Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 38


Audience Score

User Ratings: 81,220
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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.


Woody Harrelson
as Roy Munson
Randy Quaid
as Ishmael
Bill Murray
as Ernie McCracken
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
Paul DeWolf
as 1979 Bowling Buddy
Lorri Bagley
as Beautiful Dancer
Jill Lytle
as Odor Eater Babe
Willie Beauchene
as Bunion Boy
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
Michael Corrente
as Scranton Wino
George Christy
as Stiffy's Announcer
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
Scott Gasbarro
as Amish Dancing Dude
Pucky Lippincott
as Amish Bellringer
Gretchen Treser
as Make-Out Queen
Patrick Healy
as Urinal Boy
Sean Gildea
as McKnight Bowl Bartender
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
Sarah Hughes
as Cocktail Waitress
as Tavern Drunk
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
Steven R. Gehrke
as Bowling Steelworker
Mark "Chief" Wasler
as Make-Out King
Clem "Mandingo" Franek
as Bowling Steelworker
Kathy Farrelly
as Bowling Biker Babe
John Stroehman
as Stiffy's Goon
Stacy Lundin
as Bowling Biker Babe
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
Lou 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
Melinda Kocsis
as Unified Fund Mom
Jonathan "Earl" Stein
as Bowling Farmer
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
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
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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Critic Reviews for Kingpin

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (19)

Audience Reviews for Kingpin

  • Nov 11, 2014
    Turns out this wasn't even the best movie centered around bowling during the 90s. Hell, a little movie called The Big Lebowski came out relatively short after that, 2 years or so. If it wasn't a Farrelly bros. movie it would've faded into obscurity by now. Not to say that its current status is great, but the Farrelly brothers, for all their faults, are well-known. Who in their right mind would pick this over The Big Lebowski is beyond me. Much like Million Ways to Die in the West, it's simply too long for its own good without great material in order to justify its length. This is the Farrelly bros. we're talking about here, so you know exactly what to expect. A lot of gross-out comedy in a neutered PG-13 setting. Personally, I thought the film was gonna be edgier than it actually was, but it played it pretty tame. That's not to say there aren't any mean-spirited jokes, which is what the Farrelly bros specialize on, but it's a safer and less dangerous version of that. Not that they were ever experts at comedy, but they could do some fun stuff if they were given a little more freedom. As There's Something About Mary proves. That movie may have not aged well, or anything, but at the time it was pretty good. I think this film found them in a sort of limbo, since this was their first film after Dumb and Dumber and their last before Mary. That's not to say there isn't good stuff in here, but that's really all Bill Murray and his character. Bill Murray has always been great at playing these detestable assholes with little to no redeeming qualities. All he wants is to have sex with women half his age and fuck over people he doesn't like. He's fucking great here. It's just a shame he was kept as a secondary character. He's, clearly, the most interesting character in the entire film. Maybe they couldn't get him for the entirety of the shoot, or if that's how his character was intended to be, but he steals the show from under the leads and you're kinda disappointed when he's gone. The other characters aren't nearly as interesting, despite their every attempt to make you care, so you don't really care as much what happens to them. It also tries the feel-good ending, which is out of place in a movie with these types of characters and all the mean-spirited jokes. The cast is decent, but not outstanding, outside of Bill Murray of course. He's the reason the film gets this rating. It would've been much higher if he had been a more prominent character, but it was not to be. Can you believe Roger Ebert named this one of the best movies 96? May the guy rest in peace, but he also panned The Raid. One thing has nothing to do with the other, I suppose. Apples and oranges and all that. This is typical Farrelly bros, for better or worse. Mostly worse.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • May 14, 2012
    Good, not great. This is one of those comedies that has funny moments, but to get to the laughs you have to endure a lot of filler. Bill Murray steals the movie from the rest of the cast, and with his screen time ratio and cast he's playing against, that's an impressive feat. But otherwise, proceed with caution, cause it can get real old real fast.
    Bryan D Super Reviewer
  • Mar 14, 2012
    Kingpin is a fun screwball comedy from the Farrelly brothers, but a lot of it falls flat. The story follows a washed up pro bowler named Roy Munson who trains an up-and-coming Amish bowler named Ishmael for the Reno championship, so that Ishmael can save his family's farm. Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid, and Vanessa Angel lead the cast, but it's Bill Murray who steals the show. Murray brings a lot of charisma to the film with his arrogant, showboating hustler character, Ernie McCracken; who owns nearly every scene he's in. But, as a Farrelly brothers film it tends to push boundaries and use edgy comedy, but a lot it misfires. Kingpin is a lot of fun, but isn't able to sustain the laughs all the way through (especially in the extended edition).
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Jul 09, 2011
    the film has grown on me a little over the years. I expected more dumb and dumber at the time and dismissed it straight away. This is a completely different film and is almost slapstick humour more in common with Zucker comedies. Much more fun and heart then I remembered, humour is for the fans but you'll laugh every now and then.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer

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