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Kingpin (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Sport | 26 July 1996 (USA)
A star bowler whose career was prematurely "cut off" hopes to ride a new prodigy to success and riches.
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Woody Harrelson ... Roy Munson
Randy Quaid ... Ishmael
Vanessa Angel ... Claudia
Bill Murray ... Ernie McCracken
Chris Elliott ... The Gambler
William Jordan William Jordan ... Mr. Boorg
Richard Tyson ... Owner Of Stiffy's
Lin Shaye ... Landlady
Zen Gesner ... Thomas
Prudence Wright Holmes ... Mrs. Boorg
Rob Moran ... Stanley Osmanski
Daniel Greene ... Calvert Munson (as Danny Green)
Will Rothhaar ... Young Roy
Mark Charpentier Mark Charpentier ... 1979 Bowling Buddy
Brad Faxon Brad Faxon ... 1979 Bowling Buddy


Roy Munson was raised to be the best bowler in the world (trained early on by his father). But a fellow bowler, Ernie McCracken and a misunderstanding with some rough punks, leaves poor Roy with the loss of his bowling hand! Not to let this get him down, he gets a prosthetic hand and becomes a travelling sales man. But it's really all down hill for him from that night on until ... One day he meets Ishmael who is Amish and sneaks away from the farm to bowl (his fellow Amish would disown him if they knew)! Roy convinces Ishmael to let him be his trainer and he'll make him the best bowler the world has ever seen. Reluctantly Ishmael agrees to go on the road and shortly afterwards actually finds that life outside the farm is quite fun. Soon their paths cross that of Ernie McCracken who is still a top ranking bowler. While Roy's career and life have landed in the toilet bowl, Ernie is still drawing huge crowds and all the babes! They both square off for the ultimate bowling championship ..... Written by Jane Byron Dean <McGinty@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The movie the Olympuk comitee wouldn't allow you to see. See more »


Comedy | Sport

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for crude sex-related humor and a drug scene | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

26 July 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Kingpin See more »


Box Office


$27,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,582,079, 28 July 1996

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Peter Farrelly called the film's box-office failure the biggest disappointment of their career, attributing the failure to its release during the 1996 Olympics. Farrelly said that it was crushing. However, he said that six to eight months later, when the film was released on home video, it became a big hit. See more »


In the opening scene, a 7-pin suddenly appears. See more »


1979 Waitress: Tanqueray and Tab.
Ernie McCracken: Keep 'em comin', sweets, I got a long drive. Do me a favor, will you? Would you mind washing off that perfume before you come back to our table?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Opening credits are dropped down by the pin reset machine. See more »

Alternate Versions

In 2002, aired on network television (local markets, different affiliates and times) with numerous scene and dialogue cuts / alterations. These include the aftermath of Claudia going to the fridge (making the part where she says she's going to get a drink make less sense), the fight between Roy and Claudia (almost all of Roy's offense is cut out), and the line about the Shit Cloud ("It's a big cloud of <looks and see's Claudia, no line spoken> - "I think I can smell it", which again makes no sense). See more »


Spoofs The Color of Money (1986) See more »


Soon Enough
Performed and Written by Josh Clayton-Felt
Artist Courtesy of A&M Records, Inc.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Bill Murray in one of the funniest comedy scenes ever
27 October 2001 | by andy stewSee all my reviews

I enjoyed this film a great deal. There were many hilarious gags and some clever satirical sideswipes, and the main performers were excellent. Woody Harrelson and Randy Quaid made a superb team, and both were quite moving at times.

However, I must mention the extraordinary comic genius of Bill Murray here, as in this film he provided me with what must be one of the funniest scenes in the history of movies -- a very simple gag that was really bound to happen, yet I wasn't expecting it. It is the climactic scene where he and Harrelson are the finalists in the tournament, and twice involves his comb-over ...

I can't go any further. I'm laughing so much. My sister and I missed the rest of the film as we bust our guts in absolute hysterics as Murray performed little victory dances (one involving his shoulder-blades almost killed me) while totally oblivious to the state that his hair was in ...

I don't want to spoil it for you. Just rent out the film, watch it with a friend, forget that I mentioned this scene, and when it happens it will catch you unawares and you will hopefully laugh yourself silly.

Ernie McCracken really was the biggest loser in the film, as he thought he was cool and suave, yet he had a terrible hairstyle (two, actually) and was a disgusting, selfish and unfeeling pervert. He plays a big role in the plot, but Murray's outstanding performance makes him so self-absorbed and bereft of any real humanity that he is almost completely separate from the movie -- there really is no point in him being there, apart from to provide us with enormous laughs and upstage everyone else and all the important things in the film. He just exists for himself and his own satisfaction, and everything about him is insincere.

When you watch it you will know what I mean when I say that he really seems to be one of the most unimportant important characters I've seen. Murray really is in a league of his own when it comes to cynicism and wry, dry and ironic humour; his gift is his ability to allow his casual arrogance to remove all pomposity and sentimentality, and mock everything that's important, so you can't do anything but laugh.

When he re-entered the film, I really couldn't care less what the outcome was going to be. I just laughed as he signed an autograph for a beautiful female fan and whispered to her what room he was staying in; and as he jokingly apologised for the appalling damage he had inflicted on Roy Munson (Harrelson), which had completely ruined his life 17 years earlier, and then selfishly began to make light of the matter, before avoiding a few punches from Ishmael (Quaid) and running off quickly while telling Claudia (Vanessa Angel) what room he was staying in.

And all the while, he has a hairstyle that is worse than Munson's and Ishmael's put together.

Man, that's some good tasting comedy.

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