The 10 Greatest Baseball Movies

Ryan SmithCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2009

Baseball is the greatest sport ever invented. There is no way to deny it.


Since it is the greatest sport ever invented, there must be some great baseball movies as well.


There are so many baseball films. Some are amazing, some are hilarious, and some just plain stink.


Here is the list of the greatest baseball movies ever:



10. Rookie of the Year (1993)


Rated: PG


The first stop on our countdown is "Rookie of the Year." This movie features a 13-year-old Little Leaguer who couldn’t play baseball if his life depended on it. Then, a freak accident happens and he breaks his arm. It heals abnormally and...WAPOW! He can throw a baseball 100 m.p.h.


The Cubs, who are having financial troubles, sign him up. The Cubs then play their way to the final game of the season, which would decide who would go to the World Series.


It is a funny movie the whole family can enjoy.



9. Major League (1989)


Rated: R


You'll find just as many people who hate this movie as love it, but just about everyone who has seen it remembers it, which puts it ahead of most movies.

While the story is cliché, the gags are predictable, and the characters two-dimensional, the movie is fun and the actors look like they can play.


8. The Sandlot (1993)

Rated: PG

It's by far the most charming of all the baseball movies featuring kids that followed "The Bad News Bears." A cast of unknowns, except for James Earl Jones, creates a fond remembrance of what it was like to play neighborhood ball together.


7. A League of Their Own (1992)

Rated: PG

The movie is more about women fighting for their rights than the game on the field, but the women are credible as baseball players, except maybe Lori Petty.

The movie also brought attention to a forgotten piece of baseball history, and it gets extra credit for adding the line "There's no crying in baseball" to the vernacular.


6. The Bad News Bears (1976)

Rated: PG

The greatest pure baseball comedy, this movie reminded everyone what Little League was really like. Walter Matthau and Tatum O'Neal were perfect in their roles, and all of the foul-mouthed kids fit together beautifully.

The sequels to the Bad News Bears all failed miserably. (They struck out. Hahaha.)


5. Eight Men Out (1988)

Rated: PG

A thoroughly modern look back at a simpler time, this movie does not romanticize baseball's history and captures the time of the Black Sox scandal in an authentic way.

John Sayles wrote and directed the movie, based on a book by Eliot Asinof, and does a great job of bringing the complexity of the story to the screen. A great cast helps as well. About the only thing the movie lacks is emotional intensity.


4. Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)

Rated: PG

This is the baseball version of Brian's Song, only better. It started a period of great modern baseball movies and is still regarded by many as the best of the bunch. The movie helped launch the careers of Michael Moriarty as the star pitcher and Robert DeNiro as the dying catcher.

Some prefer the Mark Harris novel (he also wrote the screenplay) or criticize the details of the baseball in the movie, but that is quibbling. It's a truly touching film.


3. Bull Durham (1988)

Rated: R

"Bull Durham" is far and away the most authentic portrayal of the game, both on and off the field out of the movies on this list.

Baseball is treated with casual reverence: It's a great game, and we love it, but it is a game. Costner is at his best, and Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon are perfect complements.

It's all thanks to writer and director Ron Shelton, who spent five years in the minor leagues and cared about doing things right. He avoids the usual sports movie clichés—he filmed Costner catching a foul pop just because he said movies never show the routine plays and creates characters that we like and a world that we don't want to leave.


2. The Natural (1984)

Rated: PG

Another movie that tends to divide peoples opinions, it's a sentimental view of a slugger and the game. It's based on a novel by Bernard Malamud and features a strong cast led by Robert Redford. Baseball romantics love it and see it as a fable, while more jaded fans say it's overrated and simplistic. Either way, it's a lovely and influential movie.

It is also my all-time favorite baseball movie.


1. Field of Dreams (1989)

Rated: PG

Only the truly cynical aren't taken by this movie, which captures better than any other the mystical hold that baseball can have over people. Kevin Costner and the rest of the cast are great in this adaptation of W.P. Kinsella's novel "Shoeless Joe."

It seems that everyone latches on to something different as their favorite part or as the message of the film. Like baseball itself, it's a simple movie that also proves beautifully complex.



(Click to view my list of The 10 Greatest Baseball Songs.)