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The Jackie Robinson Story (1950)

Approved | | Biography, Drama, Sport | 12 June 1953 (Australia)
Biography of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player in the 20th century. Traces his career in the negro leagues and the major leagues.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Minor Watson ...
Jackie's Mother
Richard Lane ...
Harry Shannon ...
Frank Shaughnessy
William 'Bill' Spaulding ...
Bill Spaulding (as Bill Spaulding)
Billy Wayne ...
Joel Fluellen ...
Mack Robinson
Kenny Washington ...
Larry McGrath ...
Emmett Smith ...


Biography of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player in the 20th century. Traces his career in the negro leagues and the major leagues. Written by Jerry Milani <jmilani@umbc.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


You'll HIT With Him! You'll RUN With Him! You'll SLIDE With Him!


Biography | Drama | Sport


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 June 1953 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

A História de Jackie Robinson  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)


(black and white version)| (color version)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Final film of Laurence Criner. See more »


Late 1940's cars can clearly be seen in the 1928 scenes. See more »


Branch Rickey, President Brooklyn Dodgers: We're tackling something big here, Jackie. If we fail, no one will try it again for twenty years. But if we succeed...
Clyde Sukeforth, Dodger Scout: If we succeed, Brooklyn will win a pennant.
Branch Rickey, President Brooklyn Dodgers: Yes, that too. But we're dealing with rights here. The right of any American to play baseball, the American game. You think he's our boy, Clyde?
Clyde Sukeforth, Dodger Scout: Well, he can run, he can hit, and he can field.
Branch Rickey, President Brooklyn Dodgers: But can he take it?
Clyde Sukeforth, Dodger Scout: That I don't know.
Branch Rickey, President Brooklyn Dodgers: What do you think, Jackie?
Jackie Robinson: Well, I can try.
Branch Rickey, President Brooklyn Dodgers: Think you've got guts enough to play the game no matter what...
See more »


Version of 42 (2013) See more »

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User Reviews

The Jackie Robinson/Branch Rickey Story
21 July 2005 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

After Jackie Robinson had his career year in 1949(batting champion and National League Most Valuable Player, he was apparently talked into appearing in this cheaply made autobiographical story by Dodger President Branch Rickey. According to a recent biography of Robinson the film was made in California in the early months of 1950 and rushed into movie houses in time for the 1950 baseball season.

Jackie Robinson was one of the most gifted athletes of the last century. He could easily have had a career in football, track, or basketball. But acting was not one of the skills God blessed him with. The poor man looks nervous and apprehensive and wondering what he was doing there.

The movie touches on a few highlights of his early life, skipping over his military career which was very important because he felt the sting of racism there and was courtmartialed in the army, but acquitted. I won't go into that story, a television movie was made of it.

There's no real explanation of just WHY it was Robinson who Branch Rickey selected to integrate the Brooklyn Dodgers and major league baseball. The skimpy screen play does concentrate on Rickey and his role in bringing integration to baseball. That's not surprising since the screenplay was authored by Arthur Mann who was Rickey's own publicist. Later on Mann wrote a hagiography of Rickey.

Branch Rickey was a complex man himself and not quite the pure knight the film makes him out to be although he does deserve a lot of credit. Rickey was not above a lot of sanctimonious moralizing in his life and actor Minor Watson caught some of that aspect of him. A book and/or movie should be done about that man as well.

Ruby Dee got her first real notice on the screen in this film as Rachel Robinson, Jackie's wife. There's was one of the great love stories of the last century, but you'd never know it. Ms. Dee said that she had little to go on in creating the character of Rachel for the screen, but that after meeting her when the shooting was well over halfway done, she wished she had met her before. Her interpretation of the dutiful wife would have been a lot different.

In fact one of the reasons that Rickey did choose Robinson as opposed to other black athletes was that Robinson was a very religious man who was very much in love with his wife. No stories about him running around and nightclubbing would occur to ruin Rickey's great experiment.

In fact other than the Robinson family and Branch Rickey the only other real characters in the story are Dodger coach and scout Clyde Sukeforth and Montreal Royal Manager Clay Hopper. No mention at all of any of Jackie's famous teammates. Another example of the skimpiness of the screenplay.

Ruby Dee said that Robinson was a very nice man who felt out of place in the film. Maybe one day a good film about Robinson the ballplayer and civil rights activist will be made. I can see Denzel Washington in the part.

Having seen the film 42 I can recommend that one as a far better telling of The Jackie Robinson Story.

15 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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