AFI Movie Club: 42 – American Film Institute
42 Film Still - Chadwick Boseman


AFI Movie Club: 42

In 42, screen icon Chadwick Boseman steps into the shoes of Jackie Robinson in this incredible story of the baseball legend who became the first black player in the Major League. AFI Life Achievement Award recipient Harrison Ford co-stars as Brooklyn Dodgers’ owner Branch Rickey in this triumphant tour de force.

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42 – Reelgood

Watch this exclusive AFI Archive clip of 42 cinematographer Dan Burgess:

Movie Trivia about 42

DID YOU KNOW? In 1997, Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s jersey #42 from all teams. Those players that were wearing the number at the time were allowed to continue to wear it, but by 2014 the last player wearing the number – Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera – had retired.

DID YOU KNOW? Jackie Robinson first became a Major League ball player on April 15, 1947. In 2004 with the help of Jackie Robinson’s daughter Sharon and wife Rachel, Major League Baseball honored the date by naming it Jackie Robinson Day. On that day, there’s an annual celebration at every Major League ballpark and every player, coach, manager and umpire wears Jackie’s #42 to honor the legend for his accomplishments on and off the field.

DID YOU KNOW? Jackie Robinson won Rookie of the Year in 1947 and Most Valuable Player in 1949. He not only stole home base in Game One of the 1955 World Series, which the Dodgers won, but also was a six-time All-Star and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

DID YOU KNOW? Most of the baseball action in 42 was filmed in Engel Stadium in Chattanooga, TN. Production designers added a 40-foot-high, 1,200-foot-long green screen around the field’s outfield and foul areas. The giant green screen allowed filmmakers to bring the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Ebbets field back to life. Production also filmed at Rickwood Stadium in Birmingham, Alabama – which was built in 1910 and is the oldest professional baseball park in the United States.

DID YOU KNOW? Filmmakers collaborated with Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson, on the making of 42. The production wanted to ensure the authenticity of her late husband’s story.

DID YOU KNOW? According to Chadwick Boseman, Jackie Robinson’s widow challenged him to bring his best to the part and not take the role lightly. He said she told him that, “if we had made this movie when I wanted to make this movie, Sidney Poitier would have played your role. And then Denzel [Washington] was supposed to play it. And now we have you. Who are you?” Boseman responded that he would put his entire self into the role.

DID YOU KNOW? Chadwick Boseman was directing an off-Broadway play in New York City, but happened to be visiting Los Angeles when auditions were held for 42.

DID YOU KNOW? According to writer/director Brian Helgeland, Chadwick Boseman was only the second person to read for the part – and immediately set the bar. Helgeland has since said that no one could have played the part better than Boseman – and that no matter if the story is remade 100 times, no one ever will.

DID YOU KNOW? Chadwick Boseman trained for 42 for almost five months – working with coaches from college and the Major Leagues. According to Boseman, practices would be taped every few weeks so that he could compare his own batting, fielding and base running with Jackie Robinson’s, in order to perfect Robinson’s techniques.

DID YOU KNOW? Jackie Robinson’s widow, Rachel Robinson started The Jackie Robinson Foundation in 1973, the year after her husband died. Originally operated out of her kitchen, it has since grown into a powerful arm of Jackie’s legacy, administering four-year college scholarships to disadvantaged students of color.

Learn more at the AFI Catalog.


The movie doesn’t end at the credits: Family-friendly Discussion Questions

Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram now using #AFIMovieClub. Or post your responses in the comment section below.

-Why is Jackie Robinson’s legacy important not only to the history of baseball but also today’s society?

-Why does Branch Rickey choose Jackie to break the color barrier in baseball?

-What characteristics about Jackie helped him get through the blatant racism that occurred on and off the field?

-Branch Rickey asked Jackie Robinson to have the guts not to fight. Why do you think Rickey would ask that of Jackie?

-The moment where teammate Pee Wee Reese ran over to Jackie Robinson and put his arm around him in front of the crowd was commemorated with a statue in Brooklyn, NY. Why was this moment so important?

-In memory of actor Chadwick Boseman, who the world lost way too early – what is a moment in his career that has inspired you, made you smile or brought a moment of positivity into your life.

-How would you rate 42?

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AFI has created a global, virtual gathering of those who love the movies. Each day’s film is accompanied by fun facts, family-friendly discussion points and material from the AFI Archive to enrich your viewing experience.

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