What are the top 10 baseball movies of all time?
Baseball and cinema have been tied together for over a century. They are two important traditions in America, so what could be better than to combine both?
America’s past time has always been staple subject in Hollywood. It’s been America’s game for centuries, so producers and screen writers have always been drawn towards screenplays centered around the diamond.
Baseball and the cinema have always been intertwined, and it’s probably because there is a certain romance surrounding the game of baseball. That doesn’t mean every movie based around the game is going to pull at your heartstrings in some romantic drama. There are those, but there are also plenty of other genres that will peak even the most marginal baseball fan’s interest.
Field of Dreams
This is the Casa Blanca of baseball flicks. Kevin Costner, who is no stranger to movies based on a baseball field stars in the fantasy drama based on the book Shoeless Joe. Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a farmer in who builds a baseball field on his land, which brings back the ghosts of legends of the game. Even if you don’t know the film, you proabably know the phrase “If you build it, they will come.”
Rookie of the Year
Thomas Ian Nicholas plays Henry Rowengartner in this comedy where a young kid breaks his arm and gets super human strength once the case comes off. The Chicago Cubs get wind of this gun slinging teen, and sign him as a starting pitcher. Gary Busey plays the teammate of Rowengartner as Henry leads the Cubs to the the division title in this comedy made for all ages.
In my era, The Sandlot was the movie. A group of buddies who get together everyday after school to play baseball, like most kids would do before the era of iPads and video games. Set in the 60′s it’s about youngster Scott Smalls, who moves to an LA suburb and meets a group of kids through the game of baseball. Despite being terrible at baseball, Smalls befriends the neighborhood kids who eventually have to get a ball signed by Babe Ruth back from the daunting pit for a giant dog right next to the Sandlot.
The year before Field of Dreams came out Kevin Costner played “Crash” Davis in the romantic comedy, Bull Durham. Davis is a catcher that in brought to a minor league club to groom a rookie pitcher. The idea is that Davis would mold pitcher, “Nuke” LaLoosh to the big leagues. All the while he strikes up a romance with Annie Savoy played by Susan Sarandon. The movie has made lists including Sport’s Illustrated’s #1 sports movie of all time. Bravo ranked it their #55 funniest movie ever.
The movie “42″ is a historic drama based on the trials and tribulations of Jackie Robinson becoming the first black baseball player in the MLB. Robinson, played by Chadwick Boseman, comes up from the Negro League to the Majors after being recruited by the Brooklyn Dodgers. The journey is far from easy for Robinson, who has to deal with racism, media attention and problems with other teams, and within his own team.
For me, Major League is the funniest baseball movie, and one of the funniest sports movies ever made. Charlie Sheen plays Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn who is a pitcher with all kinds of heat, but can’t control where the ball is going or what’s going on in his head. Tom Bergeron plays Jake Taylor who helps Vaughn get a handle on thrown and mental problems. A hysterical cast of characters pull together and take a bottom feeding Cleveland Indians team all the way to the win the division.
Based on a true story, Brad Pitt plays Billy Bean in this historical drama that follows the Oakland A’s historic run while using Big Data to compete with the top teams in the league. Bean is the assistant general manager of a struggling Oakland team. He finds an up and coming baseball genius and math wizard Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, who he brings on board in Oakland. Despite much protest and upheaval within the franchise Brand and Bean shake up the roster using sabermetrics to find undervalued players and get the most out of them to bring a team with a low budget to win an incredible 20 games in a row and eventually reach the American League Divisional Series after winning the AL West.
The Bad News Bears
This classic, made in the 1970′s stars Walter Matthau as Morris Buttmaker, a former minor league pitcher and an alcoholic turned coach for a little league team. The team is full of misfits after the league is put through a lawsuit because of their decision to keep children like the members of the Bear’s team out of the league. After a season of up and downs and hilarious interactions between the coach and his players the Bears make it all the way to the championship game.
For the Love of the Game
As far as I know, this is the final Kevin Costner movie set on a baseball diamond. It’s a romantic drama that is based on pitcher Billy Chapel who is an aging pitcher that throws a perfect game at the end of his career. During the perfect pitching performance, Chapel deals with the pressures of pitching in Yankee Stadium by recalling memories of a long term relationship he had with girlfriend Jane Aubrye played by Kelly Preston. The movie was far from a hit, and Costner received a nomination for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor.