42 is a 2013 American biographical sports film about baseball player Jackie Robinson, the first black athlete to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) during the modern era. Written and directed by Brian Helgeland, the film stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson, alongside Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni, André Holland, Lucas Black, Hamish Linklater and Ryan Merriman in supporting roles.
In 1945, sportswriter Wendell Smith suggests that Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey consider Jackie Robinson as the black ballplayer Rickey is looking for. Robinson and his team, the Kansas City Monarchs, stop by a gas station. When the attendant refuses Robinson entry to the washroom, Robinson says they will find another station at which to fill up the team bus, and the attendant relents. As Robinson steps out, a scout for the Dodgers sent by Rickey approaches him and invites him to Brooklyn. He is offered a $600 per month contract and a $3,500 signing bonus, which Robinson accepts after being warned by Rickey that he must control his temper if he wants to play. Robinson proposes to his girlfriend, Rachel, by phone and she accepts.
During spring training, Robinson earns a roster spot with the Montreal Royals, the AAA affiliate of the Brooklyn farm system. After a great season there and spring training in Panama, he advances to the Dodgers. Many of the players soon sign a petition, stating they refuse to play with Robinson, but manager Leo Durocher insists Robinson will play with the main team, and they relent. When Durocher is suspended by Happy Chandler, the Commissioner of Baseball, for actions in his personal life, leaving the Dodgers without a manager to start the regular season, Burt Shotton agrees to manage the team.
In a game against the Philadelphia Phillies, manager Ben Chapman taunts Robinson, causing him to go back to the dugout and smash his bat out of frustration. With encouragement from Rickey, Robinson then returns to the field and hits a single, steals second base and advances to third on a throwing error, and scores the winning run. When Chapman’s behavior toward Robinson generates bad press for the team, Phillies’ general manager Herb Pennock requires him to pose with Robinson for newspapers and magazine photos prior to the next game between the two teams.
Later, Robinson’s teammate Pee Wee Reese comes to understand what kind of pressure Robinson is facing, and makes a public show of solidarity, standing with his arm around Robinson’s shoulders before a hostile crowd at Crosley Field in Cincinnati, silencing them.
In a game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Enos Slaughter “accidentally” spikes Robinson on the back of the leg with his cleats while running to first base.
Robinson’s home run against Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Fritz Ostermueller, who had earlier hit him in the head, helps clinch the National League pennant for the Dodgers, sending them to the World Series, which they would lose to the New York Yankees.
Chadwick Boseman as Jackie Robinson
Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey
André Holland as Wendell Smith
Christopher Meloni as Leo Durocher
John C. McGinley as Red Barber
Toby Huss as Clyde Sukeforth
Lucas Black as Pee Wee Reese
Alan Tudyk as Ben Chapman
Nicole Beharie as Rachel Isum Robinson
C. J. Nitkowski as Dutch Leonard
Brett Cullen as Clay Hopper
Gino Anthony Pesi as Joe Garagiola Sr.
Ryan Merriman as Dixie Walker
T. R. Knight as Harold Parrott
Hamish Linklater as Ralph Branca
Brad Beyer as Kirby Higbe
Jesse Luken as Eddie Stanky
Max Gail as Burt Shotton
Peter MacKenzie as Happy Chandler
Linc Hand as Fritz Ostermueller
Jeremy Ray Taylor as Boy
James Pickens Jr. as Mr. Brock
Dusan Brown as Ed Charles