Hollywood has produced baseball movies since the early part of the 20th century. As the American pastime, most of us have memories of playing the game or being a fan. Take a look back at the greatest baseball movies ever made.
5. “Bull Durham” (1988)
In the late 1980s, Kevin Costner starred in two baseball movies that went on to become classics. In “Bull Durham,” Crash Davis (Costner) is a veteran minor league catcher who must shape Ebby LaLoosh (Tim Robbins), a young hot shot pitcher, into a major league ballplayer. Susan Sarandon plays Annie Savoy, who initially takes a fancy to LaLoosh, but eventually falls for Davis. Eventually, LaLoosh gets called up to the major leagues and Davis breaks the all-time minor league home run record.
4. “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1973)
Often overlooked when great baseball movies are discussed, “Bang the Drum Slowly” is an incredibly moving drama that showcases a young Robert De Niro in one of his earliest films. De Niro plays Bruce Pearson, a socially awkward, slow-witted catcher who is constantly tormented by most of his teammates. However, star pitcher Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty) has a fondness for Pearson and becomes his best friend. At some point, Pearson is diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease and passes away at the end of the film.
3. “Eight Men Out” (1988)
A revival in the story of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson led to two great baseball movies in the 1980s. “Eight Men Out” tells the story of the “Black Sox” scandal and its aftermath. Jackson (D. B. Sweeney) is depicted as being unintelligent and unaware of what is really happening. Buck Weaver (John Cusack) wants nothing to do with the fix, but is banned for not reporting it. Meanwhile, owner Charles Comiskey is portrayed as the true villain for not paying his players fairly, which makes them susceptible to the fix.
2. “Field of Dreams” (1989)
“Field of Dreams” is the second of the two baseball movies starring Kevin Costner in the ’80s and is the second “Shoeless” Joe Jackson movie of that era. Costner plays Ray Kinsella, a farmer who hears a voice that says, “If you build it, he will come.” Kinsella thinks this means that if he builds a ballpark, Jackson will appear and play baseball there. Jackson and other deceased players do return. However, at the end, Ray’s father also returns and they have a game of catch and reconcile. According to imdb.com, “Field of Dreams” was nominated for three Academy Awards.
1. “The Pride of the Yankees” (1942)
Rarely has a baseball movie portrayed life as accurately as “The Pride of the Yankees” does. This film depicts the life and tragic death of Yankee legend Lou Gehrig (Gary Cooper.) Adding to the haunting realism of the movie is the fact that Gehrig’s teammates, Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Mark Koenig and Bill Dickey, appear as themselves in the film. It is ironic that Gehrig could never escape from the shadow of Ruth in life, nor in his own movie. Nevertheless, the addition of Babe Ruth does wonders for the movie. According to imdb.com, “The Pride of the Yankees” was nominated for 10 Academy Awards and won an Oscar for “Best Film Editing.”
“Field of Dreams,” imdb.com
“The Pride of the Yankees,” imdb.com
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