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A Surprisingly Good Sports Film Lacking Most Cliché
classicalsteve28 February 2010
During the 2010 Winter Olympics, NBC broadcast a 30-minute documentary piece on the 1980 US Olympic ice hockey team. While I knew the story of how they beat the Soviets and won the Gold Medal (I had seen it live as a kid), I was expecting some clichéd rhetoric about the team and what they had done, akin to films like "Knute Rockne, All American" (1940) and "Rocky" (1976). I was pleasantly surprised to find that the story was anything but. The coach of that team, Herbert Brooks, was no hackneyed clone of a Knute Rockne or a Vince Limbardo. Instead he was a tight-fisted uncompromising hockey general who distanced himself from his players, more like a Bobby Knight than a Knute. This was not someone with whom teammates would feel comfortable having a beer. Instead, his inspiration to the players came from the other direction, by exposing their weaknesses and in some cases using unfairness and resentment as anchors from which to get the best out of his players. I decided that "Miracle" might be worth a look, especially as a prelude to the US vs Canada in the gold medal round of 2010 Olympic Hockey.

Kurt Russell portrays Herbert Brooks as a lean and mean hockey coach who leaves sentimentality at the front door of the ice hockey rink. From the get-go he informs his players he's not there to be their friend. His goal is to let loose their highest playing potential coupled with the best conditioning among the Olympic hockey players at all costs. At times, he seems to be driving the players too hard well-beyond their comfort zones. Much of the story is the unconventional training techniques he uses to prepare the players for the 1980 Winter Olympics. According to the film, Brooks is relatively new to these techniques which he adopted while studying USSR hockey. His plan is to use the Soviets' techniques against them in the Olympics, which is not just about strategy but also about extreme discipline and an uncompromising tough sensibility akin to the military. One character points out that everything Brooks does has a purpose behind it.

The only short-coming in the script may be the portrayal of Brooks' wife who finds her relationship with her husband compromised, at least according to the film. I wondered if it played out in real life as in the film or if it was fabricated by the screenwriters. Too many sports movies have this sort of relationship with the wife acting as the balance between the obsessive coach and the needs of his family. She's been through this before. Why did she marry him in the first place? To be a successful account?

Certainly, most Americans know the outcome of the story, although the sequence of the game between the US and the Soviets is riveting and plays out about as well as the fight between Rocky and Apollo Creed. However, the meat of the story is really about the relationship between Brooks and his players, and the coach's single-minded determination to create the best Olympic team possible. By putting a certain amount of anger and determination into their hearts and heads, Brooks brings out the best in them, much like a sergeant in boot camp. The speech before the Americans played the Soviets is one of the better scenes of its type, leaving behind the "do it for the Gipper" silliness that has become a sports cliché. The only moment which was lacking in the film was the speech before the very final game when the US played Finland after the Soviets. In that speech, apparently Brooks told his team that if they didn't win, they would go to their graves regretting the missed opportunity. I would have liked to have seen Russell give that speech as well. Apparently Herb Brooks died before the principal shooting of this film had ended, and the film is dedicated to him. Just about as fitting a tribute as a coach could ask for.
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It was winter of 1980, and I remember it well.
TxMike1 November 2004
'Miracles do happen', the announcer's original broadcast is heard during the scenes recreated for this movie, 'Miracle.' Anyone who remembers what happened during those Winter Olympics in 1980 will know what this movie is about, and how it ends. However, there can be no spoilers, because this is not a movie about a hockey game, or even the sport of hockey. Nor is it about the players. It is solely about the coach, Herb Brooks, who, with his unconventional style and wisdom about the game, took these young hockey players to a level no one thought possible. In the end it didn't really matter whether they won or lost the game against the Russian. What mattered was that each of the 20 players found out what was possible inside himself.

The movie begins with a montage of scenes from the period, the years, leading up to the selection of the Olympic hockey team in the summer of 1979. The cold war. The oil shortage and long gasoline lines. The disgraced President Nixon. The embattled President Carter. The Russians invading Afganistan. Then we see coach Brooks doing it his own way. A year and a half of scouting, one day of try-outs, to pick the 26 players which would eventually be cut to 20 for the competition. The DVD extras show us how much went into making the movie faithful, including a session with Brooks himself, who died in an accident right after filming was wrapped up. A very fine movie of a very inspirational journey.
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A Miracle for Disney
j-lacerra13 May 2005
Don't let the fact that this is a Disney movie deter you from watching a thoroughly enjoyable and adult-level sports movie for two-plus hours. Kurt Russell does an excellent job portraying coach Herb Brooks as a complex and sometimes ruthless and inscrutable leader. Very UN-Disney-like indeed.

I am not a hockey fan - in fact I dislike the game intensely - yet I enjoyed the well-crafted scenes of competitive team play. Knowing the outcome of the BIG GAME did not detract at all from the excitement and suspense surrounding it. Sort of like the suspense Ron Howard achieved in Apollo 13 (where we knew in advance the outcome, but were worried about and later relieved for our astronauts).

A must-see for sports fans and non-fans alike.
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Good movie
michael-hatch30 March 2004
I was wary at first of Disney production of this film. I didn't want the cheesy Mighty Ducks type of sports movie, especially when dealing with the awesome task completed by these players. I thought the film makers did a nice job and the movie itself was quite entertaining. I think it exposes a whole generation to the 1980 U.S. hockey team and what they accomplished. Even though I am not a fan of Kurt Russell, I thought he was very good as Herb Brooks. He had the mannerisms and the voice down very well. Russell is a huge hockey fan himself so I know it was honor for him to play Brooks. For die hard hockey fans, this movie will entertain and it does not poison the game action or what it is really like to play hockey.
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what I thought
redcrvette31 January 2004
I am the child of two St. Paul east- siders. My father has loved hockey for as long as he can remember. My mom, well, she just likes sports in general. Hockey ruled my life from the very first moments. First my father's practices and games, then my little brother, later on there were boyfriends, friends, high school, and college. Now there is Gophers and Wild. I imagine that hockey will continue to define my life for a very long time.

That said, for Minnesota kids there are legends told to them from the beginning. How Paul Bunyan shaped our lakes and rivers, and lived "Up North", and there is Herb Brooks. Legends that define Minnesota heritage.

Herb Brooks was a man who shaped the way hockey is viewed in Minnesota. A stand out at St. Paul Johnson High School, and at the U. He went to coach his beloved Gophers and work with his idol John Mariucci. Now the ice at Mariucci Arena (not 2 miles from where I sit now) bears tribute to Herby. His coaching techniques are still used and abused throughout the state.

Kurt Russell paid apt tribute to our late leader, and I am positive he would be impressed. I was fortunate enough to get sneak-preview tickets to see Miracle, and I can honestly say I don't remember when I had such a good time at the movies. I don't think I stopped smiling once. Russell's accent was good throughout the movie, but on just a few lines I could have SWORN that he was a Minnesotan. He elongated his vowels very well.

Eddie Cahill did a superb job as Jim Clark. I wondered how exactly he would play someone so torn between immense sadness and undeniable pride. I was even more impressed with his hockey skills. I hope that this helps the very yummy Mr. Cahill move from TV-boyfriend dujor (friends, Sex and the City) to a great movie actor. As it is the only thing that disappointed me was that he was running around the Cities last summer, and I had no idea.

If you are still reading this it goes without saying that I think you should see this movie. Sure you know how it ends, you've probably seen the game at least once on ESPN Classic even if you are old enough to remember it in the first place. The portrayal of our country at such a dark time in the world's history is historically great. Apt tribute is paid to Afghanistan (even if we are repeating the USSR's mistakes now), the Ayatollah, the oil embargo, and the general distrust in government. The Miracle on Ice was a very bright spot in a very dark time, and Miracle does a wonderful job showing just that. To those who say, who outside the US cares? I say hockey fans care. Sports fans care. This is not just a hockey movie (though it is a great one); it is a movie about hard work and perseverance. Isn't that what America really stands for?

So, Bravo Disney. I think Herby would have been pleased. I know that I am.
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Great job, Kurt et al
canuckteach16 June 2011
Kurt Russell does a wonderful job of portraying Herb Brooks, an innovative hockey coach, and a hard-driving motivator of the young American team that competed at, and won, the 1980 Lake Placid Olympic hockey championship. Indeed, everyone is great, including the hockey players who learned to act to portray the famous group of college amateur players that Brooks pulled together to form a tight-knit and well-conditioned squad.

Camera work and re-creation of key plays is amazing -- maybe the best hockey footage ever shot (see the DVD special features). Also touching is the collage of tragic events involving the USA in the 60's and 70's, leading up to the Olympics. By the way: I found the (voiceover) speech we hear from 1980 by Jimmy Carter ("The USA has a crisis of confidence..") as moving as MLK's famous "I have a dream" speech. It sets the stage nicely for the events that follow - we all need a dream from time to time, or maybe a Miracle.

And you don't feel sorry for the Russians, this the last vestige of an arrogant cold-war-produced hockey machine: seasoned veterans laying out college kids with nasty body-checks, or slashes (just in case you thought us Canucks had the patent rights to tough hockey). Good news, though: the USA was up to it, repaying hefty checks in spades.

Finally, there is is some insight into Brooks hockey ideas, years ahead of their time: carefully-rehearsed breakout plays, circle patterns of player movement, and short 40-50 second shifts to keep players fresh.

There is a nice up-to-dater on where the players were in 2006 when the film was made, but the NHL careers were overlooked - several of these guys went on to have stellar careers in professional hockey. The talent level was substantial.

Anyway-- good job all around.
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I don't like hockey, but this was a good movie
MLDinTN29 November 2004
I was too young to have known anything about this game when it was played in real life, but it was definitely more than a game. It concerned world politics and the cold war. The movie did a good job showing how seemingly impossible it seemed for the young American team to beat the best team in the world who had been playing together for 10 years. And Kurt Russell did a good job as the tough coach who was hard on the players to get the most out of them. I also liked the way the hockey games were filmed. I think hockey is the most boring sport and I don't know any of the rules, but the way it was filmed let the least knowlegdable person follow what was going on.

FINAL VERDICT: If you like sports movies, then don't miss this one.
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Miracle Gets A Hat Trick
mercury46 March 2008
Miracle is a Walt Disney movie about hockey. This sounds like Mighty Ducks, but believe me, it's not. Miracle stands on its own as a great movie. Disney has made true stories about sports in the past like Remember the Titans, and movies like that had the same Disney feel. Miracle is a movie for everyone to go see. It is a wonderful movie about a true game in history.

This movie tells the story of Herb Brooks. Brooks works endlessly studying films and picking players to represent the United States in the Olympics. He doesn't just see this as a job, but he sees it as a second chance. Brooks was on the 1960 Olympic hockey team, but just before they left to compete, Brooks was cut from the team. The team went on to win, but Herb Brooks wasn't there to get the gold. Now this is his chance to win. The movie starts with Brooks getting the job and from there we see his plan. Brooks tells his players from the start how he's not going to be their friend, but he's going to be their coach. When Brooks says something he means it. Brooks changes the way the Americans play and he teaches them the way their tough opponents play. Brooks plans to beat them at their own game. It seems impossible in the beginning for Brooks to get these young guys that have never played together, and teach them a whole new way to play. It also seems impossible for the USA team to defeat the Soviet Union. The Soviets seem like an unstoppable force that can't be beaten. When you see the Soviets in action it does look impossible, but this movie shows how nothing is impossible. Miracle really doesn't go into all of the players, except Jim Craig. Craig and his father are going through a tough time because of Mrs. Craig's death. You see Jim struggle and all you want throughout the movie is for him to win the big one for his family. Besides Jim Craig, you're never really introduced to the rest of the guys. The only one that you're with throughout the movie is Herb Brooks, well portrayed by Kurt Russell. You see what it's like to assemble a winning team. You also see Brooks getting so caught up in his work that he has no time for his family. All you want is for this guy to win.

This movie is more than just a sports movie. It is a movie that shows dreams can come true. You watch a team of young guys bond and become a family. You see these guys win from all of their hard work and determination. Their win at the time was a miracle and even today watching this movie you get the same great feeling that these guys did the impossible. This is a great sports movie and even if you don't like sports, it is still a great movie.

I highly recommend this movie to everyone. It is a movie that you should definitely see if you're down because it is a movie about hope. It is also about victory and when the movie is over it will have every red-blooded American cheering for the good old USA. This movie must have done something right because it had everyone get just as excited as they would have been years ago. When the USA team shoots that final goal to make the score 4 to 3 and the clock starts to wind down, you see everyone getting more and more excited. Finally when the clock runs out and you see that the USA has won, everyone is on their feet cheering. Then when the American flag is waved high in the air you hear the people in the theater cheering USA. Miracle made you feel as if you were back in time witnessing the real game. The movie lets you know what's going on at the time with clips from history and it is just amazing how a film can do this. Be sure not to miss this spectacular film. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. The movie is well written, well acted, and well filmed so Miracle gets a Hat Trick.
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8/10 movie about a 10/10 accomplishment
garysjwa17 September 2004
It's hard to recreate the magic of a once-in-a-lifetime event, but Miracle comes pretty close.

It succeeds in recapturing the spirit of the times, the personality of coach Herb Brooks, the tension of the game, and the exhilaration of Al Michaels' famous call as the clock went to 0:00. While there are plenty of minor things I could quibble about, Miracle's ability to recapture the spirit of the Soviet upset makes it a success.

A movie about this subject could easily have been a stinker, but Miracle isn't that at all. It's a great sports movie that suffers only in comparison to the real story. I gave it 8/10.
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Russell Shines in Story of '80 Olympic Hockey Triumph...
cariart13 May 2004
MIRACLE, the Disney retelling of the U.S. Hockey squad's astonishing Gold Medal performance at Lake Placid in 1980, is not a great film (a TV-movie from 1981, "Miracle on Ice", despite the bizarre casting of 69-year old Karl Malden as 43-year old coach Herb Brooks, is superior, although relying heavily on TV footage for game sequences), but it does offer Kurt Russell in one of the finest performances of his long career.

The 53-year old Russell, a life-long veteran of both TV and film (making his debut on a "Sugarfoot" TV episode, at age 6), has developed a reputation over the past two decades as a very competent, if not overpowering leading man, primarily in action films (ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, TOMBSTONE, BREAKDOWN) and comedies (USED CARS, CAPTAIN RON, OVERBOARD). What is often forgotten, however, is that he has remarkable 'range' as an actor, with brilliant performances in the TV-movie "Elvis" (1979), the underrated SWING SHIFT (1984, where he met his long-time love, Goldie Hawn), and 2003's DARK BLUE (as a crooked cop searching for redemption during the bloody aftermath of the Rodney King riots in L.A.). As age has carved his features, Russell has lost the "beach boy" glamor that had often 'stereotyped' him in the past, and gives his 'Herb Brooks' a sense of credibility and pain that lifts his performance to Academy Award caliber.

Herb Brooks was a remarkable person, long before Lake Placid. Despite success in coaching a string of national champion college hockey teams, he had never recovered from being the last player 'cut' from the 1960 Gold Medal U.S. hockey squad, and from being a member of the '64 and '68 teams that were humiliated by the Soviets. Driven by a desire to beat the nearly invincible Russian squad, he realized that a group of college 'all-stars' would never possess the 'team' skills to get the job done. Ruthlessly, refusing the assistance of the U.S. Olympic Hockey Committee, he pieced together a squad of talented skaters, 'broke' them, then remolded them to fit his vision, working them unmercifully for over six months, while spouting Vince Lombardi-like platitudes. Despite his torturous regimen, just days before the Olympics, his team would be humiliated by the Soviets, 10-3, and no one gave his squad a chance for a medal.

But Brooks had faith, and a squad that was 'hungry'...

While the film suffers from a lack of depth in the portrayal of the players (by the way, they do all their own skating; TV footage is not used), MIRACLE's 'feel' of the decade is well-done, using montages and voice-overs to convey the American sense of helplessness in a decade of tragedies. The unexpected U.S. victory galvanized the nation (Al Michaels' stunned reaction, "Do you believe in Miracles?", has become a catch phrase for both the game, and the times), and actually contributed to turning the country around.

While the Academy Awards will probably ignore Kurt Russell's commanding performance (as the film was not a 'hit'), MIRACLE is still a film worth viewing, given our own troubled times. While the film may not be 'great', it's message of hope is certainly worthwhile!
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A great historical film
mefish51520 February 2004
At first I thought.... there is way too much dialog and way too little hockey (or humor) ... but that all changed in the second half of the movie which made the first half well worth the wait. Kurt Russell plays the no-nonsense Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980 Olympic Hockey team that won the Olympic Gold. (Do you remember where you were?)

I guess what most impressed me about the film was how amazing the editing and camera work was. I think it will count as a "first" in a lot of categories, not the least of which was camera work. The way they spliced the actual historical footage, (courtesy of the Olympic Committee) with the new footage and the actors, was so seamless and elegant, and the result was quite compelling and original. I don't think I've ever seen such well executed editing before, not even in the Hobbit movies ;-).

The story itself was sweet and compelling. Kurt Russell was great, in that you come to a point where you really hate this bastard so much, you just want to say, "No, You skate again you mother(bleep)er!" I love the 70's haircuts and clothes and the accents.. the larger issues of the Cold War are not too fore fronted, but they are present enough that you see how important the win is for the US. Also, you see that his coaching really did pay off in the end: There is a point where the MC says, "the US has never out-skated the Soviets like this before..." and you recall the practice that Brooks makes them skate even after the rink has closed. (He was pretty brutal.) The Russian players are down-right frightening, so you get a real sense of what these kids are up against... they can hardly make eye contact they are so intimidated... but in the end, the "eye scene" as I call it, is enough to make even the biggest cynic, "get veclemt".

Some people have called the film vapid nationalism (others are p***ed off because it was filmed entirely in Canada) but I think it was more about what a team of players (not any one individual or prima dona player) can do. It was also the last time a team of real amateurs actually won, before players became entertainers commanding million plus salaries, so I guess it has some important historical value.

The film also has a real "Indie" feel. It stars all kinds of unknowns and has all kinds of low-budget effects, the scenes mostly taking place on the rink or in locker rooms. There are many moments when your heart breaks for some of the players and their families.

I enjoyed it immensely and it sort of re-awakened my interest in hockey, which I'd long written off as too violent... Even the early fight scene between a player from Boston and Minnesota, which the coach encourages: "Don't stop them," he says to his assistant coach, played awesomely by Noah Emmerich (remember, Jim Carey's best buddy in the Truman Show?) is endurable when seen within the larger mission. Sadly this coach died in real life, according to the movie, before it was released... I guess he died just recently (and suddenly, though I don't know the whole story.)

Anyhow I give it 8 out of 10 stars. A good and somewhat sad movie about a history that now seems too distant.
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Very Realistic Hockey Scenes Help Make This A Winner
ccthemovieman-13 October 2006
This was a pretty nice movie overall. It had its bad points but they were more subtle. The good stuff was out in front: the realistic hockey scenes and the inspiring true-life story of an amazing underdog sports team pulling off the "miracle." That, of course, was the 1980 United States Olympic hockey team winning the gold medal and along the way becoming the first team in 20 years to defeat the Soviets.

The story also is about Herb Brooks, the coach of the team. Everything in here centers around him. Kurt Russell does a nice job playing him, although I don't understand the Polish accent Russell used. Why would Brooks have a Polish accent?

Over the years, sports movies - as in other genres - are becoming more and more realistic. This was about as good as it gets in that regard. A number of the actors are players, meaning they know how to skate. A documentary with the DVD shows the great lengths they went to in filming this in order make the action look realistic. It's not fake; these guys know how to play the game and the camera-work, along with the sound, is outstanding.

For a fairly long film (135 minutes) this film moves by fast and the drama is there but not super-intense since everyone knows the final result. The story is basically, as mentioned, about Brooks and the way he molded a group of kids together to play so well as a team. Many of his ideas would not have been implemented had others had a say, but Brooks proved them all wrong.

The only part of the film that was totally unnecessary was the typical Liberal slant that Hollywood just has to put in our faces every chance it gets. Here, they do it by quick cheap shots against Republican Presidents while airing an inspirational speech by Democrat Jimmy Carter. They have just stuck with the hockey angle, which the filmmakers here did extremely well. Still, it's a very good sports movie that even non- hockey fans should enjoy.
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Historically accurate and put in good context
dk1517-463-29675330 September 2012
Even if you're not a sports fan you can appreciate this movie for being historically accurate. Compared to other sports movies, this one and "Hoosiers" are the two best ever made.

It begins with scenes from the 70's and they do a great job throughout pointing out the Iran hostage crisis, gasoline shortages and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, yet not to the point where any of those things are overdone.

I wish they would've shown more of the gold medal game against Finland, but the movie was already long enough and it might have taken away from the drama of beating the Soviets.

As for other things, Kurt Russell is excellent as Coach Brooks. My favorite scenes with him are the "Great Moments" speech and when he tells the team of the Russian style of play and how they can play with them by attacking rather than defending.

And I love the fact that they got a small clip of the famous Mean Joe Greene Coke Commercial, which in fact came out at that time, the fall of 1979.

The outcome is predictable, since we all know who won, but in spite of that, this movie has plenty of drama and suspense. Finally, this is also a family friendly movie--no excessive profanity or sexual scenes. Definitely a "10" in my book.
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Mesmerizing Movie!
Sabrz7 May 2009
Miracle is one of the better sports movies that I have seen. The movie portrays the United States team's unlikely Gold Medal victory at the 1980 Winter Olympics. It does one hell of a job at capturing one of the greatest moments in sports history.

There are many elements that make the movie great. The actors really get into it and make you believe they are the players. Kurt Russell turns in an astounding performance as Team USA's coach Herb Brooks.

The critical event in the movie however is the time period and events surrounding everything. The Miracle On Ice occurred during the Cold War and not long after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Morale was deteriorating at home and the country was in desperate need of a morale booster. That came in the form of a hockey game.

The Soviet Union had been the dominant hockey power for years winning gold medals in 64, 68, 72, and 76. The US is a team made up of young college kids molded into an effective unit by coach Herb Brooks. The US would end up playing the Soviets as a huge underdog. It is a story of the little team that could versus the superpower. David versus Goliath basically. The events taking place made this more then a hockey game. This was a competition between 2 countries with heightened tensions. Even before the puck drops you can feel the intensity in the air.

Overall you don't have to like hockey or know an ice skate from a roller skate to appreciate this movie. It is an unlikely underdog story surrounded by international turmoil. The movie is inspiring and the best fact is it really happened. Miracle is a must see.
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Great movie!
mm-397 February 2004
I stopped myself from chanting USA USA in the theater, because my wife would have left, but I still got emotional and raised my hands up when the US scored. I still miss the Jets leaving the Peg, and still have the game reflexes when I watched the movie with a hockey crowd. I remember watching most of the games when I was eleven. Everyone hated the big Red machine from the Soviet Union, that killed the NHL all stars, and team USA afterward in a pre-Olympic game. Part of the cold war fever taking place and this movie showed the importance of the game back in 1980. I was chanting USA USA while watching the game, live at home and remember Craig with the flag, all the players standing on the podium during the medal ceremony. This must of had a huge influence on Hockey in the USA, and turned a lot of youngsters onto the game! Being a hockey nut I remember watching the US during the 80's and they would lose in the first round at the Canada cups but with the younger players coming up they got better in every tournament, and finally made the cup final in 1992. This event and the infusion of Canadian junior hockey coaches into their college system makes the US, the hockey power it is today. Is is no longer just Canada and the Russians, I figure there will be many Canada, USA olympic gold medal games with maybe a movie about it one day. Great hockey movie the advisors made the goaltending, and puck movement so real. Russell looks and acts like a coach, from the coaching view, not the fan. Brooks later became the coach of the Rangers, it was classy of them showing his picture at the end of the movie. 7 out of 10
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An Enjoyable Film Even If You Don't Like Hockey
christian1233 April 2005
In 1980, Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), a former Olympics hockey player cut from the winning 1960 U.S. team, put together a ragtag band of college hockey players, taking them to the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid to face the seemingly invincible Russian hockey team, winners of four successive gold medals. Miracle tells the true story of how they worked together to defy the odds working against them. Everyone likes a good upset especially when they can cheer on the winning team. Miracle gives you that story and its a nice film to watch with your family. I don't watch hockey because I don't really like it and its just not very appealing to me. But there's things that non-hockey fans can enjoy from this film. I liked the determination from the team and the inspiration the coach gave to them. Kurt Russell does an awesome job as Herb Brooks, probably his best performance in a long time. Patricia Clarkson does a good job playing his wife and all the players on the team aren't bad either. The one actor that was bad was Noah Emmerich, he just showed little to no emotion and didn't really put in a good effort. This wouldn't had been a problem if he had a small role but he was the assistant coach. Miracle is directed by Gavin O'Connor and he does a good job. The hockey itself wasn't actually that bad as some scenes of the game were pretty cool. The focus is on mainly on Russell and while you learn some stuff about the players it would had been nice if they had shifted some of the attention on them as well. The screenplay may be filled with clichés but the film does it right even if it feels like you have seen it before because you probably have. The film is 135 minutes long and for me it started dragging a little and getting kind of boring. The movie is also predictable so the ending game as well as the entire movie isn't really suspenseful. The focus is more on beating Russia then actually winning the medal. When they do play in the final game and win the medal, they only show them scoring the winning shot. After that Kurt Russell starts talking saying how they won the last game by coming up from behind. While we know the outcome to the whole thing it still would had been nice if they had added a few more scenes. Its also better then The Mighty Ducks but that's not a hard thing to do. Rating 7/10 a treat for hockey fans and a film that a normal movie-goer can enjoy.
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An Inspirational Movie
www-aktomer24 May 2019
The movie shows the hard work and dedication required to 'perform a MIRACLE'. It only takes one visionary to set the eye on the impossible, and if you have the means and the heart to achieve it, there is no such deed as impossible. That's the gist of the movie. One of the best sports movie to watch.
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A great example of motivational leadership.
LloydBayer6 January 2012
During the Winter Olympics of 1980, the United States men's Ice Hockey team did something no one believed they could. No one; except team coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell). This movie chronicles true events leading up to how a rag-tag team of underdogs went up against the mighty and hugely popular Soviet team.

Having won the Olympic Gold just once in comparison to the Soviet's five-win streak, the US Olympic Committee has a herculean task in setting up a decent team, besides the obvious five-to-one odds of beating the Soviets. All this changes the day Herb Brooks signs on as head coach. From day one, his philosophy on beating the soviets was all about change - change in the way players think and act, including their attitude as sportsmen. Brilliantly portrayed by Russell, Brooks is not only a man on a mission; he turns out to be a fine line between a pathetic loss and a glorious win at the Olympics. To get his team in shape, Brooks starts practice sessions as early as six months prior to the opening ceremony- an approach that seemed unnecessary by many at the time. However, brook's real strategy was the psychological and physical grooming of his players. Part of this includes the psychosis of exactly what a player means to the team. As a whole, never has a message been driven so severely about teamwork than that embedded in this film.

In the end, the results of the games become irrelevant, as the film is all about Brooks' methods of driving his team. In stark contrast to the film's title, the outcome was not caused by a miracle, rather, one man's vision and belief which translates into impeccable leadership that built a highly motivated team.

It is indeed tragic that the real Herb Brooks passed away shortly before this film was released. But having worked with the cast and crew during production, I am sure his very presence on the sets was what added an authentic feel to this movie. While the underdog factor always remains a crowd pleaser in cinema, director Gavin O'Connor pulls this off without going overboard. By this I mean there are little or no special effects or moments that require the audience to suspend reality. Aiding O'Connor is the heavyweight script by Eric Guggenheim − a story that evades all the trappings of Hollywood and her tendency to blow things out of the water. You must appreciate the fact that Guggenheim has written a biopic of a period saga − a time when The US and USSR were still in a state of 'Cold War' and could have easily used the script as propaganda − a recurring Hollywood habit that seems to go well with some sections of the audience. Even so, the story does not loose focus on Brooks. Ironically, the film does not even show the final match against Finland, but revolves round the daunting obstacle of the Soviets. In essence, the story is a huge metaphor of not waiting for the cloud to pass, but to charge through the clouds to get to the silver lining.

Together, O'Conner and Guggenheim have taken one of the greatest upsets in sporting history and made a simple film, yet one that is symbolically powerful in its message and narration. There are various other movies like "Coach Carter" or even the Academy Award Winning "The Million Dollar Baby" that serve as highly inspirational movies. Adding Miracle to that list will not only enrich your feel-good experience, it is a movie that has to be seen simply due to its historical significance in sporting history and how one man brought about that change.
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Exploitative and Fun
Hitchcoc30 November 2006
Despite the fact that this movie is made to manipulate us, it's so darn much fun, it doesn't matter. You have a true story with great action scenes, wonderful hockey footage. You have the bad guy Russians and their powerhouse team, you have a group of really attractive American young men, and, finally, best of all, Kurt Russell's wonderful portrayal of the frenetic Herb Brooks. Being a Minnesotan, Mr. Brooks is a real hero around here, dying tragically in a car accident a few years ago. He molded this team and made them more than they should have been. There is a nice interaction among the characters. It's not simply a coach with total insensitivity and a bunch of young men who are going to "show him." He has great affection, but he knows that dreams take hard work, and so he pushes them mercilessly. There is the chess match of picking the right players and personalities and then messing with their minds. He even brings in a former U of M player to make them a little nervous. It helps create the team because this guy hadn't been part of the family. Anyway, the movie is a joy to watch, even though we know the ending. We can use a boost by something like this every so often.
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Entertaining sports movie
Spanner-211 February 2004
Rousing sports film about the 1980 U.S. Hockey team features some nicely shot game footage and a solid performance from Kurt Russell as the driven coach. Suffers from some formula moments and a clunky subplot with Russell's wife (Patricia Clarkson) but otherwise a fine piece of entertainment. GRADE: B
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Wonderful story
Calicodreamin11 July 2019
A typical sports movie about a ragtag group of young athletes taking on the best of the world and coming out on top to the whopping cheers of the arena... and it was amazing! You can't help but get chills. One of the everlasting Olympic stories, the miracle on ice, is told in a really fantastic way. You can't help but love this movie for all that it represents.

My only criticism is that it's a bit long. But we'll worth it.
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Thanks, Guys
Chefkoslo3 December 2004
Thanks mostly to the guys that actually won the gold, but thanks as well to the actor/hockey players that made the film possible. You guys were all awesome, and it had to be hard.............Did Kurt Russel actually slap on ccm's and skate?......I need to know that! Thank you for a great movie.....to the cast, thank you.......you have no idea what it means to a guy in my generation, that was there....thank you! You guys all seem very nice........most of you you are playing somewhere. Reguardless, I wish all of you the best of luck. I'll bet you were all thinking what it might have been like to play in the olympics.....some of you may..............remember 1980.......you guys were in diapers, but I was there!......I love you all, Patrick
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What a great Movie!
Chefkoslo3 December 2004
I can sincereley say, as a 40 year old guy, I was there! I was maybe 3 years too young to have tried for the team, and I pursued other things, like golf, after it happened.....but I wish I was 3 or 4 years older....I could have tried for that team. I recently got cut from my pick-up league team, because I turned 40 last February 14th.......they let me slide for a while..but the age limit is 40. My knees are shot, anyway........but when I watch that movie.....I cry like a child, because I remember it, and I played ice hockey for too many years. I have friends, from the NY Islanders.......my buddies from the dynasty!!...Clark Gillies, Bobby Ny, Eddy Westfall, Bill Torre......I love you all....and I love the young guys that had the balls to do it for us in 1980!
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cabinfever20 November 2004
The previous comment states that this is a Sports Movie and I would disagree with that limitation. I watched the original victory and it meant more than just a 'sporting event' to the people of the United States. It was an affirmation that no matter how 'mighty' the Soviet Union was, these young men were able to show that they could be stopped, that courage and determination could overcome brute strength.

I remember the crippling recession, the gas lines, the invasion of Afghanistan and the Hostage Crisis. Young Americans by and large believed that eventually the Cold War would become Hot and we were all going to end up as radioactive waste. It's something that the post 9-11 mind seems to forget. My Mother, who was born in 1940, had grown up in the shadow of the bomb. My sisters and I were born and raised in Washington D.C. ~ the Ultimate Ground Zero. I remember how horrified the people from the University of Maryland were after they received the answers from the 15 year olds they polled about living in a First Strike Zone all of whom answered, "We're happy to be here. We won't have to live through it and stumble around the wreckage blind and waiting to die while counting how many body parts have fallen off during the night!"

This is more than a 'Sports Movie', it is a piece of History for those who choose to take the background events into consideration. It's also a testament to the power of dreams. I think the closing says it all, today's so-called Dream Teams have removed the wonder and the striving from the Olympics and left behind a shadow of the Miracles of the past.
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I believe in Miracles
questl-185922 December 2021
Oh this one gets me right in the feels. As a lifetime hockey fan, watching this is just such a treat and I can't help but feel it's one of the best sports movies ever. You get Kurt Russel in here as Coach Herb and, once again, Russel crushes it and creates this wonderful portrayal of a man that is so cold and direct on the surface but you know he's doing it all for the betterment of his players. The cast in general is really solid, so few people that I recognize from anything else and yet they're all solid in their respective roles.

There are a few moments of over-the-top sentimentality, times when it feels manufactured. Like when they're doing drills at the end of a game until someone says he plays for Team America and it's meant to be this big emotional movement but it felt so telegraphed and heavy handed. All of that gets wiped away though when you hear the broadcasters at the end, watching that USA v Russia game and the original "Do you believe in miracles!" plays and I'm getting goosebumps just thinking about it and that is the sign of a well landed note.

And now I wanna watch it again. Stupid movie being awesome.
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