61* (2001) USA
61* Image Cover
Additional Images
Director:Billy Crystal
Studio:Hbo Home Video
Writer:Hank Steinberg
Date Added:2007-03-05
Purchased On:2007-05-03
Awards:Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 20 nominations
Picture Format:Anamorphic Widescreen
Aspect Ratio:1.85:1
Languages:English, Dolby Digital 5.1, English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, Spanish, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, Commentary by Billy Crystal, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
Subtitles:English, Spanish, French
Billy Crystal  ...  (Director)
Hank Steinberg  ...  (Writer)
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  ...  Pat Maris ('61) (as Jennifer Crystal Foley)
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
Jennifer Crystal Foley  ...  Pat Maris ('61)
Comments: Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Why did America have room in its heart for only one hero?

Summary: 61* is an endearing ode to the baseball days of yore when the press was the enemy, salaries were in check, and breaking records with bat and glove took on Ruthian proportions. In 1961 baseball expanded its season from 154 games to 162, allowing weaker pitching into the major leagues and two New York Yankees teammates--the colorless Roger Maris and golden boy Mickey Mantle--to make an assault on the sport's ultimate record: Babe Ruth's 60 home runs. To add to the stew, baseball commissioner Ford Frick announced any record set in the last eight games of the season wouldn't count toward the official record; records had to be achieved in 154 games.
Director Billy Crystal guarantees success for his movie in the perfect casting of the leads. Barry Pepper (Saving Private Ryan's religious sniper) is deft as Maris, and Thomas Jane is a perfect Mantle, a superman in a Yankee uniform. Despite the differences between family man Maris and hard-living Mantle, they form a rewarding friendship amid the media and fan frenzy. The shy Maris took the brunt of the storm, even facing boo-birds in his home stadium. Crystal and first-time writer Hank Steinberg keep the pace moving quickly between the field, the locker room, the press box, and the home front. The film never tries to dazzle with more than the facts (and it softens Mantle up a bit), yet it belongs on the short list of grand baseball movies. --Doug Thomas