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 Pride of the Yankees is about baseball legend Lou Gehrig, a role model for his humility and work ethic. It's free of extreme violence or sexual references. Young kids may be disturbed by Gehrig's illness and the talk of death, however, and it may be too emotionally intense for them. There are bouts of mild violence, including Gehrig getting hit on the head with a baseball and getting into a fight with a man who's trying to humiliate him.
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What's the story?
THE PRIDE OF THE YANKEES chronicles Gehrig's life from playing baseball in the streets of New York City to the Ivy League fields of Columbia University and finally, to the House that Ruth Built, Yankee Stadium. Gary Cooper plays the adult Gehrig with sweetness and determination as Gehrig struggles with his shyness around women and grapples with whether to pursue his own dream of becoming a baseball player or follow his immigrant mother's dream that he become an engineer. We see Gehrig woo Eleanor Twitchell (Teresa Wright), become a legend, and then struggle with a disease that hardly anyone had heard of.
Is it any good?
The story is well known by most baseball fans, but it's Cooper's compelling performance that makes the film memorable. Even viewers who aren't baseball fans will be wiping away tears in the final scenes. And for baseball fans, there's plenty of action on the diamond, recreating famous plays. Babe Ruth himself cameos in the film, playing the perfect bombastic foil to Cooper's shy and dignified Gehrig. There's a reason these men are legends.
What's so refreshing about The Pride of the Yankees is that Gehrig is a man to be idolized who is also a good boy -- a mama's boy, even -- a sweet man who, as reporter Sam Blake (Walter Brennan) says, "does his job and nothing else. He gets a lot of fun out of it and 50 million people get a lot of fun out of him, watching him do something better than anyone else ever did it before." In other words, this is a sports star we can be proud to have our kids emulate.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether there are any sports stars today who are good candidates for a similar movie. Are there sports stars who are also good role models for their kindness, dignity, and humility? Which stars today aren't good role models and why?
How have sports changed since Gehrig was the Iron Man of Baseball?
Kids who are new to Gehrig's story may want to read up on him and read about the disease that eventually lead to his departure from baseball.
- In theaters: July 14, 1942
- On DVD or streaming: April 10, 2007
- Cast: Babe Ruth, Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Walter Brennan
- Director: Sam Wood
- Studio: MGM/UA
- Genre: Classic
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts
- Character strengths: Humility, Integrity, Perseverance
- Run time: 121 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 29, 2020
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