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"42" Film Review

Updated on April 30, 2013
Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson
Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson | Source
Robinson and Branch Rickey
Robinson and Branch Rickey


"42," the Jackie Robinson story, is the most moving movie I've seen in a while. Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey both deserve Oscar nominations.

As someone who was raised mostly in the segregated South and who moved to a nearly as segregated North, I nevertheless found it hard to watch the movie's jarring depictions of ugly white racist fans, South and North; several of Robinson's racist Dodger teammates, notably Dixie Walker; racists on opposing teams, notably Ben Chapman, manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, the most obnoxious of all, whose racist taunts almost caused Robinson to lose his cool; and subtle racism displayed even by venerated baseball broadcaster Red Barber. On the other hand, Robinson received heart-warming support from many fans and teammates Ralph Branca, Eddie Stanky and Peewee Reese and others of Robinson's Dodger teammates.

The film's focus was on 1947, the year Robinson and Branch Rickey broke the major league baseball color line with the Brooklyn Dodgers. This was before the civil rights movement had gotten off the ground. Jim Crow ruled the South, and the North was nearly as segregated as the South. For example, a major Philadelphia hotel cancelled the Dodger's room reservations after Branch Rickey refused the Phillies' manager's demand that Robinson be dropped from the lineup in its home game with Philadelphia. A game against the Reds in Cincinnati brought death threats against Robinson, Rickey and PeeWee Reece's children.

The movie was directed by Brian Helgeland.

"42" Trailer


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    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Thanks for your comments.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      I saw this film as well, it was a good one on various levels without obviously laboring to do so. I also thought that Harrison Ford performed very well and find it strange that there wasn't more recognition of this. I agree it may have been his best work. Chadwick Boseman did a good job and this was the first of his work that I'd seen and I look forward to seeing more.

    • profile image

      Saw "42" last weekend. 4 years ago

      42 does a great job of portraying the era and the conflicts of the times. Good baseball history, too.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Branch Rickey integrated major league baseball a year before Truman integrated the armed forces. Harrison Ford was tremendous as Branch Rickey. It may be his best performance.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 4 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      I do not know the film. But I love the history. Long live the trailblazer for without them we have no path.

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 4 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Tudyk sure was effective. The most hateful bigot in the movie.

      Thanks for your comment.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 4 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      I must say that this is one of my favorite films. Thanks for the link to the Ben Chapman story at The Atlantic -- It sounds like he mellowed in his later years. Alan Tudyk surely was effective as Chapman in heckling mode, tho - Whew!! The audience didn't know whether to laugh or throw things.