Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle race to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record.

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Storyline

Aiming for one of the most famed records in sports history, a pair of very different baseball players hit home runs at an impressive rate. Roger Maris, a reserved sort, is much less popular than his hard-partying New York Yankee teammate Mickey Mantle, the player who many observers think will be the one to challenge Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs in one season. But in the summer of 1961, Maris surges ahead of Mantle, making a run at Ruth's mark. Written by Jwelch5742

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Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Why did America have room in its heart for only one hero?


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TV-MA | See all certifications »

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28 April 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

61  »

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1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most images of the paths of the home run balls were CGI animation. Billy Crystal said he was having a hard time animating the proper arc and path of Maris's sixty first home run. During post production, Crystal attended Game 6 of the 2000 ALCS in which Yankees Outfielder David Justice hit a dramatic late inning Home Run at Yankee Stadium. Crystal credits seeing Justice's Home Run as helping give him the proper vision to depict Maris's historic Home Run. See more »

Goofs

When Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Bob Cerv are watching television, the opening credits of The Andy Griffith Show appear in color, but the show didn't air in color until the 1965 season. See more »

Quotes

Yogi Berra: Ninety percent of the game is half mental.
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Crazy Credits

After the first set of credits, a father tells his son "That's Mickey Mantle and that's a homerun". The film is then dedicated to director Billy Crystal's father who introduced him to baseball as a child. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #7.114 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

I Count The Tears
Written by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
Performed by The Drifters
Produced under license from Atlantic Recording Corp.
Produced by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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An absolute home run
8 June 2005 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

Billy Crystal hits it out of the park with 61*. Brilliantly cast, beautifully shot and at times brutally honest in its storytelling, 61* is an absolute gem.

Any baseball fan well knows the story of the great home run chase of 1961. Here, Crystal peels back the curtain and brings us up close and personal with the men who made that season so memorable. In Barry Pepper, who plays Roger Maris, and Thomas Jane, as Mickey Mantle, Crystal found two actors absolutely perfect for their respective roles. The way Pepper and Jane perfectly captured the essence of these real-life heroes goes far beyond the eerie physical resemblances the actors have to the men they portray. Maris was a quiet, serious, introspective family man. And during this particular season it could be said he was a downright tortured man as well. Pepper captures all of this wonderfully. Mantle on he other hand was an outgoing, energetic, fun-loving superstar who took full advantage of all the perks his stardom brought him. And Jane does a fine job bringing this out and really lets you see the wear and tear Mantle's lifestyle had on him as his body began to break down. It would have been easy to gloss over some of the less appealing aspects of Mantle's personality. It also would have been dishonest and Crystal is to be applauded for showing it how it really was. Mantle was a larger than life hero but he certainly had his faults and this film brings them out. Some may find the pervasive profanity and crude sexual humor in the film to be a bit over the top but an honest retelling of the story requires acknowledging the way these ballplayers really were.

61* is not just a movie about baseball, it is at its heart a movie about Roger Maris and the key relationships in his life. Maris and Mantle, Maris and his wife, Maris and the oppressive press...these relationships are all explored as we learn much more about Roger Maris the man than Roger Maris the baseball player. Maris had to overcome a great deal to accomplish what he did and this film does a brilliant job of bringing us along on his magical ride.


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