12 Nostalgic Baseball Movies That Hit Cinematic Home Runs
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If baseball is America’s pastime, then movies are our passion. As the start of spring training marks the beginning of a new MLB season, we look back at 12 Nostalgic Baseball Movies that made us root, root, root for the home team.
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The Sandlot celebrated its 25-year anniversary last year but the film seems older. That’s a good thing, because no baseball movie has aged as well, turning a somewhat derivative coming-of-age story into a timeless classic that is one of the most quotable movies ever. Stream it on Amazon Video.
'Bad News Bears'
Bad News Bears is not only our favorite baseball movie but is on the Mount Rushmore of sports movies along with Rocky, Hoosiers, and Raging Bull. BNB is rude, crude, and un-PC but is as profound as it is profane. It's a kids' movie that doesn’t dumb-down real-life child issues. Walter Matthau set the template for countless curmudgeon coaches. Stream it on Amazon Prime or iTunes.
'Field of Dreams'
No movie captures the father-son baseball bond better than this fantasy family fable. Kevin Costner’s intense yet wide-eyed portrayal of a son fulfilling his father’s dreams ("If you build it, they will come") has been making grown men cry for generations. Stream it on Hulu or Amazon Prime.
Ken Burns' epic documentary on America’s pastime is long but for any die-hard fan, it's like reading the bible. Broken up into nine parts, the epic series is part history lesson, part docudrama, yet never gets boring because Burns is a master storyteller who could make a Miami Marlins game worth watching. Stream it on Amazon Prime.
'A League of Their Own'
Speaking of "crying in baseball," is there any more famous Tom Hanks quote in his storied career? Ironically, the actor of his generation isn't the star of this Penny Marshall film about girl (home-run) power. A League of Their Own is way ahead of its time despite being set in the 1950s, telling a female sports story from a woman's perspective through a stellar cast led by Geena Davis. Stream it on Amazon Prime or iTunes.
The Natural is your dad’s favorite baseball movie that you watched with him innumerable times in the living room. It’s a bit hokey and too long, but watching Robert Redford gimp up to the plate for that final at bat still gives you chills. Stream it on Amazon Prime or iTunes.
Every sports movie has dipped its sneakers in comedy, but none does it better than Major League. The all-star cast aims low and strokes solid laughs, making a predictable "us against them" storyline still worth rooting for. Stream it on Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Showtime.
Kevin Costner is the GOAT of baseball movies with an MVP performance in writer/director Ron Shelton's quirky buddy-comedy-romance, playing lovable loser Crash Davis. Stream it on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu.
'The Battered Bastards of Baseball'
This Netflix documentary is the newest on the list but is soaked in a kinder, mustachioed time when baseball was all about staying inside the lines. This classic underdog story of a non-conformist minor league team of literally Mavericks is not just for sports fans but for anyone who has longed to pursue their dreams and wear children’s uniforms to do something that they love. Stream it on Netflix.
Freddie Prinze Jr. was the Ken Griffey Jr. of the late '90s to early 2000s, a second-generation star who was destined for greatness. While Summer Catch (8 percent on Rotten Tomatoes) is no She’s All That, it did show us another side of 7th Heaven star Jessica Biel (wink if you remember that pool scene). The plot is like Bull Durham for dummies and Mathew Lillard is annoying (as always), but did we mention Biel? Stream it on iTunes.
'Angels in the Outfield'
This cheesy Disney remake of a 1951 classic will strike out with anyone who can buy a $12 beer at the ball park, but it's worth revisiting just to see Joseph Gordon-Levitt over-act even as a child actor. Stream it on iTunes.
Although it's based on a real-life story, Hardball is nothing but an “urban” Bad News Bears ripoff. Keanu Reeves has some genuine moments as a degenerate sports gambler and watching a baby-faced Michael B. Jordan is fun, but the familiar “white savior” storyline is as flat as a Clayton Kershaw seventh-inning curveball. Stream it on Hulu.