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The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998)

1:02 | Trailer
The life and career of Hank Greenberg, the first major Jewish baseball star in the Major Leagues.


Aviva Kempner


Aviva Kempner
12 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Reeve Brenner Reeve Brenner ... Himself - interviewee (as Rabbi Reeve Brenner)
Hank Greenberg Hank Greenberg ... Himself (archive footage)
Walter Matthau ... Himself - interviewee
Alan M. Dershowitz ... Himself - interviewee (as Alan Dershowitz)
Carl Levin ... Himself - interviewee (as Senator Carl Levin)
Stephen Greenberg Stephen Greenberg ... Himself - interviewee
Joseph Greenberg Joseph Greenberg ... Himself - interviewee (as Joe Greenberg)
Max Ticktin Max Ticktin ... Himself - interviewee (as Rabbi Max Ticktin)
Bill Mead Bill Mead ... Himself - interviewee
Lou Gehrig ... Himself (archive footage)
Basil 'Mickey' Briggs Basil 'Mickey' Briggs ... Himself - interviewee
Don Shapiro Don Shapiro ... Himself - interviewee
Bert Gordon Bert Gordon ... Himself - interviewee
Joe Falls Joe Falls ... Himself - interviewee
Henry Ford ... Himself (archive footage)


The story of Baseball Hall-of-Famer Hank Greenberg is told through archival film footage and interviews with Jewish and non-Jewish fans, his former teammates, his friends, and his family. As a great first baseman with the Detroit Tigers, Greenberg endured antisemitism and became a hero and source of inspiration throughout the Jewish community, not incidentally leading the Tigers to Major League dominance in the 1930s. Written by George S. Davis <mgeorges@prodigy.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When America Needed Heroes, A Jewish Slugger Stepped To The Plate.

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for thematic elements and mild language






Release Date:

21 July 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Жизнь и времена Хэнка Гринберга See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$21,675, 17 January 2000

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Ciesla Foundation See more »
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Technical Specs



Black and White (archive footage)| Color
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Hank Greenberg: You only remember the ones you lost.
See more »


Features The Stratton Story (1949) See more »


Big John's Special
Written by Horace Henderson
Performed by Benny Goodman and His Orchestra
Courtesy of Nichevo Records and EMI Music Publishing
See more »

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User Reviews

Terrific movie
12 July 2003 | by pacholeknbnjSee all my reviews

Admittedly, this movie is not for everyone. It is for baseball nuts, people with an interest in Jewish life in America (even if they aren't Jewish themselves), people interested in 20th Century American history, and Tigers fans. I fit the first three categories (I'm a Yankee fan but with a lot of respect for the Tiger franchise), and I thought this movie was terrific. Greenberg was not the first Jewish baseball player, but he was the first to become a star and a hero to non-Jews, paving the way for Sandy Koufax and current Dodger star Shawn Green (as well as Rod Carew, who married a Jewish woman and, as Adam Sandler has pointed out in song, converted). The often terrible anti-Semitism that was often faced in pre-World War II America has been obscured -- it's almost as if the Nazi Holocaust was the only indignity that Jews have suffered. Ms. Kempner did a fantastic job bringing this era of baseball, Jewish life and Detroit life to someone not part of that place, time and faith. And I didn't think this film it was much like the Ken Burns miniseries at all. For one thing, the music was better than in the Burns film, at least until you got to the 1950s songs in "Seventh Inning"! And except for covering Ty Cobb thoroughly, Burns paid little attention to the Tigers. He covered Greenberg's 58-homer season (1938) and mentioned that Denny McLain won 31 games in 1968, but that's it. He didn't even mention Al Kaline except in a story that Bill "Spaceman" Lee told. He didn't cover post-Black Sox Chicago baseball very well either, or California except to discuss Koufax. But what can you do with over 100 years of baseball in 19 hours? Kempner did very well with 75 years of life, and what amounted to 10 full seasons of baseball, in an hour and a half. Greenberg may not have lasted as long in the game as some of its other stars, but his seasons, in baseball and out, were full indeed, and the movie shows this excellently.

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