Top 10 Greatest Baseball Movies you need to watch

Carolina

Carolina

Carolina, a resident of Argentina is a movie buff through and through. She enjoys nothing more than binge-watching the latest Netflix series and is a big fan of their 'Originals' line. Her favourite movie is Frozen and she's a big fan of The Good Place & The Dragon Prince.

Are you looking for a great Baseball movie? We’ve rounded up ten of the best to get your batter hand twitching for a home run.

Baseball movies have always been a tradition in Hollywood.

Maybe now they aren’t so trendy as they were back in the ‘80s and the ‘90s, but they still have their fanbase among sports fans and casual viewers alike.

Since there are a lot of movies with baseball as their main topic, it’s difficult to choose the best ones.

Don’t worry!

I’ve done the hard work for you, and here you have a selection of ten baseball movies you need to watch.

Best Baseball movies of all time

  1. Field of Dreams
  2. The Sandlot
  3. Moneyball
  4. The Natural
  5. The Bad News Bears
  6. A League of Their Own
  7. Major League
  8. Bull Durham
  9. The Rookie
  10. American Pastime

How to watch this selection

Before we get started, it’s worth remembering that every movie listed here is available on Amazon Prime or Netflix.

Some of these movies may not be available in your region, but by using a VPN such as ExpressVPN, you can change regions and unlock all these movies and more.

Using a VPN is easy, and ExpressVPN comes with a 30-day money back guarantee making it risk-free.

Now, on with the movie selection.

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1) Field of Dreams

(1989) (Drama, Family, Fantasy, Sport) 107 min.

An Iowa corn farmer, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner), hears voices that he interprets as a signal to build a baseball diamond in his fields.

The story is based on W. P. Kinsella’s novel Shoeless Joe, and the cast is complete with Amy Madigan, James Earl Jones, Ray Liotta and Burt Lancaster in his final film role.

It was nominated for three Academy Awards in the categories of Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Picture.

Baseball field from Field of Dreams movie

Back in 2017, the movie was selected by the Library of the Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being considered culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.

Where to watch : Amazon Prime US

2) The Sandlot

(1993) (Comedy, Drama, Family) 101 min.

Now a cult movie, this film is a coming of age sports movie about a group of young baseball players during the summer of 1962.

Scotty Smarts moves with his parents to a new town, and he wants to play baseball, but due to his shyness, he struggles to join the group of kids in the local sandlot.

Rodriguez, the neighbourhood’s baseball star takes him under his wing and brings him into the team. Lots of adventures, baseball, tree-house meetings, all in the hands of a bunch of kids having the summer of their lives.

Where to watch : Amazon Prime US

3) Moneyball

(2011) (Biography, Drama, Sport) 133 min.

Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Michael Lewis, the film is about how Oakland Athletics baseball team’s general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) attempts to ensemble a competitive squad for the 2002 season with a limited budget.

Brad Pitt

To accomplish this, Beane and his assistant Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) build a team of undervalued players using computer software to analyse the players.

The cast is completed by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Robin Wright, and Chris Pratt.

Where to watch : Netflix UK

4) The Natural

(1984) (Drama, Sport) 138 min.

Roy Hobbs (Robert Redford), a middle-aged batter appears out of nowhere to save a losing 1930 baseball team and takes them to the top league, thanks to his natural talent for baseball.

Robert Duvall, Glenn Close, and Kim Basinger completed the cast of the film that had four nominations to the Academy Awards and one for the Golden Globes.

Where to watch : Unknown

5) The Bad News Bears

(1976) (Comedy, Drama, Family) 102 min.

An ageing, alcoholic ex-minor leaguer is chosen to coach a team of misfits to take part in an ultra-competitive little league in California.

Cartoon baseball

Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal star in this comedy that was followed by two sequels, a short-lived TV series, and a 2005 remake.

Where to watch : Amazon Prime US

6) A League of Their Own

(1992) (Comedy, Drama, Family) 128 min.

Directed by Penny Marshall, the film stars Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Madonna, Rossie O’Donnell, and Lori Petti.

A fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the movie tells the story of two sisters who join the first female professional league and try to help it succeed, struggling with the rivalry between them.

Where to watch : Amazon Prime US

7) Major League

(1989) (Comedy, Sport) 107 min.

When the new owner of the Cleveland Indians puts together the worst team in order to lose so she can relocate to Miami, the players start winning just to despise her once they find out the plot.

Baseball bat and ball

The film stars Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, Wesley Snipes, and Rene Russo.

Where to watch : Netflix India

8) Bull Durham

(1988) (Comedy, Romance, Sport) 108 min.

A romantic comedy sports film, partially based on the experiences from its director, Ron Shelton, and shows the player and the fans belonging to the Durham Bulls, a minor baseball league from Durham, North Carolina in the United States.

Kevin Costner heads the cast as Crash and Susan Sarandon as Annie, who is a baseball fan and each year she chooses a new player as her lover.

Where to watch : Netflix UK

9) The Rookie

(2002) (Drama, Family, Sport) 127 min.

A film by John Lee Hancock (Saving Mr Banks, The Founder) and produced by Walt Disney Pictures, is based on the true story of Jim Morris, who enjoyed an illustrious and brief career at the Major League during 1999-2000.

Dennis Quaid

Morris (Dennis Quaid) is a 39-year-old a Texas high school chemistry teacher and coach of the school’s baseball team, who to motivate his players, he promises them to join the professional league if they win the championship.

Where to watch : Amazon Prime US

10) American Pastime

(2007) (Drama, Romance, Sport) 105 min.

During World War II and after the attack to Pearl Harbour by the Japanese army, the US created prison camps to keep captive thousand of Japanese American people.

This movie is set in the Topaz War Relocation Center, a Utah prison camp.

With a dramatic setting and narrative, the story is based on actual events and shows the daily life at the internment camps, where baseball was the greatest entertainment and distraction from the harsh reality of living captive.

Where to watch : Amazon Prime US

Why did the ‘80s and ‘90s see so many Hollywood Baseball movies?

First and foremost, they were simpler times. Most of these movies were films meant for the family, with a lot of comedy and drama. Genres that right now are sadly going extinct.

In the ’80s and the ’90s, it was easier to appeal to the emotional and sentimental feeling for the country through baseball. Not anymore.

The enourmous cultural shift, with studios aiming to a broader and international audience, has made these kinds of movies lost terrain, falling almost in oblivion in favour more of blockbuster action.

Baseball with arms holding drink and popcorn

Also, the popularity of baseball back then was immense in comparison with the current times.

If a studio decides to make a sports movie now, they will choose football or basketball for sure over baseball. And as I said above, it’s about appealing to an international audience, since studios are more focused on how movies sell in the foreign market more than in the domestic one.

As baseball is one of the least popular sports internationally, it makes it a hard sell.

What are the highest grossing Baseball movies?

From the films mentioned above, the successful ones at the box office are Field of Dreams, which earned 64 million USD in the domestic box office; The Bad News Bears, making 46 million USD back in 1976 was huge; A League of Their Own, it was a box office success earning 107.5 million USD.

Major League is one of the highest grossing films. With a budget of only 11 million USD, it grossed only in domestic box office 49.7 million USD.

Baseball holding bundles of dollars

Bull Durham is another example of a middle budget movie hitting big at the box office, with an estimated budget of 7 million USD, it grossed 50 million USD.

And finally, The Rookie, which received positive reviews from critics, and with a 20 million USD budget, it earned 80.7 million at the domestic box office.

Which Baseball movies are based on real events?

From this list, Moneyball, The Rookie, and American Pastime are based on true events.

While A League of Their Own and Bull Durham are lightly inspired by experiences or events similar to the ones depicted in the films.

Another baseball movie which is based on actual events is The Perfect Game, about a group of boys from Monterrey, Mexico who became the first non-American team to win the Little League World Series.

Baseball with arms holding clapperboard

The Babe, based on the life of Babe Ruth; 42, about Jackie Robinson, who was the first African-American to play in the Major League in 1947; among other movies.

Summary

Although baseball has lost its popularity in Hollywood now, the ‘80s and the ‘90s gave us plenty of great movies about this sport.

Most of them use baseball as an excuse to explore other topics and genres like romance, family issues, coming of age, and comedy.

If you’re in the mood to enjoy old but good sports movies, you need to watch these films. You won’t regret it!

Don’t forget you can unblock all of these on Amazon Prime or Netflix by using a VPN from ExpressVPN.

Watch these movies

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Illustrations © Dennis Crow, Beaniebeagle, Pawel Talajkowski & 3dalia | Dreamstime.com

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