February 6, 2004
Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich,
Sean McCann, Eddie Cahill, Patrick OBrien Demsey, Michael
Mantenuto, and Nathan West
Mark Ciardi and Gordon Gray
Justis Greene and Ross Greenburg
Walt Disney Pictures/Buena Vista/Walt
the Miracle on Ice
CBN.com Producer Chris Carpenter remembers the 1980 U.S.
Olympic Hockey team; a band of ragtag misfit hockey players
from the college and minor league ranks who restored Ameican
pride to a nation that had seemingly lost it.
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By Ted Baehr
Publisher, MovieGuide Magazine
Miracle is a splendid, inspirational re-telling of the U.S. hockey
teams victorious play at the 1980 Olympic games in Lake Placid, New
York. Kurt Russell gives perhaps his best performance as Coach Herb Brooks,
who led the team to victory.
Miracle opens with historical footage from the demonstrations against
the Vietnam War in the late 1960s to the Watergate scandal in 1974 to the
hostage crisis in Iran during 1979-1980. This footage sets the stage for the
lack of confidence and hope that Americans began to feel for their future
after a decade of heart-rending social and political problems. Herb Brooks
is not thinking about these things, however, when he takes the reins of the
U.S. Ice Hockey team in the summer of 1979. He wants to make amends for the
terrible losses the team faced in 1976. He also wants to make up for being
cut 20 years ago from the 1960 U.S. Olympic team that went on to win the gold
medal. Coach Brooks figures that the only to make a good showing is by learning
a fusion of the Canadian brand of hockey and the style played by the Soviet
team, which was back then considered the fastest, most formidable hockey team
to ever play the game.
After choosing 26 young men to compete for 20 spots on the team, Coach Brooks
puts them through a grueling seven months of conditioning and training. It
looks like all has gone for naught when, in an exhibition game just before
the Olympics, the Soviet team beats the U.S. team 10-3. Later, however, with
the whole world watching, the American team rises to the occasion, prompting
broadcaster Al Michaels to exclaim, Do you believe in miracles? Yes!
The exciting victory over the invincible Soviet team, products of a Communist
program, inspired a renewed spirit of confidence and hope in Americans in
1980. One could argue, in fact, that it helped set the stage for the Reagan/Bush
administrations ultimate political victory over the Soviet Union and
Eastern Europe in 1989-1991 and the tearing down of the Berlin Wall and the
Iron Curtain. The brilliant policies of President Ronald Reagan and pressure
from Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox Christians living in
Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union also fired the way to Liberty. Of course,
God was the ultimate cause and it is telling that the culmination of the Collapse
of Soviet-style Communism came during the Christmas season of 1991 as the
world celebrated the birth of its lord and savior Jesus Christ.
Vital to the success of Miracle is Kurt Russells impressive
performance as Coach Brooks. Russell makes viewers identify with Coach Brooks
determination to mold his team, even when Coach Brooks seems to go too far
or the inevitable bumps in the road occur.
Director Gavin OConnor and his crew also do a masterful job of re-creating.
Its like watching instant replays of the original games themselves.
Best of all, Miracle shows that the success of the 1980 hockey team
was not just some fluke or happy coincidence, but was the result of hard work,
persistence, and detailed preparation. Hard work builds confidence and breeds
its own success. Or, to put it another way, no pain, no gain.
In a similar fashion, there is no gain of eternal life in Heaven with God
without the painful sacrifice of Jesus Christs death on the Cross. Every
man and woman can have hope when they place their trust and confidence in
Note: Regrettable, Coach Brooks died in a tragic car accident last year.
As the epilogue to the movie says, He never saw it. He lived it.
NOTE from Dr. Ted Baehr, publisher of Movieguide Magazine: For more information
from a Christian perspective, order the latest Movieguide Magazine by
calling 1-800-899-6684(MOVI) or visit our website at www.movieguide.org.
Movieguide is dedicated to redeeming the values of Hollywood by informing
parents about today's movies and entertainment and by showing media executives
and artists that family-friendly and even Christian-friendly movies do best
at the box office year in and year out. Movieguide now offers an online
subscription to its magazine version, at www.movieguide.org.
The magazine, which comes out 25 times a year, contains many informative articles
and reviews that help parents train their children to be media-wise consumers.
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