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61* (TV Movie 2001)
IMDB Rating: 7.9/10 from 11,195 votes
Release: 28 April 2001 (USA) /

61* (TV Movie 2001)

Genre: Biography, Drama, History
Director: Billy Crystal,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: 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>

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Critic Reviews


As a Scotsman raised on football and rugby American sports have often left me cold and were a subject of derision in my household as a child. This film ,brilliantly directed by Billy Crystal, changed all that for me. I bought this film through a region 1 DVD supplier as it is unavailable in the UK and was moved to tears by its moving and heartfelt depiction of the late great Roger Maris who in one season became the most misunderstood and hated figure in baseball history. His crime- he dared to challenge a thirty four year old record set by Babe Ruth for the most home runs scored in a single season and even worse he was in competition with teammate Mickey Mantle for the record. Mantle at the time was the darling of NY Yankee fans and was probably the greatest player of his day, Maris was a small town boy who played the game only as a means to an end, to provide for his family, and cared little for public opinion or the press. The venom to which he is subjected to by the press and fans, brought on by immoral reporters, will make any sports fan angry. This film was a work of joy for director Billy Crystal and his love for the project shows in every shot and especially in the directors commentary. Barry Pepper is an uncanny Roger Maris and his amazing performance pulls us into the suffering the player must have felt. Thomas Jane is a brilliant Mickey Mantle playing the role of American legend with biblical sincerity. The whole project feels classy at all times, despite being made for T.V, and is a monument to both players and the era in which they lived. The film is rounded of by an appearance during the credits by Mickey Mantle's son and grandson, pure class and a tribute to the boyhood idol of Billy Crystal All in all well done to Billy Crystal and cast. Thank you for a wonderful 2hrs and 9mins. I am only sad it wasn't longer. But it has introduced me to the sport of baseball and has compelled me to learn more of both Maris and Mantle. So it has placed me on a journey of discovery. What higher compliment can I pay?

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