Guide to Baseball Films: The 1980s

Back to Film Index page

Highly-regarded, unpretentious comedy featuring a key performance by Tim Robbins as the pitching phenom.

Criticism: Morrow.

Elaborate, skillful rendition of Eliot Asinof's non-fiction book on the subject. The film is notable for John Cusack's performance as Buck Weaver, but it tells the story from multiple perspectives and uses an ensemble cast.

From W. P. Kinsella's novel Shoeless Joe, this film plays up the more maudlin elements of the story and downplays some of its weirder magic. It is beautifully filmed by John Lindley.

Criticism: DiPiero, Reising

Film (for HBO television) of the novel by Paul Hemphill. Despite an agreeable central performance by William L. Petersen as the player-manager, this one is merely watchable, not very interesting or engaging.

Quite ordinary comedy with predictable outcome; well-acted by the ensemble cast and notably well-edited. Touched off a series of sequels.

Enjoyable if rather slow-moving adaptation of Bernard Malamud's novel; the ending is changed from sardonic tragedy to upbeat feel-good resolution, in keeping with the film's Reagan-era context. See Ruth Tarson's meditation.

A meandering film that sometimes loses track of its own plot altogether, this picture uses few baseball elements aside from the title metaphor and a few key scenes.