- Actors: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich
- Directors: Gavin O'Connor
- Format: Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
- Language: English, French, Spanish
- Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
- Dubbed: English, French, Spanish
- Region: Region A/1
- Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Release Date: June 16 2009
- Run Time: 136 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 107 customer reviews
- ASIN: B001UREJY0
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #141,590 in Movies & TV Shows (See Top 100 in Movies & TV Shows)
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Miracle [Blu-ray] (Bilingual)
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"The Making of MIRACLE"|Audio Commentary With Director Gavin O'Connor, Editor John Gilroy, And Director of Photography Daniel Stoloff|"First Impressions: Herb Brooks With Kurt Russell And The Filmmakers" -- A Never-Before-Seen Intimate Conversation With The Gold Medal Coach|Outtakes|"From Hockey to Hollywood: The Actors' Journey" Featurette -- Turning Hockey Players Into Actors|MIRACLE ESPN Roundtable With Linda Cohn As Seen On ESPN Classic -- Winning Team Members Mike Eruzione, Buzz Schneider, And Jim Craig Join Kurt Russell In A Journey Back To "The Miracle On Ice"|"The Sound of MIRACLE" Behind-The-Scenes Featurette --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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1979-1980 were not good years for the United States. Militant Iranians took US citizens hostage in our embassy in Teheran, the USSR invaded Afghanistan, the Cold War was at below zero temperatures, and at home gas prices were sky high, as were interest rates. The film is set in the context of this period, which makes it even more exciting. Americans really needed something to cheer about.
In the summer of 1980, newly hired US Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks took a group of boys, average age 21, worked them 'til they dropped for seven months, taught them new strategies, made them into a cohesive team, and miraculously led them to unbelievable victory. They beat the pants off the unbeatable champion Soviet hockey team in what has been called the "Miracle on Ice." In a super surprise win, the underdog US team, which had played poorly against the much older Russian veterans a few weeks before at Madison Square Garden, made all the right moves to score success, 4 to 3. The team then went on to win Olympic Gold! The Cold War may be long over, but remembering the moment still feels sweet. The look on the Soviet coach's face alone is worth the price of the rental. And now the "moment" and more can be relived - seen on the big screen, with accurate details and superb characterizations, in director Gavin O'Connor's and screenwriter Eric Guggenheim's "Miracle."
Kurt Russell is superb as coach Brooks. He has the Minnesota accent down pat, chews gum like Brooks - 500 chews per minute...and even looks like him. Actual ice hockey players were cast as teammates in O'Connor's quest to make this an authentic sports film. The last 30 minutes of footage are devoted to the US - Soviet match. But the movie is as much a character study as it is a film about Olympic sport. And Russell's understated, intense performance is compelling. Patricia Clarkson is excellent as Brooks' wife Patty, as is Noah Emmerich as assistant coach Craig Patrick.
The movie is dedicated to Herb Brooks, who was tragically killed in an auto accident over a year ago. He is portrayed as a complex man who was totally dedicated to his sport and his team, to the detriment, at times, of his family life. This is a wonderful film to see with the entire family. You don't have to be a hockey fan to remember February 22, 1980.
But writer Eric Guggenheim and director Gavin O'Connor only occasionally revisit that theme, and just as "Remember The Titans" eventually morphed into a romp-n-stomp football picture - clothesline hits, last-minute heroics - "Miracle" is content to end as a goal-by-goal sports drama - the mystery and method of victory having been removed over time by seemingly weekly ESPN features - and as a character study of the team's coach, Herb Brooks, a stoic who funneled his creativity into weave plays.
There is a reason coach portraits are generally on the dry side. Coaches are generally dry men. And Brooks, played by Kurt Russell, was arid and driven - shunning the U.S. Olympic committee in crafting his team, relegating his assistant (Noah Emmerich) to a whistle-blowing stooge, applying mind tricks to his blue collar squad of players. Russell gets inside Brooks - his tics, body language and "Fargo" accent - to create a decent, winning man, repressed but ambitious, given to celebrating (or genuflecting or even smiling) in private. Brooks' moral rectitude makes for an education - "Miracle" is built for the family library - but the movie is workmanlike and stodgy, too. Were Patricia Clarkson not on hand as "the wife" to jazz up scenes - Clarkson raises domestic performance to a kind of art - Brooks would emerge as an anti-hero.
"Miracle" charts the maturity of Brooks' vision, which is to craft a team as the Russians would, on Communist principles - submerging the I for the team, group punishment for individual discretion, a fiendish devotion to sport. "I'm not looking for the best players," he says. "I'm looking for the right ones." Socialism fails as a government but not as an ethic of sports organization, and the Russians won four consecutive gold medals honing that theory. Brooks goes so far as to make his team unavailable for interviews at the Olympics, although the savior of those Winter Games, goalie Jim Craig (Eddie Cahill), staved off one Russian slapshot after another, opening the door for the Americans to attack the Soviets with a similar offense and deserved at least as much credit as Brooks did, having played nearly every minute for seven months leading into the Lake Placid.
The movie's turning point arrives early: After a subpar performance in Norway, Brooks hauls his team back onto the ice and skates them to exhaustion. Director O'Connor takes a risk here, dragging the scene out beyond all cinematic purpose for a thematic one: Brooks yells "again" well after we would have expected "enough," and yet this gamble works, playing against expectations. Unlike "Seabiscuit," crisply edited into two-minute chunks yet shallow for the choice, Miracle" makes its stand as the lights go out and Brooks nods once more for the whistle. It is the best ten minutes of the film.
"Miracle" employs broadcaster Al Michaels, who announced the original game, to provide voiceover - it doesn't sound like play-by-play, but canned narration (the movie not-so-subtly shifts to his original "Do you believe in Miracles? Yes!" call near the end of the U.S. victory). The hockey scenes are fast and violent, but indistinct; about all we can really gather is that Craig made an enormous number of saves.
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Loved it. Had to hold back the tears a couple times.
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