Did you know that pinball was once illegal in New York City, after an early-1940s decision that the machines were a) too akin to gambling and b) corrupting little kids? A new film digs into that incredible period in gaming history—specifically the tail end, circa 1976, when one man began a crusade to reverse the ban.
After a festival run, Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game arrives in theaters and on VOD this week—exploring the true story of Roger Sharpe, who was instrumental in making pinball legal in New York City after a 35-year ban. io9 has an exclusive clip to share today that showcases a nostalgia-perfect 1970s arcade.
Here’s the official synopsis: “An unsettled writer with a fantastic mustache, Roger Sharpe (Mike Faist) finds solace and confidence in the one thing he has mastered: pinball. When a police raid destroys the only machines he can find in 1970s New York City, he learns the game is illegal in the state. Roger reluctantly joins forces with the Music and Amusement Association to overturn the ban while falling in love with Ellen (Crystal Reed), an artist and single mother. Roger’s path to save pinball teaches him what it means to take a chance—and that commitment is the most rewarding gamble of all.”
Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game is written and directed by the Bragg Brothers; among its stars, you might recognize Faist—a Grammy and Emmy winner for his work on Broadway’s Dear Evan Hansen—as Riff in Stephen Spielberg’s West Side Story, while Reed starred on MTV’s Teen Wolf and in Paramount+ release Teen Wolf: The Movie.
Pinball: The Man Who Saved the Game arrives today, March 17, in theaters and on VOD.
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