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Babe Ruth - The Life Behind the Legend (1998)
Starring: Vera C. Rubin, Tony Tyson, John Lowry Dobson, John E. Conway, Anthony C.S. Readhead
Director: James F. Golway
Category: Documentary
Studio: Warner Home Video
59 minutes



Before Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs, before Roger Maris swatted 61, before Micky Mantle even touched a bat, and before Jackie Robinson played his first game, there was George Herman Ruth. The "Babe" was more than the best player ever to play baseball: he was a mythical American hero, larger than life and the sport that made his name known around the world. He was the most talented sportsman in an era when baseball was the national pastime. The story behind the emergence of Babe Ruth in the 1920s was one even the most talented minds in Hollywood couldn't have drummed up. As one humble teammate of Ruth's recalls in this excellent documentary, "If Babe Ruth had not existed, it would have been impossible to invent him." Babe Ruth: The Life Behind the Legend tells the story of the actual man--from his benevolent acts of charity to his mass consumption (of food and women). Exploring the difference between reality and myth, this touching, subtle biography goes beyond rational explanations into a metaphysical realm that defines the actions and popularity of this man as something not entirely comprehensible. You won't care whether he really did "call" that shot in the 1932 World Series or if he went straight from an all-night bender to go 3 for 4 against Chicago; it won't matter, because the reality eventually dilutes the myth. The facts speak for themselves: he won 90 games as a pitcher, had a lifetime average of .340, smashed his way to 714 home runs (often recording more homers in one season than entire teams). Ruth was greatness personified, "and to just be with him in a stadium, was like having some of that magic rub off on you." This is a splendid tribute to an important American icon who defined a game as well as an era. A must for any sports or history buff