Release Date: February 20th, 2004
I first saw Miracle about eight or ten years ago. I watched it because I like hockey as a sport and the back of the DVD case made it sound like a interesting movie about a team that beat its biggest competitor in the Olympics. I wasn't born yet when the events of this movie took place but I can gather from the movie and other articles I've read that this was a pretty big deal at the time. Since the 2022 Winter are in full swing right now, I decided to watch this movie again. After watching it again, I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first time.
Miracle is about how the 1980 USA men's hockey team beat the Russian team during the 1980 Winter Olympics. At the time, Russia was the dominant team for the past four Olympics games and in 1980 the winter games were being held in the United States. Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell), a former player and a three time NCAA championship winning coach, is hired to coach the USA team. Herb has a new training method that he feels will be able to get his players ready to compete with the Russian team. After assembling his hand picked team of players, he starts the long process of getting them ready for the Olympic games which are under a year away.
For most of the movie, Herb is working on taking a team of college players and getting them ready to be Olympic champions. Most of these players either played together or against each other, so the real goal was getting everyone to play together as a team. The movie also focused on how Herb worked on getting the team ready using his hybrid training method which while rough at first, payed off at the end. The team is still getting it together when the Olympics start but by the time they get to the Russian team they are ready to compete with them. I really liked the final part of the movie going against the Russian team. While I already knew the USA team won, the movie still kept me engaged during the whole thing.
I thought Kurt Russell did an excellent job in this movie. Before this I had never seen him in anything but action movies so seeing him in a non action role was a big change. I thought all of the acting in the movie was pretty good. I also liked the pacing of the movie and I didn't find myself looking at my watch hoping I was near the end of the movie. The movie starts right with the hiring of Herb Brooks and keeps everything moving forward at a good pace right through the end of the movie.
Miracle recreates an important part in US sports history and while I'm sure a few parts were enhanced for Hollywood, the fact is the USA beat a team they were not supposed to beat. The fact that they did this against the Russian team, during the cold war and on US soil during the Olympics just makes this moment the national event it became. I felt the movie captured the importance of this event for people like me who were not around when it happened. I can see myself watching this movie again not just during the Winter Olympics but whenever I want to because besides being a movie about a big historical sporting event, it's a good sports movie. It's another example of when you put the work into a plan, execute the plan and have a little luck, great things can be achieved.