Major League Baseball Opening Day. It’s as good as a holiday in my eyes. I get excited every spring, the anticipation building each day up until that first game. But that got flipped on its head this season, along with everything else in our lives, as 2020 continues to turn our lives upside down. But sports are forging ahead, with baseball set to lead off the resurgence of the major sports. So let’s get prepped for the sure-to-be-interesting, hopefully-will-be-exciting shortened season with some of the best baseball movies out there.
Just one note, this is a *personal* list, meaning you
might not won’t agree with every movie here. So let us know in the comments what your go-to baseball movies are!
Led by dynamite performances from Chadwick Boseman and (a criminally underused) Nicole Beharie, follows the trailblazing Jackie Robinson as he breaks Major League Baseball’s color barrier by signing with the Brooklyn Dodgers. It meanders at times, and maybe doesn’t go quite deep enough into Robinson and his teammates (and the rest of the league) adjusting to the changing landscape. But it remains a powerful and important story nonetheless.
The quintessential baseball – even sports – movie for many. Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins have fantastic chemistry in the comedy-drama following along with the single A Durham Bulls. It’s got heart, it’s got humor, it gets the intricacies of being a part of a baseball team. Bull Durham hits on all cylinders.
Everybody Wants Some!!
Easily my favorite movie on this list (probably an overall top 5 favorite movie for me too), Richard Linklater’s “spiritual sequel” to Dazed and Confused might be a more baseball-adjacent movie than tried and true baseball movie. But with its endlessly quotable lines, charismatic characters, and its ability to perfectly capturing the nostalgia of moving back to college for your last few days of summer before classes start, Everybody Wants Some!! deserves to be on any number “Best Of” lists. And even in a smaller supporting role, any movie with Zoey Deutch gets an automatic thumbs up from me.
Field of Dreams
Perhaps only rivaled by Brian’s Song as the ultimate sports guy cry movie. It’s truly a testament to the movie that a story about a guy building a baseball field in his corn field so ghost baseball players from the disgraced 1919 White Sox can have a place to play. On paper, it sounds absurd. But Kevin Costner’s measured performance, and the deeper meaning eventually revealed (and it never hurts to have. James Earl Jones on board), help any viewer of any age and background find some sort of personal connection to movie’s themes and messages.
A League of Their Own
Five words: “There’s no crying in baseball!”
Also read: New Bill & Ted 3 Photos Released
Little Big League
Admittedly the weakest movie here and not as good as several other movies I didn’t include, this is my one homer pick. As a Minnesota native, Little Big League always held a special place in my heart. After all, it is about a 12-year-old owning and managing a professional baseball team; and not just any team, but my hometown, all time favorite sports team, the Minnesota Twins. Crappy Metrodome notwithstanding, there was no way I could forget this one.
Featuring Robert Redford’s Roy Hobbs literally knocking the cover off the ball, and his only-in-your-dreams moment of smashing the stadium lights on a game-winning home run, The Natural certainly has no fears of leaning into various baseball cliches. But it all fits in perfectly with the feel of the movie, a moving drama about a potential superstar given one last chance after having his chance at glory ripped away before his prime. Well acted, beautifully shot, The Natural might be the most well-rounded movie on this list.
From the novelty of being Rene Russo’s first movie role to Charlie Sheen actually being good at baseball to Wesley Snipes being a bad athlete to Cerrano carrying the bat around the bases after hitting a home run (something more players should do, to be honest) to Bob Uecker being the underrated best part of the movie, there’s just so much to love about Major League. It’s best to pretend the two sequels don’t exist, though.
Anchored by one of Brad Pitt’s career best performances, Moneyball somehow managed to make a movie about statistics and sabermetrics exciting and engaging.
Besides the numerous indisputably great moments, The Sandlot is one of the strongest nostalgia trips for anyone who grew up playing baseball in the ’90s. It takes you right back to those carefree summers, where hanging out with friends and playing ball was all that mattered in the world.
So there’s my list. What does your all-time baseball movie list look like? Let us know in the comments!