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In the late 1930s, a young machinist named Maurice Richard distinguished himself as an ice hockey player of preternatural talent. Although that was enough to get him into the Montreal Canadiens, his frequent injuries cost him the confidence of his team and the fans. In the face of these doubts, Richard eventually shows the kind of aggressive and skillful play that would make him one of the greatest players of all time as "The Rocket." However for all his success, Richard and his fellow French Canadians face constant discrimination in a league dominated by the English speaking. Although a man of few words, Richard begins to speak his own mind about the injustice which creates a organizational conflict that would culminate in his infamous 1955 season suspension that sparks an ethnic riot in protest. In the face of these challenges, Richard must decide who exactly is he playing for. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm (email@example.com)
All of the NHL game scenes were filmed at the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City, as the Montreal Forum was converted to retail space after closing in 1996 and the other arenas depicted in the film were demolished by the time filming commenced. The Colisée was home to the Quebec Nordiques, which played in the World Hockey Association (1972-1979) and the NHL (1972-1995). Maurice Richard himself briefly coached the Nordiques during their inaugural WHA season. See more »
During the scene where N.Y. Rangers Bob Dill (Sean Avery), challenges the Rocket to a fight, a skater wearing headphones and a modern-looking black/orange/white hockey jersey labeled "Big Dog", briefly appears in the foreground of a shot where Dill makes his approach. See more »
In one of the comments on the film, the writer asks why there's no mention of Henri Richard, the "Pocket Rocket." The film really takes us up to it's climax, the Richard Riot, and Henri, fifteen years younger than Maurice, was starring with the Junior Canadians. Although he came up to play with his brother in the last years of Maurice's career, Henri was not on the team for the period covered by this film. The line of Henri at centre, Dickie Moore on left wing, and Maurice on right wing was called by the Rocket's great rival, Gordie Howe, the best line he ever played against. In a sense the movie stops at the point when Richard was the most popular player in Québec, that is before he became the greatest star in the rest of Canada too. When he received the Stanley Cup in Toronto after the Canadians swept the Leafs in four games straight to win their fifth championship in a row, everybody sensed it could be his last game, and he received a standing ovation in Maple Leaf Gardens, a rare honour for any visiting player, especially when he'd been throughout his career the Leafs' greatest rival. The film beautifully evokes the period when players were ordinary guys working for a living. The clothing and lighting are magnificent in capturing the feel of the forties and fifties, and the hockey sequences are amazing in that, having seen the Rocket play so many times, I lost sight that it was Roy Dupuis, not the Rocket, on the screen. And the sequence in which he kayos Bob Dill (Sean Avery in a piece of type casting if there ever was one!) is a dandy. That happened in New York and the Daily News, the tabloid famous for its great headlines, featured a full-page image of the Rocket standing over his fallen rival with a huge headline, "DILL PICKLED". I wish they'd put that in the film. Richard had a unique skating style and was unusual in those days because there were few left-hand shots playing right wing. And they were able to recreate one of the greatest goals in detail when the Rocket, after being knocked out by Boston's Leo Labine in the play-offs, returned in overtime and went end to end to score the winning goal against "Sugar Jim" Henry. Dupuis and the film magicians capture Richard's swooping, darting style beautifully. Richard may not have been the best player who ever played, but he was the greatest star the game will ever see. See this film and you'll be as close to seeing the real Rocket as it's possible to be.
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