What’s the Best Real-Life Baseball Biodrama?

MovieFanfare Movie Poll of the Week

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  • Bryankr

    I have always loved the movie “Pride of the Yankees”, it had good acting, good direction, great story! I voted for Eight Men Out. Partly because the acting was just about as good, the direction at least as good,if not better. The one thing that did it for me was the facts. They were closer in Eight Men than it was in Pride. Pride of the Yankees was specifically geared towards Lou, great ball player, but not the saint they painted.

  • Covenr

    The best baseball Biodrama is none of the above.  It’s Billy Crystal’s HBO film — *61.

    • dirkwrestler

      I agree with this!

  • hockeyfan

    I voted for Cobb as it was not an attempt to make him look anything other than what he was.  It told the story in a reasonable way that probably was fairly close to the truth.
    I agree that the best over all film of story and acting along with historical content is 61.

  • Buck



    • CACS

      They are all fictional movies.  While many bio-pics may be fictionalized there is a difference.

    • KS

      These are all fiction.

    • Nils Goering

      THE NATURAL ain’t a bio pic.  It’s a baseball fiction based on a novel.  It’s a good movie, though.

  • Thance

    My FIRST choice would have been ‘Bang the Drum Slowly”, which I couldn’t believe wasn’t even included in your list! If it isn’t a true story, it’s so realistic and moving that I always thought it HAD to be true. Pride of the Yankees has that great speech everyone does- “…today, (ay,ay,) I consider myself(elf,elf)…the luckiest man (an,an)… on the face(ace,ace)…of the earth(earth,earth)”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=713983697 Gordon S. Jackson

    I was tempted to go for “Pride of the Yankees” but ultimately went with “Fear Strikes Out”, the story of Jimmy Piersal and his tragic mental breakdown.  I still think it is Anthony Perkins’ finest performance, “Psycho” notwithstanding, but more importantly the film offers some valuable insights into why a parent (sometimes parents) should not cross the line from wanting to bring out the best in their kids to wanting the kids to become something they could not.  The therapy offered in the film is no doubt terribly outdated, but the reasons for it are not.

  • Watt Hyer

    Bang The Drum Slowly not on this list???  You’ve GOT to be kidding.

    • CACS

      Bang the Drum Slowly is a favorite of mine, but it is fiction.

  • Feather

    I don’t think there is a movie I hate more than Pride of the Yankees. It’s the most dishonest biopic ever made (and with The Babe Ruth Story and The Winning Team, that’s saying something). Almost every baseball related fact is wrong — including the end of Gehrig’s streak …. they have him leaving in the middle of the game and everybody goes nuts. BUT THAT WOULD NOT HAVE EN DED THE STREAK (he didn’t play every inning of every one of those 2130 games). They get the human part of the story wrong too — Gehrig didn’t meet his wife when he was an unknown rookie … they met in 1930, when  Gehrig was one of baseball’s biggest stars. And his wife wasn’t some innocent young girl — she was a notorious flapper who had dated half the players in the two leagues. Phony, phony, phony.

    BTW, Mr. Hyer … I agree with you about Bang the Drum Slowly, but I think this poll only includes movies that are based on real life characters and incidents. The glaring omission is Billy Crystal’s 61*. From the choices listed above, I picked Eight Men Outr, which has a few mistakes, but is by far the most honest of the films listed above.

  • rgordon7

    Positively, absolutely has to be 61*! But, not being able to vote for that one, I voted for “Pride of the Yankees”… 

  • Dave Ecklein

    Baseball biodrama?  That doesn’t compute for me, not being an avid fan of the sport.  “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” (1949) with Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, and Esther Williams – may fit the definition of a “musical” rather than a “biodrama” - but that would be my own pick for an enjoyable baseball film.  Substitute “comedy”, and there is always “Rhubarb” (1951) - a biodrama of a cat who owned a baseball team.

    • Almikejuno13

       I like you mentioning Rhubarb, based on that hilarious H. Allen Smith book of the same name..haven’t seen the flick yet but the book gave me many chuckles during my Army years (1969-71); incidentally, to those saying “The Natural ” isn’t real? Look up the names Eddie Waitkus, Bullet Joe Bush,Clint Hartung, Horace Stoneham, “Mr”. Ruth, and others…real major leaguers or owners ..they’re ALL represented in the Redford movie by actors or events, warts and all…it’s fun to watch baseball movies..occasionally the actors will actually look like baseball PLAYERS, excluding ex-pros who would of course appear ‘real”…. and  I loved The Natural but the mistakes they left in, unedited, were maddening ….cameramen about 5 feet away from the catcher in-progress…pitchers going full windup with runners on first/second..stuff like that.

    • R.D.Cochran

      Or “Kill The Umpire!” another comedy with William Bendix.

  • Shelton9085

     Why isn’t Money Ball on the list?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matt-Gaffney/1450547336 Matt Gaffney

    Channel 9 in LA used to have the “Million Dollar Movie” where the same movie would be shown all week. I always watched The Winning Team every year, along with Damn Yankees. The Winning Team’s sappy but It still has a soft spot in my heart. The Babe & Cobb belong at the bottom of this list, they both stunk.

  • The Medical Moose

    I agree with Buck. While “The Natural”, “Field of Dreams” and “Bull Durham” are not real life biomovies, they are three of the best “baseball” movies ever made.

  • KS

    I like 8 Men Out because it seems to be the “truest” movie on this list.  The ones from pre-1950 mostly have “Hollywood Fluff” added to the story to make them all folksy and cutesy.  The Stratton Story has all the just sooo special James Stewart/June Allyson pluckyness (yech, it’s Strategic Air Command without the planes).  If The Babe is the one with John Goodman, that was pretty good.  It did not show Ruth as being Mr. Perfect like the William Bendix movie.  But, I stay with 8 Men Out as a good look at baseball.

  • http://www.facebook.com/howard.mctaggart Howard Joseph McTaggart

    My favorite here was pride of the yankees, another good one is “Beat the Drum Slowly” thisk that the title, my favorite baseball movies though are The Rookie, which should have been in this group, and Major Leagues, which was really entertaining

  • L. Adams

    Another very good baseball biodrama, not listed above, is “A Winner Never Quits”, a 1986 movie based on the true story of baseball player Pete Gray, the first one-armed man ever to play major league baseball.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OCBND5C6EE5EVPF4CKVELWQOQ4 tomas moray

    The best one isn’t on the list.  “61″ is my favorite baseball movie, period.

    • Hallah

       I don’t know for sure, but I assume it was DQ’d because it was made for HBO. Great movie, though.

  • http://www.facebook.com/GazelleDZ Rachida Djebel

    The male writing this forgot to include the females! I love A League of Their Own with its great emsemble cast and its just plain good entertainment. 

  • GaryKoca

    Several were good movies, but Gary Cooper as Lou Gehrig in Pride of the Yankees stands out from the rest. The ending is very emotional. League of Their Own also outstanding. 

  • Frosty

    I’m surprised at how few votes “The Winning Team” got. Ronald Reagan as the great Grover Cleaveland Alexander, with Doris Day as his loving wife. Maybe not that many of you saw it. How can “Cobb” (terrible movie) and “The Babe”( Babe Ruth was fat, but not as fat as John Goodman) get more votes? Seriously?

    • da Bear

       Winning Team was a great movie. However, Lou (pride of the Yankees) got my vote. I also like the Babe Ruth story. I am a Cubs and Yankee fan.

  • William Grove

    Where is The Natural? Cobb and The Babe shouldn’t be here!!!!

  • jim

    “Pride of the Yankees” is disqualified because it has “Yankees” in the title. (Most fans will agree!) but, seriously, “Eight Men Out” is simply the best MOVIE on this list. (although “A League of their Own” would be a close second…)

  • Karen

    *61 was a good movie, too bad that was not on the list, should have been. BTW – A league of their own and The Natural are not “real life” movies. To disqualify a movie because of it’s title is sad!

  • Queenie11

    Field of Dreams

  • Pat27s

    “Pride of the Yankees”—hard to beat Gary Cooper and Babe Ruth

    • Motworth

      not to mention Teresa Wright

  • TUfan

    I agree with those that said “61*” should have been on the list.  I think it would be #2 for me behind “Pride of the Yankees” (Gary Cooper and Walter Brennan are always great!)  with “The Stratton Story” (James Stewart and Jean Aurthur are great together!) coming in 3rd.

    I haven’t yet seen “The Winning Team”.  I’ll have to add it to my list.

    For those of you that wanted to see “Field of Dreams”, “The Natural” and “League of Their Own” on the list… Those were very good movies, but this list was “Real Life Bio-dramas”.  “Field of Dreams” and “The Natural” were complete works of fiction and “League of Their Own” was based on the real life history of the women’s league that did play, but the characters were mostly fictional.

  • Frank

    The Babe Ruth story with William Bendix was a good movie.

  • Frank pienkosky

    “eight men out”….at least it attempted to explain just what the hell happened there…..wonder how many super bowls have been “fixed”?,,[I can think of at least one!]…..say it ain’t so Rog!…..

  • Hiram

    Nice to see “Eight Men Out” getting so many votes.  Along with “Matewan” and the extraordinary “Lone Star,” they rank as the best films of John Sayles and, frankly among the best American movies the last few decades.  “The Stratton Story” gets my No. 2 vote.

    • Tim

      LONE STAR is still one of my favorite films.

  • Poppy516

    It is a tough choice picking the best real-life basball biodrama. “The Jackie Robinson Story” & its message changed all sports with regards to over coming the color barrier & ethnic prejudices & the sacrifice of one man & a organization (The Brooklyn Dodgers).  “The Pride of the Yankees” showed the determination of a second generation immigrant strive to be the best in baseball & as a person. “The Babe Ruth Story” illustrate one of the greatest men in baseball & his realization that the game of baseball was not only for his glorification. “The Stratton Story” showed one man’s strfe to overcome a major disability in order to perform difficult tasks for any life’s endeavor. Each of the other baseball biodramas also depicts similar apsects from different points of view from either individuals or teams. 

  • Kenlip

    While I appreciate all the heart-rending baseball bio-dramas, none have had more impact on the game than the story of “Eight Men Out.”  If it weren’t for the landmark rulings of  1st commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball wouldn’t have been around for Jackie Robinson or anybody else after the early 1920s.

  • Scribe_well

    Pretty hard to believe that FIELD OF DREAMS and THE NATURAL struck out…

    • sweetpea

      They are about fictional people. Biodramas are about people who have actually lived!!!

  • Wmrpeterson

    You did not include “61*”, HBO movie about the Mantle and Maris home run derby in 1961.
    Billy Crystal directed. That, to me, is the best baseball biographical movie!


    • Alexander Constantopoulos

      This is because you never saw any of the other ones. 61 was a total loser. One can always pick out a Yankee fan.

  • Wayne

    What, “Major League” with Charlie ‘Wild Thing’ Sheen isnt on this list?  1 more strike and youre out!

  • CDW

    The Stratton Story is a great movie and I enjoy it a lot.  TUfan..  I also really enjoy Jean Arthur flicks and watch them when I can..  but I think you meant June Allyson in reference to “The Stratton Story”..
    But, I had to go with Pride of the Yankees..  It’s a really well done movie..  and the baseball is a PLUS!

  • Wayne

    Well, I thought it was real life because its funny and theres still no crying in baseball…woopsie doodle!

  • Paladin777

    Hard to believe you left out Bang the Drum Slowly, with Michael Moriarty and Robert Di Nero. It was an accurate portrayal, not a overblown fantasy, of the real-life workings of a baseball team, with Vincent Gardenia turning in a great performance as the beset manager, and Moriarty – who had true athletic skills – as the team’s prize pitcher. Moriarty has befriended the team’s third rate catcher, Di Nero, who discovered he has inoperable cancer. The two decide to keep it a secret so Di Nero can play one more year, but when the rest of the team discovers it they bond around Di Nero and are able to win the pennant. Sounds melodramatic, but it is portrayed in a dry, authentic way and is quite enlightening as to the inner workings of the professional sport as well as Di Nero’s struggle. All in all a wonderful film, and the best as far as I’m concerned ever made about the true quality of baseball and male bonding.

  • Cheryl Paxton

    Love Bull Durham of course, Bang the Drum Slowly is okay, A League of our Own is my all time favorite though!

    • Alexander Constantopoulos

      Of course it is, Cheryl. I can imagine how tough it was for all the women in WWII to go on every day, while their men were fighting and dying overseas. Sooooo, let’s play some baseball, to take our minds off our dull lives.

  • R.D.Cochran

    As good as Pride of the Yankees was…Gary Cooper being the main reason…I liked Eight Men Out better. More realistic. Hollywood always liked to fluff up the movie bios many times to the point of being unreconizeable.

  • Madear1958

    61 was awesome (not a choice to vote for), but I voted for The Stratton Story. Very gutsy feel-good movie.

  • Jane Kelly

    Just as an update – the best now is the new story of Jackie Robinson. Acting is superb!

  • badleg60

    I was an extra in Eight men Out so I might be a bit prestigious

  • Antone

    Best movie: Eight Men Out. Most historically significant: The Jackie Robinson Story [featuring the real Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, as I recall]. Reese was a great unsung hero—a Kentucky boy who befriended and roomed with Robinson.

  • pocroc

    Eight Men Out. No brainer. Jackie Robinson Story unique with the real guy playing himself. Unlike Audie Murphy who did the same, did not move on to a movie career. Babe Ruth Story, The Babe and Cobb were all horrible depictions. Winning Team was interesting.