The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

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Rating: 5.9 stars from 14 ratings

The Pride of the Yankees is a 1942 American film produced by Samuel Goldwyn, directed by Sam Wood, and starring Gary Cooper, Teresa Wright, and Walter Brennan. It is a tribute to the legendary New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig, who died only one year before its release, at age 37, from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which later became known to the lay public as "Lou Gehrig's disease".

Though subtitled The Life of Lou Gehrig, the film is less a sports biography than an homage to a heroic and widely loved sports figure whose tragic and premature death touched the entire nation. It emphasizes Gehrig's relationship with his parents (particularly his strong-willed mother), his friendships with players and journalists, and his storybook romance with the woman who became his "companion for life," Eleanor. Details of his baseball career?which were still fresh in most fans' minds in 1942?are limited to montages of ballparks, pennants, and Cooper swinging bats and running bases, though Gehrig's best-known major league record?2,130 consecutive games played?is prominently cited.

Yankee teammates Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig, and Bill Dickey play themselves, as does sportscaster Bill Stern. The film was adapted by Herman J. Mankiewicz, Jo Swerling, and an uncredited Casey Robinson from a story by Paul Gallico, and received 11 Oscar nominations. Its climax is a re-enactment of Gehrig's poignant 1939 farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. The film's iconic closing line?"Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the Earth"?was voted 38th on the American Film Institute's list of 100 greatest movie quotes.