Fear Strikes Out (1957) - Rotten Tomatoes

Fear Strikes Out (1957)

Fear Strikes Out



Critic Consensus: Based on the true story of troubled baseball star Jimmy Piersall, Fear Strikes Out is an emotionally compelling drama featuring excellent performances from Anthony Perkins and Karl Malden.

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Movie Info

Anthony Perkins stars as troubled baseball great Jimmy Piersall in Fear Strikes Out. Based on Piersall's shattering tell-all autobiography, the film traces Jimmy's ascent from the sandlots of Waterbury, CT, to the Boston Red Sox, with his domineering father (Karl Malden) pushing the boy beyond all reasonable limits. Unable to withstand the pressure, Piersall suffers a nervous breakdown and is confined to a mental institution. Through a long period of therapy, Jimmy realizes that he has excelled in baseball not for his own gratification but to please his father. This film was preceded by a 1956 TV version starring Tab Hunter.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Jimmy Piersall, Al Hirshberg, Ted Berkman, Raphael Blau
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 4, 2003
Paramount Pictures


Anthony Perkins
as Jim Piersall
Karl Malden
as John Piersall
Adam Williams
as Doctor Brown
Norma Moore
as Mary Piersall
Perry Wilson
as Mrs. John Piersall
Peter J. Votrian
as Jimmy (younger)
Gail Land
as Alice
Brian G. Hutton
as Bernie Sherwill
Bart Burns
as Joe Cronin
Rand Harper
as Radio Announcer
Howard Price
as Bill Tracy
Morgan Jones
as Sandy Allen
Bing Russell
as Ballplayer Holding T...
James McNally
as Reporter
Edd Byrnes
as Boy in Car Assisting...
Wade Cagle
as Intern
Don Brodie
as Reporter Evans
Richard Bull
as Reporter Slade
John Benson
as Reporter
Eric Alden
as Policeman
Don McGuire
as Attendant
Marilyn Malloy
as Secretary
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Fear Strikes Out

Critic Reviews for Fear Strikes Out

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (6)

Fear holds up well, and the climactic showdown between father and son offers a tremendously appealing resolution.

Full Review… | March 4, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Fear Strikes Out rolls Frank Merriwell and Sigmund Freud into a ball and then lines it out for a solid hit.

Full Review… | March 4, 2011
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Anthony Perkins, in the young Piersall role, delivers a remarkably sustained performance of a sensitive young man, pushed too fast to the limits of his ability to cope with life's pressures.

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Mr. Perkins plays the young fellow excellently, not only conveying the gathering torment but also actually looking like a ballplayer on the field.

Full Review… | March 25, 2006
New York Times
Top Critic

It's a little poky and tentative, but a promising start by the Pakula-Mulligan team.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Absorbing, but rather clinical, in the rubber-gloves style of 50s television drama.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Fear Strikes Out


Very moving tale with extremely well cast leads. Perkins twitchy nervous energy is perfect for displaying Piersall spiral into mental illness and Malden's bombastic personality is able to convey a man who crushes his son's spirit without even realizing it. The look on his face when he becomes aware of the toll he's exacted on his child is heartbreaking. An excellent film.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Perkins is perfect in this role of a crazy baseball player. And Malden does a great job playing his dad. Plus, it's a true story. I liked it it's a very dramatic movie.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Anthony Perkins seems to do his best work when playing psychotic characters.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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