In honor of the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, I wanted to get some feedback on the nation’s pastime as it is depicted on the silver screen.
Thanks to all of my Facebook friends who responded to my query, “What’s your favorite baseball movie?”
Predictably, opinions were strong and varied.
The Natural and Bull Durham were favorites among the guys. The gals enjoyed A League of Their Own. And Eight Men Out got a few votes.
While surfing television last night, I came across Bad News Bears. I caught it about halfway in and it reaffirmed why I enjoy that movie. There’s baseball and drama, and the final game between the Bears and the Yankees takes me back to my days when I was a good-fielding, bad-hitting third baseman.
So, without further delay, here’s my top 10 baseball films of all-time. Check them out if you’ve got nothing to do this weekend.
10. The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings.
Great cast (Richard Pryor, James Earl Jones, Billie Dee Williams) depicts life on a barnstorming team.
9. Bang the Drum Slowly
Poignant tale of the bond between two teammates, one who is terminally ill.
Great look at Roger Maris’ chase for one of baseball’s most hallowed records.
7. Major League
The first installment about the outcasts in Cleveland spawned two sequels, but Charlie Sheen nailed it as Wild Thing and Bob Uecker stole the show.
6. A League of Their Own
Great cast makes this tale that was inspired by true story a keeper. Remember, “There’s no crying in baseball!”
5. The Sandlot
Great family movie weaves a tale of baseball and new kid trying to fit in. Classic.
4. Eight Men Out
Nice depiction of one of baseball’s darkest moments, the 1919 World Series scandal.
3. Bad News Bears (original version, 1976)
A celebration of all that is wonderfully right – and disturbingly wrong – with youth baseball.
2. Bull Durham
Yes, it was filmed in Durham. Probably the most quoted baseball film of all-time, and the most accurate depiction of life in the minors.
1. The Natural
Yes, the movie’s ending is different than the book’s, but what else do you expect from Hollywood? A romantic, big-budget look at baseball in the days before jet travel and corporate ballparks. The love story isn’t bad, either. A great score and stunning cinematography put The Natural over the top for me.