61* (2001)

TV Movie  |  TV-MA  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  28 April 2001 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 11,264 users  
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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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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?


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Release Date:

28 April 2001 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

61  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to Billy Crystal in the DVD Commentary, the scene of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris doing the hot dog commercial was supposed to end with Roger's line "Hey, Mickey, shouldn't we be on the field?" But kept the cameras rolling and all of the "goofs" of Mickey and Roger laughing in the shooting were really the reactions of Thomas Jane and Barry Pepper which Billy decided to leave in the scene. See more »


When Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris are playing catch, a reporter tells Maris that Babe Ruth hit .343 the year he hit 60 home runs in 1927. Ruth actually hit .356 that year, and never hit .343 during any of his 22 seasons. See more »


[after a home run]
Roger Maris: Curveball?
Mickey Mantle: Yeah, but it didn't curve.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The first set of credits lists Dominic Lombardozi; the second, Domenick Lombardozzi. See more »


Referenced in Mike & Mike: Episode dated 17 July 2015 (2015) See more »


Dedicated To The One I Love
Written by Ralph Bass and Lowman Pauling
Performed by The Shirelles (as The Shirells)
Courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company/Global Licensing Inc.
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
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User Reviews

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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