Miracle (2004) is an American biographical sports film about the United States men's hockey team, led by head coach, Herb Brooks, that won the gold medal in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The USA team's victory over the heavily favored Soviet team in the medal round was dubbed the Miracle on Ice. Miracle was directed by Gavin O'Connor and written by Eric Guggenheim.
Brooks meets his assistant coach Craig Patrick at the tryouts in Colorado Springs. However, Brooks has already preselected a preliminary roster of 26 -- later to be cut to a final roster of 20 -- indifferent of the tryouts and the preferences of USOC hockey members. Brooks tells Patrick, "I'm not looking for the best players, I'm looking for the right ones." He convinces Walter Bush, the executive director of the committee that he has the best interests at heart. Brooks says that he selected these 26 players through preparation in advance, talking with coaches and scouts about the players. Bush sides with Brooks and agrees to take the heat from the committee, saying, "I'll back you up on this one."
During the initial practice, tempers flare as forward Rob McClanahan and defenseman Jack O'Callahan get into a fight based on their college rivalry. Brooks lectures the players that they are to let go of old rivalries and start becoming a team. He then calls for introductions, in which each player states his name, his hometown, and for whom he plays. The team begins an exhausting conditioning drill (which became known as "Herbies"), in which the players sprint from the goal line to the other lines and back.
During an exhibition game against the Norwegian National Team in Oslo that ends in a 3–3 tie, Brooks notices the players are distracted and not playing up to their potential. After the game, in a wrenching scene, he makes them run "Herbies" as punishment for their lack of effort. Although the arena empties and the lights are turned off, Brooks continues the brutal drill; several players are on the verge of collapse; Doc Nagobads gets angry and accuses Brooks of sabotaging his players but Brooks wouldn't listen. Finally exhausted forward Mike Eruzione shouts, "Mike Eruzione, (from) Winthrop, Massachusetts;" when Brooks asks him "Who do you play for?," Eruzione responds with the answer that Herb had wanted all along, "I play for the United States of America!" Brooks then concludes the drill.
Brooks also brings in Tim Harrer, a star from Brooks' University of Minnesota team, to test the players commitment. Despite having a good year playing with his current team, the University of Minnesota, some feel Harrer is an obstacle to them making the final roster, but mainly he didn't fit within their "family". Just before the Olympic Games are to begin, Brooks cuts the roster down to the required 20 with Ralph Cox, or "Coxie" as everyone calls him being the last to go. The team plays the Soviets in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden. The Russians manhandle the young American team, winning by a score of 10-3. During the game, O'Callahan receives an injury that could keep him out of the entire Olympics, and starting goaltender Jim Craig is told he may be benched in favor of back-up goalie Steve Janaszak. Craig ends up retaining his starting job.
As the Olympic tournament begins, the Americans trail Sweden, 2-1 in the first game. Brooks fires up the team during the break by accusing injured McClanahan (ignoring Doc's comments about McClanahan being done for the night) of quitting and slamming a table against the wall. McClanahan ends up playing despite his pain, and the inspired American team came through as Bill Baker scores a goal in the final minute for a dramatic 2-2 tie. They follow that up with a 7-3 win over heavily favored Czechoslovakia, then victories over Norway, Romania and West Germany to earn a spot in the medal round.
The Americans are considered overwhelming underdogs to the Soviets in the first medal round game. Before the game Brooks gives the team an inspirational speech in which he tells them, "You were born to be hockey players ... and you were meant to be here tonight.... This is your time. I'm sick and tired of hearing what a great team the Soviets have...screw them!" The game begins and following a questionable uncalled slashing penalty, the Russians score the first goal. Then O'Callahan, having healed enough from his injury, enters the game for the first time. He makes an immediate impact by knocking down Vladimir Krutov on a play that leads to a goal by Buzz Schneider. Following another Soviet goal the first period winds down. In the final seconds the Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak stops a long shot by Dave Christian, but Mark Johnson gets the rebound and scores with one second left in the period. Despite the protests of the Soviet coach, Tikhonov, the goal counts, and the teams leave the ice tied 2–2.
During the first intermission the Soviet coach replaces Tretiak with backup Vladimir Myshkin, causing Brooks to tell his players, "Boys, he's just put the best goaltender in the world on the bench. Give 'em hell." Early in the second period the Soviets score a goal to go up 3–2, and Craig is knocked down on the play. As the third period is about to begin, Brooks calls the team over for one final inspiration, telling them, as the crowd chants "USA, USA" over and over again and says, "Listen to them. That is what you've done here tonight. Now we've come from behind in every game in this tournament, and we can do it again...We can beat these guys!" Early in the final period the Soviet team is called for a penalty, giving the Americans a man advantage. Johnson scores his second goal of the game just as the penalty is about to expire. Television announcer Al Michaels asks his partner Ken Dryden, "A couple of months ago, did you think this was even remotely possible?" Later Eruzione enters the game and scores to give the US a 4-3 lead; it would turn out to be the game-winning goal. The entire team skates onto the ice as the crowd celebrates.
Now, however, the US team goes into a bunker mode, as the Soviet team becomes increasingly aggressive to score in the final ten minutes. As the game winds down, Brooks reminds the team to remain poised and play their game, while the now-desperate Soviet coach unravels and forgets to pull his goalie. In the final seconds Michaels gives his famous exclamation, "Do you believe in miracles?! Yes!!!" The players rush onto the ice in ecstasy and mob USA captain Mike Eruzione and goalie Jim Craig, and Brooks, after receiving a hug from his assistant Craig Patrick, a nod from the Soviet coach, and a smile from wife Patti in the stands, leaves the ice for a moment of solitude. The Americans go on to defeat Finland to clinch the gold medal. The movie ends with Brooks beaming with pride as the entire team crowds together on the gold medal platform.
|Kurt Russell||Herb Brooks|
|Patricia Clarkson||Patti Brooks|
|Noah Emmerich||Craig Patrick|
|Sean McCann||Walter Bush|
|Kenneth Welsh||Doc Nagobads|
|Eddie Cahill||Jim Craig|
|Patrick O'Brien Demsey||Mike Eruzione|
|Michael Mantenuto||Jack O'Callahan|
|Nathan West||Rob McClanahan|
|Eric Peter-Kaiser||Mark Johnson|
|Bobby Hanson||Dave Silk|
|Joseph Cure||Mike Ramsey|
|Billy Schneider||Buzz Schneider|
|Nate Miller||John Harrington|
|Chris Koch||Mark Pavelich|
|Kris Wilson||Phil Verchota|
|Stephen Kovalcik||Dave Christian|
|Sam Skoryna||Steve Janaszak|
|Pete Duffy||Bob Suter|
|Nick Postle||Bill Baker|
|Casey Burnette||Ken Morrow|
|Scott Johnson||Steve Christoff|
|Trevor Alto||Neal Broten|
|Joe Hemsworth||Mark Wells|
|Robbie MacGregor||Eric Strobel|
|Kenneth Mitchell||Ralph Cox|