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

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Offbeat, charming film for a rainy afternoon
robin-22025 September 2005
This offbeat little film tells the story of a team at the tail-end of the Negro Leagues and their struggle to fight the corrupt ownership of the league. It is similar in tone to "A League of Their Own" but came earlier and is less glossy and, in my opinion, more fun. There are some good points made in it about racism and the athlete as commodity, but the film doesn't take itself too seriously and is never preachy or heavy-handed. It's an easy-going film which is great fun to watch. The cast is fantastic--Billy Dee Williams was never smoother or more charming, James Earl Jones appears to be having the time of his life, and the supporting cast is full of young versions of actors who went on on to bigger things. If you are used to seeing Jones only as a grand elder statesman of acting, check out this film where he plays his role with a lot of humor and energy and a sexy twinkle in his eye.
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Says a lot-but with humor
howardeisman3 January 2010
This film got great reviews when it came out, but I had to go to a African-American neighborhood theater to see it. That was only where it was being shown. It was not marketed for a general (prodominently white) audience. I believe that it has been overlooked since for the same reason: it is believed to be a movie about African-Americans which can be appreciated only by African-Americans.

This is far from the case. It is a movie about individuals trying to do the work they love while being frustrated by irrational human attitudes and biases. It is a movie about adapting to the perception that your world is changing and the change will be good for others, but not be good for you. It is as good a movie ever made about finding your goals and persisting in reaching them, even as the value of the goal recedes before you.

And it is hilarious. It is done with sly humor as well as laugh-out-loud wild humor.
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Who gonna hit my invite pitch?
zinddestruction8 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
One of the best baseball comedies mainly because of its very real and believable dramatic points. It also deals with a subject that has rarely been touched on in film: the Negro Leagues. The cast is absolutely incredible. Top to bottom a list of legends field this magnificent flick! James Earl Jones fits his aging sluggers role superbly and who better to serve up a ripping hot fastball than Billy Dee Williams! Richard Pryor gets high marks for his "faux-latino" Charlie Snow whose only reason for being on the team is because he has a nice car. Pryor also has a racey scene with a white prostitute and two paid hit men. Special mention of Carl Gordon who has a small role here. I loved him as the Dad on the great but all too short lived sitcom "Roc." Who gonna hit my invite pitch? Nobody. Not no one. Never. Bingo Long is the stuff of modern folklore. Invite pitch! Invite pitch! Invite pitch! A LOST BASEBALL CLASSIC. A great double feature would be "A League Of Their Own."
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baseball flix
dford-137 April 2006
in response to 'blaploitation', motown's magnate produces a great 'hilariblax'film. great chance to see the godfathers of black comedy (r.pryor), black leading men (b.d.williams) and high black drama (j.e. jones). as an educator it's good to find films that can speak on the life and times of America's pastime in a darker light.As important as k.burns baseball series, could have even been used to more vividly illustrate the 2nd part of his work 'shadowball'. A film the whole family can enjoy--as well as my whole class.Every semester I show this excellent film to my students. it never fails to prompt kids to ask more questions about the '20's & 3o's in America and also questions about race relations. calls it my favorite baseball movie of all times.
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Excellent film and good acting all around.
graduate21 March 2002
They just don't make `em like this anymore. James Earl Jones, Billy Dewilliams, Richard Prior and Stan Shaw play their parts to perfection. The music is excellent, capturing the flavor of the times. There are some huge belly-laughs and the plot keeps one interested throughout. Great sports movie.
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One of the best ever
blanchard358 June 2011
I love this movie! Bet I've seen it 15 times and its always fun and a chance to see some great stars in unusual roles. Billie Dee Wiliams as Bingo Long is a great inspiration for "sticktuitiveness"; James Earl Jones appears here in a totally new light - who knew he could be a comedian as well as one of our best serious actors. What to say about Richard Pryor in all his multiple guises here? Just terrific! The supporting cast is strong - no weak links!

I grew up in a segregated South so I really get what this movie is all about. Its replicates a piece of history not covered in the social studies books. The costuming and musical score is worth it even if you decide you don't like to movie.
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Bingo Long...
Coxer9912 May 1999
Highly entertaining film about a renegade black baseball team that breaks through barriers in 1939, when black ball players where shunned out of white controlled leagues. Williams stands out as their razzle-dazzle leader. The almost black cast that also features Jones, Pryor and Tony Burton are superb.
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Bad News Bears??? Are you kidding???
RondoHatton25 December 2008
Sorry, Charlie, but comparing "Bad News Bears" with "Bingo Long Traveling Allstars and Motor Kings" is like comparing "Hogans Heroes" and "Stalag 17"!! One is STRICTLY a bit of fun, and the other, while there are some laughs, explores a much more serious matter, albeit with the tongue planted firmly in cheek. Sure, you probably had a "Bad News Bears" lunch box, and Walter Matthau, Jodie Foster, and Jackie Earle Haley were just great in BNB, and there were some funny bits, but Bingo Long had much of its basis in fact, and it was one of the first films to explore a much too ignored historical fact, namely the Negro Leagues. James Earl Jones, as usual, is wonderful, and Richard Pryor didn't have to totally play his role for laughs as much as he was required to at this time in his career. Billy Dee Williams, who I feel didn't get nearly as many good roles as he deserved, was just great as Bingo Long. He was much better than in the terminally overrated "Lady Sings The Blues", also with Richard Pryor, but unfortunately up against Diana Ross' massive ego. I especially enjoyed spotting DeWayne Jessie(aka "Otis Day" of Animal House) as Rainbow. "Bingo Long" made me want to learn more about the Negro Leagues and barnstorming teams of the '30's like the House Of David.
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Touching, funny, sad
vincentlynch-moonoi30 December 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Some of our reviewers don't really "get" this film. It's not really a comedy, but rather pathos. Yes, there are laughs here, but perhaps the best description in serio-comic. It's about the abuse of Black baseball players by white people. It's about criminal activity within Black baseball. And it's about camaraderie among men in sports.

I remembered this well from when it came out in 1976, and I enjoyed it just as much now in 2018. One little error -- most of it was filmed in Georgia, and in one scene that is supposed to be outside of St. Louis, there's moss in the trees!

Billy Dee Williams was cast perfectly here as Bingo Long...suave, sophisticated, and that drawl. James Earl Jones may have overacted a bit...or was this just exactly how he wanted to play the character. Richard Pryor was good here, although he was better in other films. Stan Shaw was excellent as a young baseball player. Ted Ross is notably menacing as "the bad guy", and Mabel King is comical as his fellow-owner nemesis.

The funny thing is, I'm not much of a sports fan and almost never watch baseball on television or in person. But I tend to like many (though not all) baseball movies. And I really like this one. It's just downright entertaining, and while you'll's not really a comedy.
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Who...gonna...hit my...INVITE PITCH?
Hey_Sweden21 February 2018
This spry baseball comedy, inspired by some actual history, is great fun, especially when seen as a vehicle for its talented stars. Billy Dee Williams plays Bingo Long (based on the real-life Satchel Paige), a charismatic pitcher for the Negro League in 1939, who gets VERY tired of having to deal with sleazy team owners such as Sallie Potter (Ted Ross). So he recruits fellow baseball player Leon Carter (James Earl Jones) (based on Josh Gibson), and various others, to join him in a quest to start their OWN flashy, barnstorming baseball team. Naturally, they will have many roadblocks in their path to success

Charming, irresistible entertainment, and you don't have to necessarily be a baseball fan in order to enjoy it. Granted, it gets nasty at one point (for a PG rated film), and gets somewhat serious as well, but it never becomes so ugly that you can't still stick with it. It gets most of its juice from the dazzling performances of its stars, Williams and Jones. Jones appears to be having a grand old time, and co-star Richard Pryor unsurprisingly steals many of his scenes as a ballplayer who thinks that his key to success is passing himself off as Cuban and joining the white league. (There's a hilarious payoff for him near the end.) There's some more than respectable recreations of the period, a jaunty score (by William Goldstein), and wonderful old-time songs (belted out by Thelma Houston). The fair amount of familiar faces in the cast also includes stuntman Jophery C. Brown, Tony Burton of the "Rocky" franchise, Stan Shaw ("Snake Eyes"), DeWayne "Otis Day" Jessie ("National Lampoon's Animal House"), Mabel King ('What's Happening!!'), Sam Laws ("Hit Man"), Ahna Capri ("Enter the Dragon"), Joel Fluellen ("Porgy and Bess"), and Jester Hairston (John Wayne's version of "The Alamo").

Although it has a rather lengthy running time (at 111 minutes), this movie never feels that long, due to an entertaining narrative and characters, and many scenes that hold ones' attention. It's intelligent, making some points about race relations and the way that athletes are treated, but never gets heavy-handed about it, while remaining engrossing both comedically and dramatically. It doesn't seem to be remembered by many nowadays, which is just too bad.

Ken Foree of future "Dawn of the Dead" fame makes his film debut as a muscle man.

Eight out of 10.
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I had a fun time finally watching The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings
tavm20 February 2018
Having once stumbled onto this movie on TV years ago but not watching past the opening credits, I finally got to see the whole thing on YouTube right now. A fictional account of one Negro League baseball team during the late '30s, this is quite a fun picture despite some occasionally serious issues permeating some of the narrative. Billy Dee Williams plays the title character, James Earl Jones is his charismatic buddy who's also good at batting as seen in the early scenes when Billy pitches at him. And Richard Pryor does a funny turn pretending to be Cuban in order to break in the white national teams. Unfortunately, the YT upload skipped on some of his lines and maybe scenes. Still, this was quite a fun movie to watch especially near the end which I won't reveal. So on that note, I highly recommend The Bing Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.
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Should have been so much better,
SamPamBam1 May 2018
Considering the cast and the talent involved with this, a terrible disappointment, could have been so much better if only the director had gotten control of james earl, made him act instead of ham it up, and fire whoever cut it and put someone in who understood continuity. Generally a sorry excuse for a production-and for that there is no excuse.
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A Rare Richard Pryor Letdown
soranno30 October 2002
The hilarious Richard Pryor doesn't generate very many laughs in this very slow story about a group of black baseball players who have defected from their own national league and go around challenging white baseball teams (the setting is 1939). Released around the same time as another baseball comedy, "The Bad News Bears" but nowhere near as good as that one.
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