The 9 Best Baseball Movies

The Minnesota Twins and the Milwaukee Brewers are about to face off, but we’re all winners with these classic films

With the Minnesota Twins and the Milwaukee Brewers facing off Tuesday and Wednesday at Target Field, the outcome of the border battle is inevitable—one team will win and the other will lose, leaving some baseball fanatics devastated. But there is a simple solution, one where Twins and Brewers fans rejoice in victory together: watching nine of the best baseball movies. Grab your family, buy some peanuts and cracker jacks, and turn on some of my favorite baseball classics in ranking order that are arguably better than going to an actual ball game.  

  1. “Moneyball” (2011) 

Baseball is hard game to change, yet Bard Pitt’s character Billy Beane—who works as the Oakland A’s general manager—sees the game from a new point of view in this true-story film. Working with a tight budget, Beane still manages to assemble a team using mathematics and computer-generated analysis, transforming the game of baseball as we know it. 

Notable quote: “You think losing is fun?” 

  1. “Bang the Drum Slowly” (1973)  

You’ll need the tissues for this one. Watch as a pitcher (Henry, played by Michael Moriarty) and catcher (Bruce, played by Robert De Niro) on the fictional New York Mammoths team become friends despite clashing personalities and a looming terminal illness. Even with moments of sadness, this film stays heartwarming from start to finish.  

Notable quote: “Everybody knows everybody is dying; that’s why people are as good as they are.” 

  1. “The Natural” (1984) 

Partially based on true events, this movie follows star pitcher Robert Redford (played by Roy Hobbs), who is shot by a deranged fan on his way to try out for the Chicago Cubs. His 16-year recovery is both emotional and physical, and later leads him to play for the New York Knights. This is a feel-good comeback story about defying the odds.  

Notable quote: “I guess some mistakes you never stop paying for.” 

  1. “The Rookie” (2002)

In a movie about never giving up on your dreams, Dennis Quaid plays Jimmy Morris, an ex-Milwaukee Brewers’ pitcher who had to quit the game after a tragic shoulder injury. Several years later, Morris becomes a Texas high school baseball coach for the Owls, a team plagued by unmotivated players and a losing streak. When the team rediscovers Morris’s incredible fast pitch at practice, they make him promise that he will try out for the major leagues again if the Owls win their district.  

Notable quotes: “If you’re looking for something more after you’re done here, you better give some serious thought as to how you’re gonna play out the rest of this season!” 

  1. “The Bad News Bears” (1976) 

Minnesotans will remember star Walter Matthau from “Grumpy Old Men,” and Matthau brings a similar demeanor to his role as Coach Morris Buttermaker in this comedic baseball story. An ex-minor leaguer, Buttermaker turns one California little league team of misfits into an ultra-competitive team.   

Notable quote: “You didn’t come into this life just to sit around on a dugout bench, did ya? Now get your ass out there and do the best you can.”   

  1. “The Sandlot” (1993)  

For the young or the young at heart, this kids’ classic captures backyard glory at its finest. Nostalgia is powerful in this one, as a baseball prodigy with valuable collectors’ items takes the new kid on the block under his wing. The neighborhood team highlights the adventures of boyhood throughout one summer of ridiculous yet innocent acts.  

Notable quote: “You’re killin’ me, Smalls!”   

  1. “42” (2013) 

The late Chadwick Boseman plays Jackie Robinson, bringing Robinson’s remarkable journey to the big screen in this tribute film that highlights the hardships of integrating baseball. Through it all, Boseman beautifully portrays the heroism and reserve Robinson needed to fight hatred both in the sport and throughout the nation. You’ll probably cry, but, when the credits roll, I’m certain you’ll be inspired.  

Notable quote: “I don’t think it matters what I believe, only what I do.” 

  1. “A League of Their Own” (1992) 

Based on the real All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, which supplemented the MLB during World War II, this movie tells a moving story that few people even knew about. Geena Davis, Madonna, and Rosie O’Donnell set the tone for this women-focused film. Tom Hanks also appears as Jimmy Dugan, a drunk club manager who doesn’t help the team much but adds some comic relief.  

Notable quote: “There’s no crying in baseball!”  

  1. “Field of Dreams” (1989)

With a star-studded cast including Kevin Costner, Ray Liotta, and James Earl Jones, this classic will make just about anyone cry. An Iowa farmer, Cosner keeps hearing a voice that says, “If you build it, he will come.” This is only the start of his journey, in a movie that captures a father-son relationship, a spiritual side to the game, and the legacy of baseball.  

Notable quote: “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.” 

Emma is an editorial intern studying journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her love for storytelling stems from her hometown of Cannon Falls, Minnesota. In her free time, Emma loves watching college sports, spending time up north, and sharing food with friends and family.