The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg

  • Review Date: May 5, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000

Common Sense Media says

This gem will lift the spirits of baseball fans.
  • Review Date: May 5, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2000

Age(i)

2
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9
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17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Violence & scariness

Some sad moments.

Sexy stuff

Very mild.

Language

Mild.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that while younger kids might not understand this movie, there's nothing objectionable in it.

Parents say

Kids say

Not yet rated
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What's the story?

Aviva Kempner's documentary reveals that baseball player Hank Greenberg was that rarest of sports stars, someone who was as good as his fans hoped he was -- in fact, he was even better. Kempner combines stock footage and contemporary interviews with fans, friends, family, and teammates to give a glowing portrait of Greenberg, who died in 1986, and, as the title promises, of his era. Accomplished, distinguished men get teary-eyed as they talk about how much Hank Greenberg meant to them when they were growing up. Lawyer-to-the-stars Alan Dershowitz says, "Baseball was our way of showing that we were as American as anyone else." "We" meant Jews. Hank Greenberg wasn't the first Jewish baseball player, but he was the first one to be proudly Jewish. He did not change his name or hide his religion. And he was a star. Dershowitz said, "He was what they said Jews could never be." Greenberg faced a lot of prejudice, but never took it personally and never became bitter. Not a religious or observant man, he was very aware of his role as a symbol, and, as a fan notes, "he wore his Jewishness on his sleeve and in his heart." At the end of his career, he helped support another baseball player he perhaps understood better than anyone -- Jackie Robinson.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Brilliant documentary-maker Aviva Kempner has created a gem of a movie to lift the spirit of anyone who cares about baseball -- or heroes. One of the great treats of this movie is see not just how well Greenberg handled adversity, but how well he handled fame and success, remaining humble, honest, and dedicated through it all.

Perhaps most revealing of Greenberg's character was the one statistic that he cared about, in this most statistic-ridden of sports -- RBIs. He loved being the one who batted clean-up, "the guy that comes up at the clutch, changes the ball game, makes all the difference." He could have gone for the home run record, but he was the ultimate team player. His teammates and friends talk, also, about his dedication. He was the hardest-working of ball-players, paying anyone he could find to pitch to him for extra batting practice and even stripping down in a friend's dress-making studio so he could examine his batting stance in a three-way mirror.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about America's history of prejudice and about the different ways that people handle adversity -- and success.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 12, 2000
DVD release date:October 16, 2001
Cast:Hank Greenberg
Director:Aviva Kempner
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Drama
Topics:Sports and martial arts, History
Run time:90 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic elements and mild language

This review of The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 6 and 8 year old Written byMD-Stay-at-Home-Dad March 23, 2010
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

The Jewish Jackie Robinson

Very good movie to explain the discrimination Jews experienced in the US prior to World War II. Also, one of the rare movies about pre-war baseball players which isn't about a Yankee.

I could easily have given it 5 stars had it covered his later career as well as it covered his pre-war career with the Detroit Tigers.

One caution, there are many descriptions/repetitions of the racial epithets (and a few for other immigrant groups) used against Jews in the 1930's and the rise of organized antisemitism Nazi sympathizers in the US. Parents may want to caution kids before seeing the movie, and be prepared to discuss them after the movie.

What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages
Great role models

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