Baseball Movies

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The Greatest Baseball Movie of All Time

A Film Buff review

Anna Kagarakis
April 04, 2017 - 5:41 pm
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I am sure I am biased when I say baseball movies are the greatest sports films, but baseball is truly my favorite sport, but beyond that, these movies are the most “romantic”.  I don’t mean the love between a two people, but rather it is about the love between the game and those who play it. Passion is playing a game so difficult that when you succeed 3 times out of 10 you are considered great.  For close to 160 years, baseball has been this country’s national pastime, and over that time span, there have been many historic and iconic moments that have easily created some of the most memorable movies of all time.

There have been numerous films based on real people and stories like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and the Black Sox.  There have also been many fictional stories that encompass the heart and spirit of baseball. 

Figuring out which is the best baseball movie of all-time is incredibly challenging, but I did base my list on certain criteria: best story, direction, cinematography, sound, and acting. Another factor that I felt was important was prioritizing which movie captured the spirit of the games.

At first I was only going to create a top five list, but once I started going through all the classics from over the years, there was no way I could go without even mentioning those listed 6-10. Let me tell you, even making a top ten was incredibly difficult! So now I present to you the top ten!

10. 42

9. Bad News Bears

8. Moneyball

7. Field of Dreams

6. A League of their Own

5. Pride of the Yankees

4. The Sandlot

3. Bull Durham

2. Major League

And now I present to you the greatest baseball movie of all-time…drum roll please!

 

Wait for it....

1.      The Natural

Robert Redford is an exquisite and talented actor, and his portrayal as Roy Hobbs is one of my favorites. You root for him to succeed from beginning to end, and the rest of the cast is filled with talented stars that take their “Game” (like what I did there?) to the next level to compliment the talents of Redford and bring their best foot forward to the silver screen.   

The script and story is fluid and consistent, yet surprises and shocks its audience. The BIG surprise (SPOILER ALERT) of the woman, Harriet Bird (Barbara Hershey) who shoots Hobbs, thus cutting his young career before it even began, is only the beginning of a journey of self-discovery and belief.   The story is dramatic with great comedic timing, and is filled with romance, deception, and even superstition, a huge part of the baseball world.

The Music perfectly fits with the time period, yet is completely timeless, making songs just like the finale, unforgettable and able to evoke emotions even the toughest try to hide deep down inside. I even found myself giggling with excitement whenever Hobbs did something spectacular like breaking the clock at Wrigley by knocking the ball out of the park.  I also loved the use of lighting, from the simple shadows, to the owner’s office drowned in darkness because of his attempt to overcome a childhood fear of the dark. Scenes likes that explain so much about his character and the significance of going to the extreme to get what he wants.

The Natural is a beautifully done time period piece with stunning and unique costumes that captures the game of baseball at its purest time. We will always remember the beautiful “Lady in White,” Iris Gaines (Glenn Close) that brought Hobbs out of his slump, and the creepy black veil that Harriet wore in the moment that changed Roy Hobbs life forever. The light and the dark in his life. The good and the bad.

Aside from looking at it from a film critic point of view, I also loved this movie as a baseball fan. A true comeback story of a man trying to achieve a dream he set out to attain 16 years prior, but was sidetracked through tragedy.  This movie simply shows a golden time in baseball that helped create a national pastime through one man’s determination to turn a childhood dream into a reality. 

PLAY BALL! 

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