We’re almost halfway through the Major League Baseball season which means it’s time for the annual All-Star game. On July 19, the best players and the most devoted fans from around the country will flock to Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium for the highly-anticipated game between the American and National Leagues. Seeing that the game is being held in the city home to Hollywood, this is the perfect year to get into the baseball spirit with the best movies that center around America’s pastime. Here is an array of baseball films, ranging across genres and proving the sport can be enjoyed by all ages. These all-star films feature engaging storylines that will capture a viewer’s attention, even those who aren’t fans of the sport.
1.“Field of Dreams”
Based on the novel “Shoeless Joe,” this 1989 film tells the story of an Iowan farmer (Kevin Costner) who hears a mysterious voice urging him to build a baseball diamond in his cornfield. With performances from Ray Liotta and James Earl Jones, this ghostly tale is not just about baseball but also family, forgiveness and redemption, making it a guaranteed tear-jerker. The film is so iconic that last year, the MLB held a regular-season game at the actual filming location in Dyersville, Iowa between the White Sox and the Yankees. Just like in the film, the players dramatically emerged from the cornstalks before the game, and Costner gave a pregame speech. The MLB will return to the Field of Dreams on Aug. 11 for a game between the Cubs and the Reds, proving that “If you build it, they will come.”
“Field of Dreams” is available to stream on Peacock and to rent on Amazon Prime Video.
2.“A League of Their Own”
This month, Penny Marshall’s female-centered baseball comedy had its 30th anniversary. Inspired by the true story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, the film follows two sisters (Geena Davis and Lori Petty) who join the first female professional baseball league during World War II. The cast is rounded out with Tom Hanks as the drunken “There’s no crying in baseball” coach and Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell as players on the team. The film tackles what most sports movies don’t: sexism and female friendship and competition. These themes will continue to be explored in Amazon Prime’s eponymous TV series adaptation set to premiere on Aug. 12.
“A League of Their Own” is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.
“Moneyball” focuses on the behind-the-scenes of Major League Baseball, making it a unique and fascinating watch for any fan. Based on a book written about the actual 2002 events, the film depicts Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and assistant general manager Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) taking an unconventional, sabermetric approach to creating a roster of undervalued players with their struggling team’s minimal budget. With an Aaron Sorkin screenplay and Pitt and Hill’s loveable, unlikely duo, this underdog story is enthralling even to those who have no interest in baseball scouting nor any idea what the term sabermetrics means.
“Moneyball” is available for streaming on Hulu.
4.“The Perfect Game”
Since its creation in 1947, the Little League World Series has been one of the largest and most popular children’s sporting events worldwide. “The Perfect Game” is based on a 1957 Little League team from Monterey, Mexico’s difficult and unexpected journey to becoming the first non-U.S. team to win the esteemed championship. The 2009 film stars Clifton Collins Jr. as the coach, and the team is stacked with young actors who would go on to make names for themselves including Jake T. Austin, Ryan Ochoa, Moises Arias and Tony Revolori. The title of the film comes from the climactic championship in which Monterey pitcher Ángel Macías threw a perfect game. To this date, no pitcher has ever replicated that feat in a Little League World Series championship.
“The Perfect Game” is available for streaming on Tubi and Amazon Prime Video.
Seventy-five years ago, Jackie Robinson broke the decades-old color barrier in the MLB when he joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. The 2013 film, “42” explores the beginning of Robinson’s career and the racism he faced from other teams, fans and even his own teammates. In his breakthrough role, Chadwick Boseman perfectly captured Robinson’s bravery and determination. Robinson’s widow even said that watching his performance was like seeing her husband again. Now, every year on April 15, MLB plays all wear the number 42 on the back of their jersey to commemorate Robinson and his impact on baseball and the country. This perfectly fits with teammate Pee Wee Reese’s line, “Maybe tomorrow we’ll all wear 42. That way they won’t be able to tell us apart.”
“42” is streaming on Netflix and HBO Max.
Perhaps the most famous and beloved sports and kids’ movie, “The Sandlot” hardly needs an introduction. It centers around Smalls (Tom Guiry), the new kid in town, as an eclectic group of rambunctious local kids take him under their wing and teach him how to play baseball. Jam-packed with iconic scenes, lines and characters, the adoration of the 1993 film spans generations with millions growing up admiring Benny “The Jet” Rodriguez (Mike Vitar), one of the coolest and most memorable kids to ever be on screen. The film has even made recent news when two Alabama 10-year-olds saved their drowning father’s life with the CPR they learned from the pool scene in “The Sandlot,” making the film’s legacy more impactful than ever.
“The Sandlot” can be streamed on Tubi, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus.
By Emily Ince