Best Baseball Movies: Must-Watch Films That Capture the Spirit of the Game

Baseball is an all-American sport that has been praised in movies for generations and has been the subject of many stories. Baseball’s long and dramatic past has had a direct effect on and referenced American history in terms of racism, sexism, and classism. All of these are major themes in the movies on this list.     

There are so many sad, moving, and inspiring stories about baseball that it’s hard to guess how much of an effect it has had on American society and how it has affected baseball culture. Because of these movies, some of the strangest and most unexpected stories—fictional or non-fiction—have been told about how baseball has changed American society in many ways.    

There are too many great movies to name all of them, but these are some of the best baseball movies ever. 

Best Baseball Movies

1. The Pride of the Yankees (1942)

Pride of the Yankees (1942) Original Trailer

11 Oscars were given to the biopic of famous Yankee slugger Lou Gehrig, which has one of the most famous scenes in movie history: Gary Cooper as Gehrig standing on the field at Yankee Stadium and reading Gehrig’s emotional speech as he retired from the team. Alzheimer’s disease, which is also called Lou Gehrig’s disease, took Gehrig’s life the year before the movie came out. Try not to cry when you see that.     

2. Bull Durham (1988)

BULL DURHAM (1988) | Official Trailer | MGM

The romantic comedy “Bull Durham” became a classic as soon as it came out. It takes place in the world of baseball. It’s one of the few sports movies with a woman’s point of view (Susan Sarandon plays Annie, who is sexually confident, smart, and mature). It’s also a love song to the minor leagues from writer-director Ron Shelton.   The first speech compares baseball to religion. 

3. Baseball (1994)

You can watch Ken Burns’s epic documentary “Baseball” for free on the PBS website. It’s a must-see for baseball fans and American history buffs alike because it shows how the game has affected the country’s social and political past. 

4. Fear Strikes Out (1957)

Fear Strikes Out   Original Trailer

Jimmy Piersall, a famous baseball player, struggled with mental illness. He wrote about it in his book “Fear Strikes Out,” which came out in 1955. Two years later, this movie shows it all. Both the book and the movie were very progressive for the 1950s. 

The Red Sox player was played by Anthony Perkins, and he co-starred with Karl Malden in the story of a great athlete who has bipolar illness. What makes it stand out is how it shows mental sickness. 

5. The Bad News Bears (1976)

The Bad News Bears (1976) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

The ur-kids sports movie by Michael Ritchie, which stars Walter Matthau as a down-on-his-luck ex-baseball player who coaches a team of losers and misfits, was a big hit. Could it also be a feminist text?

Tatum O’Neal is great as a pitcher who is 12 years old and saves the Bears’ season. But this movie is loved because it shows real feelings, the actors get along well, and Jackie Earle Haley does a great job as the rebel without a cause who can hit 400.

6. The Natural (1984)

The Natural 1984 Trailer | Robert Redford | Robert Duvall

Born from Bernard Malamud’s 1952 book of the same name, “The Natural” was lovingly made by director Barry Levinson. The film, which was full of memories, was a big hit. Robert Redford played the title character, a middle-aged rookie whose earlier career was cut short by tragedy.

Even though it sometimes gets silly, its themes of redemption, good winning over evil, and human kindness as the foundation of life are very needed right now. Using Netflix to stream.

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7. Major League (1989) 

Major League 1989 Trailer | Charlie Sheen | Tom Berenger

David Ward, who wrote and directed “Major League,” shows that he loves baseball but doesn’t love all the flowery language used to talk about it. This is “Ball Four” by Jim Bouton boiled down to the level of raunchy sitcoms from the 1980s. After “Platoon” and “Wall Street,” Charlie Sheen showed off his comedic skills as pitcher Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn.

8. A League of Their Own (1992)

The movie that made us laugh with “There’s no crying in baseball!” also showed us how hard it has been for women’s sports over the years. It’s also a lot of fun, with Tom Hanks playing the down-on-his-luck boss (think Walter Matthau in “Bad News Bears”) and Geena Davis playing the star player for the team. You should watch it with your kids. 

Official Trailer: A League of Their Own (1992)

9. The Sandlot (1993)

The Sandlot (1993) Trailer #1 | Movieclips Classic Trailers

As a kid-friendly movie that fits in well with “The Goonies” and especially “Stand by Me,” “The Sandlot” turned 25 a few years ago and fans had a lot of nice things to say about it. It’s a movie about being a kid and having fun with your friends in the summer. 

10. Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball (2011) Movie Trailer - HD - Brad Pitt

This won’t make you like statistics more if you already don’t. But this movie is more like a documentary if you know that statistics changed the game. Brad Pitt, who was nominated for an Oscar, plays Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland A’s.

Beane uses the computer system created by Peter Brand, played by Jonah Hill, who was also nominated for an Oscar. The fast-paced script by Aaron Sorkin and Steve Zaillian, who were also nominated for an Oscar, gets viewers inside baseball in a good way.  

11. 42 (2013)

42 - Official Trailer 1 [HD]

Chadwick Boseman was something else before he was Black Panther. He was Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball in modern times. Branch Rickey, a manager for the Dodgers and an innovator in his own right wanted to break the color barrier in baseball and found in No. 42 not only a great player but also a great person. Fans who are younger will be shocked by the racism. But the lesson to get along better with people of color is still needed in 2020.

12. Field of Dreams (1989)

Field of Dreams Official Trailer #1 - (1989) HD

“If you build it, he will come,” says a voice in Iowa farmer Ray Kinsella’s cornfield. This voice motivates him to construct a softball field on his farm.

While “Field of Dreams” is one of the most famous movies of the 1980s, it also shows how important family, dreams, and baseball can be. Kevin Costner and Amy Madigan play the lead roles. Phil Alden Robinson directed and wrote the story, which was based on the book by W.P. Kinsella.  

13. Ballplayer: Pelotero (2011)

Ballplayer: Pelotero Official Trailer #1 (2012) - Documentary HD

A film called “Ballplayer: Pelotero” by Ross Finkel, Trevor Martin, and Jon Paley follows two of the best baseball prospects in the Dominican Republic as they try to make it to the big leagues. 

The movie shows how baseball leaders treat players like commodities and  how they are only interested in making money, as Jean Carlos Batista and Miguel Angel Sano have to deal with corruption and competition to reach their goals. 

14Rookie of the Year (1993)

Rookie of the Year trailer

It’s a feel-good baseball fantasy movie directed by Daniel Stern and written by Sam Harper. Henry Rowengartner, 12, has an accident that gives him magical throwing abilities. Rowengartner is going to play for the Chicago Cubs soon.

Although it’s easy to guess what will happen, “Rookie of the Year” is a fun, nostalgic comedy with Thomas Ian Nicholas, Gary Busey, Albert Hall, and Amy Morton in leading roles.

15. The Battered Bastards of Baseball (2014)

The Battered Bastards of Baseball | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix

This book tells the amazing true story of Bing Russell and the Portland Mavericks, who were known as the “Battered Bastards of Baseball.” Russell, a Hollywood actor, started the only independent baseball team in a strange city in 1973.

It drew baseball misfits and dreamers from all over the country. This video not only tells the  interesting story of Russell and the Mavericks, but it also shows how important it is to follow your dreams and show doubters they are wrong. 

16. Angels in the Outfield (1994)

Angels in the Outfield (1994) Official Trailer - Danny Glover, Tony Danza Movie HD

A child named Joseph Gordon-Levitt teams up with  a real angel played by Christopher Lloyd. The angel helps the Anaheim Angels win the pennant so his dad will come back. The team is made up of Danny Glover as the coach and Matthew McConaughey, Adrien Brody, and Tony Danza.

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