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Current Rating 8.18/10 | 28 Votes

61* tells the story of Roger Maris and Mickey Mantleís 1961 race to break Babe Ruthís single season home run record. Barry Pepper (The Green Mile, Saving Private Ryan), who plays Maris and Thomas Jane (Deep Blue Sea, Magnolia) as Mantle both bear an uncanny resemblance to the characters they play; so much so that the movie almost has the feeling of a documentary.

This is much more than just a simple baseball movie. The film explores the incredible pressure that was put on Maris and Mantle both on and off the field, and shows us that even immortal heroes like these two are all too human. Americaís hero at the time, Mantle was heavily favored to break the long-standing record set by Babe Ruth in 1927, but an infection brought on by a flu vaccination landed him in the hospital at the end of the season, leaving Maris as the sole contender in the run for the record.

No one could have done a better job of directing this film than Billy Crystal, who is and always has been a rabid Yankee fan, and because of this, the movie is an extremely accurate look at the lives of these two men, and does a great job of documenting the entire season. The cinematography is top notch, as is the acting and writing. If you are a baseball historian, or just a fan of the game, donít miss this one.

I give this one ten long balls out of a possible ten.

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