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30 Best Baseball Movies

A League Of Their Own (1992)

The Pitch: Fictional re-telling of the story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Set in 1943, manager Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks) attempts to sate the public's demand for baseball during wartime by heading up the first women's league.

Home Run? Though it's frothy and occasionally over-sentimental, Penny Marshall's sporting comedy has a fantastic cast (yes, including Madonna) and a perfect feel for the era. The games are great, too.

The Pride Of The Yankees (1942)

The Pitch: A moving tribute to New York Yankees first baseman Lou Gehrig, who passed away aged 37 a year before the movie was made.

Gary Cooper plays Gehrig in a film that's more about his relationships with his family and friends than it is about the game.

Home Run? If you make it through the film's climax - in which Gehrig's farewell speech at Yankee Stadium is re-enacted - without blubbering, you're a stone-hearted fiend.

This is moving, emotionally-draining stuff and the very definition of a sporting tear-jerker.

Bang The Drum Slowly (1973)

The Pitch: An early home run for a pre- Mean Streets Robert De Niro, who stars in John D. Hancock's adaptation of Mark Harris' baseball novel.

De Niro plays Bruce Pearson, a New York Mammoth whose friend and co-player Henry Wiggen (Michael Moriarty) is the only who knows that he's suffering from Hodgkin's disease.

Home Run? Though it occasionally errs on the side of melodrama, this is De Niro on seriously fine form ahead of his stratospheric rise to fame.

Easily earning its place on this list, Hancock's film is a humorous, even-keeled drama of surprising poetry.

42 (2013)

The Pitch: Biographical drama following Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman), who makes history by becoming the first ever black Major League player when he's signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers by Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford).

Home Run? Brian Helgeland directs the film with old-school skill, affording 42 a knowing charm as it tackles the big issues both on and off the pitch.

It's gorgeous to look at and features a fantastic performance from Boseman. When the climax comes, you're guaranteed to have your heart in your throat.

Moneyball (2011)

The Pitch: Oscar-nominated sports drama penned by Aaron Sorkin. Based on a non-fiction book by Michael Lewis, it stars Brad Pitt as manager Billy Beane, whose approach to signing players is unconventional to say the least - he relies on their stats.

Home Run? Yes, it alters history slightly, but Moneyball is another win for Sorkin, whose script is scalpel sharp and briskly-paced.

It's also notable as an early 'serious' role for Jonah Hill, who easily holds his own against A-lister Brad Pitt.

The Natural (1984)

The Pitch: Based on the novel about 'natural' baseballer Roy Hobbs. Robert Redford plays Hobbs, who's signed to the New York Knights aged 35, infuriating team manager Pop Fisher (Wilford Brimley).

Home Run? The story may sound familiar now, but Barry Levinson's film is a well-paced, beautifully crafted ode to American sports.

Basically, if you love baseball, there's no chance of striking out with this one.

Major League (1989)

The Pitch: Charlie Sheen, Rene Russo and Tom Berenger star in this comedy about the Cleveland Indians. Margaret Whitton plays Rachel Phelps, who inherits the team and assembles a terrible set of players she hopes will lose the season.

Home Run? Though it follows a simple formula, director David S. Ward's era-defining baseball flick features some truly stunning sports scenes - and it knows a good joke when it sees one.

It also plumbs surprisingly touching depths, with Sheen in particular given a chance to really shine.

Field Of Dreams (1989)

The Pitch: Farmer Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hears a mysterious voice whispering to him that he should build a baseball pitch over his corn field, much to the concern of his wife and brother-in-law.

Home Run? Easily one of the most recognisable baseball movies to modern audiences, Field Of Dreams may slip into soppiness, but its fairytale feel and keen wit ensure it's also one of the best.

"It you build it, he will come" has also become one of the most famous (and misquoted) lines in sports movie history. Which counts for something.

The Bad News Bears (1976)

The Pitch: Beer-swigger Morris Buttermaker (Walter Matthau) takes on the coaching duties of a little league team in the San Fernando Valley.

His disgust at their lack of talent is only overshadowed by the kids' parents own outrage. Then Buttermaker brings in a pair of sexy ringers…

Home Run? Foul-mouthed and bad taste it may be, but director Michael Ritchie's film is also unflinchingly honest and laugh-out-loud funny.

Matthau's performance is a force unto itself, proving just what a comic genius he was, while the satire of 'go big or home home' is expertly played.

Bull Durham (1988)

The Pitch: Kevin Costner stars as Crash Davis, a veteran player who's hired to teach Nuke LaLoosh (Tim Robbins) the ropes. Meanwhile, Davis attracts the attention of baseball groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon).

Home Run? And then some. Though the Academy Awards all-but turned a blind eye (it received one nomination), Costner's baseball flick is the holy grail of baseball flicks.

Funny, moving, and with Costner dialling the charisma up to 11, it's a knowing sports movie that's about as feel-good at they come.