IMDb > "30 for 30" Kings Ransom (2009)

"30 for 30" Kings Ransom (2009)

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30 for 30: Season 1: Episode 1 -- 30 for 30 presents:  On August 9, 1988, the NHL was forever changed with the single stroke of a pen. The Edmonton Oilers, fresh off their fourth Stanley Cup victory in five years, signed a deal and exported Wayne Gretzky, a Canadian national treasure and the greatest hockey player ever to play the game, to the Los Angeles Kings in a multi-player, multi-million dollar deal.


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TV Series:
Original Air Date:
13 September 2009 (Season 1, Episode 1)
Peter Berg's documentary on Wayne Gretzky, his decision to leave Edmonton for Los Angeles, and that decision's effects on hockey and its fans. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
the "Great One" in a not-great documentary on an inherently important subject See more (3 total) »


 (Episode Cast)

Peter Berg ... Himself
Walter Gretzky ... Himself

Wayne Gretzky ... Himself
Jim Hill ... Himself (archive sound)

Janet Jones ... Herself (as Janet Jones Gretzky)
Jim Matheson ... Himself
Bruce McNall ... Himself
Marty McSorley ... Himself
Bob Miller ... Himself
Gord Miller ... Himself (archive footage)
Rod Phillips ... Himself
Peter Pocklington ... Himself

Luc Robitaille ... Himself
Glen Sather ... Himself

Pierce Brosnan ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

John Candy ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Paul Coffey ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Kevin Costner ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Billy Crystal ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Tony Danza ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Michael J. Fox ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Grant Fuhr ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Phyllis Gretzky ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Tom Hanks ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Goldie Hawn ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Charlie Huddy ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Kate Hudson ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Timothy Hutton ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Magic Johnson ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Jari Kurri ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Kevin Lowe ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Ron MacLean ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Mark Messier ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Andy Moog ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Roy Orbison ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Nancy Reagan ... Herself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Ronald Reagan ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Kurt Russell ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Sylvester Stallone ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)
Esa Tikkanen ... Himself (archive footage) (uncredited)

Episode Crew
Directed by
Peter Berg 
Produced by
Peter Berg .... executive producer
Keith Clinkscales .... executive producer
Chris Connelly .... consulting producer
John Dahl .... executive producer
Deirdre Fenton .... associate producer
Eric M. Johnson .... coordinating producer
Jonathan Koch .... executive producer
Joan Lynch .... executive producer
Steven Michaels .... executive producer
Alex Piper .... producer
Tiffany Reis .... coordinating producer
Connor Schell .... executive producer
Bill Simmons .... executive producer
Bill Simons .... executive producer
John Skipper .... executive producer
Shelley Storm .... coordinating producer
Michael Tollin .... consulting producer
Mitch Wright .... producer
Original Music by
David Arkenstone (music by)
Joel Beckerman 
Cinematography by
Scott Duncan 
Film Editing by
Todd Crites 
Production Management
Emily Taggart .... post-production manager
Sound Department
Josh Atkins .... audio
Seth Gilbert .... audio
Andy J. McQueen .... audio
Igal Petel .... audio
Raj Ramtej .... audio
Lee Walker .... audio mixer
Visual Effects by
Jeremy Renteria .... compositor: Entity FX
Camera and Electrical Department
John Busch .... key grip
Mike Carrol .... camera operator
Jay Eckardt .... camera assist
Tyler Gillett .... camera operator
Steve Harrell .... camera operator
George Harrold .... camera operator
Owen Holland .... best boy
Curt A. Jentsch .... gaffer
Dennis Lee .... key grip
Abraham Martinez .... camera assist
Robert Novellino .... key grip
Marcus Ray .... key grip
Adam Tash .... camera operator
Drew Thomas .... camera operator
Glen Landry .... assistant camera (uncredited)
Editorial Department
Jessica Caggiano .... on-line editor
Gabriel Gianola .... assistant editor (as Gabe Gianola)
Jon Kelble .... on-line editor
Chris Morey .... assistant editor
Laura Mulligan .... assistant editor
Elizabeth Praino .... assistant editor
Other crew
Todd Crites .... sound: designer
Cari Davine .... vp of business affairs
Benjamin Fertig .... additional production support
Scott James .... production coordinator
Eric M. Johnson .... executive in charge
Jon Kelble .... post production supervisor

Series Crew
These people are regular crew members. Were they in this episode?
Directed by
Reggie Rock Bythewood (2009-2010)
Bill Couturié (2009-2010)
Jonathan Hock (2009-2010)
Steve James (2009-2010)
Lucas Jansen (2009-2010)
Adam Kurland (2009-2010)
Brett Morgen (2009-2010)
Ron Shelton (2009-2010)
Jeff Zimbalist (2009-2010)
Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

53 min


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
the "Great One" in a not-great documentary on an inherently important subject, 21 March 2016
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

This will sound like a minor complaint but this is something that bugged me about this documentary... why did Peter Berg have to converse with Wayne Gretzky on a gold course? I understand the latter probably plays it and maybe Berg (not, most likely) wanted to get him in a calm environment, but it doesn't come off as something that feels right considering the subject matter: a tale of greed and loss and 15 million dollars (also draft picks) for Edmonton's "Great One" to leave in 1988 for LA. It seems off that a story that is all about how a man who felt conflicted but went for the change from working-class Oilers to the hoity-toity Hollywood-elite level of the Kings (or at least that was the fan-base seemingly at first) has the backdrop in some part of an activity that is for the upper-crust and well-off.

This isn't to say the movie wouldn't be worthwhile if they were picking through trash or something (on the far extreme of the otherwise). There's a compelling narrative here that is hampered mostly by it being too short (it was done as the first of a long, massively successful series of 1-hour documentaries about sports by a variety of directors for ESPN): what happened for Gretzky, who had been playing through the 80's for the Edmonton Oilers and, along with the likes of Mark Messier, making one of THE major hockey teams that went to win four Stanley Cups (the last in 1988 when this deal took place), to go to the Los Angeles Kings? Berg's depiction of the story is fair and balanced as far as looking at the many sides: the former owner of the Oilers (who was beset by money issues as the team, while noted for Gretzky, wasn't as successful as a major city team like the Kings or, the last team he played for, the NY Rangers), the former owner of the Kings (who had his own extremely shady business dealings, which comes out in the final text crawl at the end), and the former coach of the Oilers (to say the least he said he never got emotional, but certainly did when news came to him of a deal being made to trade Gretzky).

A lot of it came down to economics, but one of the things that sticks out is when Gretzky - faced right before with the point by the owner of the Oilers "if you don't want to do this you don't have to" (maybe passive aggressive, maybe not) - has the press conference to announce his decision. He fights back tears and finally lets go and can barely say a word. It's the hardest part to watch in the movie, though the point is brought up by an interviewee that this might have not been genuine, that Gretzky was really an ego-maniac. The various clips of Edmonton fans reacting to the move to LA is rather wild; one minute we see this city rally around this team because of this player as if it was like a gigantic communal church (tickets were said to sometimes go for as much as 5,000, though the former owner says they usually just paid between 20 and 40 dollars, odd contradiction but there you go and speaks to the money problems the team might've had), and then the next they go so far as to call Gretzky's then new wife Janet Jones the "Yoko of hockey", like she would pull him from one team to another. Wow.

The story is inherently captivating, but I wish it was better presented. Berg's editing style is to have a lot of time-lapse shots of LA and other things, and to have rapidly cut montages whether it's with the Oilers or in LA. It's never bad exactly but it's uninspired. And it really deserved, or deserves, a longer treatment: what happens really when Gretzky gets to LA and plays with them? We hear tidbits from the Great One about how the team wasn't as good and he had to pull extra of his own weight, and that they only made it to the cup finals once, but I'm sure where was more intriguing material to explore. The people who are interviewed - golf course confessionals included - make this worth a watch, especially for hockey followers, but I wish it had received a larger treatment and with less "flash" and "pizazz" that seems contradictory to the story being told about green and ego... or if it's meant to compliment that, it falls flat.

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