"The ballpark is the star," Martin F. Nolan once wrote of Fenway Park. The longtime Globe editorial page editor's observation says a lot about the special status the home of the Red Sox has among sports fans — and, for that matter, movie fans, too. The lyric little bandbox, as John Updike famously called it, has made several onscreen appearances over its about-to-be-100-year history.
Maybe Fenway can't claim the greatest Boston athletic facility cameo in Hollywood history. That would belong to the old Boston Garden. Robert Mitchum's title character attended a Bruins game there just prior to getting whacked in "The Friends of Eddie Coyle." But Fenway definitely has the most — as the following half-dozen examples indicate.
THE TOWN (2010)
Throughout their history, the Red Sox have been notorious for not stealing bases. Ben Affleck and friends show how Fenway can lend itself to another kind of theft.
FEVER PITCH (2005)
Fenway can accommodate crime (see "The Town"). It can also accommodate love: Jimmy Fallon's for the Red Sox (of course) and also for Drew Barrymore.
FIELD OF DREAMS (1989)
How could there not be room for Fenway in the ultimate baseball weepie? Kevin Costner and James Earl Jones take in a game there.
Just before the movie ends, Brad Pitt's Billy Beane pays a post-season visit to discuss the Red Sox GM job with Arliss Howard's John Henry. Beane stayed in Oakland, of course, handing Theo Epstein two World Series wins and a date with a gorilla suit.
GOOD WILL HUNTING (1997)
All right, Fenway's not in the movie. But Matt Damon describing to Robin Williams Carlton Fisk's home run in the sixth game of the 1975 World Series is the next best thing.
MAN OF LA MANCHA (1972)
Granted, Fenway did not exist in 17th-century Spain. But the score of this musical adaptation of "Don Quixote" features "The Impossible Dream" (sung by Peter O'Toole). That theme song for the 1967 pennant team ranks up there with "Tessie" and "Dirty Water" in the Red Sox songbook.