Padres Editorial: Friars On Base Ranks Their Favorite Baseball Movies Part I

5 of 7

Mandatory Credit:

Daryll Dorman discusses #8-42:

The 2013 movie 42, directed by Brian Helgeland and released by Warner Bros. Pictures is not a perfect movie about Jackie Robinson, but it does a pretty good job. Covering Jackie Robinson breaking into professional baseball and therefore baseball’s color line, the movie is inserting itself into a pivotal time in American history.

Which is where it gets tricky making a movie like this, where you try and balance out legend with fact, comedy with brevity, and not to make characters into stereotypes. I enjoyed 42 for at least trying to modernize the story a little bit and taking a few chances. Harrison Ford plays Branch Rickey well enough once you get past his accent and realize how old he is looking these days. Chadwick Boseman does a great job in giving personality to Jackie throughout the movie, despite being a relatively unknown actor before this movie.

The Jackie Robinson story has always been intriguing to me, especially when you consider it took place in 1947 and the Civil Rights Act, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks didn’t come along until the 1960’s. Jackie Robinson didn’t have Jesse Jackson backing him, and the movie certainly shows how Robinson had to face the discrimination with a small support system of family and Branch Rickey supporting him from Brooklyn.

The impact of what Robinson did of course, is still felt throughout Major League Baseball today, and his number is rightfully retired by all major league ballparks. 42 is a good movie to help remind us of the sacrifice made by Jackie, and how baseball played its own role in ending segregation in America.