Biopic of baseball legend has lots of drinking, some sex.
No reviews yet.Add your rating
No reviews yet.Add your rating
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Babe is a 1992 biopic in which John Goodman plays baseball legend Babe Ruth. For parents looking for baseball movies, it's worth mentioning that this movie focuses just as much, if not more, on Ruth's exploits off the field as on, including his voracious appetites for food, drink, and sex. Ruth is shown arriving at the ballpark extremely drunk (but plays anyway), drunk at parties in bars and speakeasies, and, in one scene, engaged in a champagne guzzling contest with a Ziegfeld Folly performer who would later be his wife. Cigar and cigarette smoking, tobacco chewing. In some scenes, Ruth's first wife, in the midst of arguments or moments of anxiety, is shown taking prescription pills of some kind. During an argument, Ruth's first wife confronts him on rumors that he slept with four women at the same time. While trying to conceive a child, Ruth's first wife tells him that they've already had sex three times that day. During a raucous party, a couple is shown in a bathtub (no nudity). Some fighting in bench-clearing brawls and in the stands. A young Ruth is dropped off and left at a boys' school because he's deemed "incorrigible," and contends with bullies who verbally abuse him due to his weight; in one scene Ruth attacks a boy with a pair of scissors, poking the boy in the forehead. Profanity includes "s--t," "piss," "goddamn," "bastard," "crap," "ass," "son of a bitch," "damn," and "hell."
There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
THE BABE follows the life and times of baseball legend Babe Ruth (John Goodman) and his exploits both on and off the field. As a boy unloved by his parents, Ruth is dropped off at a strict boys' school in Baltimore after being deemed "incorrigible." While other kids taunt him for his weight, a baseball-obsessed priest (James Cromwell) pitches to Ruth one day, and Ruth knocks every pitch out of the park. As Ruth grows older and the talk of his talent spreads, Ruth is signed to the Big Leagues, first for the Baltimore Orioles, but then to the Boston Red Sox. At Boston, Ruth's fame as a slugger grows to immense proportions, as does his love of women, food, and drink. It's in Boston where he meets his first wife, Helen, who he marries and provides with a farm so she can live out her dream of taking care of farm animals. However, this is not enough for her, as Ruth's drinking and carousing only increase, especially once he's traded to the New York Yankees. As his marriage to Helen falls apart, Ruth becomes more attached to Claire (Kelly McGillis), a vaudeville performer he has known since his Boston days, to whom he confesses his dream of one day becoming a manager. But as Ruth's career begins a long and sad tailspin, it seems that baseball doesn't love him back, and in a final season with the Boston Braves, Ruth wants to show, at least one more time, that he'll always be one of the greatest to ever play the game.
Is It Any Good?
This biopic of one of the greatest baseball players of all time spends just as much time, if not more, on his exploits off the field as on the field. The Babe is entertaining primarily due to John Goodman's "big lug" portrayal of "The Great Bambino." A lust for life comes through in nearly every scene, be it in Ruth's legendary home runs, or in the middle of washing down copious amounts of food with copious amounts of beer. There are some wonderful moments of baseball conveyed on the screen; baseball fans will be thrilled to see historic moments reenacted.
The biggest problem with the movie, besides factual errors that will be sure to irk the baseball buff in any family, is how it spends far more time outside of Ruth's career in baseball instead of in. While the good Ruth did for kids, particularly orphans, is on full display, and a sense of depth in the character beneath the bon vivant facade in Ruth's constant talk of the meaning of "family," there's also a heavy emphasis on the more salacious aspects of Ruth's behavior off the field. What's particularly disappointing is that some of the milestones of Ruth's career, such as hitting 60 homeruns in one season, a record that remained in the books for nearly half a century, are mentioned in passing, typically in the form of fake black-and-white "archival" footage. It's not to say that Ruth's off-field behavior should be ignored, but for those expecting a baseball movie, The Babe is less about baseball and more about a man who never had a family and was spending his life trying to find one.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about baseball movies like The Babe. How does this compare to other baseball moves you've seen?
Why do you think the movie spent just as much time, if not more, on Ruth's behavior off the field as on? Should the movie have spent more time on Ruth's baseball career? Why or why not?
Have you seen any other biopics? How does this one compare?
- In theaters: October 3, 1992
- On DVD or streaming: July 1, 2003
- Cast: John Goodman, Kelly McGillis, Trini Alvarado
- Director: Arthur Hiller
- Studio: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: History
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Athlete learns what's important in alcoholism drama.
Trouble with the Curve
Teen-friendly baseball drama raises father-daughter issues.
Enjoyable baseball-centered romcom has language, sex.
Field of Dreams
Baseball crowd pleaser with a supernatural twist.
For kids who love baseball
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate