Baseball Films – A Lineup of Undeniable “Hits”

Published 5 years ago by

baseball hits feature Baseball Films   A Lineup of Undeniable Hits

In 1982, I remember hoisting little Mike Sopocy on my shoulders after we’d won the Little League Championship Tournament in Schaumburg, IL. In those days, baseball wasn’t just something I participated in during the summer when we were off school, it was a life – complete with its own culture, vernacular and a dedication that continues to fuel my competitive juices.

This week, professional baseball teams from 4 metropolitan cities gather in a variety of arenas to determine who will go head-to-head in the final test of baseball greatness – The World Series – an event that always unveils itself in the crisp days of October.

There’s something about baseball that drives everyone. Whether it’s using baseball-riddled colloquialisms to describe your success or failure level on a workplace task; to describe how fast time is going during an event; or even how far you are along in a whimsical teenage physical relationship, baseball permeates everything around us. It offers a true emotional roller coaster ride for all and that point’s never been showcased more than by the feature films that showcase the game.

Join the Screen Rant Team as we give you the real-life box score for some of the great “Baseball Hit” feature films from years gone by and remember to chime in below with YOUR favorites!

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Major League (1989)

Ahh, for those that wonder, I was one of the tens of thousands of extras you’ll see in the audience scenes in Major League. This comedy/cliche’d yuckety-yuck movie features former Milwaukee Brewer Catcher-turned announcer extraordinaire Bob Uecker, and was actually filmed at the now-turned-to-dust Milwaukee County Stadium. I spent many a late school-the-next-morning event with friends there and the evenings when the film was being captured were no exception. Bob Uecker, Tom Berenger, and a cast of very now-famous people shine in this film that is full of over the top, cliche’d funnies that give you the lighter, dumber side of baseball – true – but at the same time it IS truely fun. That aren’t a lot of sports movies that can say that they get the comedy part right, but this one did and does every time I watch it.

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The Sandlot (1993)

It’s clearly one of the more obscure movies on the list, but it’s still one of the most cherished. For those of you that ever actually “played” on a sandlot, you’ll have an experience with this film. It’s full of characters that you’ll surely remember (most of whom were and still are nobodies) from YOUR days of sandlot shenanigans, but also features remembrance and clarity on some of the biggest, scare-inducing “myths” that were out there when you were a child. I love this film because like so many of my favorites, it transports me to a time and to memories that were a lot more simple and straightforward.

2b leg Baseball Films   A Lineup of Undeniable Hits

A League of Their Own (1992)

There are many reasons to like Tom Hanks in the realm of moviedom, and few to hate him for. This is one. But when you get through the rough veneer of how gruff an ass he is here, there’s a COACH – someone that knows about tough love, how to help with experience and pain and hey, here he is. This film also conveys a lot of the struggle that women have been through – not just for “rights to do” something, but to be recognized as a gender. That point is hammered home by a cast that includes Madonna, Rosie O’Donnell and Gina Davis, who have all since rallied to drive feminine causes of all kinds. The only thing you’ll need intestinal fortitude for is to somehow get by Lori Petty’s baseball skill set which – like Madonna’s integrity – doesn’t exist. Y’know when people say “boy, you throw like a girl…” well. icon smile Baseball Films   A Lineup of Undeniable Hits

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The Natural (1984)

This movie, based on a Bernard Malamud novel, provides you with one of the great acting showcases by Robert Redford as a gifted baseball player that seemingly came out of nowhere to become a true champion. Directed by Barry Levinson, this movie wins me over because of the mystique that oozes from his total capturing of baseball in the 1930′s. The people around him, the crowd, the almost “smellable” atmosphere that he creates inside this movie is something to behold. It’s also punctuated by an outstanding soundtrack, composed by he who writes soundtracks in his sleep (though this one really IS a solid classic), Randy Newman.

Continue reading our favorite baseball movie picks…

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The Bad News Bears (1976)

I often wish that there was something more to remember other than this movie teaching me to swear. Whilst walking to the pool one afternoon, I was talking to my mom and inadvertently used the S-word and suddenly the air was sucked completely out of the baseball field-sized area surrounding us. Thanks, Bad News Bears! This movie is sheer fun. Walter Matthau offers up one of the best cinema-based “bad coach” icons ever and for those of you that have ever participated in little league – this isn’t too far off the mark of that experience. The chemistry of the team of kids in this film is unlike any other and will help you hearken to days long gone by and new-found smiles and belly laughs.

gs fod Baseball Films   A Lineup of Undeniable Hits

Field of Dreams (1989)

This was the first movie I rented after (involuntarily) “moving out” of my parents house. Again, my days of competitive baseball were behind me by then, and while this movie offers up legend, mystique and “what ifs,” there’s a deeper notion this film holds that is different for each person who watches it. A farmer and baseball aficionado (Costner) is working in a large corn field in Iowa one day and hears a voice say “If you build it, he will come…” What ensues in this movie is a little bit of magic, a ton of heart, and a final scene that makes me well up to this day. Why? Well, because – jeez, guys – who wouldn’t want to have another last chance to play catch with his pop? It’s a piece of complex simplicity that allows all viewers to take away their own message. If you watch it, the thoughts will come.

In the Bullpen: (Honorable Mentions)

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Reverse the Curse of The Bambino (2004)

The storied past and “culture” of being a Red Sox fan is something all-together unique. While it’s easy to “hate the friggin’ Red Sox,” it takes a lot more to try and understand the position, perspective and shall we say CURSE that apparently held back a storied baseball team from winning it all. This HBO-based one-shot (hosted by Ben Affleck and visited by a HUGE variety of Boston-based celebrities) offers what I think is the best sample and viewpoint for everyone – regardless of whether or not you’re a Red Sox fan – of how the “Curse of the Bambino (Babe Ruth)” has contributed to many a dinner table legacy. If you have to grin and bear to watch ONE Red Sox-based story reel, this is it. The humor, pace, and wrangling tentacles of irony that push this tale are outstanding.

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Baseball by Ken Burns (1994)

Are you someone that “hates baseball?” It may be time for a Ken Burns-style trip for you. Encapsulated in this 8-part, Emmy Award-nominated story are the building blocks and details that help you better understand the make up not only of the owners, the players and the teams, but the FANS and the people covering the game. Becoming a baseball fan isn’t something you’re born into, truly – it’s something you’re sworn into as you experience the game and come to love it – that is, if you take the time to give it a look. The visuals in this piece (like ALL Ken Burns projects) are really something to behold.

Now that you’ve got the bases cleared, a red hot in your hand, the storied crackerjack waft in the air and a sea of screaming fans, are you going to tell us what YOUR favorite baseball feature film is? Discuss below!

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TAGS: field of dreams, major league

24 Comments

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  1. Screw the Red Sox. I hope it’s another 86 years before those Chowdaheads ever win another playoff series. I’ll never, EVER watch anything that portrays that team in a positive light…EVER!!!

    As for the topic, Major League is my favorite baseball movie with Field of Dreams a close second.

  2. Field Of Dreams isnt just a great baseball film, it is an absolute movie classic. Im going out now to go and buy it.

  3. @Andy S – LOL biased much :)

  4. Not that I think these are great movies by any means so don’t jump all over me when i mention them, but when I was a kid I remember loving the movies . . . ready . . . Rookie of the Year and Little Big League. Yep I said it, now go ahead and tear them apart :)

  5. Hey Mike,

    What about Bull Durham and For the Love of the Game??

    Two of my favourites – as an Irish man!

    Niall

  6. Pride of the Yankees was a great film for it’s time, too.

  7. What Gigan300 said.

  8. The Natural is the best on this list. Bull Durham needs to be on this list as well. How was 61 I never saw it but I meant to.

  9. While I find Baseball to be the most BORING sport ever. I did like films such as “A League of Their Own”, “Major League”, and “The Sandlot”.

  10. As a total baseball ignoramus I’d be interested to know what you made of the movie Cobb, Mike. No-one mentions it these days. The structure of it didn’t really hang together for me. Seemed like director Ron “Bull Durham” Shelton was going for too much of an overview of myth versus reality, when he should have been giving the audience more of an idea of what the guy did on the field. It’s a Tommy Lee Jones performance that’s overlooked now as well. I don’t know: should I have had any sympathy for the nasty piece of work he was portrayed as?

  11. You are from Schaumburg?? I Built a football Field for Schaumburg HS. Grew up in Buffalo Grove and Vernon Hills

    And I always liked Mr. Baseball!!

  12. What a great list! And I agree with all of them! Field of Dreams is one of my all-time favorite movies. However, there are a couple you left out. What about 61*, which chronicled the huge home run battle between Yankees’ Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle (played to near perfection by Barry Pepper and Thomas Jane)? Sure sure, people may be a Yankees-hater, but it’s still a great movie that’s directed by Billy Crystal and really hits a home run on one of the most historical moments in baseball history. I’m a Cubs fan, but Mickey Mantle is one of my favorite ballplayers.

    Also, what about Bull Durham, the first of Kevin Costner’s many baseball-related pictures? That’s a sharp and witty comedy with a fantastic cast.

  13. It may not be very popular ,
    But I always liked Costners For Love of the Game.

  14. Good list overall, there are so many good baseball movies. Even as an avid baseball fan, ‘for purists’ I did think A League of Their Own captured the spirit of the game.

    Though the two missing on here that are worth watching is Bull Durham that rejuvenated the baseball franchise, and *61. It was direct to HBO, but it was a powerful tale and an overlooked performance by Barry Pepper who nails Maris (and I’m a Sox fan!)

    One other painful one to watch was Eight Men Out with its all star cast, headlined by John Cusak about the 1919 Black Sox who threw the series to the Reds. You know the ending, but you still think there’s a hope that may this time they won’t do it. Also gave interesting perspective on Shoeless Joe. Worth a watch.

    And my guilty pleasure has to be Mr. Baseball with the ‘stach (Selleck) giving a cool insight (yes, its full of cheese from beginning to end) but really opens the eyes on THE most passionate baseball fans in the world. You haven’t seen/lived baseball till you go to a game in Japan!

  15. Bull Durham made me wish I had kept playing baseball.
    Major League came out when I was playing baseball, and my parents dubbed me “wild thing.”
    For the Love of the Game is one I always watch, but not in my top baseball movies. Sandlot was great as a kid.

  16. Cobb, was pretty good, nice call Big D! Mr Baseball with Selleck was also cheesy but fun.
    Big fan of the “Selleck”,!!!

    I’m not much for Costner so there ya go on that,,, I loved the original “Bad News Bears with Jodie Foster, Walter Matthew and Jackie Earle Haley (Rorshack). Looking back I consider it a prequel to “The Watchmen” in terms of Rorshacks character. Lol,,,

  17. What a wonderful “series” of comments from everyone (except the Sox hatah – oh well ;) ). To respond collectively here, you all mention greats (and not so greats) that – well, we could have “included them all” and I’d never be able to write anything else, go to my 9-5er or tend to my podcast network :). “61″ is REQUIRED watching, though the pace and effort is for those that ARE interested in baseball – period. The detail in that movie is PHENOMENAL and I couldn’t expect less from Yankee lover Billy Crystal. If you haven’t seen it check it out. The relationship between ALL of the characters is rich and “goes deep.”

    You “hit it out of the park” with Eight Men Out. While a great “one watch” movie, you are truly right with how hard that is to watch. If you’re an avid fan -oof, insert fist, tear out heart, go search for Field of Dreams, quick.

    For the love of the game is ANOTHER great one, and if you can stand Costner’s drinking coffee sound in it, you’re solid. If not, it’s a bit like listening to bats rattle in the carry-on while on a long road trip.

    Finally, Bull Durham catches the “mundane nature” of baseball better than any other movie, but – damn, that doesn’t make for all that great a recommomendation now does it? :)

    Many thanks to all for the comments and keep them COMIN’! Baseball is JUST STARTING (last nite, tonite, etc) and we need to keep the fires fueled! Goooo SOX! Errrr, Cardinals! Errr (who the HELL do I root for now?!?!)

  18. Oh dear, I forgot my series picks,,,
    (C3PO voice impersonated)

    Ok here we go,,,
    Angels and Dodgers will play in the World Series!!!

    Philadelphia and New York epic fail,!!!!!

    Angels will ultimately win,,,

  19. How’s the prediction working out for you there, 790? :D

  20. Ha! My predictions died the day that the Cardinals and Red Sox went out the window. While there’s nothing wrong with the two teams left, there’s something amiss here in St. Louis for sure.

    Thanks for continuing the chimes of baseball interest here in LATE October and keep ‘em comin’!

  21. Yeah they both choked,,,!!!!

    Damn ,,,

  22. The best film is “Major League”, with a great Tom Berenger, how ever (always).

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