Sports-Kings presents our top 10 baseball movies of all time.
#10: Eight Men Out:
Directed By: John Sayles
Starring: John Cusack, Clifton James and Charlie Sheen.
A clever depiction of the 1919 Chicago White Sox’s rebellion against their greedy owner, Charles Comiskey, and ultimately their innocent fans. The 1919 White Sox probably rank as the saddest team in baseball history, throwing the 1919 World Series to earn a few bucks from notorious NYC gangster, Arnold Rothstein. The eight players involved would be banned from Major League Baseball, even after a grand jury found them not guilty. Buck Weaver (Cusack) would spend the entirety of his life trying to prove his innocence and clear his name. Heck of a movie if you like baseball and a short history lesson. A young Charlie Sheen (before he was completely nuts) cruises the big screen as Oscar “Hap” Felsch.
#9: For Love of the Game:
Directed By: Sam Raimi
Starring: Kevin Costner, Kelly Preston and John C. Reilly.
One of baseball’s most recognized pitching legends is at the end of his career at nearly 40 years old. Billy Chapel (Costner), must use his ticking clock to prove he still has something left. This movie also touches on Chapel’s personal life, and the woman he’s been in love with for four years. Not only is his time in the game closing, but possibly his window of opportunity with the woman of his dreams. This is an all around quality Costner flick. It’s definitely a movie worth simple rental fees.
#8: Bad News Bears:
Directed By: Michael Ritchie
Starring: Walter Matthau, Tatum O’Neal and Vic Morrow.
No, not the shitty version from 2005, starring Billy Bob Thorton. I’m talking the original wise-cracking bad kids from the 1970’s. And the original drunken little league coach, Walter Matthau. This movie is a classic. This is a great example of bad teaching bad. Morris Buttermaker (Matthau), a former minor leaguer, takes cash to coach a band of hoodlum littler leaguers who go by the name of the Bears. This cult classic offers comedy, baseball, and the simple lessons an adult can learn from children.
#7: Bang The Drum Slowly:
Directed By: John D. Hancock
Starring: Michael Moriarty, Robert De Niro and Vincent Gardenia.
A compelling drama with all the fixings. This movies explores the brotherhood within the game of baseball. De Niro plays a catcher named Bruce Pearson, who is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This film really touches on the connections between Pearson and his teammate, Henry Wiggen (Moriarty), as Pearson and the team all deal with the fact that Pearson is on borrowed time. The relationship between Catcher (Pearson) and stud pitcher (Wiggen) was sour at first, until learning of Pearson’s fatal disease. The entire team rallies around their catcher until his inevitable death. I watched this movie with my girlfriend. She was completely in tears. Quality film!
#6: The Sandlot:
Directed By: David M. Evans
Starring: Tommy Guiry, Mike Vitar and Patrick Renna.
The ultimate movie for young boys all over the world. The Sandlot was a sure fixture at any get-together my friends and I had as kids. The story of Scottie Smalls, the new kid in town, who makes friends with a group of young boys who love the game of baseball. This great flick is jam-packed full of backyard baseball and the hijinks of boys in their youth. They have sleepovers in a tree house, visit the local public pool, play in a rivalry game with other local boys, invade a traveling fair and even attempt to rescue a signed (Babe Ruth) ball from the legendary guard dog, The Beast. If you have kids, or want to feel the nostalgia of being twelve again, this movie is a must see.
#5: The Natural:
Directed By: Barry Levinson
Starring: Robert Redford, Robert Duvall and Glenn Close.
This is a cool fantasy based baseball flick about Roy Hobb (Redford), a relatively unknown middle-aged slugger who comes from left field (figuratively speaking) to lead a losing 1930’s club to the top of the league. Hobbs uses a bat that was made from wood cut from a lightning struck tree. Roy Hobbs has a secret past. He was once a rising pitcher until his talent was cut short when he was shot by a young woman. Hobbs, now an older man, has a second chance to bask in the fame he should have had earlier in his career.
Directed By: Penny Marshall
Starring: Tom Hanks, Geena Davis and Lori Petty.
When World War II threatens to shut down America’s game of baseball, a well know candy manufacturer and Chicago Cubs owner, Walter Harvey (Gary Marshall) decides to introduce a league featuring women players. Dottie Hinson (Geena Davis) an Oregon based softball player, and younger sister, Kit Keller (Lori Petty) both join the Rockford Peaches and begin their dramatic journey as major league players. All of the drama will unfold as wild-card, Kit, can never seem to fill Dottie’s shoes. Tom Hanks also makes his mark as the manager for the Peaches. Hanks plays the former Cubs slugger, Jimmy Dugan, a promising major leaguer who lost his career to the bottle. Dugan is quoted for famous lines such as “there’s no crying in baseball”.
#3: Bull Durham:
Directed By: Ron Shelton
Starring: Kevin Costner, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon.
A hilarious picture about a savvy veteran minor-league catcher, Crash Davis (Costner) and his assigned role as mentor to a coveted rookie pitcher, “Nuke” LaLoosh (Robbins). Crash is supposed to guide the rookie prospect and help him adjust to minor-league ball and the Durham Bulls team. Along the way, both LaLoosh and Davis encounter Annie Savoy (Sarandon), a local groupie to the Bulls. Savoy chooses one player per season to sleep with and LaLoosh is on the menu. Predictably enough, Savoy, LaLoosh and Davis find themselves embedded in a laugh-filled love triangle. This movie simply delivers!
#2: Major League:
Directed By: David S. Ward
Starring: Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen and Corbin Bernsen.
Before Charlie Sheen was “winning” with prostitutes and cocaine, he was winning ball games as “Wild Thing”, Ricky Vaughn. The rough-around-the-edges, rookie pitcher for the lack-luster Cleveland Indians. Joined by vets, Jake Taylor (Berenger) and Roger Dorn (Bernsen), plus various outcasts who nobody else wanted, the Indians defy disastrous odds laid out by new ownership. Their new owner, Rachel Phelps, purposely designs her team to lose in order to relocate the club. The assembled band of misfits start to win games in hilarious fashion. Plenty of laughs to be had with this film. It’s a classic and an absolute must-see for anyone who hasn’t.
#1: Field of Dreams:
Directed By: Phil Alden Robinson
Starring: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta.
A farmer from Iowa, Ray Kinsella (Costner), is guided by voices in his head to build a baseball park in his corn fields. “If you build it, they will come” has become one of the most famous lines in movie history. This baseball/fantasy flick sends Kinsella on a mission to assemble a suitable field without truly knowing what will happen. The field Kinsella puts together draws in the ghosts of the seven Chicago White Sox players who were banned from Major League Baseball following the 1919 World Series. Led by Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta), the Sox players give Kinsella and his family a front row seat to a game in their own back yard. A very compelling and driven movie!
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