61*Director: Billy Crystal
Noted baseball fan Billy Crystal directed this made-for-cable drama set in the summer of 1961, as two of the strongest hitters in the major leagues, Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) and Roger Maris (Barry Pepper), find themselves neck and neck in a battle to break Babe Ruth's long-standing record for most home runs in a season. Both men were playing for the New York Yankees at the time, and as the two men came within grasping distance of Ruth's record, their loyalty as friends and teammates was put to the ultimate test. 61 also features Richard Masur, Bruce McGill, Anthony Michael Hall, and Renee Taylor; the scenes set in Yankee Stadium were filmed at Michigan's Tiger Stadium, shortly after the Detroit Tigers shuttered the venerable playing field and relocated to a newer facility.
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- Original Release:
- Hbo Home Video
Cast & Crew
|Barry Pepper||Roger Maris|
|Thomas Jane||Mickey Mantle|
|Anthony Michael Hall||Whitey Ford|
|Richard Masur||Milt Kahn|
|Bruce McGill||Houk, Ralph|
|Christopher McDonald||Mel Allen|
|Jennifer Foley||Pat Maris (1961)|
|Renee Taylor||Claire Ruth|
|Bob Gunton||Dan Topping|
|Donald Moffat||Ford Frick|
|Christopher Bauer||Bob Cerv|
|Pat Crowley||Pat Maris ('98)|
|Joe Grifasi||Phil Rizzuto|
|Paul Borghese||Yogi Berra|
|Bobby Hosea||Elston Howard|
|Peter Jacobson||Artie Green|
|Seymour Cassel||Sam Simon|
|Connor Trinneer||Writer #2|
|Billy Crystal||Director,Executive Producer|
|Robert F. Colesberry||Producer|
|Ross Greenburg||Executive Producer|
|Marc Shaiman||Score Composer|
|Rusty Smith||Production Designer|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This is an amazing baseball movie. Directed by Billy Crystal, huge Yankee fan, the love of the game comes through. The bonus feature movie on "The Making of *61" is almost better than the movie. This is the number one baseball movie in my collection! Buy it don't rent it. You will want to own it!
61* has got to be one of the best baseball movie I've ever seen. It has great history of America's best pastime, and entertaining from beggining to end. You have to see this movie.
So many sports movies are made to manipulate the viewer into cheering at the climax, as if the audience was a spectator in a stadium. This extraordinary movie prompts a lump in the throat and leaves your eyes stinging with the realization of what these people have been through and all that they have accomplished. Somehow, Billy Crystal has constructed a movie that appeals to the head as well as the heart, a film that reveals his love of baseball without resorting to cliches or mawkish stereotypes. Barry Pepper's portrayal of Roger Maris obviously drives this movie and he excels at showing a good, quiet, solid man striving to accomplish a landmark achievement while dealing with brutal pressure. What makes this film work for me is Thomas Jane's remarkable rendition of Mickey Mantle. Mantle is not played as an icon here. He is seen as a complete human being, with an affection for booze and women as well as a capacity for loyalty and understanding. This three-dimensional characterization is due in equal parts to Jane's acting and a script that allows Mickey Mantle to presented as an earthy, complicated individual rather than a mere cardboard cutout of a professional athlete. This relationship between Maris and Mantle is told against the backdrop of an amazing menagerie of Sixties popular culture. Crystal has truly captured 1961. The efforts to recreate Yankee Stadium before it was refurbished and the cinematography are fantastic. The supporting cast is remarkable, from Maris' wife to the Yankee teammates, from a wide range of sports writers serving as a Greek chorus to the widow of Babe Ruth rooting for Roger to fail. It all comes together perfectly. When I first saw this movie, I was a little chagrined to see the references to Mark McGuire's quest to break Maris' record. As I watched though, I understood what Crystal was doing. McGuire was treated as a hero as he reached for the record. Maris was treated as some sort of traitor for challenging Babe Ruth. The difference in the circumstances under which McGuire and Maris fought to establish themselves is dramatic, and it lends even more weight to what Roger Maris was able to accomplish. This movie captures that perfectly. If you love baseball, this film is the best representation of what goes on, both on and off the field, I have seen. Even if you don't care about baseball, this movie captures the complexity of human beings interacting under remarkable circumstances.
This story was amazing. It was so amazing I can't possibly imagine the words to say how good it is. If you're a baseball fan you can not live without it. If you're not a baseball fan you'll still love it.
I loved this movie. I was inspired. It made me think of the impact we as fans can possibly have on the players. And that just because they are not press friendly doesnt giveus the right to turn our backs on them. The movie was well acted. Loved the way the characters evolved.
This is a great movie whether you like baseball or not. I never cared for baseball, but I will never look at baseball or the NY Yankees the same way again. Thomas Jane as Mickey Mantle was fascinating to watch. You won't be disappointed.
You don't have to be a baseball fan to love this movie. I know, because I was never a big baseball fan and this movie captured my heart in a way few movies do. Since this is about the 1961 NY Yankee baseball season, and everyone knows Mark McGuire broke Roger Maris's record of single season home runs in 1998, I can't exactly give away the ending unless someone has been living in a cave for the past 40 years. This is the true story of the 1961 baseball season of the NY Yankees and the breaking of the Babe Ruth single season home run record. While it was not a rivalry between Mantle and Maris, the press trumped it up as one. Also, Mantle was the fan favorite, the ''real Yankee kind of guy.'' Maris had been with the Yankees for one year and did not have the magic way with the press or fans that Mantle did. Billy Crystal did a great job directing this film. Thomas Jane and Barry Pepper were perfect casting as Mantle and Maris. Jane especially fascinated me with his portrayal of Mickey Mantle. If he did not get an Emmy nomination, he was robbed. Crystal is paying tribute to Roger Maris, but this is also a big valentine to Mickey Mantle. Mickey was a great athlete. How much greater he could have been, if only he had taken better care of himself. I will never look at baseball or the NY Yankees the same way again.
I'm female, and had never cared for baseball until I saw this movie. The guy playing Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane) was fascinating to watch. I have since seen pictures of Roger Maris and see the uncanny resemblence Barry Pepper has to Maris. I have seen this movie about 4 times, and each time I hear something or see something I haven't seen before. I also believe this movie is a valentine to Mickey Mantle. Yes, its about Roger Maris, but it is also a history lesson. Mickey was ''da man'', home run record or not. I don't know if Billy Crystal realizes it, but he made one magical movie about his long ago magical summer. I will never look at baseball the same way again.