Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey, played by Harrison Ford, decided that needed to change. He broke baseball's color barrier when he hired Jackie Robinson as baseball's first black major leaguer.
Chadwick Boseman takes on the role of Robinson, wearing the number "42".
"You want people to understand, like, the full scope of what he did," Boseman said. "He is a benchmark for baseball's history but also American history. We're where we are right now partially because of what he did."
The film is blunt with its use of the language of the time.
The "N" word is heard a lot. According to Boseman, there's a reason it was used so much.
"You have to have it there to really get a sense of what pressure he's under, because with it comes all of the negative images and threats and people dying and that comes along with the word, so if you don't say it we're being totally dishonest," Boseman said.
"It is shocking and it's also important to recognize that it was a relatively short period of time ago, that changes have been made and that people with courage and conviction and recognition of injustice can continue to make changes and there are changes yet to be made in American society," Ford said.
"42" is rated PG-13. The movie hits theaters Friday.