Summary of the Movie '42'

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The movie ‘42’ starts off in 1945, when America comes back from war. Nazi Germany was defeated, and Imperial Japan surrendered. The United States had gotten their freedom, yet African Americans still had it rough. They served their country the same way the white men did but returned to racism, segregation, and Jim Crow law. The only difference between these people was their color. The color of their skin was such a big issue that it decided which restroom a person could use. After the war, Americans were excited baseball players were coming back home and everyone could enjoy the games again, but only white men could be on the team. They had 16 major league baseball teams with 400 white players. This number changed to 399 white players in c, when Branch Rickey, manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, decided to bring in an African American ballplayer. Rickey knew what he was getting himself into, but he had his mind set on this being a risk he would have to take.

Jackie Robinson was a strong, educated man. His education from the University of California, Los Angeles helped him stand out from the rest of the men that could have been picked because education was rare at this time. After college, he entered the still-segregated Army during World War II, and from there he decided to play in the Negro league. Robinson’s diversity proved to Rickey that he would be the right guy for the job. When Robinson joined, he had to deal with very tough times with racism, which meant having to stay at different hotels from the rest of the team, finding different transportation, having a petition against him, getting threats about losing his family, being booed at every game, and never getting recognition for the hard work he was putting in. He got taunted at every game but didn’t let that get to him. He was not seen as a member of the team, he was seen as a black man playing with white men. At one point his teammates were even against him. As the movie went on, his teammates' attitude toward Robinson changed when they realized that the small problems they face are the problems Robinson deals with daily. For example, when Pee Wee Reese received one hate letter and went to go to the coach to talk about it, and the coach told Reese that Robinson gets thousands of those, that was the moment Reese realized that he had been taking it too far and felt sympathy toward Robinson. There was a scene in the movie where Robinson is going up to bat and the crowd starts booing him and calling him the ‘N’ word. There was this little boy in the crowd that didn’t like what was going on, but soon he started chanting with the crowd. This is a big part of history because people have done things they are not comfortable with just to fit in. Even with all this negativity thrown at Robinson, this man still did what he enjoyed when it felt like the whole world was against him. He never thought about giving up, which showed how much he loved this sport. He put his life in constant danger to play ball.

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The time period and the historical events during this movie are very accurate because Robinson’s wife and children made sure of it. It took them 30 years to get this movie the way it all happened. His wife had offered suggestions to the filmmakers to improve the script “because I wanted to be sure they had an authentic picture”, she said. When choosing the characters, fame was not a factor because when famous actors are cast, people are more focused on the actor and not the character being played. They even cleared up what little parts were added on just for the fun of the movie. The audience can watch this movie from many points of view, but what does not change is what the characters had to deal with throughout the movie. In the beginning, it shows all the white families happy after the war, while the African Americans are struggling. Even though African American were serving, they were still treated differently because of discrimination and segregation. Having someone who has such a big impact on this world as Jackie Robinson helps show a better understanding of the time period and helps the audience feel the terrible things people had to go through to get where they wanted to be.

Robinson left, making this world a better place, and no one was left behind. The civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s opposed segregation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 opened public facilities to all races. The movement against segregation after World War II really began in 1947 with Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier. Robinson won the Rookie of the Year award in 1947 and helped lead the Dodgers to seven pennants in the 10 years he played for them. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1962. He is the reason the Negro leagues ended and the sport baseball became for anyone of interest. Robinson proved color didn’t matter and it was all about talent. He pioneered other African Americans to reach professional levels in not only baseball but in any field they had an interest. His hard work helped change the nation's way of thinking.

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Summary of the Movie ’42’. (2023, November 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from
“Summary of the Movie ’42’.” Edubirdie, 15 Nov. 2023,
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