7.8/10
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125 user 23 critic

61* (2001)

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

Director:

Billy Crystal

Writer:

Hank Steinberg
Reviews
Popularity
3,101 ( 276)
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 25 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Barry Pepper ... Roger Maris
Thomas Jane ... Mickey Mantle
Anthony Michael Hall ... Whitey Ford
Richard Masur ... Milt Kahn
Bruce McGill ... Ralph Houk
Chris Bauer ... Bob Cerv
Jennifer Crystal Foley ... Pat Maris ('61)
Christopher McDonald ... Mel Allen
Bob Gunton ... Dan Topping
Donald Moffat ... Ford Frick
Joe Grifasi ... Phil Rizzuto
Peter Jacobson ... Artie Green
Seymour Cassel ... Sam Simon
Robert Joy ... Bob Fitschel
Michael Nouri ... Joe DiMaggio
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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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

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


Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

HBO

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 April 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

61 See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The story Whitey Ford tells about Mickey Mantle tearing his knee because Joe DiMaggio made him back off a fly ball is true. According to Billy Crystal, Mickey had told him that story before and had even said "My knees were done right there and then." 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

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, ...
[...]
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Crazy Credits

The first set of credits lists Chris McDonald; the second. Christopher McDonald. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Monkey in the Morning: Episode dated 14 March 2019 (2019) See more »

Soundtracks

Talk To Me Lonesome Heart
Written by James O'Gwynn
Performed by George Jones
Courtesy of Mercury Nashville
Under License From Universal Music Enterprises
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User Reviews

 
Perhaps best baseball movie ever
19 September 2001 | by KakuekeSee 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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