The Greatest Bowling Scenes

While a writer’s strike has typically negative connotations in the world of film and television, we can all get on board those movies that feature strikes on the bowling lanes. Even if we’ve talked already on this site about the five all-time best bowling movies, let’s turn our attention now to the five best bowling scenes.


Critters may be thought of as a knock-off Gremlins by some but make no mistake… the sci-fi comedy about little fuzzy extraterrestrials causing mischief and mayhem in the mid-west of America stands on its own. One of the more over the top and yet enjoyable scenes is when the little monsters pay a visit to a bowling alley and one of them hurls the ball so hard that he turns the pins into dust.

Uncle Buck

As soon as a bowling ball falls from a shelf and to onto Uncle Buck’s head, we know the titular character is a fan of bowling, which means that he can get away with wearing teamster shorts and taking his nephews and niece to a seedy bowling alley. Well, sort of. It’s at said alley where, when he’s trying to teach the kids how to play the game, a sleazebag makes a move on his niece before Uncle Buck comes to the rescue.

Five Easy Pieces

This 1960’s Jack Nicholson drama is about an oil rig worker who takes his girlfriend home to see his estranged and dying father and family who he had, at one time, ostracised himself from. The significant parts of the movie aren’t what happens on screen but rather what isn’t being said in the quieter moments. Those silences clue us in as to what Nicholson is thinking and working out in his head. In one particular scene- when playing bowling, of course- he says absolutely nothing to his girlfriend, yet it’s the only time in the movie where he turns on the charm when trying to win back her affections.

The Break-Up

A messy break-up can be a troublesome experience, to say the least. Each former partner claiming that they own certain items is, of course, one of the more common themes. And there has been no film that has illustrated just how a messy the end of a relationship can be than The Break Up. Vince Vaughan turns up for a game of bowling when Jennifer Aniston tells him that as they’re no longer an item, he’s lost his right to be on the team.


If there’s any movie that can claim to be responsible for the invention of disco bowling, it’s Kingpin. The opening scene of this classic flick from the Farrelly Brothers introduces us to Roy Munson. The character, brilliantly portrayed by Woody Harrelson, freezes time when he throws a ball that stops halfway down the lane before screeching backwards, hurtling forward again, and then toppling the pins over in poetic motion. With his mid-shot fist pumps and pelvis struts, accompanied by a soundtrack of Disco Inferno, it’s the ultimate bowling scene.