Over the years, America's favorite pastime has become its own film genre. Classics like Damn Yankees!, Bad News Bears and Eight Men Out set the tone for both biographical and comedic portrayals of the game. But not every baseball movie is a gem, so we asked our readers to recommend their favorites. Sit back and enjoy one of these STACKlete-selected films on a warm summer night or between double headers.
Field of Dreams [Universal Pictures]
Release Date: April 21, 1989
Starring: Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and Ray Liotta
Many of our Facebook fans picked this sentimental drama as their favorite baseball movie. Costner plays Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer who hears a mysterious voice directing him to turn his corn field into a baseball diamond. Liotta plays Shoeless Joe Jackson, who appears together with the rest of the infamous Chicago Black Sox [also featured in Eight Men Out], setting Costner on a quest to discover his destiny.
In case you haven't yet seen this 5-star flick, we won't spoil the ending. But Field of Dreams is required viewing for all baseball lovers. We also suggest taking a trip out to the real field of dreams, in Dyersville, Iowa, where you can play a pick-up game and "melt" into the corn like the Black Sox in the movie.
The Sandlot [20th Century Fox]
Release Date: April 7, 1993
Starring: Tom Guiry, Mike Vitar and Patrick Renna
You might not know the "stars" of this family-friendly film, but famous actors aren't the reason why it's a STACKlete favorite. Many of today's high school baseball players had summers just like the kids in The Sandlot.
The movie follows Scotty Smalls as he moves to a new neighborhood and discovers the game of baseball. He plays every day until the sun goes down or until someone hits a home run over the fence and into the jaws of the dreaded "Beast," a legendary junkyard dog who allegedly eats criminals. When he accidentally hits his stepfather's Babe Ruth-autographed baseball over the fence, Smalls and his teammates have to work together, not to turn a game-saving double play, but to retrieve the Great Bambino's ball.
Bull Durham [MGM]
Release Date: June 15, 1988
Starring: Kevin Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins
Costner makes a second appearance on our list in this comical take on Triple-A baseball. He plays Crash Davis, an almost-over-the-hill catcher for the Durham [N.C.] Bulls, assigned to help "Nuke" LaLoosh [Robbins], a brash young fireballer on his way to the Bigs. As Annie Savoy, Sarandon is a baseball groupie who has an affair with one player each season, but finds trouble when she falls for both Crash and Nuke.
Hilarity ensues both on the diamond and off as Crash attempts to coach Nuke while beating him as a romantic rival. In a memorable scene still quoted by baseball enthusiasts, the veteran catcher shares his tale of making it to the Show.
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