12 Greatest Bowling Films of all time

It’s very nice to be able to settle down with your family or loved ones to watch a movie. While some movies are great, others are not so great. Whatever the case may be its still a good experience. However, there are some films which you can never go wrong if you decide to watch.

Best Bowling Movies

We are going to be looking at 12 of the greatest bowling films on the planet. So, if you love bowling and you want to watch some great bowling films with your family, grab some popcorn because we are about to give you 12 greatest bowling films ever. However, we must warn you that some of these films may contain violence and sex and are not family-friendly so parental guidance is advised. Without further ado, let’s start!

1. Dreamer (1979)

It was released on 27th of April 1979 starring Tim MathesonSusan Blakely and Jack Warden. This film was released by 20th Century Fox. The story is about a young man who dreams and tries all he can to become a championship bowler. He decides to give his dream a lot of determination and makes a lot of sacrifices along the way to achieve that.

Tim Matheson plays the part of the protagonist of the movie. Many fans and critics saw the movie as being inspired by Rocky. Tim plays the role of a small-time ten-pin prodigy in a small town of Alton, Illinois who wants to join the big league on professional tours. He enlists the help of Harry (Jack Warder) who becomes his grumpy manager and his faithful girlfriend Karen (Susan Blakely). The film also features bowling legend Dick Weber at the beginning and end of the movie playing the role of Johnny Watkin.

2. Kingpin (1996)

Kingpin is an American sports comedy film. It is directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly and written by Barry Fanaro and Mort Nathan. It stars Woody HarrelsonRandy QuaidVanessa Angel and Bill Murray. It involves a former professional bowler Roy Munson whose career was prematurely cut short when an established pro named Ernie McCracken decides to take revenge on him for defeating him. This was because Roy defeated Ernie on Roy’s debut appearance. As part of his revenge ploy, Ernie convinces Roy to help him con a group of amateur bowlers who beat up Roy and wrecks his hand (and his bowling career) in the process. This led him to alcoholism and depression. However, he got another chance at success when he becomes the manager for a promising talent Ismail and competes for $1 million dollars at a winner-take-all tournament.

3. Strikes and Spares (1934)

Strikes and Spares is a 1934 American short sports film. It was directed by Felix E. Feist. It featured, Ray Turner, Pete Smith and professional bowler Andy Varipapa. In the film, Andy shows how to correctly handle a bowling ball and how to play the game. He also did various trick shots. It was nominated for the category of the Best Short Subject (Novelty) at the 7th Academy Awards in the same year.

4. Life in the Bowling Lane (2005)

The plot of this movie started with an unknown com witty character who was preparing for a hot date he had later on that evening. However, he was disappointed when his date called and cancelled. Frustrated, he decided to go bowling instead. He then proceeded to have one of the wildest and rib-cracking bowling adventures in the craziest bowling alley centers ever, befriending the bowling instructor in the process. In a plot twist, he discovers his “hot date” at the bowling center with another man and is forced to compete with the other man to win her affection. 

5. The Big Lebowski (1998)

 The Big Lebowski is a crime comedy film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski who happens to be a keen bowler from Los Angeles. He is mistaken for a millionaire with the same name and assaulted due to that.  After the assault, he learned that a millionaire with the same was the intended victim, he seeks restitution.

The film was met with some disappointment in the box office at its debut but has started to pick up more positive reviews over time. It has now become something of a cult classic.

6. Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (1988)

This movie was directed by David DeCoteau. It stars Andras Jones, Linnea Quigley, Robin Stille and Hal Havins. While the previous movies are mostly comic or dramatic in nature showing how fun bowling can be, this movie takes a darker plot as a horror movie. As part of a sorority pledge, three nerds along with two new initiates are sent to a bowling alley to steal a trophy. If only they knew what kind of demonic imp lives inside that trophy…

7. The Bowling Alley-Cat (1942)

The classic cartoon “Tom and Jerry” is loved by all. In this scene directed by Joseph Barbera and William Hanna, Tom and Jerry are in a bowling alley and we all know what humorous disasters happen with Tom and all his schemes to take Jerry out while Jerry makes his own smarter schemes.

8. Alley Cats Strike (2000)

Speaking of rivalry, the Alley Cats Strike is a Disney channel original movie directed by Rod Daniel. When a junior school basketball championship game ends in a tie, the competition finds itself entering the bowling alley as two cities find themselves struggling for the championship trophy. There can only be one winner.

9. Gutterballs (2008)

Directed by Ryan Nicholson, this bowling film also takes a dark horror plot as a bowling night turns into a bloody death bath for a team of teenagers. Unsettled grievances, uncontrolled hormones and a serial killer let on the loose takes a bloody toll on a group of teenagers who decided to go bowling in the late hours of the night. This is definitely not family-friendly.

10. Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer (2012)

This movie combines both horror and comedy in a dramatic way. Directed by Zack Beins and Richard Taylor, the plot of the film is about Atom (Mark Shonsey), who is a passionate bowler and a fan of horror movies.

After seeing his team out of the league because of corruption in the bowling alleys and losing his horny girlfriend Emily (Lindy Starr) to his sadistic rival Dario (Zachary Byron Helm), Atom is seriously injured in the head, causing hallucinations which make him think that everyone around him is a flesh-eating Zombie.

Believing that the apocalypse of zombies has arrived, Atom must defend himself from “zombies” in the most violent and unpredictable way possible.

11. A League of Ordinary Gentlemen

A League of Ordinary Gentlemen is a documentary film about bowling that was released on DVD on March 21, 2006. It was written and directed by Christopher Browne and features real PBA Tour players, Pete Weber, Chris Barnes, Walter Ray Williams Jr., and Wayne Webb. It was onscreen for the first time nationwide in the PBS Independent Lens series on April 25, 2006.

The documentary follows four professional ten-pin bowling players at various stages of their careers after a trio of Microsoft programmers buys the Professional Players Association, who then hire Steve Miller, a Nike marketing guru, to revive the sport. The drama develops naturally as only a real-life situation can. If you are a bowler, a fan or just like good movies, this is a solid choice.

12. Strike: The Greatest Bowling Story Ever Told (2014)

Bill Fong is passionate about bowling. When not working in a bowling shop, he learns from YouTube videos, plays 20 games a week as a member of four active leagues and memorizes the characteristics of each of the 48 tracks of his usual bowling alley. Despite Bill’s determination, he has not yet realized his dream of becoming a professional. A perfect series of strikes might be the way to get Bill into the league of pros, but will he be able to do it or will he give in under pressure?

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