The true story of famed baseball player Lou Gehrig, from his
time with the New York Yankees to his untimely death from ALS.
The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Directed by Sam Wood
Written by Jo Swerling and Herman J. Mankiewicz
Starring Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth,
Walter Brennan, Elsa Janssen, Ludwig Stössel, Dan Duryea
Oscar Wins - Best Film Editing
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Actor (Gary Cooper),
Best Actress (Teresa Wright), Best Original Story, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound Recording, Best Special Effects, Best Original Score (Leigh Harline)
Lou Gehrig is one of the most famous baseball players of all time. Even people who know nothing about baseball (like me) recognize a handful of players, one of which is Lou Gehrig. He was part of the 1927 Murderer's Row lineup alongside Babe Ruth, who surreally plays himself in this movie, and he was respected throughout the leagues for his humility and talent. He tragically died at 37 years old after being diagnosed with ALS, which has since taken on the unfortunate moniker of Lou Gehrig's Disease. The Pride of the Yankees was released only 17 months after his death, and it does him justice in the best way.
Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig in yet another incredibly grounded and humanizing performance, once again cementing himself as one of the greatest talents of the 20th century. We get to see Gehrig grow up in a household with a loving but overbearing mother who insisted he become an engineer and put away childish things like baseball. We see how he joined the Yankees to pay for her hospital bills, and went on to become a living legend. Again, it is so bizarre to see Babe Ruth, maybe the greatest of all time, playing himself. And he's not a half-bad actor, either.
The Pride of the Yankees is a very honest biopic that celebrates the life of one of baseball's most humble and gracious talents. A man who knew he was the luckiest man on earth. There's very little fat on this movie, because the filmmakers knew exactly what they were trying to say. Even if you're not a sports fan, I guarantee you will be moved by this wonderful story.