America’s pastime truly is an intricate sport. There’s many layers to it at both an amateur and professional level, and a number of baseball movies have captured the game’s passionate struggles throughout the decades.
It’s not always all about the action on the field that gets heated. Baseball is a vessel to tell human stories, make us laugh, or tell the truth behind some of the game’s greatest legends, like Jackie Robinson or Mickey Mantle. These heroes come to life on the silver screen, allowing younger generations to see what the game was like and how some of its most memorable moments came to pass.
And then there’s a child pitching for the Chicago Cubs. Baseball movies really have it all.
Here’s the best of the best when it comes to baseball movies.
Just a bunch of kids playing ball. This 1993 instant classic stars a bunch of kids playing baseball on a sandy old lot, but it was so much more. It’s really all about the friendships forged on the fields of our youth, a giant man-eating dog, and Wendy Peffercorn—who knew exactly what she was doing. Any kid who ever grabbed their glove to play ball with their friends can relate to this one.
The real-life story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier is a harrowing story, not for the faint of heart. But it’s a must-watch for baseball fans and non-sports fans alike due to its visceral portrayal of the struggles Robinson faced being the first black man to play in Major League Baseball. The late Chadwick Boseman turns in one of his best performances ever, alongside Harrison Ford as Brooklyn Dodgers owner Branch Rickey.
The 2002 Oakland Athletics were unremarkable in many ways—and that’s the entire point of Moneyball. Brad Pitt plays A’s general manager Billy Beane in his attempt to assemble a competitive team built with underrated, cheap talent by using a sabermetric approach to the sport. The film received six Oscar nominations, including Best Actor for Pitt and Best Picture.
Rookie of the Year
The premise of a child pitching for the Chicago Cubs is very stupid on paper, but this movie just works. When little leaguer Henry Rowengartner breaks his arm and his tendons heal “a little too tight,” he can suddenly throw the ball incredibly fast. That’s when the opportunistic Cubbies pick him up, and the adventure begins. Gary Busey and Daniel Stern as supporting cast help propel this silly fantasy film into legend.
A League of Their Own
Tom Hanks and Geena Davis turned in legendary performances in the 1992 classic about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). During World War 2, when baseball was suspended while the game’s players were sent off to war, women took the field to popular reception. Starring Tom Hanks as Rockford Peaches manager Jimmy Dugan and Madonna as centerfielder Mae “All the Way Mae” Mordabito, this film inspired by a true story is one of the most memorable and quotable ones on our list.
Another film inspired by a true story, 61* epitomizes the legendary 1961 home run race between the New York Yankees’ Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle. Created with passion by long-time Yankees fan Billy Crystal, Thomas Jane and Barry Pepper turn in excellent performances as the M&M Boys in the movie that details their struggles through the season both on and off the field. For Yankees fans, this film shouldn’t be missed.
One of the best sports comedies ever made, Major League’s ensemble cast carries the hilarious story of the bad-luck Cleveland Indians on their ascent to competitiveness. When the team’s owner purposely assembles a poor team to force losses and try and relocate the franchise to Miami, the ragtag group bands together. Tom Berenger, Charlie Sheen, and Wesley Snipes are just a few of the film’s great cast.