Critics Consensus

42 is an earnest, inspirational, and respectfully told biography of an influential American sports icon, though it might be a little too safe and old-fashioned for some.



Total Count: 189


Audience Score

User Ratings: 119,499
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Movie Info

Hero is a word we hear often in sports, but heroism is not always about achievements on the field of play. "42" tells the story of two men-the great Jackie Robinson and legendary Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey-whose brave stand against prejudice forever changed the world by changing the game of baseball. In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) put himself at the forefront of history when he signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team, breaking Major League Baseball's infamous color line. But the deal also put both Robinson and Rickey in the firing line of the public, the press and even other players. Facing unabashed racism from every side, Robinson was forced to demonstrate tremendous courage and restraint by not reacting in kind, knowing that any incident could destroy his and Rickey's hopes. Instead, Number 42 let his talent on the field do the talking-ultimately winning over fans and his teammates, silencing his critics, and paving the way for others to follow. (c) WB

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Chadwick Boseman
as Jackie Robinson
Harrison Ford
as Branch Rickey
Nicole Beharie
as Rachel Robinson
Christopher Meloni
as Leo Durocher
Ryan Merriman
as Dixie Walker
Lucas Black
as Pee Wee Reese
André Holland
as Wendell Smith
Hamish Linklater
as Ralph Branca
Alan Tudyk
as Ben Chapman
T.R. Knight
as Harold Parrott
John C. McGinley
as Red Barber
Toby Huss
as Clyde Sukeforth
Max Gail
as Burt Shotton
Brad Beyer
as Kirby Higbe
Gino Anthony Pesi
as Joe Garagiola
Brett Cullen
as Clay Hopper
Jesse Luken
as Eddie Stanky
Jamey Holliday
as Pete Reiser
Derek Phillips
as Bobby Bragan
Jamie Ruehling
as Spider Jorgensen
Blake Sanders
as Gene Hermanski
Johnny Knight
as Carl Furillo
Clint O'Brien
as Hugh Casey
Dusan Brown
as Ed Charles
Cherise Boothe
as Ed's Mother
Friedel Pinkston
as Birmingham Catcher
Linc Hand
as Fritz Ostermueller
Thomas Helgeland
as Everett McCooey
Matt Clark
as Luther
Peter Mackenzie
as Happy Chandler
Joe Inscoe
as Bob Cooke
Karole Foreman
as Duff Harris
C.J. Nitkowski
as Dutch Leonard
Scott Callaway
as Andy Seminick
Aaron Farb
as Phillie Two
James Rackley
as Phillie One
Anthony Goolsby
as Monarch Batter
Lou Criscuolo
as Reporter One
Ross Hughes
as Reporter Two
Joe Knezevich
as Reporter Three
Mark Harelik
as Herb Pennock
Kenny Cook
as Fan One
Rhoda Griffis
as Miss Bishop
Dan Fenlan
as Babe Hamburger
Maury Covington
as Policeman
Jon Kohler
as Spectator Two
Marc Gowan
as Doctor
Jackson Walker
as Jimmy Powers
Danny Vinson
as Eddie Dyer
Ari Blinder
as Photographer
Denise Moye
as Older Woman
Peter Jurasik
as Hotel Manager
Dan Mengini
as Spectator One
Michael H. Cole
as Another Reporter
Janet Metzger
as Jane Ann
Holden Hansen
as Freckle's Dad
Dax Griffin
as Racist City Island Fan
Jayson Warner Smith
as White Gas Station Attendant
Jud Tylor
as Laraine Day
Tobias Michael Finn
as Panamanian Kid
Ercell Grimes
as Shouting Fan
Dwight Houser
as City Island Umpire
Barry Suttle
as Roosevelt Home Umpire
Andrew B. Roberts
as Ball One Umpire
Jimmie L. Coleman
as Negro League Umpire
Steve Hicks
as Umpire One
Wayne Hickey
as Umpire Two
Andrew Mullins
as Umpire Three
Dennis A. Spears
as Umpire Four
Gary Miller
as Umpire Five
Todd Wilson
as Reporter Four
David Thoms
as Enos Slaughter
Richard Tavernaro
as Deland Umpire
Hunter Clowdus
as Dodger Bat Boy
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News & Interviews for 42

Critic Reviews for 42

All Critics (189) | Top Critics (49)

  • A dramatization of what Robinson did and what it required, 42 will not disappoint.

    May 7, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • It's not easy to play a stoic, but Boseman anchors the movie, and when he smiles, 42, already such a warm story of such cold times, gets even brighter.

    May 7, 2014 | Full Review…
  • The style of the film, lush and traditional, is nothing special, but the takeaway, a daily struggle for dignity, is impossibly moving.

    May 7, 2014 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The story isn't much more than a hit parade of "Shut up, racist" moments -- Alan Tudyk's opposing manager just oozes with venomous talk -- but its blunt force is enough to get the job done.

    May 7, 2014 | Full Review…
  • So 66 years after Robinson became the first black major league baseball player, here we are with 42, which has been made with such reverence for Robinson's importance that Robinson is barely there.

    Jan 6, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Rousing climaxes, mostly well-earned, arrive every half-hour.

    Sep 12, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Mike McCahill

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for 42

  • Sep 12, 2015
    Une là (C)gende par son talent et sa dà (C)termination!
    Marc-André B Super Reviewer
  • May 22, 2015
    Just after the end of World War II, Brooklyn Dodgers GM Branch Rickey(Harrison Ford) figures it is time to integrate major league baseball. The challenge comes from finding the right player which is not just about playing ability. He finally selects Jackie Robinson(Chadwick Boseman), a promising young player currently with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues. Robinson then takes the opportunity to propose to his girlfriend Rachel(Nicole Beharie, of "Sleepy Hollow"). Before he gets to Brooklyn, he has to prove himself at the minor league level at Montreal. While steadfastly and endearingly old fashioned, this movie succeeds through a superb performance from Chadwick Boseman portraying Jackie Robinson as a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders. And it does not hurt that Harrison Ford is trying for the first time in quite a while. The Pee Wee Reese(Lucas Black) moment is pure lump in the throat(I hadn't realized before that Reese was a southerner which adds to the emotion), before a totally overdone finale that ruins some of the previous good will. But while I should not be surprised that some details have been simplified for dramatic effect, it should also be noted that Branch Rickey was not operating in a complete vacuum as the film shows. Namely as Dave Zirin pointed out, Lester Rodney of the Daily Worker had been advocating for integrated baseball long before Rickey acted on it, not to mention Bill Veeck(yes, that Bill Veeck) attempting to integrate baseball in 1945 before integrating the American League later in 1947 with Larry Doby and the Cleveland Indians.
    Walter M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2014
    "42" tells the inspirational true story of Jackie Robinson and how he became the first African American baseball player allowed to play in the Major League. I must say, I found myself really enjoying this film. From it's terrific performances to it's perfect setting, this is one of my favourite films based around the sport of baseball that I have seen in quite a few years. Charming, funny when it needs to be (for relief), and emotional when it matters. Almost everything in this film is there to move the story into the following scene, and I love movies when they take the time to do that. Chadwick Boseman really has a bright career ahead of him. Unlike the film "Moneyball," this film is a much grittier old-styled tone and sometimes films do that for style over substance, but "42" does it very very well. Extremely well-written, very well acted, and in my opinion, edited superbly. The editing style of this film was very unique and I admired that. Overall, a very emotionally charged picture that I highly recommend. This film will probably be overlooked in years to come, but not by me. Sure, you will see the same racial elements you have seen in many films through the years, but it just feels different here. A must-see for sports fans and film-fans alike.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Feb 07, 2014
    No, I'm not going to reference the Coldplay song of the same name, not so much because I'm not crazy about modern music, let alone Coldplay... seeing as how I actually like Coldplay's "42", but because Coldplay is just too white for this film. Well, maybe it is mostly the fact that Coldplay is too anachronistic for this film set in the 1940s, because as passionate as this film is as a portrait of overcoming racism, at the end of the day, it's still a baseball film, and that sets quite the standard for whiteness. You know what, forget it, this film is white, because it also co-stars Harrison Ford, is co-produced by Kurt Russell, and is written and directed by the guy who was involved in writing "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4", "The Postman", "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3", "Cirque du Freak", Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood" and "Salt", and just plain wrote and directed "A Knight's Tale" and "The Order". ...Notice that I didn't point out that Brian Helgeland was also involved in the writing of the acclaimed "L.A. Confidential", "Mystic River" and other films like that, because I really wanted to emphasize "The Order" in order to express my fear that this film was going to be a disaster, or at least emphasize "A Nightmare on Elm Street 4", "The Postman", "A Knight's Tale", "Cirque du Freak" and "Pelham 1 2 3" in order express my fear that this film wouldn't exactly be subtle. Man, the marketing does not do this film justice, but I was still excited about it, because they shot a little bit of it in Birmingham, Alabama, and it doesn't even focus on Alabama enough to aggravate us with reminders of Birmingham's attitude towards blacks in the '40s. Hey, this film also got Lucas Black a job, so the least it could do is go easy on his state, and for that, alone, I'm on board. It certainly helps that the final product is actually pretty decent, even if it does have certain problems that I was fearing it would have. At just a bit over two hours, this film isn't that long for a biopic, and it may even be a touch a too expositorily tight in certain places, but the final product is still with certain repetitious excesses in material which bloat the narrative kind of blandly, yet still offer only so much consequentiality. Conflict is there, but it goes handled a little too safely, for although the telling of this tale is pretty engaging, there's only so much fleshed out attention to the race issues and sporting politics that drive the Jackie Robinson story, and that makes it easier to see the familiar aspects through the conflicts. Of course, even without some compelling compensation in dramatic storytelling, it's impossible to overlook the conventions, as this film is nothing if not generic, seeing dialogue, characterization and overall plotting rich with pratfalls that betray the potential refreshingness of this story concept. The final product is simply way too formulaic to be all that interesting, for there is a certain sense of laziness to familiarity which waters storytelling down to the point of leaving the final product to feel almost like a TV feature. The limited cinematic bite goes further softened by recurring lapses in subtlety, which thrive on overtly spirited plays on triumphant set pieces and Mark Isham's overblown score that endear pretty charmingly, if not genuinely effectively, yet all too often bloat the drama's atmosphere with sentimentality which reflects ambition rather glaringly. The film feels like it's trying too hard, and I can understand that, because subject matter of this type could be relatively easily molded into a rewarding drama, but when it's all said and done, the sentimentality pumped into this effort that is even more bloated with tropes and rather lacking in a sense of full consequentiality actually holds the final product back. The film isn't quite rewarding, but it comes closer than I was fearing it would be, doing enough justice to the value of its subject matter to compel adequately through and through, or at least sell this story's distinguished timeline. Well, perhaps Dennis Bradford's, Sharon Davis' and Aaron Haye's art direction does not offer an especially expansive celebration of the eras portrayed in this period piece, but the production value is still petty solid in capturing this time pretty distinctly, as well as handsomely, at least when backed by a warm visual style. The cinematography is not that special on the whole, but what handful of highlights it has fits pretty effectively, whether it be utilizing the warm lighting, or utilizing some tight filming styles that liven up pretty solid baseball sequences, which do actually have some intrigue. Needless to say, especially for my fellow non-baseball fans, there is more intrigue to the narrative beyond the field, for this is a worthy - nay - inspiring story about breaking racial barriers in the sports business, handled in a script by Brian Helgeland that gets to be formulaic and heavy-handed, yet also pretty well-rounded in characterization. Most every figure in this biopic is distinguished, and for that, credit is due both to the scripting and the acting, as most everyone delivers on distinctive charisma, and that particularly goes for a once-again growl-tastically charming Harrison Ford, and for genuinely grounded leading man Chadwick Boseman. The performances are not all that outstanding in this film which doesn't have all that much to praise, but, whether it be the well-rounded writing or thoroughly charismatic cast, the strengths stand firm in doing a worthy story justice. This particularly goes for Helgeland's direction, which may play a part in holding the final product back, thanks to atmospheric subtlety issues, but nevertheless endears with a spirited momentum that keeps entertainment value consistent, and broken up by sentimental moments that are genuinely respectful enough to move. There are touching highlights in a film that is consistently engaging, maybe not to where the final product overcomes its issues and achieves the rewarding state that it could have claimed, yet decidedly to where this effort comes close enough to achieving its full potential to endear pretty thoroughly. When it's time to run for home base, the final product is rendered too draggy, safe, generic and sentimental to charge to a rewarding state, which is still almost achieved by the immersive art direction and baseball sequences, well-characterized writing, thoroughly charismatic performances and heartfelt, if not effective direction that, behind a worthy story, make Brian Helgeland's "42" a flawed, yet nonetheless thoroughly entertaining and adequately compelling portrait on the triumphant rise of Jackie Robinson. 2.75/5 - Decent
    Cameron J Super Reviewer


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