AUDIENCE AWARD: BEST DOCUMENTARY Washington Jewish Film Festival (1999)
BEST DOCUMENTARY Online Film Critics Society Awards (2001)
BEST DOCUMENTARY National Board of Review (2001)
BEST NONFICTION FILM New York Film Critics Circle Awards (2000)
BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards (2001)


Harbor Cinema, Muskegon, MI (2016)
Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival (2015)
National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia, PA (2014)
Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco (2013)
Washington DC Jewish Festival (2011)
Pioneer Valley Jewish Film Festival (2010)


As Hitler invaded Europe, a young Jewish baseball player challenged Babe Ruth’s homerun record. This is the story of how he became an American hero.

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg is a humorous and nostalgic documentary about an extraordinary baseball player who transcended religious prejudice to become an American icon. Detroit Tiger Hammerin’ Hank’s accomplishments during the Golden Age of Baseball rivaled those of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.

This compelling documentary examines how America’s first Jewish baseball star was a beacon of hope to American Jews who faced bigotry during the Depression and World War II. Included in the colorful collage of forty-seven interviews are Hank Greenberg and family members; sports figures Ira Berkow, Ernie Harwell, Joe Falls and Dick Schaap; fellow players Bob Feller, Charlie Gehringer and Ralph Kiner; fans Alan Dershowitz, Congressman Sander Levin and Senator Carl Levin; and actors Walter Matthau, Michael Moriarty, and Maury Povich.

The film also features famous scenes from such Hollywood classics such as Gentleman’s Agreement, Night at The Opera, Pride of St. Louis and Woman of the Year as well as dramatic historical footage.

Critical Acclaim

"A truly wonderful film-going experience"
-Peter Stack, San Francisco Chronicle

"You don't have to be Jewish to find it thoroughly engrossing and rewarding. You don't even have to know baseball"
-Jay Carr, Boston Globe

"Fascinating! Valuable as history and resonant with meaning for today."
-Lawrence Van Gelder, New York Times


Official Website

Director Aviva Kempner talks to National Public Radio's Robert Siegel on 
"All Things Considered," January 12, 2000

Also by Aviva Kempner

Partisans of Vilna

Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg

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Back to Top

The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg

USA, 1999, 95 minutes
Directed by Aviva Kempner

Public Exhibition 35mm, 16mm, Beta, 3/4, VHS, and DVD Rental available

Arrange a Screening

Contact us at jewishfilm(at)brandeis(dot)edu
or call 781-736-8600 to book now

Public Exhibition Formats: 35mm, 16mm, Beta, 3/4, DVD






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