as The Gambler
William Jordan
as Mr. Boorg
Richard Tyson
as Owner Of Stiffy's
Lin Shaye
as Landlady
Zen Gesner
as Thomas
Rob Moran
as Stanley Osmanski
Daniel Greene
as Calvert Munson
Danny Green
as Calvert Munson
Will Rothhaar
as Young Roy
Mark Charpentier
as 1979 Bowling Buddy
Brad Faxon
as 1979 Bowling Buddy
Billy Andrade
as 1979 Bowling Buddy
Lorri Bagley
as Beautiful Dancer
Paul DeWolf
as 1979 Bowling Buddy
Jill Lytle
as Odor Eater Babe
Willie Beauchene
as Bunion Boy
Sayed Badreya
as Fatima
Linda Carola
as 1979 Waitress
Chris Berman
as Himself
Monica Shay
as 1979 Diner Floozy
Dan Murphy
as Beaver Valley Bowl Manager
David Shackelford
as Red Neck Stutterer
Mike Cerone
as Beaver Bowl Hustler
Mike Cavallo
as Beaver Bowl Hustler
Rick Barker
as Beaver Bowl Hustler
Paul Pelletier
as Beaver Bowl Hustler
Tom Leasca
as Beaver Bowl Hustler
Tom Lupo
as Beaver Bowl Hustler
Jimmy Shay
as Invisible Hustler
Hank Brandt
as Bowling Priest
Suzan Hughes
as Cocktail Waitress
George Christy
as Stiffy's Announcer
Michael Corrente
as Scranton Wino
Herbie Flynn
as Scranton Wino
Googy Gress
as Lancaster Bowl Manager
Hillary Matthews
as Mother With Carriage
Ryan Heggs
as Baby in Carriage
William Heggs
as Baby in Carriage
Willie Garson
as Purse Snatcher
Nancy Frey-Jarecki
as Sarah Boorg
Robby Thibeau
as Lucas Boorg
Helen Manfull
as Grandma Boorg
Terry Mullany
as Amish Saw Guy
Brian Stube
as Amish Saw Guy
Chris Spain
as Amish Saw Guy
Rose Smith-Lotenero
as Amish Babe
Andrew Greenbury
as Amish Kid
Scott Gasbarro
as Amish Dancing Dude
Pucky Lippincott
as Amish Bellringer
Gretchen Treser
as Make-Out Queen
Sean Gildea
as McKnight Bowl Bartender
Patrick Healy
as Urinal Boy
Sean P. Gildea
as McKnight Bowl Bartender
Jackie Flynn
as Dog Boy
Jonathan Richman
as Tavern Band Member
Tommy Larkins
as Tavern Band Member
Bob Weeks
as Waiter
Roger Clemens
as Skidmark
Libby Langdon
as Skidmark's Squirrel
as Tavern Drunk
Sarah Hughes
as Cocktail Waitress
Wallace Lester
as Tavern Drunk
Mark Pauperas
as Tavern Drunk
Sid Greenbud
as Tavern Drunk
Kipp Stroden
as Tavern Drunk
Joe "Smokey" Krawlicky
as Pennsylvania Hall O' Fame Bowler
Andre Rosey Brown
as Skidmark's Friend
John Jordan
as Skidmark's Friend
Mark Miosky
as Skidmark's Friend
John Woodin
as Bowling Steelworker
Gordie Merrick
as Bowling Steelworker
Ray McCort
as Pilot
Steven R. Gehrke
as Bowling Steelworker
Clem "Mandingo" Franek
as Bowling Steelworker
Mark "Chief" Wasler
as Make-Out King
Kathy Farrelly
as Bowling Biker Babe
Stacy Lundin
as Bowling Biker Babe
John Stroehman
as Stiffy's Goon
Alex Stohn
as Bowling Farmer
Lori Bagley
as Beautiful Dancer
Jo Marcus
as Sexy Senior Bowler
Cecile Krevoy
as Sexy Senior Bowler
Steven Stabler
as TV Cameraman
Mary Stohn
as Sexy Senior Bowler
Louis Charles Consolo
as Stiffy's Goon
Joanne Wolfe
as Silver Legacy Waitress
Danielle Parsons
as Silver Legacy Waitress
Jane Pratt
as TV Interviewer
Steve Stabler
as TV Cameraman
Elizabeth Jordan
as Silver Legacy Maid
Cynthia Farrelly Gesner
as Silver Legacy Maid
Brian Mone
as Psycho Guy
Taryn Chilivis
as Cute Mother
Lisa Stothard
as Unified Fund Mom
Jonathan "Earl" Stein
as Bowling Farmer
Melinda Kocsis
as Unified Fund Mom
Rachel Wagner
as Unified Fund Mom
as Herself
Victoria Scott
as Unified Fund Mom
Joshua Nelson
as Unified Fund Kid
Kevin O'Brien
as Pizza Guy
Nancy Farrelly
as Nouchi's Gal
Mariann Farrelly
as Tournament Sign-Up Lady
Aggie Byers
as Tournament Sign-Up Lady
John Popper
as Bowling Tournament Announcer
Don Julio
as Pro Bowler
Kevin Civale
as Pro Bowler
Brian Voss
as Pro Bowler
Mark Roth
as Pro Bowler
Justin Hromek
as Pro Bowler
Ron Palumbi Jr.
as Pro Bowler
Parker Bohn III
as Pro Bowler
Randy Pederson
as Pro Bowler
John Cioffoletti
as Philips Head Bowler
Jon Dennis
as Himself
Chris Schenkel
as Himself
Clint Allen
as Store Clerk
Jessica Byers
as Big Ern's Valet
Julie Byers
as Big Ern's Valet
Preston Thomas
as Tournament Liaison
Jeff Thomas
as Tournament Liaison
Jim Ahern
as Sport
John Neary
as Mission Priest
George Bedard
as Barfly
Joe Lewis
as Barfly
Andy Taylor
as Custodian
Brad Norton
as MIA Guy
Elliott Morris
as Mr. Harrelson's Bowling Double
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News & Interviews for Kingpin

Critic Reviews for Kingpin

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (6)

With maybe 25 belly laughs, the brazenly crude Kingpin is often uproarious, but be forewarned that its creators apparently conceived it underneath a limbo bar. How looow can a funny guilty pleasure go?

December 31, 1999
USA Today
Top Critic

...a pervasively uneven comedy that just isn't able to overcome its various deficiencies...

Full Review… | November 17, 2014
Reel Film Reviews

It's Bill Murray who easily swipes the picture -- he's at his unctuous best as Ernie McCracken, an oily bowler with an ego as enormous as his libido.

Full Review… | November 9, 2014
Creative Loafing

Kingpin makes inspired comedy by channeling the Weber spirit-and the humble reality of the circuit-through the frame of an inspirational sports movie.

Full Review… | October 22, 2014
The Dissolve

The combination of the overkill factor and a basic mean-spiritedness finally sinks it for me.

Full Review… | October 10, 2007
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

I found the sleazy comedy more tedious than watching an actual bowling match.

Full Review… | October 9, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Kingpin

The Farrelly Brothers have made some very memorable comedies. Dumb & Dumber, There's Something About Mary, Me, Myself & Irene to name a few. Kingpin though is one of their best. Kingpin is the story of a once great bowler who due to a con gone awry got his bowling hand cut off, thus ending his career. Twenty years later, Roy Munson is a down on his luck sales who one day discovers at a bowling alley, a talented Amish bowler. Roy proceeds to take the Amish Boy, Ishmael under his wiong and proceed to make him a bowling champion. Kingpin is a hilarious comedy with some of the funniest gags I've seen in a comedy. Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid are terrific on screen, and Bill Murray also delivers some laughs in the role of Ernie McCracken. The Farrelly Brothers continue to build on the comedy after their film Dumb & Dumber, but this time, their comedy a lot more confident here than it was with Dumb & Dumber. Dumb & Dumber felt it had to prove something to be a great comedy, but Kaingpin feels more confident about the subject and its actually at times more funny. Dumb & Dumber is a classic, but Kingpin feels like the Farrelly Brothers didn't have to prove themselves as good comedy writers. The comedy here is original , fun, and hilarious. Kingpin is an overlooked Farrelly Brothers film that shouldn't be passed up, Dumb & Dumber was great, but Kingpin is just as worthy a follow up to their classic than anything. Kingpin is an unforgettable comedy with lots of laughs.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer

how this film can be rated any less than a ten is beyond me. the tragic character of Roy Munson is genius in itself but the true golden star of this film is Ernie McCracken played by bill Murray. an egotistical, vindictive bowling champ who's only ambitions are to bowl and fondle! the film is chock full with gags and more importantly original ones. the film takes us through the effervescence of young Roy Munson and his god given gift (bowling) and hammers us down with his sad demise. he find solace in booze and ...well more booze until he hits the jackpot with the sound of one strike. through Roy's struggle to climb out of the gutter his tormented past comes back to haunt him and the story evolves into one of courage,friendship and extreme stupidity. the best selling point i can give to people who have yet to indulge is simply this, i very rarely laugh out loud at a film but my sides were in agony after watching this and i think i may of ruptured something.

MisterYoda ?
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer

I've never been a huge fan of this movie, but it's not terrible. I just wasn't crazy about the plot and I think the Farrelly Brothers just went way too overboard with the kooky characters. Bill Murray was hilarious as a villainous bowler and made the movie worthwhile.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

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