Baseball is America’s favorite pastime, so it is no surprise that there have been tons of movies made about the sport. Over the last 100 years, there have been a lot of baseball movies and those movies have covered the sport from every angle including victory, failure, glory, triumph, fame, scandal, comedy, racism, romance, heroism, and tragedy. Making a list of the best baseball movies of all time is not an easy task, it takes careful thought and consideration to pick the movies that best represent the spirit of the sport. Without further ado, these are the 25 best baseball movies of all time.
1. Major League (1989)
A feel-good, comedic baseball movie that should be at the top of every baseball fan’s watchlist.
The new owner of the Cleveland Indians baseball team, Rachel Phelps (Margaret Whitton), wants to move the team to a hotter climate in Miami. To do so, she needs a good reason to break the current lease with the city of Cleveland. She purposely puts together a team of incapable players including a near-blind pitcher and injury-prone catcher hoping they will lose, and ticket sales will fall so she can move the team. When her wicked scheme is discovered, the team of incompetent players bands together into unlikely winners.
2. Bull Durham (1988)
A story about love and minor league baseball, Bull Durham captures the spirit of the game.
Starring Kevin Costner as “Crash” Davis, Bull Durham is about a minor-league baseball team located in Durham, North Carolina. Crash, a veteran catcher, is brought on-board to mentor rookie pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) in preparation for one day reaching the majors. Both players become romantically involved with baseball enthusiast Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) who has her own ideas about baseball.
3. The Sandlot (1993)
A coming-of-age adventure movie that is full of nostalgia.
Scott Smalls (Thomas Guiry) moved to a new town in the San Fernando Valley. As the new kid in town, he has a hard time making friends. He eventually becomes buddies with a group of kids who play baseball at the sandlot every day. The group goes on several adventures together, but the kids run into trouble when Scottie takes an autographed baseball from his stepdad’s trophy room and accidently hits it over a fence.
4. Field of Dreams (1989)
A sentimental story about following your dreams.
A corn farmer in Iowa, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), hears a mysterious voice on night while in his cornfield. The voice says, “If you build it, he will come.” At the risk of appearing insane, Ray goes on to build a baseball diamond on his land with the support of his wife, Annie (Amy Madigan). Ray’s new baseball field begins attracting the ghosts of former baseball players and they begin appearing from the cornfield to play ball. But Ray is about to discover that his field of dreams is about more than bringing past baseball legends out to play.
5. A League of Their Own (1992)
An all-star cast leads this comedic drama about the first female professional baseball league.
A League of Their Own takes place during World War II when all of America’s young men are fighting in the war. During this time, most of the vacant jobs were filled in by women. Baseball team owners, not wanting their sport to go inactive, decided to put together teams of women to play. Scouts are sent all over the country to recruit players. One such scout, Ernie Capadino (Jon Lovitz), comes across Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) in the Midwest and tries to recruit her. Dottie is not interested but her sister Kit Keller (Lori Petty) is. The scout makes a deal with Kit but only if she can get her sister Dottie to go too. The two sisters butt heads but eventually make it to try outs where they meet coach Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) on their way to baseball fame.
6. Moneyball (2011)
Based on the true story of Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s GM and Peter Brand, the assistant GM, who attempt to build a baseball team with a limited budget.
Following the Oakland A’s loss to the New York Yankees in 2001, GM Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) attempts to build a competitive team for 2002 with the lowest salary constraint in baseball. Billy meets Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) during a scouting visit to the Cleveland Indians. Peter has revolutionary new ideas about how to measure player value that will turn the game of baseball on its ear. Billy and Peter use computer-generated statistical data to analyze and place value on players that scouts may have previously rejected but actually have remarkable potential.
7. For Love of the Game (1999)
An emotional storytelling of what happens when love and baseball collide.
Kevin Costner stars as Detroit pitcher Billy Chapel who is nearing the end of his baseball career. He is forced to contemplate on his life as a major league player when he finds out that his girlfriend is moving to London to take a job offer. Billy must decide where his priorities are when it comes to the love of his life his love for baseball.
8. The Natural (1984)
A baseball classic that teaches us lessons in honor, kindness, and forgiveness.
Just before a tryout with the Chicago Cubs, Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford) is inexplicably shot by an unstable woman, Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey). 16 Years later, Roy returns to major league baseball as a rookie on the last-place team, the New York Knights, where he goes on to become a remarkable player with near magical ability.
9. 42 (2013)
A poignant biopic about the late Jackie Roosevelt Robinson who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era.
42 takes place in 1946 when major league baseball prohibited black players from the major leagues, known as the color line or color barrier. The manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), violates the color line by signing Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team. Rickey and Robinson are thrust into the disapproving eye of the public, the press, and other players. Robinson faces open racism from all sides and shows true bravery by not reacting and using his talent to silence the critics for him.
10. The Bad News Bears (1976)
A captivating movie that is sure to make everyone in the family laugh out loud.
An ex-minor-league hopeful and alcoholic, Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau), reluctantly agrees to be the new coach for a Little League team at the request of Bob Whitewood (Ben Piazza) who is unhappy with the team for barring his son from play. Buttermaker has his work cut out for him and enlists the help of a talented young female pitcher, Amanda Whurlitzer (Tatum O’Neal), to help guide the team to victory.
11. 61* (2001)
Two players compete to break Babe Ruth’s 1927 single-season home run record of 60.
In 1961 two players from the New York Yankees, Roger Maris (Barry Pepper) and Mickey Mantle (Thomas Jane), are on track to break Babe Ruth’s record of 60 home runs in a single season. Everyone believes Mantle will be the one to break the record, but it is Maris who surges ahead in the standings, making a run at one of the most famous records in sports history.
12. Fever Pitch (2005)
A Red Sox fanatic falls in love with a non-baseball fan in this romantic comedy.
Jimmy Fallon stars in this charming romantic comedy as Ben Wrightman, a teacher who falls in love with Linsey Meeks (Drew Barrymore). But things go wrong when baseball season begins, and Lindsey soon discovers that her new love interest is completely infatuated with the Boston Red Sox. While Lindsey tries to understand, Ben’s dedication to the team threatens to end their budding relationship.
13. Rookie of the Year (1993)
A family-fun sports movie that is sure to stir up all those memories of after school little league with your buddies.
After a freak accident left him with a severely broken arm, 12-year-old little league player Henry Rowengartner (Thomas Ian Nicholas) is shocked to find out that his arm now pitches 100 mile per hour rockets. He is instantly signed to the Chicago Cubs as their ace pitcher. But Henry is unprepared for the pressure of the major leagues and begins to falter. After a few pointers from aging player Chet Steadman (Gary Busey), he leads the team to the unthinkable.
14. Angels in the Outfield (1994)
A young fan of the Anaheim Angels prays for his team to win in this feel-good baseball movie about believing in miracles.
Roger Bomman (Joseph Gordon Levitt) is living in foster care and dreams of being part of a family. The young baseball fan prays for the Anaheim Angels, the worst team in the league, to win the pennant believing it will reunite him with his absent father. A real angel named Al (Christopher Lloyd) soon shows up and the team begins winning games. The Anaheim Angel’s desperate coach George Knox (Danny Glover) is stunned to see his team on a winning streak.
15. The Pride of The Yankees (1942)
A biopic about the heroic life of renowned Yankee’s first baseman Lou Gehrig.
Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig in this heartbreaking biographical drama. Gehrig is recruited by the New York Yankees and joins a team of legendary players that include Babe Ruth. Lou marries the love of his life Eleanor (Teresa Wright), but he is soon diagnosed with a serious disease that he heroically tries to fight.
16. Eight Men Out (1988)
A period piece that displays how greed and the power of money can corrupt.
The World Series of 1919 is set with The Chicago White Sox playing the Cincinnati Reds. But players from the Chicago White Sox butt heads with the team’s owner Charles Comiskey (Clifton James) over unsatisfactory salaries. A group of professional gamblers approaches the team’s star players and offers them money to intentionally throw the series. The players agree, but their careers and reputations are ruined when their secret gets out in a scandal that remains known as the “Black Sox Scandal”.
17. Little Big League (1994)
A baseball movie filled with cameos from real players that reminds us why we love the game.
12-Year-old Billy Heywood (Jason Robards) inherits the Minnesota Twins baseball twins after his grandfather dies. It is the young baseball fan’s dream come true. He believes by managing the team personally, he can get the Twins out of their slump. But managing a professional major league baseball team may be more than he can handle, and the players are not on board with taking orders from a 12-year-old.
18. The Rookie (2002)
A heartwarming true story that teaches us it is never too late for your dreams to come true.
Dennis Quaid stars as Jim Morris, a pitcher who suffered a shoulder injury that cut his baseball career short. Several years later, Jim has settled down in Texas and earns a living as a high school chemistry teacher while coaching baseball. Jim makes a deal to try out for the majors if his high school team makes it to the playoffs.
19. The Fan (1996)
A different take on baseball in this mystery thriller about how far one fan will go for the love of his team.
Robert De Niro stars in this thriller as Gil Renard, a salesman with an unstable personality that is going through a divorce. Gil is an obsessed San Francisco Giants fan and takes a particular interest in the team’s latest recruit, Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes). Gil does everything he can to help Rayburn but his devotion to baseball and Rayburn soon becomes an unhealthy obsession.
20. Trouble With The Curve (2012)
Tons of star power in this drama about good sportsmanship and kindness.
Clint Eastwood stars as Gus Lobel, an aging major league baseball scout. With his age catching up to him, Lobel enlists the help of his daughter Mickey Lobel (Amy Adams) when he is sent to scout the country’s top batting prospect. But the father and daughter duo have not seen each other in years and attempt to repair their relationship while on the scouting trip.
21. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
A baseball movie that explores the partnership between pitcher and catcher.
Charismatic Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty) is the newest ace pitcher on the New York Mammoths. But Henry’s personality clashes with the team’s catcher Bruce Pearson (Robert De Niro). Henry’s feelings change when he finds out that Bruce was diagnosed with cancer and the two form an unlikely pair.
22. Fear Strikes Out (1957)
A true story of one man’s rise from the sandlots of Connecticut to the Boston Red Sox.
Jimmy Piersall (Anthony Perkins) had a father (Karl Malden) obsessed with baseball. Jimmy was made to live, sleep, and breath baseball so that his father could live vicariously through him. When Jimmy makes it to the major’s, his mental health begins to crumble.
23. Damn Yankees! (1958)
A musical about a man who is willing to sell his soul to the devil for his team to win.
Joe Boyd (Tab Hunter) is a frustrated fan of the Washington Senators. His team is so hopeless that he is willing to sell his soul to the devil for them to win. But after Joe makes his deal with the devil, he begins to question the deal.
24. Mr. Baseball (1992)
An aging American baseball player explores the baseball culture in Japan in this comedic sports movie.
Tom Selleck stars as Jack Elliott a professional baseball player with a big ego. Jack has hit a slump in his career and is traded to the Dragons, a Japanese team. Unhappy about the trade, Jack rejects the culture of his new teammates causing tension between himself and the other players.
25. Sugar (2008)
A sports movie that gives perspective on the American dream from the eyes of an immigrant.
19-year-old Miguel “Sugar” Santos (Algenis Perez Soto) has a dream of one day playing on an American baseball team. The young man from the Dominican Republic eventually gets a position on a single-A team. While Miguel pursues his major league dreams, he struggles with American culture, racism, PED’s, and injuries.
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