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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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People my age probably remember where they were when John and Bobbie Kennedy were shot, when Armstrong stepped onto the moon, when the Challenger blew up, when the Berlin Wall came down. Perhaps even when the U.S. Olympic hockey team beat the unbeatable Soviets in 1980. And I don't even care for hockey that much.
MIRACLE is the story of that legendary upset, and the grueling training that led up to that glorious moment, told from the perspective of the coach, Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell). A member of the 1960 Olympic squad, Brooks was cut from the team a week before its first Olympic match and subsequent gold medal victory. After that, the USSR Olympians dominated the sport for the next twenty years. Through his "boys", Brooks sought personal redemption and an end to Soviet hegemony.
The first film of 2003 of Oscar caliber was SEABISCUIT, the story of an earlier underdog. MIRACLE was perhaps the first 2004 release deserving Oscar consideration. Not for Best Picture, but for Russell as Best Actor (though I didn't believe for a moment that was the actor's real hair).
MIRACLE is about Coach Brooks. While the young actors that portray the twenty-some players do a creditable job, they're all pretty much lost against the background of team identity. And that's as it should be because their amazing victory was, and necessarily had to be, a team effort. This point is effectively made for the audience during a tortuous set of punishment drills after a poorly played match against the Swedish national team when one of Herb's players finally correctly answers the question he constantly poses, "Who do you play for?" It's a moment of revelation for all concerned.
Just as the horse race action in SEABISCUIT almost made me go down to the track and squander the mortgage payment on a first-ever bet, MIRACLE's camera work on the ice almost morphed me into a rabid hockey puck. You, the viewer, are right there in the thick of the furious melee expecting to be slammed against the boards or slashed with a stick at any moment. There's an adrenaline rush not felt with, say, curling.
At the film's end, a voiceover by Russell-Brooks reminds us that, soon after the 1980 Gold Medal upset, America's Olympic hockey team was opened to pro players of the National Hockey League to thus create the "Dream Team" concept - but no Olympic squad since then has ever captured "the dream". Honor is due Brooks and his amateurs.
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on 19 January 2005
Where do I start? This is a fantastic movie whether you are into hockey (aka ice hockey to the Brits)or not. I remember the 1980 Olympics and remember thinking it incredible that a bunch of College kids could beat the (professional) Soviet team - well - this is the film of how this happened.
It doesn't matter what your sport is, this is all about TEAM - if this does not get you going and motivated, nothing will! Kurt Russell's performance as Coach Brookes is worthy of an Oscar and the skating is top notch too!
Even if you don't know hockey, you will love this film - it is in my all time top ten - watch this now.
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In a period when so many Americans are distraught over the daily news, "Miracle" truly lives up to its name. Kurt Russell plays Herb Brooks, the no-nonsense coach who handpicked two-dozen hockey players and trained them in an amazingly short period of time - just in time to beat the highly successful Russians. In 1980, the Cold War was strong and there was never a better time than to have a little known American hockey team beat the 'big, bad' Russians in a small American town called Lake Placid. Everything about this film is brilliant, from the detailed styles of hair and dress to the subtle Minnesota accents. Few films can present a story with a known ending and succeed with such tension and fanfare. This is a classic film and one that everyone should see. This is one collectible where the extra features are all welcome and without fluff.
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on 2 May 2005
This is one of the best films i have ever seen! I like films that involve sports, as it is all about team work! i think that Kurt Russell played a great part as Herb Brookes and he was so inspiring, the skating techniques of the players are fantastic and the way the games are spitting image of the actually game played is excellent! i advise anyone who has not seen this movie to go and watch it and i hope that you enjoy it as much as i did!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 March 2015
It's a feel good sports movie based around the true story of Coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) who had the unenviable task of leading the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team in the Winter Olympics at Lake Placid. Where the all conquering Russian squad were waiting.

We follow Brooks as he assembles a youthful squad then pushes them to the limits, mentally and physically, all while facing pressures in his home life as he gives his all on the ice rinks. If you know your sports history then there's obviously no surprise factor here, but there's good insight into squad dynamics, of coaching and toughness involved in the many facets of high level sport. Russell leads his young cast admirably, while the action scenes during the matches have a kinetic energy that's most impressive. 7/10
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on 21 June 2013
Sometimes sports films can miss so much of the real story. But this presentation from the Disney studio's really grips you from the beginning. You see how Herb Brooks had faith and beleif in himself and his methods. He changed the usual decisions and won. Very entertaining.
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The first hockey games I ever watched were during the 1980 Winter Olympics and I know I was not alone in that respect. It took a while to understand what a blue line had to do with icing the puck and I have never gotten past the idea of what basketball would be like if it was played the same way as hockey (you are allowed to follow the guy with the puck/ball). But I remember watching the games the U.S. Hockey Team played against the Soviet Union and Finland. How big was the miracle that Al Michaels proclaimed during the final seconds of the semi-final match against the Soviets? Well, when "Sports Illustrated" came out the next week there was no need for a headline or caption on the cover photo of the U.S. team celebrating.
Knowing what is going to happen in "Miracle" is important because if we did not know that this team is going to win the gold medal then we might suspect the means that coach Herb Brooks (Kirk Russell) is using to achieve that end. Brooks is haunted by the 1960 Winter Olympics, when he was cut from the U.S. team a week before it won the gold medal. It was also the last year the Americans beat the Soviets on the ice and Brooks knows how to pull off the upset against the best hockey team on the planet. All it will take is a team that he handpicks playing the way he wants them to play.
The best part of this film is watching how Brooks does exactly that and then becomes basically a spectator and cheerleader when his team goes out and wins the gold medal. Director Gavin O'Connor hits a bulls eye with the casting of Russell, who should get serious Oscar consideration for his performance. The hard driven coach who puts his sport before his wife and family is something of a cliché, but what matters here is how Brooks' determination and intelligence comes through as he molds his team.
The production also scores because they went out and got hockey players to act instead of trying to fake us out the other way around. The only real professional actor on the team is Eddie Cahill, but he plays goalie Jim Craig. You can put anybody you want behind a mask in goal on the ice (former Edmonton Oilers' goalie Bill Ranford in fact) and because Craig was such high maintenance and high profile he was the one role where you needed to up the acting level. But Michael Mantenuto as Jack O'Callahan, Patrick O'Brien Dempsey as Mike Eruzione, Nathan West as Rob McLanahan, Eric Peter-Kaiser as Mark Johnson, and the other 15 players on the team are playing exactly what they are: hockey players brought together to create a team.
One thing I was surprised about in the film was that there is never an explicitly stated reason why Eruzione was picked as the team captain. Yet in the context of the film I was right in thinking that I knew exactly what Eruzione was going to do that was going to make him stand out as first among his teammates. (You will know what I am talking about when the moment comes).
The fidelity to recreating the moments we remember from the 1980 Olympics was quite impressive. You can check out the added features on this two-disc DVD set to see direct comparisons of the television footage from the actual games with the movie's re-creations as well as the techniques used to give you a dynamic feeling of being on the ice. Of course getting Al Michaels to "call" the games again was a necessity and it is not surprising that they worked in the original version of his famous line that gives the movie its title. You can re-create history but you cannot really improve on it, although this 2004 film does a nice job of trying to accomplish that particular feat. I just wonder if those who know nothing about what happened at Lake Placid in 1980 can appreciate that as much as those of us who do.
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on 1 December 2004
I am looking for the right ones". And that is really what this movie is all about: the power of people working together as a team instead of individually. Nowadays, we are tired of seeing superstars in different team sports that think that they are the greatest thing in the world and that their teammates are just the supporting cast. This is true in the US mostly in football and basketball, and in other countries in the word mainly in soccer.
I was born in Uruguay and lived there until the year 2000, and therefore am a big soccer fan. I am tired of seeing the players from my country excel in their European clubs only to see them fail miserably when they play for our country. The reason is that several of them think they are stars when they come to play for Uruguay and neglect to play as a team. They should all get together and give this movie a try!
Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) is the new coach of the US men's hockey team that will compete in the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid and has a huge task ahead of him. The Soviets dominate the world's ice hockey and US was embarrassed in their last attempt in the Olympiads. But this is not all that Herb has to face in order to succeed. Right from the start he has to fight against the politics surrounding hockey in order to be able to select the players he wants instead of the ones he is supposed to choose. Also, several players carry grudges from their college games and are unwilling to help each other.
The movie revolves around the challenges faced when trying to create an efficient team, the stress of competition and the spillover of work into one's personal life and the strain this causes. Of course, if you like ice hockey you are probably going to enjoy this movie a lot. However, if you do not like or understand the sport, you can still enjoy the storyline. In my case, working in a company that has season tickets for the current champion of the National Hockey League, the Tampa Bay Lightning, it was easy enough to start learning about the sport and loving it before watching this production.
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on 5 August 2013
Saw this DVD while I was on holiday in USA, did not buy as I wasn't sure it would play in UK. Once home I decided to order it & could only find via an import. Very impressed with seller, product arrived very quickly, was well packaged & was worth waiting for.
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on 3 April 2009
An enjoyable film for all but a must for all ice hockey fans. Kurt Russell is brilliant as the USA coach and any player that survived his training regime deserved the gold medal.
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