Play Ball! 10 of the Best Baseball Movies
Celebrate America’s national pastime with these home runs.
Spring has sprung and with it comes balls, strikes and baseball season. Here’s a list of 10 of the top baseball movies of all time.
1. A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
The title of this classic comedy directed by Penny Marshall refers to a fictionalized version of the World War II-era All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Tom Hanks stars as a former Chicago Cubs slugger who manages a team called the Rockford Peaches. He’s an abrasive alcoholic who thinks the league is a joke … until the teammates bond and start to win their way to the World Series. Famous for the classic line “There’s no crying in baseball,” the movie also features Geena Davis, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, Garry Marshall and Jon Lovitz. Find out where to stream it here.
2. FIELD OF DREAMS
A riveting fantasy based on Canadian novelist W.P. Kinsella’s 1982 novel Shoeless Joe, the film version stars Kevin Costner as a farmer who begins getting mysterious telepathic messages telling him that he should build a baseball field in his Iowa cornfield, which he does, to the delight of his small daughter. To everyone’s surprise, the field attracts the ghosts of baseball legends of the past, including Ray Liotta as Shoeless Joe Jackson. Also making strong appearances in supporting roles are James Earl Jones, Burt Lancaster and Amy Madigan. Field of Dreams was nominated for three Academy Awards® for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score (by composer James Horner). Find out where to stream it here.
This inspirational biopic about baseball player Jackie Robinson explores the pressures and challenges he faced as the first black athlete to play in Major League Baseball™. It stars Chadwick Boseman as Robinson, with Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, the firey owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers™ in the postwar era. The title refers to Robinson’s jersey number, which was retired across all of baseball in 1997. Find out where to stream it here.
4. THE NATURAL
This compelling drama was directed by Barry Levinson and stars Robert Redford, Glenn Close and Robert Duvall. Based on Bernard Malamud’s debut novel of the same name, it tells the story of Roy Hobbs (Redford) — a baseball prodigy whose career is shut down when he is shot by a mysterious woman. The film received critical accolades and was nominated for four Academy Awards and a Golden Globe® Award in 1984. Find out where to stream it here.
5. THE BAD NEWS BEARS
You’re guaranteed to laugh out loud at this classic 1976 comedy, which stars Walter Matthau as alcoholic ex-baseball pitcher Morris Buttermaker, who becomes the coach of a youth baseball team known as the Bears. The cast includes Tatum O’Neal, Joyce Van Patten and Jackie Earle Haley. Interestingly, the score (by composer Jerry Fielding) adapts the principal themes of Bizet’s opera Carmen. Find out where to stream it here.
6. BULL DURHAM
This 1988 rom-com was partly based on writer/director Ron Shelton’s minor-league baseball experience. It centers around the Durham Bulls, a single-A minor league baseball team, where hotshot rookie pitcher Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh, played by Tim Robbins, is guided by ex-major league catcher Lawrence “Crash” Davis, played by Kevin Costner … and also by “baseball groupie” fan Annie Savoy, played by Susan Sarandon. The movie won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and a number of Golden Globe Awards. Find out where to stream it here.
If you’re interested in high-stakes financial wheeling and dealings, you’ll enjoy this flick about the 2002 Oakland Athletics and the attempt by their general manager Billy Bean (played here by Brad Pitt) to put together a great team despite having a limited budget to work with. Co-starring Jonah Hill and Phillip Seymour Hoffman (as legendary A’s manager Art Howe), Moneyball was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting actor. Find out where to stream it here.
8. MAJOR LEAGUE
This comedy features an all-star lineup that includes Tom Behringer, Wesley Snipes, Charlie Sheen, Rene Russo, Margaret Whitton and Bob Uecker. The plot centers around a Las Vegas showgirl who inherits the poorly performing Cleveland Indians baseball team from her deceased husband. Wanting to move the team to Miami — which a legal loophole allows her to do if attendance falls below a certain level — she schemes to make them lose any way she can. Slowly, though, the team gels both personally and professionally and starts to win … to everyone’s surprise. Find out where to stream it here.
9. THE ROOKIE
Here’s a feel-good film, based on the true story of Jim Morris (played by Dennis Quaid), who made his MLB debut at the age of 35, struck out the first batter he ever faced on three straight fastballs and went on to play two seasons before retiring and returning to teaching in Texas. Find out where to stream it here.
10. THE BABE
John Goodman stars as Babe Ruth in this 1992 biopic that begins with the seven-year-old George Herman Ruth being sent to a reformatory school for boys, where Brother Matthias Boutlier first teaches him about the game of baseball. Ruth would sign with the Baltimore Orioles as a teenager and become a star pitcher for the Boston Red Sox before being traded to the New York Yankees, where he would make the switch to outfield and transform into the legendary slugger every baseball fan loves and reveres. Find out where to stream it here.