Best Baseball Movies
Modern Age (1970-present)
Best to Worst
Coming: Sony Pictures optioned the movie rights to the book Moneyball. They plan to turn it into a major motion picture focusing on Oakland general manager Billy Beane's efforts to keep the A's competitive with a modest payroll.
1. The Natural (1984)... Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, Glenn Close,
Kim Basinger, Wilford Brimley, Richard Farnsworth,
Barbara Hershey, Robert Proskey, Joe Don Baker,
2. 61* (2001)… Thomas Jane, Barry Pepper, Anthony Michael Hall,
Jennifer Crystal, Christopher Bauer, Christopher McDonald, Bruce McGill,
Charles Esten, Richard Masur,
Bobby Hosea. Director Billy Crystal created a docudrama about the historic 1961
home run race between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Constantly hounded by the
press, the introverted Maris was also harassed by hate mail and death threats.
Mantle took some of the pressure off him but had to drop out of the race in
September with a hip injury.
4. Field Of Dreams (1989)... Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Magidan, Bert Lancaster, Timothy Busfield,
Gaby Hoffman, Ray Liotta, Frank Whaley, Dwier Brown.
An Iowan farmer hears a voice telling him to build a baseball diamond in the
middle of his cornfield. Costner plays the lead but the cornfield stars in this
excellent adaptation of W.P. Kinsella's fantasy novel, Shoeless Joe.
Featuring fine performances by Jones, Magidan and the
legendary Lancaster and a good soundtrack, the film actually gets better with
each viewing. Filmed on location in
5. Eight Men Out (1988)... John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner, Charlie Sheen, John Mahoney, D.B. Sweeny, David Strathairn, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Rooker, Perry Lang, James Read, Bill Irwin, Kevin Tighe, Studs Terkel, John Anderson. Faithful, though slightly tedious, retelling of the 1919 Black Sox World Series betting scandal. Baseball scenes and period recreation are superb. Based on Eliot Asinof's revealing book of the same name. Asinof has a cameo, as does ex-big league outfielder Ken Berry who was the technical advisor. Filmed at Bush Stadium, home of the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians.
6. Major League (1989)... Tom Berenger,
Charlie Sheen Corbin Bernsen, Margaret Whitton, James
Gammon, Rene Russo, Wesley Snipes, Dennis Haysbert,
Charles Cyphers. The Cleveland Indians finally win the pennant throwing the
entire city into the throes of Indian Fever. Charlie "Wild Thing"
Sheen and Willie Mays Hayes (Wesley Snipes) are loads of fun spewing forth
several quotable lines along the way. Followed by sequel. Bob Uecker (as announcer Harry Doyle) and ex-players Steve
Yeager (who served as the actor's trainer and doubled as a rival pitcher) and
Pete Vukovich also appear. Filmed in
7. Babe Ruth (1991)... Stephen Lang, Brian Doyle-Murray, Donald
Moffat, Yvonne Suhor, Bruce Weitz,
Lisa Zane, William Lucking, Neal McDonough, John Anderson, Pete Rose, Cy Buynak, William Flatley, Stephen Prutting. Lang is wonderfully convincing in this underrated
gem, which accurately depicts the life and times of the great Bambino. TV-movie
based on two separate biographies by Kal Wagenheim and Robert Creamer, it also features Pete Rose in
a cameo as Ty Cobb. The best movie on the Babe by far. Partly filmed at
Cleveland Stadium and
8. Long Gone (1987)... William L. Peterson, Virginia Madsen, Dermot
Mulroney, Larry Riley, Katy Boyer, Henry Gibson, Teller. Based on a novel by
Paul Hemphill, the film stars Peterson as Stud Cantrell, a player-manager of
the Tampico Stogies, a mythical 1950's minor league team. Brazen and sassy and
well worth seeing, it also features a fine soundtrack of period country and
R&B music including the title track by Hank Williams. Filmed in and around
9. Pastime (1991)... William Russ, Glenn Plummer, Scott Plank, Noble Willingham, Jeffrey Tambor, Dierdre O'Connell, Ricky Paull Goldin. Roy Dean Bream (Russ who co-starred on Boy Meets World) plays a veteran minor league hurler in 1957 tutoring young Negro phenom fireballer Tyrone Debray (Plummer). This is Bull Durham taken seriously with cameos by Bob Feller, Duke Snider, Ernie Banks, Don Newcombe, Bill Mazeroski and Harmon Killebrew. A solid performance by Russ and Plummer but script wears down at the end. Well worth seeing though.
10. Bang the Drum Slowly (1974)... Michael Moriarty, Robert DeNiro, Vincent Gardenia, Phil Foster, Ann Wedgeworth, Patrick McVey, Heather MacRae,
Selma Diamond, Danny Aiello. A tearjerker in the Pride Of The Yankees
vein, with Moriarty and DeNiro (his first starring
role) giving excellent performances as the star pitcher Henry Wiggen and doomed catcher Bruce Pearson respectively. Based
on the Mark Harris novel, it was the first time
11. League of Their Own (1992)... Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna
Lori Petty, Jon Lovitz, David Strathairn,
Garry Marshall, Megan Cavanaugh, Rosie O'Donnell, Renee Coleman, Ann Cusack,
Tracy Reiner, Janet Jones, Tea Leoni, Bill Pullman. Entertaining film loosely
based on the Woman's Professional Baseball League in the 1940s. Well done with
fine performances by
12. A Winner Never Quits (1986)... Keith Carradine,
Mare Winningham, G.W. Bailey, Dennis Weaver,
Huckleberry Fox, Jack Kehoe, Fionnula Flanagan, Ed
O'Neill, Dana Delany. TV-movie starring Carradine as Pete Gray, the one-armed outfielder for the
St. Louis Browns during WWII. Good homey script and Carradine,
as usual, plays it wonderfully and athletically. Baseball sequences filmed at
old Joe Engel Stadium in
13. Angels in the Outfield (1994)... Danny Glover, Brenda Fricker, Tony Danza, Christopher
Lloyd, Ben Johnson. Excellent remake of 1951 movie of the same name. Ex-players
Mitchell Page and Carney Lansford (the last batter in the movie) appear. Filmed
in Anaheim Stadium (exterior shots) and Oakland Coliseum (interior, made to
14. Little Big League (1994)... Luke Edwards, Timothy Busfield, John Ashton, Jason Robards, Ashley Crow, Kevin Dunn, Jonathon Silverman, Dennis Farina, Duane Davis. Well-written, almost believable story of a youngster who inherits the Minnesota Twins. Realistic baseball scenes featuring many major leaguers of the day plus ex-player Leon Durham. Chris Berman has a cameo. Great soundtrack too.
15. The Babe (1993)... John Goodman, Kelly McGillis,
Trini Alvarado, Bruce Boxleitner, Peter Donat, James
Cromwell, J.C. Quinn, Joe Ragno, Bernard Kates,
Michael McGrady, Stephen Caffrey.
16. Soul of the Game (1996)… Delroy Lindo, Mykelti Williamson, Blair Underwood, Edward Herrmann.
Follows the events surrounding Jackie Robinson, Satchell Paige and Josh Gibson
leading up to Robinson's historic signing with Branch Rickey and the Brooklyn
Dodgers. Lindo is excellent as the aging Paige. Shot at League Field and Rickwood Field in
17. For the Love of the Game (2000)… Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston,
John C. Reilly,
18. The Rookie (2002)… Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Brian Cox, Jay
Hernandez. The true-life story of 37-year-old Jim Morris, who went from being a
19. The Sandlot (1994)... Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar, Patrick Renna, Chauncey Leopardi, Marty York, Brandon Adams, Denis Leary, Karen Allen, James Earl Jones, Maury Wills, Art La Fleur. Tale of kids’ pickup team in the ‘60's starts off well but gets bogged down when they lose the ball in an old man's yard with a monstrous guard-dog. They spend the rest of the film trying to recover it. Fun for the whole family.
20. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings (1976)...
Billy Dee Williams, James Earl Jones, Richard Pryor, Ted Ross, DeWayne Jessie,
Stan Shaw. The antics of a bunch of barnstorming Negro leaguers
in the 1930s based on the book of the same name. The movie tries to be funnier
than the book at the expense of the story but is still entertaining. Ex-big
leaguer Leon Wagner also appears. Filmed at Grayson Stadium and Luther Williams
21. Cobb (1994)… Tommy Lee Jones, Robert Wuhl,
Lolita Davidovich, Lou Myers, Stephen Mendillo,
William Utay, J. Kenneth Campbell. Strictly a
character study, mostly depressing, of the latter days of one of baseball's
all-time greats. Worth seeing for Jones' captivating portrayal of a drunken,
drugged, dying old man. Wuhl plays real life Cobb
biographer Al Stump who lived and traveled with Cobb listening to his
recollections. Written and directed by Ron Shelton (Bull
22. Major League II (1994)... Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Corbin Bernsen, Dennis Haysbert, James Gammon, Omar Epps, Eric Bruskotter, Bob Uecker, David Keith, Alison Doody, Margaret Whitton, Michelle Burke, Randy Quaid. Mostly for Tribe fans with the same cast but still a lot of fun.
23. The Comrades of Summer (1992)... Joe Mantegna, Natalya Negoda, Mark Rolston, John Fleck, Eric Allan Kramer, Ian Tracey, Michael Lerner. Mantegna stars as Sparky Smith, a recently unemployed Seattle Mariners manager recruited by the Russian Sports Ministry to train their pathetic Olympic baseball team. Unusual premise but Mantegna and co-star Negoda make it work. A sleeper made-for-cable. Worth seeing.
24. Don't Look Back (1981)... Louis Gossett Jr., Beverly Todd, Cleavon Little, Ernie Barnes, Clifton Davis, Hal Williams, Taylor Lacher, John Beradino, Jim Davis, Ossie Davis. TV-movie starring Gossett as the great Negro league pitcher and American Leaguer Satchel Paige. Based on his biography Maybe I'll Pitch Forever, the film is a bit sluggish at times because of the pedestrian script but survives due to the interesting subject matter. Paige appears briefly as himself and ex-big leaguer Bubba Phillips plays Coach Hardy.
25. The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson (1990)… Andre Braugher, Daniel Stern, Ruby Dee, Stan Shaw, Bruce Dern,
Kasi Lemmons, Paul Dooley. Well-acted TV-movie
recreates Robinson's army days as a lieutenant and bigotry crusader for the
armed forces. Not much baseball action but worth seeing for Braugher's
26. Mr. Baseball (1993)... Tom Selleck, Ken
Takakura, Aya Takanashi, Toshi Shioya, Dennis Haysbert. Washed up ex-Yankee ends up in
27. The Scout (1994)... Albert Brooks, Brendan Fraser, Dianne Wiest,
Ann Twomey, Lane Smith, Michael Rapaport, Tony
Bennett, Marcia Rodd. Washed up Yankees scout Al Pecolo
is banished to
28. The Slugger's Wife (1985)... Michael O'Keefe, Rebecca DeMornay, Martin Ritt, Randy
Quaid, Loudon Wainwright III. Marital problems are effecting Darryl Palmer's
production at the plate. What could've been an entertaining movie suffers from
Neil Simon's below average script, uninspired acting and poor editing
techniques. The baseball scenes aren't bad though, as is the surprise ending.
Al Hrabosky and Mark Fidrych
appear as opposing pitchers. Owner Ted Turner and Atlanta Braves announcers
Pete Van Wieren, Ernie Johnson, Nick Charles and Skip Carey appear as
themselves. Filmed at
29. Major League: Back to the Minors (1998)… Scott Bakula, Corbin Bernson, Dennis Haysbert, Takaaki Ishibashi,
Jensen Daggett, Eric Bruskotter, Walt Goggins, Ted McGinley, Judson Mills, Thom Barry, Peter MacKenzie, Bob Uecker. New
manager Gus Cantrell (Bakula) of the minor league
Buzz turns his ragtag team into winners. Typical fare with a few gags. Cool
uniforms though. Bernsen (now the GM), Haysbert, Ishibashi and Uecker
were in previous efforts. Jobu also reappears, as
does Steve Yeager playing coach
30. Rookie of the Year (1993)... Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, Albert Hall, Amy Morton, John Candy. Youngster finds superhuman life in pitching arm after injury and lands in the major leagues. Sort of a remake of Roogie's Bump. Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Pedro Guererro and Tim Stoddard have cameos.
Other movies include:
It's Good To Be Alive (1974)... Paul Winfield, Louis Gossett, Ruby Dee, Ramon Bieri, Joe DeSantis, Ty Henderson, Lloyd Gough. Well-acted TV-movie starring Winfield as Dodger catcher Roy Campanella starting with the period following his crippling automobile accident in 1958. Based on the book of the same name but gets a little too sentimental at times. The real Roy Campanella appears briefly in the prologue and the epilogue.
The Bad News Bears (1976)... Walter Matthau, Tatum O'Neal, Vic Morrow, Joyce Van Patten, Jackie Earl Haley. Followed by two forgettable sequels and a short-lived TV series. Watch the first one once - pass on the rest.
Murder At the World Series (1977)... Michael Parks, Bruce Boxleitner,
Hugh O'Brien, Lynda Day George, Karen Valentine. TV-movie filmed in
One In A Million (1978)... LeVar Burton,
Madge Sinclair, Paul Benjamin, James Luisi, Zakes Mokae. TV-movie starring
A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story (1978)... Blythe Danner, Edward Hermann, Patricia Neal. Based on Mrs. Gehrig's wonderful autobiography, this TV-movie misses the mark, mostly due to miscasting although the actors try hard. (Hermann's personality is actually closer to the real Iron Horse than Gary Cooper's.) Below average writing and a multitude of flashbacks also hurt the film's viewability. There is no on-the-field action but Gehrig's historical farewell speech is handled very well.
Goodbye, Franklin High (1978)... Lane Caudell, Ann Dusenberry, Darby Hinton, Julie Adams, William Windom. Ok script about High School senior faced with decisions about his future baseball career and love life.
Here Come the Tigers (1978)... Richard Lincoln, James Zvanut, Samantha Gray, William Caldwell. Poor excuse for the Bad News Bears.
The Kid from Left Field (1979)... Gary Coleman, Robert Guillaume,
Gary Collins, Ed McMahon, Tab Hunter. Average remake filmed at
The Comeback Kid (1980)… John Ritter, Susan Dey, Doug McKeon. From imdb.com: A down and out former minor league ballplayer finds romance and a renewed zest for life when he takes a job coaching a group of underprivileged kids.
Squeeze Play (1980)… Jim Harris, Jennifer Hetrick. A male softball team is challenged by a female softball team (mostly their wives and girlfriends). Not for the kids.
Million Dollar Infield (1982)... Bonnie Bedelia, Robert Costanzo, Rob Reiner, Christopher Guest, Bruno Kirby. Average-at-best softball TV-movie comedy. Mel Allen has a cameo.
Chasing Dreams (1982)… David G. Brown, John Fife. A high school's baseball coach discovers the hitting talent of a teenage loner that turns his life around.
Workin’ For Peanuts (1985)… Carl Marotte, Jessica Steen, Shawn Thompson, August Schellimber, John Hempell, Elva
Mae Hoover, Camilla Scott. The daughter of a stadium owner attracts the
attention of a young vendor. Complications ensue because of the teenagers’
diverse social class and economic backgrounds. His dad is out of work, she
spends winters in
Blue Skies Again (1988)... Harry Hamlin, Robyn Barto, Mimi Rogers, Kenneth McMillan, Dana Elcar, Andy Garcia, Marcos Gonzales. Real life softball star Barto plays Paula Fradkin trying to break into the minors as the first female professional player. Captures the exciting feel and anticipation of spring training but drags at times and suffers from poor direction. Worth seeing though.
Stealing Home (1988)... Mark Harmon, Blair Brown, Jonathan Silverman,
Harold Ramis, Jodie Foster. Flashbacks tell the story
of washed up ballplayer and his relationship with a female suicide victim. Ok
story but not much baseball. However, the scenes that were shot are pretty
good. Foster's presence generally saves the movie though. One scene filmed in
Talent for the Game (1991)... Edward James Olmos,
Trading Hearts (1991)... Raul Julia, Beverly D'Angelo, Jenny Lewis,
Parris Buckner. Washed-up pitcher Vinnie Icona, just
cut by the Red Sox at the end of spring training 1957, meets a woman and her
daughter whom he helps hide from her ex-husband. Worth watching once. Filmed on
The Man From Left Field (1993)… Burt Reynolds, Reba McIntyre, Kauwela Acocella, Derek Baxter, Adam Cronan, Sean Dunne, Billy Gardner, Adam Ohren, Tino Taylor, Joe Theismann. Jack Robinson, a homeless man with amnesia, coaches a little league team and inspires the kids. Reynolds does a good job here so check it out of you can. TV-Movie.
Past the Bleachers (1995)… Richard Dean Anderson, Barnard Hughes, Glynnis O'Connor, Ken Jenkins, Grayson Fricke. A man decides to coach a little league team. A boy named Lucky not only helps the team win but also helps the coach forget the loss of his own child.
The Fan (1996)… Robert DiNiro, Wesley Snipes, Ellen Barkin. Star player Bobby Rayburn has an off-year and obsessive fan Gil Renard tries to help him but goes overboard. Di Niro makes the film work.
Ed (1996)… Matt LeBlanc, Jayne Brook, Bill Cobbs, Jack Warden, Charlie Schlatter, Carl Anthony Payne II, Zacharias Ward. Minor league pitcher Jack "Deuce" Cooper is inspired by his roommate, the team's mascot – and third baseman – a chimpanzee. Tommy Lasorda has a cameo. Strictly for the kids.
A Little Inside (1999)… Sean Michael, Arthur Hallie Kate Eisenberg, Benjamin King, Kathy Baker. A minor league ballplayer tries to raise his daughter.
Finding Buck McHenry (2000)… Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Michael Schiffman. When an 11-year-old boy gets cut from Little League, he starts his own team with the school custodian (an ex-Negro League legend) as the coach. Hall-of-Famer Ernie Banks appears as a Negro league star. An interesting introduction for younger kids to the Negro Leagues. It is done in a very fun, educational way and likable for all ages.
Summer Catch (2001)… Freddie Prinze Jr.,
Jessica Biel, Fred Ward, Bruce Davison, Jason Gedrick,
Brittany Murphy, Marc Blucas, Matthew Lillard, Brian Dennehy, Corey
Pearson, Christian Kane, Wilmer Valderrama. Prinz plays Ryan Dunne, an amateur pitcher in the
Hardball (2001)… Keanu Reeves, Diane Lane, John Hawkes, Trevor
Morgan, D.B. Sweeney, Bryan Hearne, Mike McGlone,
Michael Jordan, Graham Beckel, Greg Sandquist,
Stephen Cinabro. Ok film about a young man in
The Winning Season (2004)… Matthew Modine, Kristin Davis, Shawn Hatosy, William Lee Scott. An 11-year-old boy finds the rare t206 Honus Wagner tobacco card in an old woman’s garage and time trips back to the 1909 World Series. There he meets Wagner and Ty Cobb. Based on the book, Honus and Me. An original TNT TV-movie. Not bad.
Hustle (2004)… Tom Sizemore. Pete Rose is the subject of this ESPN movie focusing on events in his life and baseball career in the mid- to late 1980s, including the lifetime ban he agreed to following an investigation of gambling – a suspension that has kept the career hits leader off the Hall of Fame ballot. Disappointing TV-movie.
Mr. 3000 (2004)… Bernie Mac, Angela Bassett, Michael Rispoli, Brian J. White, Ian Anthony Dale, Evan Jones, Amaury Nolasco, Dondre Whitfield, Paul Sorvino. At age 47, Stan Ross comes back to try and get his 3000th hit. Many celebrities, journalists and ex-ball players portray themselves in this movie.
Mickey (2004)… Harry Connick Jr., Shawn Salinas, Mike Starr, Michelle
Johnson. Connick plays Tripp Spence, a
widower on the run with a 12-year-old son, who happens to be a star player.
They end up on a team in
Game 6 (2005)… Michael
Keaton, Robert Downey Jr.,
Fever Pitch (2005)... Drew Barrymore, Jimmy Fallon, Jason Spevack, Jack Kehler, Scott Severance. Comedy about a high school teacher’s obsession with the Red Sox. Fun for the whole family. Many celebrities, journalists and ex-ball players portray themselves in this movie. [Notes: On 27 October 2004, Game 4 of the World Series, the finale of this film was shot. After the last play of the game in the bottom of the ninth during the Red Sox celebration, Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon were filmed also celebrating on the field. Rewrites by the Farrelly brothers had to be done immediately following game 7 of the ALCS to include the historic Sox postseason.]
The Benchwarmers (2006)… Rob Schneider, David Spade, Jon Heder, Jon Lovitz, Craig Kilborn, Molly Sims, Tim Meadows. Gus, Richie and
Beer League (2006)… Artie Lange, Ralph Macchio, Anthony DeSando. Imdb.com: An unemployed slacker inspires his softball teammates to improve their game so they won't get kicked out of the local league.
The Final Season (2007)… Sean Astin, Powers
Boothe, Rachael Leigh Cook, Michael Angarano. From imdb.com: True story of Kent Stock (Sean Astin), who in the early 1990's, gives up a job and his
wedding plans to take over as head coach of
the Norway High School baseball team.
American Pastime (2007)… Aaron Yoo, Olesya Rulin,
Sugar (2008)… Dominican baseball star Miguel "Sugar" Santos is recruited to play in the U.S. minor-leagues.
Chasing 3000 (2010)… Ray Liotta, Rory Culkin, Trevor Morgan. Cincinnati attorney Bill Mikita's story about his and his brother's pursuit to see Roberto Clemente get his 3,000th hit in 1972. The story was first featured in the Enquirer in April 2006. Mikita has muscular atrophy. When his illness was diagnosed when he was two, his parents were told he wouldn't live past 5. He is now 54. Clemente died that New Year's Eve in a plane crash on a mission to bring supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Trouble With The Curve (2012)… Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, John Goodman. An aging scout takes his daughter along on his last recruiting trip. She helps him scout the hot shot slugger (who can’t hit a breaking ball) and discovers a flame-throwing lefty. Along the way she falls in love and reconnects with her dad. Could’ve been better.
Home Run Showdown (2012) … Kyle Kirk, Matthew Lillard, Wayne Duvall, Dean Cain. From imdb.com: Two little league teams take on their coaches sibling rivalry, and end up doing battle in a place the baseball world never expected it: in the outfield of the Home Run Derby.
* 42 (2013)… Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Nicole Beharie, Christopher Meloni. The story of Jackie Robinson: his battles with racism on and off the field and his relationship with Branch Rickey, the man who believed in him. Excellent performances all-around but too much screen time is spent on the man-wife relationship and not enough on-the-field action.
Ring The Bell (2013)… Ryan Scharoun, Craig C. Stewart, Ashley Anderson McCarthy, Casey Bond. A top sports agent Rob Decker is scouting for a big league prospect at the Cooke Boys Ranch. He finds Shawn Hart, the top high school baseball prospect in the country, but also has a change of heart from his previous values: he accepts God into his heart. A wholesome movie for the whole family. Also features Ben Zobrist, John Kruk and Rick Sutcliffe.
Home Run (2013)… Scott Elrod, Dorian Brown, Charles Henry Wyson. From imdb.com: A pro ball player with a substance abuse problem is forced into rehab in his hometown, finding new hope when he gets honest about his checkered past, and takes on coaching duties for a misfit Little League team.
Million Dollar Arm (2014)… Lake Bell, Jon Hamm, Bill Paxton. From imdb.com: A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Asian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.