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The Pride of the Yankees
The Pride of the Yankees
Actors: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth, Walter Brennan, Dan Duryea
Director: Sam Wood
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Sports
NR     1999     2hr 8min

When people say, "They don't make them like they used to," Pride of the Yankees is just the kind of film they're wistfully remembering. Nominated for 11 Academy awards (winning one for film editing), this handsome biograph...  more »

     

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Movie Details

Actors: Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, Babe Ruth, Walter Brennan, Dan Duryea
Director: Sam Wood
Creators: Samuel Goldwyn, Casey Robinson, Damon Runyon, Herman J. Mankiewicz, Jo Swerling, Paul Gallico, Vincent Lawrence
Genres: Drama, Kids & Family, Sports
Sub-Genres: Love & Romance, Classics, Classics, Family Films, Baseball
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 03/23/1999
Original Release Date: 03/05/1943
Theatrical Release Date: 03/05/1943
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 2hr 8min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 8
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
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Movie Reviews

From NY Immigrants' Child to American Legend
Rocco Dormarunno | Brooklyn, NY | 06/26/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This was probably my introduction, and for millions of others, to the legend that is Lou Gehrig. And for so many years, I had Gehrig and Gary Cooper completely confused in my mind--they seemed inseparable. But there's good reason for it: the role of the Iron Horse seemed to be made for Cooper. Gehrig was a low-key, almost self-effacing athlete and person, which was just the type of character that Cooper built his career on. Their sizes were just about the same. Cooper nailed down Lou Gehrig's voice, especially for the famous "luckiest man" farewell speech. Hell, Gary Cooper LOOKS like Lou Gehrig! Maybe my confusion is justified, at least on this subject.PRIDE OF THE YANKEES is the grand-daddy of all baseball movies. Cooper's performance, as I can't help but keep mentioning, is stellar. Teresa Wright as his wife helps keep the hankies moist but she is also very spunky and strong. Walter Brennan (who also played opposite Cooper in MEET JOHN DOE where John Doe is a semi-pro pitcher) is in a supporting role here but provides desperately needed comic relief. And perhaps I'm wrong to categorize PRIDE OF THE YANKESS as merely a baseball film. It is about human potential, human frailty, and above all human strength during times of crisis. Lou Gehrig's tragedy occurred during a time of extreme crisis in America, and, I believe, his strong steady public appearances helped the nation through it. PRIDE OF THE YANKEES could easily have been named "Strength of America" in my mind. It's that important a film."
The story of Lou Gehrig and the classiest sports biopic
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/07/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"There are all sorts of little imperfections in the 1943 film "The Pride of the Yankees." The screenwriters rearranged Lou Gehrig's famous farewell speech at Yankee Stadium so that the best line, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth," becomes his exit line (it was the second line in his speech with his actual last line being, "So I close in saying that I may have had a tough break, but I have an awful lot to live for"). Gary Cooper had enough problems batting right-handed let alone left-handed like Gehrig, so the actor wore a uniform with "KROY WEN" on the front, ran to third base when he managed to hit the ball, and then they reversed the print. Gehrig is shown wearing his famous number 4 when the Yankees play the World Series, but that happened in 1926 and 1928 while the Bronx Bombers did not start wearing uniform numbers until 1929 (Gehrig batted cleanup and was 4, Babe Ruth batted in front of him and was therefore 3). The film talks about how Gehrig won the Triple Crown on the day he was married but Gehrig won the Triple Crown in the 1934 season, the year after Lou and Eleanor were married in 1933. But none of that really matters because "The Pride of the Yankees" remains the standard by which all sports biopics, whether of baseball players or anyone else, are judged. Even those who were not weaned and raised on baseball know that the title character is going to die of Lou Gehrig's disease and the film takes full advantage of that foreshadowing: when Gehrig gets into his first game and refuses to come out after being hit in the head by a thrown ball, manager Miller Huggins asks, "What do we have to do to get you out of the game? Kill you?" Irving Berlin's song "Always" becomes a recurring musical theme throughout the film, another reminder of Gehrig's mortality.In many ways "The Pride of the Yankees" is more of a love story than a baseball theme. It starts off as a rags-to-riches story, where Gehrig's mother (Elsa Janssen) insists her son will be an engineer and does want him wasting time playing baseball. Eventually the fame and money opens her eyes, but then Lou meets Eleanor Twitchell (Teresa Wright) and has a new "best girl." One of the most impressive aspects of this film is how it touches on the two darker sides of the Lou Gehrig story, the friction between his overbearing mother and his society wife along with the strained relationship that developed between Gehrig and Babe Ruth. The film really only touches on these aspects and Ruth, playing himself, is usually a smiling figure when he shows up on screen, except for when Gehrig is eating his new hat and he is listening to Gehrig's farewell speech.Cooper was nominated for an Oscar for his performance and even though he is rather awkward and a bit old for the role, he captures the essential dignity and class of Gehrig. It makes sense that one American icon is being played by another. Having been nominated of a Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar for "The Little Foxes" in 1941 she received another nomination in that category in 1942 for "Mrs. Miniver" and also one for Best Actress that same year for "The Pride of the Yankees." Wright won for "Mrs. Miniver" and lost out to Greer Garson for Best Actress (because of the war the Oscars were made of plaster for the first time, but were replaced by "real" Oscars when the war ended). "The Pride of the Yankees" was nominated for 11 Oscars, including Best Picture, but only won for Daniel Mandell's Film Editing. Walter Brennan as sportswriter Sam Blake and Ludwig Stössel as Pop Gehrig provide a lot of the comic relief in the film. Brennan's role is rather low-keyed for him while Stössel has several fine moments where he tries, usually without success, to stand up to his wife. Appearing as themselves are Yankee players Bill Dickey, Bob Meusel, and Mark Koenig, and the familiar voice of Bill Stern makes it on screen as well. Gehrig's tragic death at the age of 38 makes all of his records even more astounding given that his career was cut short. Sportswriter Jim Murray once described the tall, strong Gehrig as a "Gibraltar in cleats," and "The Pride of the Yankees" provides a sense of that. For me the most poignant scene comes before Gehrig enters Yankee Stadium on July 4, 1939, when he encounter 17-year-old Billy (David Holt), the lame boy in the hospital (Gene Collins) for whom Gehrig hit two home runs in a World Series game in the film's most extended baseball sequence. The irony that Gehrig could inspire Billy to rise up and walk but Fate had conspired to strike down the Iron Horse who played in 2,130 is enough to reduce most of us to tears before Gehrig ever steps to the plate for the last time to talk about how lucky he is."
A shameful marketing ploy is finally corrected
calvinnme | 01/19/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'm sure you've already noticed that the 2002 and 2007 releases of "The Pride of the Yankees" were exactly the same except for the cover art. Collectors of classic films do not double dip on account of cover art. This was a very shameful treatment of a great film and a great performance by Gary Cooper, probably among his very best. The film focused on Gehrig the man and his wife, Eleanor, played by Teresa Wright. Also many of the Yankees appeared in the film playing themselves including Babe Ruth. In both previous releases of this film, the DVD contained no extra features. This is being resolved with this latest release. Although it has no commentary track, this new release will contain numerous featurettes and looks to be a good buy. The extra features are:

The Making of Pride Of The Yankees featurette
The Man Behind The Iron Horse featurette - Discusses the real Lou Gehrig
What He Left Behind featurette - A look at the Lou Gehrig memorabilia currently housed at the Baseball Hall of Fame
Always featurette - A look at the hit song that came from the film
Lou Gehrig's Disease: The Search For A Cure featurette - An interview with baseball great Curt Schilling discussing Lou Gehrig's Disease and the latest developments in fighting it.
Curt Schilling: A Legend on a Legend - Baseball star Curt Schilling discusses Lou Gehrig"
We Need Another Lou Gehrig.
A.Trendl HungarianBookstore.com | Glen Ellyn, IL USA | 06/06/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig, one of the greatest players ever to wear a uniform in any sport.

In one movie, we are given a hero who lives out his dream, a celebrity who did more off-camera than on, a husband who loves his wife, parents who sacrifice so their son may have a better life, a man who also loves his parents and in-laws, and a sports star who never cheated in the game or on his wife.

It could be a perfect family movie.

Lou is born to immigrant parents who believe in traditional America. His parent's hopes are set on Lou becoming like his Uncle Otto, a successful engineer. Baseball means nothing to them but trouble until Lou shows he is the best.

Lou falls in love with Miss Twitchell. She soon becomes Mrs. Gehrig, played by Teresa Wright, his doting wife, reminiscent of Donna Reed's character in "It's a Wonderful Life." A storybook life follows, and Lou outshines his childhood hero the Sultan of Swat, played by Babe Ruth himself.

You know how it ends. Lou contracts what is now known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He not only must end his Iron Horse record of playing 2,130 straight games, but knows his life is ending. He retires and America swoons in grief. His retirement speech is full of dignity and power, and nothing like it has ever been seen since. The actual speech is barely edited in the movie.

Impressive is not just the life of Lou Gehrig. It is also the respect of his teammates, especially Babe Ruth. Ruth was in his last years of playing when Gehrig showed up. However, as he saw how Ruth really lived as an undisciplined show-off, some rifts between them followed. When push came to shove, both on the field and during Ruth's retirement, they respected each other's abilities. Ruth did not need to be in the movie. His status as a legend was secure. He came to honor a great man. Ruth's presence and self-effacement is crucial to appreciate the depth of Gehrig's character.

I bought into every character, from Gehrig's parents, to Gary Cooper as Gehrig, to the goofy cop who catches Gehrig nervously approaching Twitchell's door on his way to propose.

The movie seems like part fantasy -- Could anyone be that decent of a guy? Further reading will tell you yes. It is that quality of humanity that might make it unpopular today, as movie goers are used to the antihero and imperfect man saving the day.

"Pride of the Yankees" might be a great movie that has passed its prime. The movie includes a strong message that immigrants are a great part of the American dream. The possibilities of America are still true, as seen through the current evidence of throngs of Mexican immigrants, but a patriotic movie might be snidely received by cynics and critics. Baseball also has found itself tainted by steroids, and today's homerun heroes are suspect.

I fully recommend "Pride of the Yankees."

Anthony Trendl
editor, HungarianBookstore.com"