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The Babe (Retro VHS) (Blu-ray Review)


The Film
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements


John Goodman portrays the world's most famous baseball player in this 1993 biopic that plays it loose with the facts tracing the Bambino's life from his youth in Catholic workhouse to the star Sultan of Swat playing for the New York Yankees and into the waning days of his career.

The Babe Retro VHS Blu-ray Cover Art (Mill Creek Entertainment)The Babe, the 1993 biopic about baseball’s most iconic player as portrayed by John Goodman and directed by Arthur Hiller should be of interest for fans of the sport, particularly to those New York Yankees fans the team which the Bambino notoriously left the Boston Red Sox for subsequently leaving the former with a century-long curse and heralding an equal era of staggering success for the Yanks.

Goodman seems a good fit to play Ruth given his stature and the film gets off to a good start when we first meet Ruth as a young boy, but the story quickly veers off course in screenwriter John Fusco’s screenplay. The film seems to portray Ruth as more of a cartoon character than a real-life person. Goodman’s enactment has the Bambino acting more childlike straight through his life than anything we know of the real ballplayer. The film is good at capturing the authenticity of the era and the feel of the baseball games plus many of the fabled moments from Ruth’s career, such as his calling of his homerun blast over right field or the fable of his two-home runs for the sickly “little Johnny,” which is more myth than fact. At least the The Babe does portray the relationship with Ruth’s two wives quite realistically, with Trini Alvarado as Helen his long suffering first wife who dies suddenly, and Kelly McGillis as Claire the showgirl that Ruth would leave his first wife for. This is ultimately a fun if wildly inaccurate and inconsistent film with one of Goodman’s least successful performances.

The Video

The Babe comes with a 1.85:1 framed AVC 1080p encodement on Blu-ray. The film looks a bit rough but once you get going with this one your eyes adjust, and you find it’s a reasonably satisfying if not wholly reference quality release. There’s heavy grain, but also film softness and consistent bits of course damage in specks and scratches. Colors are a bit weird for this film since there is a sort of sepia tone cast early that shifts mildly to a more natural tone and then the occasional black and white ‘newsreel’ moments.

The Audio

We get an English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 stereo mix with The Babe that is more than competent and offers good balance of the dialogue and the sound effects. The sound really comes alive during the ballgames when we hear the din of the crowds and the ball players mingling with good, spacious stereo panning, or during the various ‘newsreel’ segments that pan the saloon-style piano and voice over relatively hard left and right.

The Supplements

This is a barebones release which comes with no bonus materials but is packaged in a cool retro VHS slipcover that should put a smile on the faces of anyone from the VCR generation.

The Final Assessment

Mill Creek pulls out another VHS era forgotten gem that fans should enjoy especially if they love baseball and the Bambino with this barebones budget release of the Babe Ruth biopic.

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The Babe (Retro VHS Packaging) is out on Blu-ray March 9, 2021 from Mill Creek Entertainment

  • Rating Certificate: PG (for rude language, some sexual situations, and for a scene of pre-teen alcohol/tobacco consumption)
  • Studios & Distributors: Universal Pictures | Waterhorse Productions | Finnegan/Pinchuk Productions | Mill Creek Entertainment
  • Director: Arthur Hiller
  • Written By: John Fusco
  • Run Time: 115 min.
  • Original MSRP: $14.99
  • Street Date: 9 March 2021
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Video Format: AVC 1080p
  • Primary Audio: English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo
  • Subtitles: English SDH

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John Goodman portrays the world's most famous baseball player in this 1993 biopic that plays it loose with the facts tracing the Bambino's life from his youth in Catholic workhouse to the star Sultan of Swat playing for the New York Yankees and into the waning days of his career.The Babe (Retro VHS) (Blu-ray Review)