Box art for 42



In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford) signed Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking MLBs infamous color line and forever changing history.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 11
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
2 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
5 out of 5
Positive role models
5 out of 5
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Inspiring Jackie Robinson biopic has great messages.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that 42 is an inspiring biopic about the two years in which baseball legend Jackie Robinson broke the sport's color barrier. It's not a complete biography -- just a snapshot of the 1946 and 1947 seasons. Expect many uses of the "N" word; but considering the institutional racism of the 1940s, the word is important to convey the times. Other racial slurs include "boy," "monkey," and "coon"; other language includes occasional use of words like "s--t" and "a--hole." There are a few near fistfights between the Dodgers and opposing players, and at one point a fellow Dodger pushes Robinson; a fight almost ensues. Despite the difficult language and serious themes, the movie offers important historical and ethical lessons for younger viewers and sports fans.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about 42's themes and messages. Why are Jackie Robinson's accomplishments so significant? Can you think of other athletes/public figures who've faced similar challenges?
  • How have sports changed since the 1940s? Are some of the issues raised in the film still present?
  • Talk about the difference between a biographical film that covers an entire life and those that concentrate on one time period of a historical figure's life. Which do you prefer? Why?
  • Why are many sports movies so compelling? What are some good examples of inspiring sports movies?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 23
    see all 42 reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Fresh: Though not accurate in every particular, the movie mostly succeeds in respecting the facts of history and the personality of its hero, and in reminding audiences why he mattered.

- A.O. Scott, New York Times, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fresh: For all the 1940s hokiness of 42, with its big cars and big bands and peanuts and Cracker Jack, it's a wonderful surprise to see that there's a recognizable human being at the center of the hoopla.

- Alonso Duralde, TheWrap, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fresh: A stirring, straightforward and ultimately soaring portrayal of Robinson's historic entry into Major League Baseball in 1947.

- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, April 12, 2013

Audience Reviews

3 stars

42 is a polished biography. It's got beautiful music, bright cinematography and is populated by some nice performances. Chadwick Boseman notably underplays Jackie Robinson in a way that doesn't feel like he's grasping for the Academy Award. He's quite effective. As is Nicole Beharie who plays "the wife" but with an effervescence that made me want to see more of her in future films. Harrison Ford reminds us that he doesn't always just phone it in. As Branch Rickey, the General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers that signs Robinson to the team, he is truly engaging. 42 hits all the dramatic notes you'd except in a memoir such as this. It's not particularly deep or insightful, but it is inspiring. Robinson becomes more a symbol through which other people unleash their racial hatred against. I would've appreciated a little more detail in the script about the man himself. More vignettes involving his personality as well as his athletic accomplishments in the world of baseball would've been welcome. The lesson appears to be talent and money speak louder than hate. 42 is an admirable addition to baseball pictures that dutifully dramatize the subject in a way that is both pleasant and entertaining.

- hobster1, Saturday, April 20, 2013

3 stars

Jackie Robinson: Are you looking for a Negro who is afraid to fight back? Branch Rickey: No, I need a player with guts enough not to fight back. I don't acknowledge this very often, but I like to bookend my reviews with quotes from the film. Sometimes they sum up the film in a sense and other times they are just quotes I enjoyed the most. The two I have chosen for 42, a film that chronicles the introduction of Jackie Robinson into Major League Baseball, are featured in the film, but are also actual quotes from the men who said them. They are not the most inspiring words I have ever read, but 42 also isn't the most inspiring movie I have ever seen. Regardless, it is a film that I have wanted to see, as the subject matter is important. While the film is only good, as opposed to great, it is occasionally quite moving, well made and acted, and a fitting tribute for a man who mainly just wanted to play baseball. read the whole review at

- DrZeek, Friday, April 12, 2013

3 stars

i really enjoyed this film. great art direction and solid performances. i think the film is held back a bit by taking on the mood of standard inspirational sports films, cutting out most of the ugliness and emotion of the story in order to lift it up to only its heights, creating mostly one dimensional characters. it plays more like a "best of" cliffs notes telling of a story where the soul is missing. this is standard for sports genre films but i feel like Jackie deserves better, something a bit more epic in scale, delving into the nuts and bolts a bit more deeply. however, as standard sports films go, this one is as good as any.

- sanjurosamurai, Wednesday, May 29, 2013