USA Today - 09/14/2001
"...This is, simply, one of the best baseball movies ever..."
Set in New York City in 1961, 61* is a film directed by Billy Crystal for baseball lovers. Zooming in on Yankee players Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle, the film follows these two opposites as they attempt to break Babe Ruth's 1927 home run record. In heated competition, the two players each try to score over 60 home runs and set the new world record. While the fans align themselves with one player to be the winner, the players choose the other, igniting the playing field with tension, excitement, and anticipation.
One was the Yankees' best loved player, the other was their most valuable. In the summer of 1961, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle took on Babe Ruth's record, the 1927 single-season 60 home run slam. It would be a summer that no one who knows baseball would forget. In 1961, Mickey Mantle is a Yankee favorite. The smiling sun god of the season, a hit with fans and sports writers alike and natural heir to his predecessors Joe DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig, and Bebe Ruth. Also at bat is a yound midwesterner, Roger Maris. A hard-hitting right fielder, Maris is Mantle's opposite in almost every way. Quiet and soft-spoken, he doesn't add up to everything a sports legend should be, and finds himself losing the support of the fans when he refuses to try. As the summer of 1961 unfolds, both Maris and Mantle find themselves approaching Babe Ruth's benchmark of 60 home runs. Facing mounting pressure from the media and the stands, they both know there's only room for one winner. The people make their choice known. But the people's favorite isn't the favorite to win.
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