We use cookies to improve your experience on our site, personalise content and analyse our traffic. To find out more, read our updated privacy policy.

220228 TIMEZONE ONE3865 790X466
| Bowling , Tips & Tricks

6 of the greatest fictional tenpin bowling moments

Awkward, graceful, weird, precise… We all have our own technique for hurling a ball down a bowling lane. And so do the fictional onscreen characters who’ve spent time at their local bowling alleys… 

1. Walter Sobchak 

No bowling movie list is complete without a nod to The Big Lebowski. Walter Sobchak, played by John Goodman, is a memorable character known for his passionate (to put it mildly!) and somewhat unconventional bowling style. He approaches the lane with a unique blend of intensity and aggression. His technique involves a few bounces of the ball, some serious foot stomping, and a release that’s more akin to a rocket launch than a typical bowl. While he might not win any awards for grace, it’s unforgettable. (Special mention to Walter and his team’s rival Jesus Quintana, whose unique way of polishing his bowling ball has stood the test of time!) 

2. Fred Flintstone 

Fred and Barney Rubble spent loads of time at Bedrock’s local bowling alley, and anyone who was fortunate enough to enjoy The Flintstones cartoon as a kid got to know Fred Flintstone’s individual bowling style. Daintily hopping onto his tiptoes, he would complete a particularly graceful run up to the lane before throwing the ball in any which direction (accompanied by a twinkly toes soundtrack!). Surprisingly, it generally worked very much in his favour, such as when his bowling ball broke in two to take down a split… 

3. Homer Simpson 

The Simpsons series really celebrates the game of tenpin bowling, with regular bowling references, storylines, and nights out at the Bowl-a-rama. It even gets Homer in trouble with Marge, when he gets her a gift he’d love for himself: a bowling ball with his name on it… Everyone’s favourite donut-loving deadbeat dad showcases a distinctive and often amusing bowling style in the series. Homer is not the smoothest bowler around, and has been known to slip, trip, and unleash unpredictable throws. Despite his clumsy technique, his unpredictability has led to some surprising victories (he even once scored a perfect 300 game!) reminding us that in tenpin bowling, as in life, you don’t always have to follow the textbook approach to succeed. 

4. Malcolm Wilkerson 

In the Malcolm in the Middle episode aptly titled ‘Bowling’, Malcolm and his family head to the bowling alley to enjoy some bonding time. Hal and Malcolm both have some interesting bowling techniques, but our favourite is the awkward moment when Malcolm, in a fit of frustration, heads right up to the pins and throws his ball straight at them to make a statement: “You want a strike?! I’ll give you a strike!” Unfortunately, his skills are so amateur that he still manages to miss, wrapping the ball around and behind the pins without knocking one down.  

5. Roy Munson 

In the comedy film Kingpin, Woody Harrelson plays Roy Munson, a down-and-out bowler with an unorthodox bowling style. Due to an unfortunate incident in his past, Roy has a prosthetic hand and uses a special hook to hold and release the bowling ball. His technique is unconventional, to say the least, but it becomes his signature move. This underdog character takes on professional bowlers with his unique approach, making for some hilarious and memorable bowling scenes in the movie. 

6. Sheldon Cooper 

In an episode of The Big Bang Theory, the friends take a trip to their local bowling alley. To no one’s surprise, the character of Sheldon Cooper (portrayed by Jim Parsons) takes things very seriously, displaying an analytical and highly calculated approach to bowling. He meticulously assesses the physics and geometry of the game, attempting to apply scientific principles to achieve a strike. Of course, his methodical approach is met with a mix of eyerolls and amusement from his friends, making for a comical bowling scene that highlights the diversity of bowling styles you can encounter on the lanes. 

Bonus legend: Jason Belmonte 

Professional Australian bowler Jason ‘Belmo’ Belmonte, has been using his two-handed bowling strategy for years – and it has led him to several big victories. Belmo inserts two fingers into the ball but keeps his thumb outside of the third hole whilst supporting the underside with his left hand, according to The Wall Street Journal. He believes it helps with the rotation of the ball, allowing it to swoop round and knock down each pin. 

Back to blog home