42 and the Top 15 Baseball Movies of All-Time
The Top 15 Baseball Movies Ever Made
Do you have to be a baseball fan to like baseball movies?
Where the actual game of baseball sometimes fails to connect to all sports fans, baseball movies can captivate a wide range of people. Many of the movies on this countdown are based on real life and in some cases it wasn't until the stories were put on the big screen, that they really reached a wide range of folks.
What makes a good baseball movie? They don't always have to be realistic, that's for sure. But they do have to represent what baseball is all about. It's a game all about spending long hours in the summer sun with your friends and teammates. The comradery between characters is key, because that's such a big part of the game of baseball.
I like how baseball movies can reach anyone from a child to a grandparent. Maybe it's that it brings us back, or that the subject matter is usually light - after all, it is just a game. But some times real life enters the game and a lot of these movies capture those events with heart-wrenching portrayals.
Casual fans probably like baseball movies because they're less boring that the real thing. I'm sure that's why some shy away from these flicks, but they're simply missing out. For people that love sports, these are often some of their favorite movies. These are movies that fans watch every spring as the season begins, or maybe during the dog days of summer. People love their baseball movies.
So with all that in mind, let's take a look at the top 15 baseball films of all-time:
#15 - Little Big League
Little Big League was a popular kids movie back in 1994. When the owner of the Twins dies, his 12-year old grandson takes over the team. Eventually he makes himself the manager, and hilarity ensues (kinda). Although this movie has some moments, it's only deserving of the No. 15 spot on the countdown.
#14 - Rookie of the Year
Rookie of the Year sets the standard for unrealistic kids baseball movies. After breaking his arm, Henry Rowengartner suddenly becomes able to throw 90 mph fastballs. Subsequently, he makes the Cubs' roster (not surprising) and goes on to mow down big league hitters throughout the film. Two things you need to know about this movie - Daniel Stern directed it and Gary Busey stars in it.
#13 - Bang the Drum Slowly
This an old one (1973), but it stars none other than Bobby De Niro (hello). This is not your typical baseball film as it follows two friends and teammates, while one of them has just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The subject matter is very heavy, but it's still one of the best made baseball films of all-time.
#12 - 61
61 is an underrated baseball flick directed by Billy Crystal. It's the story of the summer of 61, which featured both Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle on pace to break Babe Ruth's single-season home run record. This movies tells a real life story that all baseball fans should hear. Even if you're not a Yankees' fan, you will like this movie.
#11 - Major League
If you've never seen Major League, do yourself a favor and rent it soon. This movie sets the standard for comedy baseball movies. Filled with lots of great one-liners, no one is better than Harry Doyle (legendary announcer Bob Uecker).
#10 - 42
It doesn't get much more real than 42. The amazing true story of Jackie Robinson is portrayed in this must-see movie. Even if baseball isn't your thing, this film can still serve as an important history lesson. Everybody in this country should know the story of 42.
#9 - Moneyball
Another real-life flick, Moneyball tells the story of Billy Beane and the small market Oakland Athletics. Without the funds to sign big name players, Beane and his assistant come up with a new method of evaluating talent.
#8 - Eight Men Out
Based on the 1919 Chicago 'Black Sox' scandal, this movie does a great job of capturing the players' decision to turn on their owner and throw the World Series. It's got an all-star 80's cast to secure its place as one of the best baseball movies of all-time.
#7 - The Sandlot
The Sandlot is simply an American classic at this point. It's a movie that's about kids living the dream in the summer while playing baseball non-stop. This is a flick that will stand the test of time and be passed on to future generations.
#6 - The Natural
A 1984 movie about a baseball player in the 30's with a magical bat. Roy Hobbs lives out the life he should have had, before he was shot by a woman. This is a great fantasy movie, starring Robert Redford and Robert Duvall, so you can't go wrong.
#5 - Field of Dreams
Iowa corn farmer Ray Kinsella keeps hearing a voice that says, "if you build it, they will come," and indeed he does. The farmer builds a diamond on his land and the 1919 Chicago Black Sox suddenly appear.
#4 - Pride of the Yankees
Legendary actor Gary Cooper portrays the real life sad story of Lou Gehrig. This film follows Gehrig's childhood, through his consecutive games streak and all the way to his speech at Yankee stadium in 1939. Baseball fan or not, this is a great movie.
#3 - A League of Their Own
"There's no crying in baseball." If nothing else, League of Their Own gave us that quote, but it's also a tremendous movie overall. Tom Hanks just absolutely kills it as the drunken manager of a women's baseball team back in the WWII era. If you haven't seen this movie, you are simply missing out.
#2 - Bad News Bears
Although this movie is far from PC by today's standards, that's what makes it great. Walter Matthau is brilliant as a beer-drinking little league manager, who takes over a team with no hope. Eventually with the assistance of an ace girl pitcher, the Bears turn things around. Bad New Bears is an American classic and a must see for any baseball fan.
#1 - Bull Durham
Kevin Costner and Tim Robbins hit a home run in this 80's classic. Bull Durham is widely considered the most accurate portrayal of real life baseball. Costner finds himself demoted to Single-A ball to catch for the team's star rookie pitcher (Robbins). Even though this movie has a lot of Hollywood in it, it's the best true baseball film of all-time.