For those of you that love bowling, here’s a list of the best bowling movies of all time! Grab your bowling ball, your popcorn, and tell your professional bowler friends to chill out, and check out this list of the best bowling movies.
Oh, and if it’s bowling night, finish up at the bowling alley and head home from the bowling center to watch the tube.
What makes a movie the greatest bowling movie?
Great bowling films aren’t made they are born. Great movies that feature actual bowling are what made this list. Maybe it’s a documentary film with Pete Weber son of bowling legend Dick Weber. Maybe it’s a dark comedic masterpiece with supporting actors like John Turturro.
A good bowling movie must at least have a bowling scene or maybe say… 20? Movies like these don’t come around all that often, so today we are showcasing what we think are the best of the best!
Let’s get started With These Popular Bowling Movies
We start with one of the most popular bowling movies to hit the silver screen. Without further ado, here is our list of the top 10 best bowling movies of all time.
1) A League of Ordinary Gentlemen (Ten-Pin Bowling Documentary)
Have you ever wanted to watch what it’s like to work in a career as a professional bowler? A League of Ordinary Gentlemen is a documentary about four professional bowlers, including a 20-time champion and a former competitor who is just beginning his professional career.
The documentary was directed by Christopher Browne and featured PBA Tour participants Chris Barnes, Pete Weber, Walter Ray Williams, Jr., and Wayne Webb. It first aired on PBS Independent Lens on April 25, 2006.
Documentary director Chris Browne, a league of ordinary gentlemen follows this savvy entrepreneur and four of the top professional bowlers on a 20-week PBA season in 2003 that is capped off with a champion being given a check for $120,000. They’re not just serious about winning– they live for it!
Chris Schenkel’s Saturday afternoon bowling telecast, as a lead-in to the Wide World of Sports, was for many years one of the most popular sports programs.
A True Classic
A League of Ordinary Gentlemen is an excellent historical documentary that vividly illustrates the subordination of sports to corporate, media, and television entertainment. Miller makes this clear when he states that neither the game nor the bowlers are what counts.
2) Kingpin (My personal favorite bowling film)
One of the funniest bowling films ever, Kingpin was released in 1996. It was directed by Peter and Bobby Farrelly.
This comedy follows the story of Roy Munson (Woody Harrelson) and who he believes is the next bowling prodigy Ishmael (Randy Quaid).
Roy Munson, a young bowler with a flair for showmanship, wins the Iowa state bowling crown in 1979 and departs to pursue his career. He beats seasoned professional Ernie McCracken (Bill Murray) in his professional bowling tour debut, who takes the defeat badly and seeks retribution.
After Roy’s team loses a crucial match, he is asked to join up with MacCracken to hustle a group of local amateur bowlers. When the amateurs become enraged after discovering they have been hoodwinked by Munson’s trick shots, McCracken scrambles away while Roy is savagely beaten and his arm trapped in the ball return, ending his career.
The film has hilarious scenes that take place in the bowling alley, as well as some drama surrounding Roy’s past. It is a light-hearted comedy that is sure to please fans of any sport.
One of the best things about Kingpin is the cast. Woody Harrelson delivers a great performance as Roy Munson, and Randy Quaid is equally funny as his friend Ishmael. The rest of the cast is equally talented, and they all work together to create a memorable film.
Kingpin was released in 1996 and is still one of my favorite bowling movies. If you’re looking for a good laugh, I recommend checking it out. You won’t regret it!
3) Big Lebowski
The Big Lebowski is a 1998 black comedy crime film written, produced, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It features Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski, a slacker in Los Angeles with a passion for “rolling”.
He is mistaken for Jeffrey Lebowski, a wealthy man, and attacked; he subsequently learns that another Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston) was the actual target. The trophy wife of the billionaire Lebowski is kidnapped, and he hires The Dude to deliver the ransom in order to get her back; when Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) plans to keep the money, things go horribly wrong.
An Amazing All-star Cast
Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, David Thewlis, Peter Stormare, and Ben Gazzara appear in minor roles.
The Big Lebowski was generally well-received by critics, but John Goodman’s performance was singled out for praise. The film has since become a cult classic and was named the 10th greatest movie of all time by Empire magazine.
In my opinion, The Big Lebowski is a classic comedy by the Coen Brothers. It’s funny from start to finish, and I have watched it many times over the years.
Tim Matheson, Susan Blakely, and Jack Warden star in the 1979 sports drama Dreamer, which was directed by Noel Nosseck and written by Larry Bischof and James Proctor. It was released theatrically on April 27, 1979, through 20th Century Fox’s Magnetic Video division on home video.
The Dreamer in this narrative has been likened to Rocky by many. Bill Conti (Rocky) composed the musical score.
5) Alley Cats Strike
This is a true bowling competition movie. A junior high school basketball game between the towns of East Appleton and West Appleton ends in a draw. The two communities, both seeking for The Mighty Apple Trophy, must compete with bowling to determine the winner.
Todd McLemore, a prominent basketball player, is a member of the bowling club at West Appleton Junior High School; his pals Leo and Flip sign him up for the tournament as a joke.
It’s silly and a “good sport” movie humor for the whole family.
6) Life in the Bowling Lane
The Unknown Comic is at home getting ready for a “hot date” that he has scheduled for that evening. When she cancels, the irritated “bag-head” decides to go bowling instead of waiting. He takes viewers on a wild and insane tour of the most outrageous bowling alley ever seen as he goes about his business.
If you get lost in this movie and need a bowling term reference, we have you covered.
7) Strikes and Spares
Strikes and Spares is a great bowling movie for anyone who loves the sport. It follows the story of three friends who team up to compete in a bowling tournament, and it’s filled with laughs and exciting moments. The cast is fantastic, and the writing is sharp. Who gets the most consecutive strikes in this movie? Leave a comment below.
8) Racing with the Moon
A 1980s cult classic about two pals who work in a bowling alley and are obsessed with martial arts. Sean Penn and Nicholas Cage star as the film’s protagonists.
9) Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama
Sorority Babes in the Slimeball Bowl-O-Rama (also known as The Imp) is a 1988 American comedy horror film directed by David DeCoteau, based on the Victorian short story The Monkey’s Paw. Its storyline follows an imp that is inadvertently released and wreaks havoc among a group of teenagers trapped inside a mall.
10) Atom the Amazing Zombie Killer
Atom is a fantastic zombie film, with a horny girlfriend…and he’s the league’s best bowler! But don’t tell Dario or the Slashers, the dark bowling rivals bent on preventing Atom and his pals from winning.
After all of his difficulties come to a head, Atom must face the one thing he fears the most: zombies! Let’s GET THIS SHOW STARTED and ENJOY THE BLOODBATH! The best zombie movies are out there, so go watch them with friends.
What is your favorite bowling movie from the list? Was it Big Lebowski with the “Jeff Bridges John Goodman” team-up? Maybe it was the family fun Alley Cats Strike? I am going to have to say my favorite was the Woody Harrelson Randy Quaid Kingpin.
Tell us your favorites in the comments.