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Today, Kevin Costner may be a household name thanks to his role in the hit TV show Yellowstone, but his stardom in Hollywood took off with baseball movies.
From his early beginnings to the heights of his cinematic career, Costner has always had a special place for baseball in his repertoire.
Our detailed guide takes you through every Kevin Costner baseball movie in order by year, offering insight into his captivating performances that truly capture the spirit of the game.
Whether you’re a die-hard baseball enthusiast, a movie buff, or a fan of Costner’s recent work, this journey through his illustrious career in baseball cinema is sure to hit a home run.
Chasing Dreams (1982)
Before Kevin Costner became a household name, he starred in a lesser-known baseball movie called Chasing Dreams. Released in 1982, this was one of his earliest roles, and it certainly set the stage for his future involvement in baseball-themed films.
In Chasing Dreams, Costner plays Ed, a young man in his early 20s who spends his summers playing semi-pro baseball. The story focuses on Ed’s relationship with his teammates and his girlfriend, Rachel (played by Amy Madigan, who later appeared with Costner in Field of Dreams).
Throughout the film, Ed grapples with his dreams of becoming a professional baseball player and the challenges he faces along the way, including a shoulder injury that threatens his career.
While Chasing Dreams didn’t receive as much attention as Costner’s later baseball films, it provides an insightful look at the struggles and hopes of aspiring young baseball players. Costner’s performance is charming and genuine, offering early glimpses of the charisma that would make him a Hollywood star.
This film is a hidden gem for any Kevin Costner or baseball movie fan, and it stands as a testament to the power of perseverance, friendship, and love of the game.
Bull Durham (1988)
Bull Durham marked a significant milestone in Costner’s movie career, firmly establishing him as the go-to actor for baseball films. In this memorable film, Costner plays “Crash” Davis, a seasoned catcher brought in to mentor a rookie pitcher, Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh (Tim Robbins).
Costner delivers a powerful performance, effortlessly embodying the persona of a veteran player tasked with the difficult job of shaping a raw, talented rookie into a disciplined athlete. The romantic subplot between Crash, Nuke, and baseball groupie Annie Savoy (Susan Sarandon) adds an intriguing layer to the storyline.
The movie was both a critical and commercial success and remains a beloved classic among sports film enthusiasts.
Field of Dreams (1989)
Just one year after Bull Durham, Costner starred in another iconic baseball film, Field of Dreams. Costner plays Ray Kinsella, an Iowa farmer who hears a mysterious voice in his cornfield telling him, “If you build it, he will come.”
Inspired by this cryptic message, he builds a baseball diamond in his fields, which starts to attract the ghosts of legendary players. The film strikes a beautiful balance between sports, fantasy, and family drama, with Costner’s performance lending an emotional depth to the story
Field of Dreams was a major hit and earned several Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
For Love of the Game (1999)
A decade after Field of Dreams, Costner returned to the baseball genre with For Love of the Game. He portrays Billy Chapel, an aging Detroit Tigers pitcher on the cusp of a perfect game.
The film delves into Chapel’s personal life, interweaving the live baseball action with flashbacks that offer glimpses into his relationship with Jane Aubrey (Kelly Preston) and his illustrious career. The movie spotlights not just the love for the sport, but also the personal sacrifices made for a professional career.
Despite receiving mixed reviews upon release, the movie has gradually gained a loyal following among fans of baseball films.
The Upside of Anger (2005)
While The Upside of Anger is not a conventional baseball film, it merits a mention in this list because of Costner’s portrayal of Denny Davies, a retired baseball player turned radio host. The film primarily focuses on the relationship between Terry Wolfmeyer (Joan Allen), a suburban wife and mother whose husband mysteriously disappears, and Denny.
Even though baseball isn’t the film’s central theme, it’s integral to Denny’s character, adding another dimension to the narrative.
Why Did Kevin Costner Do So Many Baseball Movies?
Costner is a big fan of baseball, and he has said that he enjoys the challenge of portraying different aspects of the game. He also believes that baseball is a great metaphor for life, and he has said that he enjoys exploring those themes in his films.
Which Baseball Movie Is Kevin Costner’s Best?
This is a matter of opinion, but many people consider Field of Dreams to be Kevin Costner’s best baseball movie. The film is a classic coming-of-age story that deals with themes of dreams, nostalgia, and redemption. It is also a beautifully shot film that captures the beauty of the American Midwest.