This is a feel good movie, a biopic sports flick based on an actual event that took place in 1980. Ah the 80’s! Miracle is about the “Miracle on Ice”; the US Men’s Hockey team, made up of 20 young college & university players, going on to beat the mighty & powerful Soviet squad of established stars enroute to winning the Olympic Gold at the Lake Placid Games of 1980. They were coached by the legendary Herb Brooks. The opening credits feature a montage of the 1970s, depicting events such as Watergate and the Iran hostage crisis. Then University of Minnesota head coach Herb Brooks interviews with the United States Olympic Committee, discussing his philosophy on how to beat the Soviet team. Despite the fact that they seem very skeptical of his ambitious goal, Brooks is hired. He would go on to state that he had already selected 26 of the players out of which only 20 would get to be in the final squad to represent the United States. In spite of the obvious USA glorification (the “USA, USA” chant is so annoying! Grow up!) and the predictability (tough love shelling out coach, team responds and inspirational music plays as good ole’ America wins, it still is a good movie. Plus it is about hockey, the coolest game on Earth & elsewhere. I would watch a movie based on hockey even it was a 6 on 6 movie about African bush people!!
The team goes through an initial adjustment period – most of the players don;t know each other. A fight breaks out among forward Rob McClanahan and defenseman Jack O’Callahan based on their college rivalry. Brooks lectures the players that they are to let go of old rivalries and start becoming a team. He tortures them after they were distracted and staring at girls while playing a 3-3 draw against Norway in a friendly. Finally he gets what he wants from the player : that they play for their country & for their team. Like he says “The name on the front is a hellofa lot more important than the one on the back”!
O’Callahan gets injured in a warmup game against the Soviets, which the American lose 3 to 7. The players, now with a vigorous team spirit, draw with Sweden in the first game at the Olympics. Their important player, McClanahan, hurts his knee but an argument with coach Brooks entices him to play. They beat the Czechoslovakian team 7-3 and follow it up with victories over Romania and West Germany to earn a spot in the medal round. Up in the semis awaits the Russians. An exciting games ends up in a 4-3 win for the boys in the red, white & blue and they go on to beat Finland in the finals to win gold. It was considered one of the greatest moments in American sports history. You can really enjoy the movie, if you ignore the cliches – but hey, if it were a basketball or NFL movie it would be intolerable!! 8 out of 10!