Movies about sports have always been big public pleasers. Often dealing with more than one topic, such as family relationships, friendships or different kinds of issues that most of the time are solved in the end, these movies bring us joy and often fill us with optimism and power. They can be heartwarming and very emotional and always carry a message at the end.
Baseball is one of the most popular sports in the United States, and numerous movies have brought us unforgettable stories, some fictional, some true, about this complicated and interesting game. We won’t forget many of them, and this is a great time to remember some. This is a list of the 20 best baseball movies currently on Netflix.
This sports drama was inspired by a true story, and it follows the story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team and their general manager Billy Beane who tried to assemble a competitive team in the season of 2002. Beane and his assistant Peter Brand are faced with a limited budget for players so they have to form a team of undervalued talent.
The team executives are not satisfied with their decision, and the leading critics don’t have good prognostics for their success. But slowly, the team started winning and achieved a record-breaking 20th consecutive. Beane is stubborn in his attempt to change baseball by seeing others use their method, and eventually, this exact method begins to get used in some baseball teams.
The Rookie (2002)
Family dramas have always been associated with sports movies, and this one is a warm story inspired by true events where a father of three gets the opportunity to follow his dreams and play the sport he loves the most. Jim Morris is a Texan chemistry teacher and trains his son’s baseball team as well.
He used to be a great player until an injury crushed his future plans. But now he has the opportunity to play again in a minor league. Soon he receives another call, this time from the big league, and it seems that his dreams might come true when he needs to decide what to do.
A-League of Their Own (1992)
One of the most original sports movies ever, with Tom Hanks as a team manager, a former player, and now a drunk who accepts to lead an all-girl baseball team. He has a group of talented players led by the incredibly gifted Dottie Hinson portrayed by the marvelous Geena Davis, who decides to step up and do something that might help her team.
Very soon Dottie becomes a hit, but this won’t be something that everyone will agree with. Her sister Kit who is also on the team, will start to feel left out, in the shadow of her sister. And Kit was the one who encouraged Dottie to try and enter the team. This movie showed what sports meant at the time of World War II and it is a great tribute to women in this predominantly male sport.
The Natural (1984)
When we see names like Barry Levinson, Robert Redford, Robert Duvall, and Glenn Close on the same page, we can be sure that it will be something worth watching. And this movie is one of the most important and memorable stories in the baseball world. We follow the story of an unknown middle-aged batter Roy Hobbs appears out of nowhere and decides to make a losing baseball team one of the best in the league,
Hobbs has some help from a bat cut from a lightning tree and finally lives the fame he should have done earlier. He was a rising pitcher who got shot by a mysterious woman. Set in the 1930s, this is a beautiful fantasy drama that teaches us that it is never too late to make our dreams come true.
This is the story of Jackie Robinson, masterfully played by the late Chadwick Boseman, the first Afro-American baseball player to play in the Major Baseball League. He was recruited by the bold team executive Branch Rickey who wanted him to break the unspoken racial rules in this sport. This biography drama shows what Robinson and his family had to take from the racist community and what they had to face during his first days and months there.
He wasn’t bullied only on the field, but also off the field, both by his teammates and fans. As someone who always defended what he is and never allowed racism to cause him problems, Robinson has to struggle with his nature to fight all these accusations and mean words. But he won’t be alone in that, since he will find allies and friends where he least expects it.
The Bad New Bears (1976)
This is a funny comedy-drama about a former minor league player Morris Buttermaker who spends his days drinking beer and cleaning swimming pools. He accepts a paid job where he needs to coach Bears, a group of outcasts and misfits without baseball talent. After their first match ends in a disaster, everyone wants to quit but Buttermaker brings two talented players, a somewhat unlikely choice which proves brilliant.
Amanda Wurlitzer is a skilled pitcher he used to train when she was younger and an 11-year-old daughter of one of his ex-girlfriends. They bring the much-wanted team spirit and all together start winning future matches. Finally, they end up in a match against their great enemies, the Yankees.
The Phenom (2016)
This movie shows what can happen when a Major League professional loses his grip and control over his pitching and the consequences he must endure. It deals with all the pressures these players go through and the ways they try to survive the pressure in the Major League.
We follow Hopper Gibson, played by Ethan Hawke, who finds himself in the middle of his life drama that will take a toll not only on his professional career but also on his personal life. Many hidden issues will arise from his sessions with a therapist, the most difficult one being the relationship with his father.
The Sandlot (1993)
Scotty Smalls is the new kid in town who moves to a new neighborhood with his mom and stepdad, where he wants to learn baseball. He is soon taken under the wing of the most talented baseball player there, Rodriguez, and finds himself friends with the children from the neighborhood.
They spend their days playing baseball and get into various adventures that include a traveling fair, treehouse sleep-ins, and rival teams. It’s all a part of the summer they won’t remember. But there is something else they need to take care of. Beyond the fence at the back of a sandlot lives a dangerous and ball-eating dog called The Beast, and the boys will have to deal with him.
Field of Dreams (1989)
Probably one of the most memorable and beloved baseball movies is this fantastical story about an Iowa farmer who hears a voice in his cornfield telling him: “If you build it, he will come.” Ray Kinsella translates this message to himself as an instruction to build a baseball field on his farm. But the voice is not the only supernatural thing here.
Suddenly, Kinsella meets the ghosts of Shoeless Joe Jackson and the other seven Chicago White players. He needs to understand the meaning of other messages and hires a reclusive author to help him analyse them and find a reason and meaning for building this field. This beautiful and heartwarming story was nominated for three Oscars and brilliantly acted by then extremely famous Kevin Costner and many other talented actors.
Bull Durham (1988)
One year before his huge success with Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner filmed another excellent baseball movie. This time it was a romantic comedy about Crash Davis, a veteran catcher who is brought in to teach a rookie pitcher named Ebby Calvin “Nuke” Laloosh. There is a game approaching, one that might bring the team to the major league.
There is also a woman in the middle of this story. Baseball groupie Annie Savoy has her eye on Nuke, but Cash suddenly finds herself attracted to Crash. Her relationship with Nuke is nevertheless getting more serious which ends up in numerous quarrels between Crash and Nuke. But in the end, everything ends well and we get a comedy that is a delight to watch, with funny moments and an interesting story.
Up For Grabs (2004)
This hilarious story inspired by true events talks about the legal battle over the “Million Dollar Baseball.” It is about a lawsuit by two men who believed that they owned a baseball hit by Barry Bonds for his 73rd home run in 2001. One of them caught the ball and the other ended up with it and now they want to establish who the rightful owner actually is.
No one can agree, neither baseball fans, nor experts so the audience is about to witness the absurdity of human obsession with this game and what certain individuals would do to prove they are right.
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (1998)
This documentary brings the story of Hank Greenberg, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. We learn about his life and career through archival film footage and interviews with Jewish and non-Jewish fans, his friends, family and former team members.
Greenberg fought antisemitism throughout his whole career and became a hero and inspiration among the Jewish community. He was the leader of his Tigers and one of the most responsible players to lead them to Major League dominance in the 1930s. He was rewarded The Man of the year in 1945, being one of the first and most important and influential Jewish baseball players.
Maybe not as popular as the previously mentioned movies, but definitely one with the strongest message and one of the most important stories. By 2008 more than 25% of the Major League players came from Latin America and this is the story of one of them. Miguel Santos is a 19 years old boy from the Dominican Republic who signs with Kansas City. His journey begins when he is sent to live with a farm family in Iowa and play for the Class A- team “The Swing”.
He has to leave his mother and girlfriend, learn English and adapt to life in a foreign country. There is a number of questions he needs to find the answer to, he will have to navigate friendships and learn women’s mixed signals and at the same time try to give his best and excel in his matches to make it to the Majors.
Take me Out to the Ball Game (1949)
A movie with Esther Williams, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra in leading roles will certainly become a classic of a kind. And this one became a classic among baseball movies. It is a musical comedy about The Wolves baseball team who falls under the leadership of K.C.Higgins who turns out to be a woman interested in running them.
And Higgins is an expert in baseball and has great plans for her team. But when second baseman Dennis Ryan falls in love with her and his roommate Eddie O’Brien also has certain ideas on how to treat this lady, the plot will begin to get thicker. Especially when we find out that there are some gamblers who have unsolved issues with Eddie.
The Pride of the Yankees (1942)
Another baseball classic, this time a biographical drama about one of the most talented and famous baseball players, Lou Gehrig. It is a tribute to this great athlete who died only a year after the movie’s release, from a disease that we’ll later know as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Here we follow his young life and spectacular games before he found out about his condition.
Even though he was one of the greatest baseball players ever, this movie is mostly oriented toward his personal life and relationship with his family, friends and teammates. We also learn a lot about his romance and marriage with Eleanor Twitchell. His playing days and career are shown through some montages of ballparks and Gary Cooper (who plays Gehrig) with a bat in his hands.
The Bingo Long Traveling All-stars and Motor Kings (1976)
This hilarious comedy with a strong message takes us back to 1930s America and introduced us to an array of funny and witty Afro American baseball players. Bingo Long is a gifted pitcher who is tired of the way his team owner treats him so he decides to steal a group of other Afro American players from their teams and form his own baseball team.
They start playing with the local teams in the towns they visit and soon become extremely famous and well known. Bingo’s biggest enemy, his former “owner” makes him a proposition that he should accept if he wants to enter the Major League. But if they lose to a team of all-stars, his players must return to their old teams.
Everybody Wants Some! (2016)
Richard Linklater is a master at directing interesting, dialogue-based movies that always convey a message. This one is no exception, with its realistic topics and plot that brings the audience back to the 1980s. This is a story of a group of baseball players who move to the same off-campus house in 1980s Texas.
Jake Bradford is a college freshman and a gifted pitcher who is about to experience a world outside of a baseball field, full of alcohol, pretty women and sometimes childish men who would do anything to get attention. But this is also a witty drama about friendship and the importance of team players, filled with great 80s music and this whole retro vibe.
Eight Men Out (1988)
This movie is a semi-fictional story about one of the most famous scandals in the baseball world, the one from the 1919 World Series, called Black Sox Scandal. At the time, the Chicago White Sox were one of the best baseball teams ever, but their players weren’t appreciated enough and there were rumours they wouldn’t be awarded accordingly to their achievements.
When two professional gamblers decide to conduct a gambling scheme and a few White Sox players decide to play along, it is obvious that their deliberate losing won’t be too easy, since not all team members are up for it.
Another documentary about two baseball phenomenons from the Dominical Republic and their way to the Major League. We are taken behind the scenes and introduced to their lives and destiny as some of the most talented baseball players.
It is also an excellent insight into corruption in Latin America where children are taken advantage of to make a better life for their families. Sano and Batista are only two fish in a pond full of competition and corruption in the sports world of this part of the Universe.
Fear Strikes Out (1957)
This is a true story shot in black and white about a gifted and famous baseball player Jim Piersall who suffered from mental illness due to his father’s long-lasting abusive behaviour. His father wanted to see his son in the Major League and Jim wanted nothing more than to please him and succeed in becoming one of the best.
This movie is an excellent example of what an overambitious parent can do to his child and what consequences can too much expectation bring. It is a bit different from other sports movies we are used to seeing and it brilliantly depicts all the issues that a professional player might endure when forced too much.