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


A comedy right up your alley. 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 »

Did You Know?


Bill Murray really bowled three strikes in a row in the scene where his character, Ernie McCracken does the same. The crowd's reaction is genuine and is actually for Murray. Woody Harrelson, on the other hand, was a terrible bowler and according to the Farrelly brothers maybe got one or two strikes throughout the filming. See more »


During the Reno tournament, there are several instances where you can see the scoreboard above the lanes. Each time, the scoreboard has multiple names under each of the lane headings despite the fact that only one bowler is on each lane. 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

At the end of the credits, the take where Lin Shaye does her cunningilus gesture into Roy's center rear view mirror is shown. She goes to the max with it until the director says, "Cut", and she busts out laughing at it. 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 Crying Game (1992) See more »


Gospel Rejoice
Performed by Kevin Kliesch and Jay Leslie
Written by Kevin Kliesch
Artist Courtesy of REI Records
See more »

User Reviews

This is a screaming laugher
6 November 1998 | by RickettsSee all my reviews

Sitting around with nothing better to do, my wife and I thought we'd give a 1 1/2 star Woody Harrelson movie a chance. Terrible reviews. No one saw it. No one heard of it.

In the first half hour we were in pain from laughing so hard. Only people who saw it will understand the following: "I milked the cow. She sure was hard to warm up." It took me 15 minutes to recover from the next few seconds of punchline. I had to roll off the couch and get down on the floor before I FELL on the floor.

There are about 15 BIG laughs and maybe 30 smaller ones.

I went into IMBD the next day to read what real people (not critics) had to say. Critics didn't like "Ferris Bueller" or "Airplane" either. IMBD clued me that this was made by the same guys who did "Dumb & Dumber" and "There's Something about Mary." If those two screamers aren't to your taste, you'll be with the critics on "Kingpin." Comedy works differently for different people.

Full of truly original humor. RUN don't walk to rent it. I have 1153 movies on tape and am kicking myself for not taping this for visitors who ask me to show them something they may have missed.

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Frequently Asked Questions

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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

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Technical Specs


| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

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