The Pride of the Yankees (1942)


The Best Sports Movie Ever?  Or maybe the greatest love story ever?  You could make a case for both.  Nominated for 11 Academy Awards…this movie was a powerhouse in its time and features one of Gary Cooper’s greatest performances.

To me, this movie is one of the more influential movies I have seen.  I didn’t live during the times of World War II, but I’m sure this was a time of great uncertainty, fear, and heartbreak as brave sons and daughters, husbands and wives, were sent off to foreign lands as part of the war effort.  This movie was a shining example of courage, dignity, and respect in the face of overwhelming odds

Lou Gehrig is one of baseball’s most well known names…playing in the 20’s and 30’s he was a league leader in hits, home runs, and championships, but he is most well known for 2 reasons:

1.  As Baseball’s Mr. Iron Man who played 2130 consecutive games…only surpassed some 50+ years later by Cal Ripken Jr.
2.  The man who developed ALS, a degenerative disease who slowly kills you.  Now it is called Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Almost everybody has heard the words “I feel like I am the luckiest man alive.”  This is the culminating scene of the movie as a legend walks off the field for the last time.  Many Yankees were in this movie including of course,Babe Ruth.

This movie is wonderful from so many angles, but one of the great stories of this film is the absolutely incredible performance of Teresa Wright.  She is funny, quirky, adorable, loving, and devoted as this movie follows their life together which for many years was filled such happiness, and then, all of sudden, such grief and heartache.  This movie is a tear jerker…mainly because of the courage and creativity of her character…she steals the show at the end in some memorable scenes of devotion.  Teresa Wright is probably the most talented of the forgotten actresses of Hollywood’s yesteryear.

Teresa Wright was the only actor or actress ever to be nominated for an Academy Award in her first three films:

1. The Little Foxes (1941) – 9 Stars
2. Mrs. Miniver (1942) – 8 Stars
3. The Pride of the Yankees (1943) – 10 Stars

And she would also involved in two the finer films of the decade:
*Shadow of a Doubt (1943) – 10 Stars (an Alfred Hitchcock thriller–she was not nominated for an Academy Award here…but her performance in Oscar worthy)
*The Best Year of Our Lives (1946) – 10 Stars (a powerhouse film which won 7 Academy Awards in 1946)

What makes this movie so wonderful is that this story tracks Lou Gehrig’s life from his youth…his mom and his dad (played by Elsa Janssen & Ludwig Stossel) both are funny and adorable in this movie.  His college days, and then his battle to choose between baseball and engineering.   The chance meeting with his future spouse, and their somewhat “rocky” beginning.

Great performances all around, especially by Walter Brennan, who plays a reporter, Sam Blake, who remains Gehrig’s friend and follower since his early days.

An emotional picture with powerhouse performances and a moral message that stands up to this day.  Live each life to the fullest, refine your talents, do your duty, and count your blessings in the midst of trials!  10 Stars–One of the greatest sports movies ever!

Todd Morgan
About Todd Morgan 56 Articles
Todd is one of nation's top classic movie experts, with a passion and determination to help the younger generation discover some of the truly greatest movies ever made. Todd reviews 2-3 movies every week and also prepares classic movie trivia, lists, writes books, and develops games all on Classic Movies. Contact him at

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.