Fear Strikes Out
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Fear Strikes Out
Anthony Perkins stars as troubled baseball great Jimmy Piersall in Fear Strikes Out. Based on Piersall's shattering tell-all autobiography, the film traces Jimmy's ascent from the sandlots of Waterbury, CT, to the Boston Red Sox, with his domineering father (Karl Malden) pushing the boy beyond all reasonable limits. Unable to withstand the pressure, Piersall suffers a nervous breakdown and is confined to a mental institution. Through a long period of therapy, Jimmy realizes that he has excelled in baseball not for his own gratification but to please his father. This film was preceded… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 82%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Fear holds up well, and the climactic showdown between father and son offers a tremendously appealing resolution."
‑ Ty Burr, Entertainment Weekly
"Mr. Perkins plays the young fellow excellently, not only conveying the gathering torment but also actually looking like a ballplayer on the field."
‑ Bosley Crowther, New York Times
"Director Robert Mulligan's feature film debut is a harrowing and intense biopic of Boston Red Sox baseball star Jim Piersall, superbly portrayed by Anthony Perkins."
‑ Tony Sloman, Radio Times
"A cold biopic that doesn't hold up now that its subject matter has left the spotlight."
‑ Ryan Cracknell, Movie Views
"Anthony Perkins gives a great, twitchy performance as Jimmy Piersall."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Fear Strikes Out rolls Frank Merriwell and Sigmund Freud into a ball and then lines it out for a solid hit."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"It's a little poky and tentative, but a promising start by the Pakula-Mulligan team."
‑ , Time Out
"Harrowing look at pressures on a young ballplayer."
‑ Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television
‑ Fernando F. Croce, CinePassion
"Harkens back to a simpler time in baseball, where there were no steroids just eccentric players."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Anthony Perkins, in the young Piersall role, delivers a remarkably sustained performance of a sensitive young man, pushed too fast to the limits of his ability to cope with life's pressures."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Absorbing, but rather clinical, in the rubber-gloves style of 50s television drama."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"This directorial debut for Mulligan also boasts an extremely effective, typically full-volume performance by Malden as Piersall's demanding but loving father."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Rarely seen character study of baseball great Jimmy Piersall with great work by Anthony Perkins in title role--and Karl Malden as his demanding dad."
‑ Steve Crum, Video-Reviewmaster.com
"Mulligan does his best to get around Perkins' lack of baseball credibility, even laughably avoiding any shots of him fielding a groundball during the shortstop experiment."
‑ Larry Carroll, FilmStew.com
More reviews for Fear Strikes Out on Rotten Tomatoes