countdown boutiques-francophones Learn more scflyout Pets All-New Kindle sports Tools Registry

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Format: DVD|Change
Price:$4.88+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on July 13, 2004
I'm not a big fan of spectator sports. A group of guys batting, kicking and/or hitting a ball around a field doesn't do much for me, usually. But one time when guys, pucks and sticks made me cheer, as I sat riveted to my TV screen, was during the 1980 Olympic "Miracle."
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.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 4, 2004
"Miracles" starring Kurt Russell is riveting. I saw the original game and although I am not a huge hockey fan, this movie kept me on the edge of my seat. (Even though I KNEW how it would turn out.)
Kurt Russell is brilliant in this movie in such an understated way. He has the accent and mannerisms of Brooks down pat!
The truth was that the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team was so bad (in comparison to the Soviets who were so good because they had professional players) - that none of the other coaches really wanted to take the job. Brooks had something to prove at the Olympics, however.
And yes, this is a "feel-good" movie. It shows our country during a time when everyone banded together to pull for a team that seemingly didn't have a chance. Our country had been enemies with the Soviet Union for 30+ years at that time and we were very angry that the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan. This was MORE than about a hockey game! It was about national pride.
What I liked so much was that it wasn't some story that shows superhuman odds. Rather, it showed incredibly hard work and the adage that Brooks stated to his team, that basically the Soviets were a better team; they could play the Soviets 10 games and the Soviets would certainly win 9 out of the 10 games; but the USA only needed to win ONE GAME against them. This is the story of that one game and the immense dedicatation that led them there.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
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.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 25, 2004
Miracle is a great movie. The opening credits establish the mood of the country going in the 1979 by showing clips of the oil crisis, Viet Nam, the Iran Hostage affair and all of the other things happening in the 1970s. This opening helps the younger viewer realize that the story you are about to see was not only a miracle, but something the country really needed.
Kurt Russell is great as Minnesotan Herb Brooks. He's a tough coach who does in his own way with hockey players of his choosing. All of the players do a superb job on and off the ice. None of the kids are well known actors, but they might be someday. The development of the team chemistry is fun to watch.
The hockey games are fun to watch. This movie has a lot of hockey even before the memorable match with the Soviets. This takes away some of the dramatic effect since there is only so many ways you can portray exciting hockey.
I enjoyed this movie because it is a flag-waving patriotic movie. It doesn't try to be, but by just telling the story as it was, it is an inspring film about a great team and its great coach.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 18, 2004
Being a hockey player I went into this movie a little biased and knew I was going to like it no matter what, and I did. Though I was fairly young at the time this event took place it's nice to know that I can say that I was around when it happened.
Even though you know what the outcome of the final game is going to be, the moive makers did a very good job of creating the suspense of the slow moving clock in the last game. I'm a little dissappointed in the ending and how they just kind of glossed over the Gold Medal game against Finland like it was less important. There was probably just as much drama in that game that could've been shown as there was in the USA vs USSR game.
If you ever get a chance, watch the HBO documentary special on the 1980 USA hockey team. That has interviews with Herb Brooks and a handful of the players and press people from both sides. It brings tears to my eyes each time I see the US players discribing for themselves how they beat the Soviets. In the HBO special, Herb Brooks talks about being cut from the 1960 USA hockey team at the last hours before the Olympics and how he was sitting with his Dad watching the US win the gold. His dad turned to him and said "It looks like the cut the right guy".
To me, a little flash back in the beginning of the movie showing that would have really played up that stoyline better then the 1980 players just talking about it the locker room.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 18, 2004
"Miracle" is like any other sport movie. The only difference that sets them apart is that their triumph is a remarkable true story. What can only be conceived from the minds of Hollywood is actually the story of the 1980 U.S.A. Olympic hockey team that shocked the world by defeating the insurmountable Russians in the semi-finals, known as "the miracle on ice," and then finishing off Finland for the coveted gold medal. "Miracle" is a typical sport movie but it still succeeds because it avoids most sport clichés.
Another positive note to "Miracle" is that they treat the game of hockey pretty straight forward. The drills and games are shot realistically with no fanciful things. The opposing teams do not have a unique personality but simply ordinary players like the U.S.A. team with an urge to win. Nothing is ever overdone. Moreover, even though we know the fate of the team and the games, the movie does a fabulous job in maintaining suspense. What the movie does do a bad job on is that it knows where it is heading but leaves the audience behind. What stage are they in? What is the importance of this game? Are they qualifying or are they already in there? These were the sorts of question that I asked myself during the courses of their game.
In spite of all the clichés and mismanagement of certain plot points, Kurt Russell alone is worth the price of admission. It is always fascinating to see an obsessive coach but even more intriguing knowing that he is a real person. "Miracle" certainly is a feel-good movie and it will leave a proud grin in your face. With the wonderful performance of Kurt Russell and a director (Gavin O'Connor) that did his best in directing an original film based on clichés, it is no "miracle" that this movie succeeds.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 23, 2004
Miracle is an inspirational story told without too much Disney fluff, thanks in large part to director Gavin O'Connor. His attention to detail is fantastic. Casting was dead on for this one too. As a Chicago Blackhawks fan, I'd followed the budding career of defenseman, Jack O'Callahan (Michael Mantenuto) who was property of the Hawks at the time. I can honestly say all the actors looked like their real life counterparts, especially the players & coaches of the USA & USSR teams. Hockey plays were re-enacted with incredible precision. After I got done watching it, 1980 didn't seem that long ago. In addition, Miracle offers some of the most dynamic cinematography for a sports movie since Seabiscuit last year. The editing is some of the best I'd ever seen for any movie. It baffles the mind how much film they had to go through to make to this movie with all the multiple camera angles employed. To fully appreciate this endeavor, I would recommend watching the making-of documentary. Also try to listen to the Herb Brooks interview. I say listen because it's shot with a very unsteady handheld camera. I couldn't bear to watch it & quickly turned off the video. What no tripod available? But I digress beacuse that was the only problem I had with this dvds' production. The roundtable discussion was a nice touch. In conclusion, I strongly recommend Miracle to the curious or casual fan alike. For the hockey fanatic, it's probably the best movie depiction of the actual speed of the game... I believe!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 26, 2004
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Cast: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkston, Noah Emmerich, Sean McCann, Kenneth Welsh, Eddie Cahill, Patrick O'Brien Dempsey, Michael Mantenuto.
Running Time: 136 minutes.
Rated PG for some foul language, but film is suitable for entire family.
Although possessing the all-too-similar theme conveyed in all of our society's most popular sports films (such as "Rudy", "Remember the Titans", "Hoosiers", and "Rocky"), the underdog is the easiest character or team to relate to, the only way to root, and the defining winner that is supposed to inspire all of us to strive for the most unreachable, unbelievable goals because "darn it, if they could do it, why can't I?". "Miracle" is no exception, but the reason for its success like the above-mentioned motion pictures is simple-great acting and some excellent sports footage.
"Miracle" stages the incredible story set in 1980 about the over-achieving United States hockey team that shocks the unblemished, dominant Soviet Union squad in the semifinal match of the Olympic tournament (this is certainly not a spoiler; it was one of the most publicized sporting events of the past quarter century). Kurt Russell is excellent as the hard-nosed head coach Herb Brooks, who is determined to take this group of ragtag college hockey jocks to the brink of success because of his own personal misfortune at the Games twenty years before. With his wife (Patricia Clarkston) at his side, Brooks toughens up his group of players as no other coach would dare-putting them through grinding drills, making them skate for hours, and proving to them that being a cohesive team is much more important than talent alone.
The film is exceptionally directed by Gavin O'Connor, who brilliantly links the importance of the win against the Soviet Union with the awful Cold War taking place that had a terror-grip on the world. "Miracle" has only one major flaw-with all the attention on Brooks, there is little characterization of the rest of the supporting cast (namely the players). While there is emphasis on the troubled goalie (Cahill), many other deserving participants are not dually represented in the picture. With this set aside, "Miracle" is a great story that has been told time and time again, but not usually with this much flair and emotion. A suitable presentation for all ages, it is a film that not only stages some excellent hockey sequences and fine performances, but historically conveys the horrors that political hatred can bring, only to show that hard work and hope can win over all.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 14, 2004
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 at the time. Americans are shown to be average folks just trying to get by, many giving up money for one shot at Olympic glory.
Overall, the film is amazingly accurate. From dekes and wristers to hairdos and hope, this movie stays true to formula. The extras are knockout as well.
I highly recommend this movie. The language isn't too bad(a cuss word here or there), and it has a great message of hope to it. Don't blow this off as another "hockey movie." "Slapshot" this ain't.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 18, 2004
What an amazing event that took place in 1980, and what an amazing story. I was only six years old when the game took place, but was unable to watch it on TV. The Cold War was still at its height. I recall as a kid we sometimes played a war type game and usually the imaginary enemy was the Soviets. I'm sure the kids growing up in the Soviet Union where playing war against the imaginary American enemy too.
This movie shows how Herb Brooks molded this group of young men from different colleges and backgrounds into the US Olympic Hockey Team. Not just a group of men that would play hockey in the Olympics, but a true Team! At the same time the movie gives us a since of what political events where taking place, and the low moral that Americans felt at that time. The action scenes on the rink really made us feel that we are there, not only in the stands watching, but actually on the rink. They used awesome camera shots. Although we know the outcome of the game, watching it can put you on the edge of your seat. And when the final buzzer ends the game, you can really feel the pride and happiness that people at Lake Placid and also people at home watching felt back in 1980. What a moral boost!
Winning a hockey game can seem very trivial, but this win was something we Americans needed. The pride and moral boost that it gave us was a very welcome gift. And maybe, just maybe, this hockey game was what helped start the thaw in the Cold War. Today the Soviet Union is no more, and Russia can be called a friend. Maybe this game did have a small role in that.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse