If you need your baseball fix with a movie, you should want to check out the best of the best. These are the cream of the crop.
Fans of baseball are missing America’s favorite pastime right now, with the season indefinitely postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Though the game itself might not be back soon, there are still plenty of ways to enjoy the beloved sport. One way is to watch baseball movies.
Each major sport has a handful of films dedicated to them but baseball arguably has the best. Using the ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, this list sorts the best of them. It should be noted that only certified fresh movies are included, as some baseball films have high ratings but only a handful of reviews.
League Of Their Own (78%)
“There’s no crying in baseball!” It’s as iconic a line as you’ll find in a baseball movie. It’s from 1992’s A League of Their Own, which tells one of the most unique stories in a sports film. With men fighting in World War II, the All-American Girls’ Baseball League was born.
Directed by the legendary Penny Marshall, this is a beloved film. The cast of Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Lori Petty, Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell, and more helped to make this a memorable romp. It’s next to impossible to watch this movie and not have a good time.
Biopics are often a place to find tremendous drama and great acting. That was the case with 2013’s 42, which told the remarkable true story of Jackie Robinson. As most people know, Robinson was the first Black player integrated into Major League Baseball.
The heavily-praised performance by Chadwick Boseman as the lead helped him break out in Hollywood, which eventually led him to join the MCU as Black Panther. The film paid respect to Robinson, told the inspiring story well and featured solid baseball scenes.
Major League (83%)
1989’s Major League is the pinnacle of sports comedy. It centered around the Cleveland Indians, who featured a roster of ragtag rejects put together by the team owner who wanted them to lose so she could move the franchise to Florida. Of course, they end up playing well together.
This starred names like Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, Tom Berenger, and Rene Russo, while also being quite hilarious. Bob Uecker steals the show in the commentary booth. This is one of the best underdog movies anywhere, even if it doesn’t take itself too seriously.
The Rookie (84%)
If you’re looking for an inspirational tale of, “it’s never too late,” then The Rookie (2002) is just for you. In it, former minor league pitcher/current high school baseball coach Jim Morris made a bet with his team. If they won the district title, he’d try out for the majors again.
The team succeeded and Morris got back on the mound in front of major league scouts. Dennis Quaid did a great job as the lead in this heartwarming tale. It also happens to be just unique enough to avoid some of the genre’s tropes.
Eight Men Out (86%)
The second appearance on the list for Charlie Sheen and the first for Kevin Costner. 1988’s Eight Men Out focused on one of the biggest scandals in the history of sports anywhere. In the 1919 World Series, members of the Chicago White Sox purposely threw games.
Eight members of the team did so in exchange for money, which is now known as the Black Sox Scandal. Director John Sayles handled this subject with care and the performances up and down the cast were praised by most of the critics.
Field Of Dreams (86%)
Back to back films led by Kevin Costner, who is arguably the most iconic baseball movie actor in the world. In 1989, the world was introduced to Field of Dreams. There aren’t many lines more memorable in cinema, regardless of genre, than, “If you build it, he will come.”
Field of Dreams sees an Iowa farmer hear that message and get inspired to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. Blending sports drama with a fairy tale, this is about as sentimental as it gets. The Yankees and White Sox were scheduled to play a real game on the location before things were shut down.
Everybody Wants Some!! (87%)
There’s a good chance this is the most surprising entry on the list. 2016’s Everybody Wants Some!! only grossed $4.6 million on a $10 million budget, yet was met with rave reviews from those who saw it. The first thing people seemed to love about it was the nostalgic 1980 setting.
Helmed by Richard Linklater (Boyhood), this movie centered on a college baseball team in Texas. Everybody Wants Some!! balanced tales both on and off the field. It was helped by a talented cast that included Zoey Deutch, Blake Jenner, and Ryan Guzman.
Maybe this is the one entry more shocking than the previous one. Sugar was released in 2008 and was considered to be an exceptional film in pretty much every conceivable way, but it’s not well known. Stuff like this is how directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck impressed enough to eventually helm 2019’s Captain Marvel.
Sugar expertly told a gripping sports story as well as a captivating immigrant tale. Protagonist Miguel Santos is a Dominican pitcher who goes through the minor leagues while struggling with the difference in culture in the United States. It was praised for the plot and acting.
The most modern of baseball movies. Adapted from the book of the same name, 2011’s Moneyball tells the true story of how the Oakland Athletics changed the sport forever. This was the rare baseball film to earn Academy Award love, with nominations for Best Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor.
In Moneyball, general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) tries a drastic new approach to build his team to compete with the richer franchises during the 2002 season. Audiences watched as the team went from the bottom of the standings to setting records in this tremendously crafted film.
Bull Durham (97%)
It’s fitting that Kevin Costner is in the lead of Rotten Tomatoes’ highest-rated baseball film. In 1988’s Bull Durham, Costner portrays Crash Davis, a career minor league veteran catcher who takes an erratic but talented young pitcher, “Nuke” Laloosh under his wing.
The relationship between the two drives the film, as Laloosh shines thanks to the lessons from Davis. Throw in some funny moments, memorable lines, and a touching love story involving Susan Sarandon’s Annie Stacy and you’ve got the greatest baseball film in history.
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