1979-1980 was a critical time in U.S. history. In fact, the post-9/11 world in which we now live in many ways resembles the beginning of that fateful decade. The Middle East was in turmoil and terrorists had hijacked a plane with a bunch of American citizens and was holding them hostage. People were afraid of traveling overseas because of the threat and gas shortages and prices caused people to begin carpooling, walking, and biking to work. The Cold War had been going on for almost 35 years without WW III breaking loose, but for the first time since the Cuban Missle Crisis, the Cold War was heating up in a major way and everyone was fearful of world annihilation through a nuclear war. There was talk that the Soviet Union was thinking of boycotting the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid as a sign of contempt (something President Carter actually forced the U.S. to do during 1980 Summer Games in Moscow) and the nation was on edge.
But in February of 1980, the nation witnessed something that revived everyone's spirits and united people in a way they hadn't been since the middle of Vietnam. During the Semi-final game of the Olympic hockey game, the amatuer U.S. team beat the mighty Soviet powerhouse in a sport they had dominated for more than 20 years. The chanting of "U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A" was first heard during those games and the little team that could went on to win the gold medal by defeating Finnland.
MIRACLE is a movie that recreates those events. The tone, mood, and setting is captured almost perfectly and places the audience right in the midst of what it was like living in America in 1979-1980. Great pains have been taken not only to just physically recreate the events that the members of the U.S. hockey team went through, but the emotions and mentality, too.
The "actors" playing the hockey players in the movie really aren't "actors" but are instead first and foremost real hockey players. This is just one example of many that illustrates the extent the filmmakers went through to get things right.
However, though the movie is thought as being about the 1980 U.S. hockey team, it's really a very personal movie that really isn't about the team, but about the man who led them there, Herb Brooks. Brooks had played on the 1960 team that lost to the Soviets for the first time and since that time had made it his life's ambition to beat the Russians at their own game. The majority of the country had no idea at the time of Brooks' unusual and somewhat controversial training methods and even if they had I don't think most people would have given it much thought. It was Brooks' determination and leadership that formed the team and gave them the opportunity to perform a little "miracle" for all the world to see.
A couple a bits of trivia about the film. The scene in MIRACLE where the players are forced by Brooks to skate back and forth doing drills after their 3-3 tie with Norway was filmed over the course of 3 days, 12 hours a day because the filmmakers wanted the "actors" to look as exhausted as possible. Also, the shot of New York that is seen in the movie with the World Trade Center in the background is actual footage shot for the movie, post 9-11. The Two Towers are seen in the picture were actually digitally recreated, making MIRACLE the first movie to "create" the towers since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
MIRACLE is a movie sure to stir up some sort of emotion from those who were alive to watch the famous moment of sport live. For those who have only read about the event in history books or watched it on ESPN or on a DVD, the effect isn't quite the same and the movie will probably not have as much significance. Nevertheless, the film is well made and makes for a great sports picture.
This review was written after my mother passed, the first one after. MIRACLE There are two things that lead me to write this review, the most important being that this film was one of my mom's favorites. She passed away recently after 13 years of battling various types of cancer [no lie, multiple]. The second being that the winter Olympics just passed with the US doing very well in hockey, in this true story they went all … more
I am not a sports fan. Period. I'll watch the occasional few minutes of Michael Jordan in a tense playoff or a fantastically close Super Bowl on occasion, but beyond that, I have no interest. I do find few movies about the fanatics who drives themselves to excel interesting or the fanatics who drive people to excel, to go far beyond what they themselves thought possible. That's what "Miracle" is all about, a coach named Herb Brooks who drove a group … more
Miracle is the true story of the "Miracle on Ice" when the1980 US Olympic hockey team won the gold medal by defeating the Soviet Union and Finland. This movie centers around the coach, Herb Brooks, and how he steered his team to the gold medal. It certainly brings back all the nostalgia of that hockey team and is a fun movie to watch. The extra features, especially the ESPN round table with Kurt Russell who played Herb Brooks, and three of the real players, including goalie … more
Absolutely not! "Miracle" takes a simple hockey game(a sport deemed regional to this day), and shows viewers how it not only captivated a nation, but also how a game can come to represent change.This is a highly motivational film, full of subplots involving many of the characters and political undertones. When you boil down to it, though, this is a movie about Americans being Americans. Unlike most films, this one shows the Soviets as the arrogant, unstoppable force. Soviet hockey was exactly that … more
Pros: Russell and nostalgia. Cons: No substance given to supporting roles. The Bottom Line: A rousing and enjoyable film that although light, delivers the goods. In 1980, America was in a state of transition and turmoil as political events threatened world stability. The Reagan era was just starting but the nation was still trying to deal with economic issues as well as the Iran hostage crisis, and long gas lines. … more
The miracle aboutMiracleis that it gets so many details right in telling its 24-year-old story about the historic victory of the U.S. hockey team at the 1980 Olympic Games. It's typical for Hollywood to compromise such period details as hairstyles and fashion when catering to a contemporary audience, butMiraclelooks and feels right in every detail, capturing the downbeat mood of post-Watergate America while showing how obsessively determined Minnesota hockey coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) managed to assemble a once-in-a-lifetime team and whip them into a victorious frenzy over their Soviet champion opponents. With sharp support from Patricia Clarkson (as Brooks's wife) and Noah Emmerich (as his long-suffering assistant), Russell grounds the film with a well-balanced combination of aloofness, intimidation, and closely guarded strategy. No doubt the real Brooks (who died in a car accident shortly after filming completed) would have approved. Thanks to director Gavin O'Connor (Tumbleweeds) and the producers of the similarly laudable sports filmsRemember the TitansandThe Rookie,Miraclebrings plenty of heart--and historical accuracy--to an old, familiar formula.--Jeff Shannon