Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Monday, January 24, 2022

Best baseball movies based on a true story

Bowman: “The Rookie” was a story that might have seemed too good to be true for Disney before it actually happened. Love the story. But the movie itself just felt average. It’s certainly not one I look forward to finding when looking for something to watch.

Footer: Next up: “42.” I saw it twice in the theater in one week, but while I’d like to say it was because I was so moved by the movie (which I was), it was more because Chris Meloni played Leo Durocher, and I needed to see that more than once.

But “42” was really well-done, and the subject matter was a tough one, given the language and abuse that Jackie Robinson had to endure while he broke the color barrier. From everything we’ve read on this piece of our history, the movie seemed to jibe with reality.

Gilbert: Considering Rachel Robinson thought it accurately represented what went on, I think it’s safe to say you’re right about it being realistic.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 24, 2022 at 10:18 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: baseball in movies

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Cblau Posted: January 24, 2022 at 08:47 PM (#6062324)
How is A League of Their Own based on a true story? The league existed but then the National League existed, but that doesn't make Whistling in Brooklyn based on a true story.
   2. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: January 24, 2022 at 09:26 PM (#6062331)
61*
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: January 24, 2022 at 10:07 PM (#6062339)
Field of Dreams
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 24, 2022 at 10:39 PM (#6062344)
Pride of the Yankees, which even had Babe Ruth playing Babe Ruth! Born for the role, as they say in the movie biz.
   5. reech Posted: January 24, 2022 at 10:40 PM (#6062345)
Damn Yankees
   6. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 24, 2022 at 11:35 PM (#6062353)
Easily, Eight Men Out, and then 42. 99% of baseball movies are sentimental crap, although I admit I've never seen A League of Their Own.

The most prescient movie is Death on the Diamond, which shows the Cardinals winning the 1934 World Series, which they actually did a few months after the movie was released, although without any of their players being assassinated.
   7. baxter Posted: January 24, 2022 at 11:47 PM (#6062354)
The problem with "The Jackie Robinson Story" is they couldn't get a lead who resembled Robinson.
   8. sunday silence (again) Posted: January 25, 2022 at 03:23 PM (#6062449)
Eight Men Out doesnt "easily" make it. One of the problems seems that there's no easy way to reach a conclusion. E.g. Jackie RObinson breaks the color barrier: HOO RAY! Dottie and Co. win the pennant or live to old age or something. But what happens in Eight Men Out. Cusack says "that aint him."

OK that's an ending, but you know its not typical and might not sit well with your average audience.
   9. Perry Posted: January 25, 2022 at 07:18 PM (#6062487)
I admit I've never seen A League of Their Own.


It's pretty damned wonderful, IMO. Might actually be my favorite baseball movie full stop, and it's easily in the top 5. It has some tear-jerker moments, but in a good way; I wouldn't call it sentimental crap by a long shot. YMMV, of course.
   10. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 25, 2022 at 08:13 PM (#6062498)
Eight Men Out doesn't "easily" make it. One of the problems seems that there's no easy way to reach a conclusion. E.g. Jackie RObinson breaks the color barrier: HOO RAY! Dottie and Co. win the pennant or live to old age or something. But what happens in Eight Men Out. Cusack says "that ain't him."

OK that's an ending, but you know its not typical and might not sit well with your average audience.


I don't think anyone is the average audience, and I certainly know I'm not part of it. The average audience seems to like The Pride of the Yankees, a movie with so many falsified parts that after a while you just stop counting. I loved Eight Men Out because it seemed to re-create the baseball atmosphere of 1919 about as well as you could expect from a movie made 69 years after the fact, and didn't completely distort history in the process. Given what most allegedly non-fictional sports movies do with history, that's no small accomplishment.

42 got Jackie right, and Boseman was terrific, but it took too many liberties with actual events for me to rate it much more than a 7 or 8 on a 10 scale.

I recorded A League of Their Own in 2020, and yeah, I know I should give it a chance. I love the Geena Davis of the early 90's, so at least that's a start.
   11. Hombre Brotani Posted: January 25, 2022 at 08:21 PM (#6062502)
The answer is Major League, and I will accept no arguments.
   12. DL from MN Posted: January 25, 2022 at 10:01 PM (#6062522)
61* is my favorite based on actual events.
   13. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: January 26, 2022 at 07:57 AM (#6062561)
OK that's an ending, but you know its not typical and might not sit well with your average audience.


But it's true to the story, which is important. If I remember correctly, the movie either ends with the celebrations of the exoneration of the team in court - rather discordant with the plot as we've witnessed it - or it takes that exoneration and pulls it back into true context. The story didn't end as so many Hollywood movies do, with the characters being found guilty or not and the camera pulling back from the courtroom with a stirring reprise of the main theme.

You have to live with the consequences of choices like that for the rest of your life, good or bad, fair or unfair. Even if you get away with it in the moment, that doesn't erase the events. I think the movie does a good, downbeat job of leaving me with that theme.

(A League of Their Own is) pretty damned wonderful, IMO. Might actually be my favorite baseball movie full stop, and it's easily in the top 5. It has some tear-jerker moments, but in a good way; I wouldn't call it sentimental crap by a long shot. YMMV, of course.


This was a movie I really enjoyed before I even really liked baseball, though I was around 10 when it was released, so the goofiness/sentimentality probably isn't as much of a factor. It's got peak Geena Davis, Lori Petty, some great Tom Hanks buffoonery, baseball nerd David Straitharn, an actually funny line about Madonna, a fantastic child pratfall, and an early Hans Zimmer score that can only be described as 'rollicking'. An excellent piece of plotting for the final game sequence (Petty's character almost falling apart on the bench in the final inning gets me every time). And, again, a slightly bittersweet end montage over the credits that adds some weight.

It does plenty of things clumsily, but it's full-hearted, comedically committed, and has something more on its mind than winning a game of a sport. (EDIT: Man, I forgot to even mention Jon Lovitz, who steals the first act almost entirely.)
   14. Ben Broussard Ramjet Posted: January 26, 2022 at 08:08 AM (#6062563)
I would have thought 'Soul of the Game' might have had a shot at being in the discussion, perhaps in place of 'The Rookie' - although there's overlap with '42', of course. And it was made-for-TV, so might not qualify as easily. I haven't seen it in a long time, and not sure of its level of accuracy, but I do remember Mykelti Williamson as Josh Gibson making an impact. His first major role, apparently.
   15. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 26, 2022 at 11:07 AM (#6062594)
No love for Moneyball? And another one in the vein of Pride of the Yankees was Pride of St. Louis.
   16. base ball chick Posted: January 26, 2022 at 02:09 PM (#6062634)
7. baxter Posted: January 24, 2022 at 11:47 PM (#6062354)

The problem with "The Jackie Robinson Story" is they couldn't get a lead who resembled Robinson.


- it wasn't "couldn't"
it was didn't WANT to. the producer/director/casting people wanted someone who was completely unknown.
- 42 was good - really painful to watch, seeing as how, well, although we do have males of any ethnicity/group allowed to play MLB, outside the ballpark, a whole lot of people still back in 1946. avoiding political anything here

- and best movie based on a TRUE story was absolutely positively League of their own. cmon andy, you GOT to see this

- 8 men out left too much room to doubt joe jackson was a full member of the gang - they made him look almost mentally not all there

-The Rookie was OK

- soul of the game was good - i only saw it once, i think when it came out, but i remember thinking they got it right and the guy who played satchel actually looked like he could be an actual ballplayer. i was just sorry they didn't show the last year of the indy Clowns with mamie peanuts johnson and somehow, none of her teammates or opposing players freaking out/trying to harass her sexually or any other way

- pride of the yankees - i did see it, forget exactly which channel, prolly AMC or something, but the star, forget his name, was handsome WASP like gehrig all right, but i swear he had like no emotion at all. B O R I N G

- cobb and the babe - oh jeezus, bad casting, bad script, not real too particular based on anything "true"

and yeah, they all mess with the factual story which is why they are not called documentaries





   17. SoSH U at work Posted: January 26, 2022 at 02:41 PM (#6062642)
i was just sorry they didn't show the last year of the indy Clowns with mamie peanuts johnson and somehow, none of her teammates or opposing players freaking out/trying to harass her sexually or any other way


I saw Toni Stone on stage a few weeks back at the Milwaukee Rep. A friend of the family was an understudy, but, sadly, didn't get the call that day.
   18. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 26, 2022 at 09:19 PM (#6062681)
- it wasn't "couldn't"
it was didn't WANT to. the producer/director/casting people wanted someone who was completely unknown.
I think #7 wasn’t about 42, but making a bit of a joke about the 1950 film, “The Jackie Robinson Story”, featuring Robinson himself in the lead role.
   19. EddieA Posted: January 26, 2022 at 10:02 PM (#6062685)
I enjoyed The Jackie Robinson Story immensely. It was made while Jackie was still in his prime 1950. He really wasn't all that ripped or going all out, but you could see his great speed and effortless acceleration compared to normal human beings when they were trying to simulate play. That well-filmed record kind of thrills me. When he was competing in the various sports at UCLA, he must have been more spectacular.
   20. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 26, 2022 at 11:21 PM (#6062688)
And another one in the vein of Pride of the Yankees was Pride of St. Louis.

Or The Monty Stratton Story, The Babe Ruth Story, Knute Rockne, All-American, or Jim Thorpe---All-American. All sappy beyond belief, but if that doesn't bother you, the Reagan / Rockne / Gipp movie is probably the best of the lot. How anyone can sit through The Pride of the Yankees without falling into a coma is beyond me. What Dorothy Parker once said (unfairly) about Katharine Hepburn applied to Gary Cooper in that movie: He runs the gamut of emotions from A to B.

------------------------

I enjoyed The Jackie Robinson Story immensely. It was made while Jackie was still in his prime 1950. He really wasn't all that ripped or going all out, but you could see his great speed and effortless acceleration compared to normal human beings when they were trying to simulate play. That well-filmed record kind of thrills me. When he was competing in the various sports at UCLA, he must have been more spectacular.

Definitely in a higher class than those other movies above. Minor Watson is a passable Branch Rickey, and Ruby Dee is one of the few actresses who could do justice to Rae Robinson.
   21. Hombre Brotani Posted: January 27, 2022 at 03:25 AM (#6062691)
I enjoyed The Jackie Robinson Story immensely.
I'm sad to say that I think it's a TERRIBLE movie, and almost entirely because Robinson was almost as terrible an actor as he was great as a ballplayer and human being. I've tried several times, and I've yet to be able to sit through the whole thing. That said, it was really fun to see the man motor around the bases.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Dock Ellis
for his generous support.

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogHow Good Are Those Probabilities on the Apple TV+ Broadcasts?
(2 - 7:20am, May 27)
Last: Paul D(uda)

NewsblogMet Their Match? Infield Defense a Little Off
(4 - 6:14am, May 27)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

Newsblog2022 NBA Playoffs thread
(1862 - 4:15am, May 27)
Last: The Honorable Ardo

NewsblogYankees sign infielder Matt Carpenter
(5 - 4:08am, May 27)
Last: The Honorable Ardo

NewsblogGammons: While outsiders wonder about the ball, MLB’s pitching coaches fret about finding enough innings
(6 - 4:01am, May 27)
Last: The Honorable Ardo

Sox TherapyOne Step Forward
(29 - 2:28am, May 27)
Last: Jay Seaver

NewsblogMLB, in memo, rebukes clubs for 'unacceptable' workplace facilities for women employees
(2 - 12:31am, May 27)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

NewsblogOMNICHATTER for Thursday, May 26, 2022
(35 - 12:03am, May 27)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogAnalyzing the early returns from the Blue Jays’ unorthodox defensive experiment
(18 - 9:54pm, May 26)
Last: Paul D(uda)

NewsblogAt long last, a fun new tool at Baseball Savant. Pitch tempo
(2 - 8:17pm, May 26)
Last: Walt Davis

NewsblogJuan Soto trade rumors: Nationals may be 'motivated' to trade outfielder
(78 - 6:49pm, May 26)
Last: Tony S

NewsblogMLB teams will be allowed to carry 14 pitchers for four more weeks
(37 - 5:37pm, May 26)
Last: Cris E

NewsblogAnaheim City Council votes unanimously to halt the sale of Angel Stadium | LA Times
(18 - 4:06pm, May 26)
Last: Never Give an Inge (Dave)

Newsblog3 years later, this trade has flipped in a BIG way
(6 - 3:25pm, May 26)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogWho in MLB is must-see TV right now? This season's most watchable teams and players
(12 - 3:21pm, May 26)
Last: Karl from NY

Page rendered in 0.2860 seconds
48 querie(s) executed