61* (2001)

TV Movie  |  TV-MA  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  28 April 2001 (USA)
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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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A young baseball player in the 1940s struggles to make it in the major leagues.

Director: Billy Crystal


Cast overview, first billed only:
Ford Frick


Summer, 1961: Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle are on pace to break the most hallowed record in U.S. sports, Babe Ruth's single-season 60 home runs. It's a big story, and the intense, plain-spoken Maris is the bad guy: sports writers bait him and minimize his talent, fans cheer Mantle, the league's golden boy, and baseball's commissioner announces that Ruth's record stands unless it's broken within 154 games. Any record set after 154 games of the new 162-game schedule will have an asterisk. The film follows the boys of summer, on and off the field: their friendship, the stresses on Maris, his frustration with the negative attention, and his desire to play well, win, and go home. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


TV-MA | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

28 April 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

61  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


An archive clip of the real Roger Maris hitting his 61st home run is shown during the opening credits of Bobby (2006). See more »


There was no Sports Illustrated cover with Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. They were on the cover of Life. See more »


Ralph Houk: [before game 154, when Roger, breaking down from pressure, wants to sit out the game] I'm not a sentimental type guy, but... most of us, we bang around the game for a while, then we are forgotten. Ruth, Cobb, Gehrig, DiMaggio, those guys were bigger than the game, and I know that is not what you want. But right now, whether you like it or not, you're bigger than the game. And this is your chance to go out there and show them what you're made of, and that you owe to yourself. I'll tell you what, ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

Yankee Stadium played by Tiger Stadium See more »


Features The Andy Griffith Show (1960) See more »


Put On A Happy Face
Written by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams
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User Reviews

Perhaps best baseball movie ever
19 September 2001 | by See all my reviews

So superb was the job Billy Crystal did on this movie that it is the best baseball (even sports) film I have ever seen. Every detail is meticulously worked out, even more accurately, I believe, than in The Titanic (which, contrary to popular belief, had a few inaccuracies). And while a strong effort in getting look alikes can never completely pay off with so many people involved, how about Barry Pepper as Maris? (Of course, the most important person.)

Mickey Mantle's faults are brought out unrestrainedly by perhaps his No. 1 fan, and yet he still comes across in a positive light, as he should. Maris's problems with the press are also portrayed sympathetically, and yet so are members of the press, who are personalized and humanized and have their side also fairly presented. Particularly moving was the scene at the end where a press person who had been at odds with Maris is cheering him on to break the record. An ornamental portrayal of Pat Maris would of course not be tolerated, but Crystal makes an extra, very successful effort at making her an important part of the film with great character development and a thoughtful inclusion of her problems. In fact, I find it hard to think of another movie in which there is such an absence of plastic people. And in spite of the post-Ball Four attitudes about how athletes really are, this movie appears to be accurate in presenting Maris as a good Catholic (and relatively nonboozing) family man.

Yankee haters may not be into this film as much as Yankee lovers, but in any event it brilliantly captures the Yankee mystique (and dominance in this particular season) in the early 60s. Were they the apotheosis of the pre-Vietnam, All-American ideal? If you are one of those people whose main complaint about movies these days is more than specific factors, but the general lack of anything uplifting, see this movie. More in the modern vein than, say, Pride of the Yankees, but no less uplifting.

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