Where “Field of Dreams” Ranks for Highest Grossing Baseball Movies of All Time
Photo by Alex Trautwig/MLB via Getty Images. Pictured: Field of Dreams
Major League Baseball plays in the most perfect destination tonight, as the White Sox and the Yankees will stand in a new field carved near the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, Iowa.
The 1989 baseball movie that featured Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones and the classic lines — “If you build it, he will come” — is not only iconic, it was also the second highest grossing baseball movie of all time, factoring for inflation.
With tonight’s game on our mind, we present to you the Top 10 Highest Grossing Baseball Movies of All Time, which we’ve adjusted for inflation.
1. “A League Of Their Own” (1992) — $209 million
A star-studded cast of Tom Hanks, Geena Davis, Madonna and Rosie O’Donnell delivered here, telling us the little known story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.
Best Line: “There’s no crying. There’s no crying in baseball!”
2. “Field of Dreams” (1989) — $186 million
A year after Kevin Costner gave us the gift of “Bull Durham,” he was back again with “Field of Dreams” based on W.P. Kinsella’s novel “Shoeless Joe.” Costner pushed back the filming of another movie so he could make “Field of Dreams.”
Best Line: “Is This Heaven? No, it’s Iowa.”
3. “Bad News Bears” (1976) — $155 million
The original version, not the one in 2005, did $32.5 million at the box office with Walter Mattheau as Morris Buttermaker and Tatum O’Neal as Amander Wurlitzer. Since that’s 40 years ago, it’s good enough to get into the top-three here.
Best Line: “This quitting thing. It’s a hard habit to break once you start.”
4. “Moneyball” (2011) — $134 million
Based on Billy Beane and the Oakland A’s, Michael Lewis’ book was adapted surprisingly well to the screen by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. Jonah Hill was masterful and Brad Pitt was a name that drew people to the theatre who wouldn’t have normally seen this.
Best Line: “Your goal shouldn’t be to buy players. Your goal should be to buy wins. In order buy wins, you need to buy runs.”
5. “The Natural” (1984) — $126 million
An incredible movie adapted from Bernard Malamud’s novel with as big of names as you could find at the time — Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, Glenn Close, Kim Basinger, Robert Duvall and Wilford Brimley.
Best Line: “Pick me out a winner, Bobby!”
6. “The Rookie” (2002) — $122 million
Another adapted true story, this was done in quintessential Disney fashion. Teacher Jim Morris is convinced by his team to continue his Major League Baseball dreams. Tries out, makes the Tampa Bay Rays minor league roster and works himself up to the majors.
Best Line: “Jimmy, I’ve been a scout for a long time, and the number one rule is, arms slow down when they get old. Now, if I call the office and tell ’em I got a guy here almost twice these kids’ age, I’m gonna get laughed at. But, if I don’t call in a 98-mile-an-hour fastball, I’m gonna get fired!”
7. “Major League” (1989) — $120 million
“Major League” opened in the same year as “Field of Dreams” and while there wasn’t much international appeal for baseball movies, America couldn’t get enough. Ricky Vaughn, Roger Dorn and Pedro Cerrano didn’t disappoint.
Best Line: “Just a bit outside!”
8. “Bull Durham” (1988) — $117 million
The movie that perfectly sums up life in the minor leagues with a little bit of everything from Costner, Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins. While it’s down at No. 7 at the box office among baseball films, Sports Illustrated called “Bull Durham” the absolute best sports movie.
Best Line: “You know, just because sometimes you manage to be clever and you have a nice smile does not mean you are not full of s—.”
9. “42” (2013) — $114 million
The long overdue modern bio on Jackie Robinson, with Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford, was critically acclaimed.
Best line: “Dollars aren’t black and white. They’re green.”
10. “Rookie of the Year” (1993) — $107 million
For all the movies on this list that are actually based on something, this plot of a kid who gets arm surgery and, all of a sudden, has a bionic arm that enables him to pitch on the Chicago Cubs, obviously has no roots of truth. Yes, it’s all dumb. But it’s also fun as hell.
Best line: “I just figured out why the Cubs lose every year. They’ve got more talent in the stands than they do in the field.”