Movie Review


If you believe in yourself, anything can happen.
Miracle Movie Poster

US Release Date: 02-06-2004

Directed by: Gavin OConnor


  • Kurt Russell
  • Herb Brooks
  • Patricia Clarkson
  • Patty Brooks
  • Noah Emmerich
  • Craig Patrick
  • Sean McCann
  • Walter Bush
  • Kenneth Welsh
  • Doc Nagobads
  • Eddie Cahill
  • Jim Craig
  • Patrick O'Brien Demsey
  • Mike Eruzione
  • Michael Mantenuto
  • Jack O'Callahan
Reviewed on: February 8th, 2004
Kurt Russell in Miracle.

Kurt Russell in Miracle.

Sports movies are as predictable as they come. The usual plot being that a team or athlete overcomes some hurdles and eventually wins a big game or match. It is not a bad cliche. It can easily get an emotional response from the audience. Just make the athlete or players likable and the audience will end up cheering for them. Miracle follows the formula, except it never forces you to like the main character. In fact, I came away thinking he was a very selfish person.

Miracle is the true story of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that beat the apparently invincable Russian squad. The movie opens with newscasts and headlines of some of the political problems of the time. The American Embassy had just been taken over by Muslim terrorists. There is a gas shortage, and the Russians hve invaded Afghanistan. The country needed something to cheer about. This unlikely victory became one the greatest U.S. Olympic moments at a time when it needed it most.

Herb Brooks coached this team with new methods and complete dedication. He drove his team to exhaustion and threatened to alienate his wife and kids in the process. His biggest message to them was teamwork. Early in the movie he occasionally asks a player what his name is and what team he plays for. The players all answered their name and the college team they were last playing for. After tieing a game to a mediocre team, Herb has the team skate back and forth on the ice until they feel like collapsing. The assistant coach and the team doctor object, but Herb keeps them skating. Eventually one of the players finally gets it. He yells out his name. Herb then ask him "What team do you play for?" The clued in player responds, out of breath, that he plays for The U.S.A. As anyone who has ever been through military boot camp knows, team work is all important for any group of people striving together for a common goal.

In Disney's relentless effort to redefine the traditional family, the movie includes a scene that seemed out of place. Herb brings a new player in to practice with the team. The rest of the players assume he is there to replace one of them. They get together with Herb and explain that this new guy doesn't belong with them because they are a family. It is another effort to force the players to feel united. Why did the writers choose to use the word "family" over the word "team"? It just didn't fit. These guys have been together for a few months and may never see each other again in another few months. What is with Disney always throwing this word around so easily. The more it gets used the less important it becomes.

The goalie on the team recently lost his mother and his father is financially strapped. He could have gone professional and made money to help his dad. His mother's dream was for him to play on the Olympic team. That is a family. A bunch of guys playing Hockey is a team. Whether you like it or not, they are different.

I was in school when the 1980 Olympics were going on. I was not following it closely but it was so big that it made news everywhere. As I watched this movie I found myself caught up in the Hockey games, and thrilled with each goal. The direction during the games are amazing. You feel like a part of it. The coach is yelling, the players are cheering and the fans are chanting "U.S.A. U.S.A." The editing is quick and adrenaline inducing.

Russell does a decent job. He attempts an accent and plays this distant and sometimes cold person very well. After the big victory over the Russians, Herb has to be alone before he can show his excitement. He can't even go hug his wife.

The exciting true story of this hockey team is better than any made up sports tale. It gave the entire country something to be proud of. In 1980 the country was in some economical changes and Muslim terrorists were up to no good. It certainly sounds like a good movie to go see today, doesn't it?

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