Bingo in the Cinema

Bingo in the CinemaBingo in the Cinema USA was featured in a film which was set in the times of the Great Depression called “King of the Bingo Game” and it addresses the alienation felt by black Americans, though the narrative concerns a bingo player desperate to win some money in order to obtain medical care for his lover. It was based on a book of the same title by Ralph Ellison, published in 1944, though the movie was made in 1999.

Learn About Bingo in the Cinema

Bingo has been commonly seen in the movies for a long time and has been featured in many British movies and in particular those black and white grainy films depicting post-war Great Britain in the1950s and early 1960’s. These films were not necessarily about bingo, but the game provided a backdrop to the rest of the story.

Those were times of considerable austerity and ration books, when the working class women wore headscarves, yet ruled their households with an iron fist. The men might have spent too much time down the pub, but woe betides them, should they step too far out of line. These women had survived the war and many had lost husbands and sons to it; daughters too.

When the ban on playing bingo for monetary prizes was lifted at the end of the 1950s it spelled a kind of liberation for these women. Bingo clubs sprung up everywhere; dance halls and cinemas were typical venues. Here was an opportunity for a night out with some friends and the chance to win some serious money in the process.

As the gloomy yet optimistic 1950s gave way to the anarchy of the swinging 1960s, the face of bingo in the cinema changed too.

In 1999 the movie “Bingo the Documentary” by John Jeffcoat was released which features bingo as played in a succession of bingo halls, cruise liners and gay clubs.
“She Toon: City of Bingo” by Craig Collinson is all about bingo in Dundee and tells the story of three bingo players.

In 2007 “Good Bingo” was released. This is about a number of people who have different roles in a small bingo club in Texas.

These are just a sample of the many recent movies that have featured the game and those who play it, though we are still awaiting a movie about the online version of the game. Stay tuned for updates on Bingo in the Cinema.