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Theatrical Release Poster
Directed by Gavin O'Connor
Produced by Mark Ciardi
Gordon Gray
Ross Greenburg
Justis Greene
Jon Mone
Greg O'Connor
Written by Eric Guggenheim
Starring Kurt Russell
Patricia Clarkson
Noah Emmerich
Sean McCann
Kenneth Welsh
Eddie Cahill
Patrick O'Brien Demsey
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date(s) February 6, 2004
Running time 135 min.
Country United States
Language English

Miracle is a 2004 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.


Plot summary

The movie chronicles the journey of the 1980 US Olympic Mens ice hockey team. Then University of Minnesota head coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell) interviews with the United States Olympic Committee, discussing his philosophy on how to beat the Soviet team, calling for changes to the practice schedule and strategy. Brooks meets his assistant coach Craig Patrick at the tryouts in Colorado Springs. However, Brooks selects a preliminary roster of 26 -- later to be cut to a final roster of 20 -- indifferent of the tryouts and the preferences of senior USOC hockey officials. He convinces Walter Bush, the executive director of the committee, that he has their best interests at heart. Bush 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 an old college rivalry. Brooks bluntly tells 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 coach starts the team on an exhausting conditioning drill (which became known as "Herbies"), in which the team sprints together back and forth across the ice, over and over.

During an exhibition game against the Norwegian National Team in Oslo that ends in a 3–3 tie, Brooks notices the players are distracted by pretty girls in the stands and not playing up to their potential. After the game, in a wrenching scene, he makes them run "Herbies" far into the night, asking the team who it was that they played for. Finally exhausted, forward Mike Eruzione responds with the answer that Herb had wanted all along, "I play for the United States of America!" and the drill is over.

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 when the coach brings him to realize that he hasn't been giving his very best.

As the Olympic tournament begins, the Americans trail Sweden 2-1 in the first game. Brooks fires up the team during the break by slamming a table out of his way and accusing injured McClanahan of quitting (Doc had said his injury wouldn't get worse if he played on it.) 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. The game begins and following a slash which doesn't get called a 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 less than one second left in the period - the clock shows 00:00.

During the first intermission the Soviet coach replaces Tretiak with backup Vladimir Myshkin. In the second period the Soviets score a goal to go up 3–2. 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. Later Eruzione enters the game and scores to give the US a 4-3 lead. The entire team skates onto the ice as the crowd celebrates.

Now, however, the US team goes into a defensive mode, as the Soviet team becomes increasingly aggressive to score in the final ten minutes. After a long, intense and suspenseful 10 minutes, the clock ticked down the final few seconds, in which commentator Al Michaels said his now famous words, "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!" The Americans held off the Soviets, and completed one of the biggest (if not the biggest) upset in sports history. As the team proudly celebrates on the ice with the roaring crowd, an obviously emotional, shaken and proud Herb leaves the rink to a small, quiet room to have a few seconds of quiet with himself, to take in what he and the team had just accomplished.

Two days later, the team would then go on to defeat Finland to win the gold medal. The movie ends with Brooks staring out over his team with pride as the entire team crowds together on the gold medal platform.


Actor Role
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
Kenneth Mitchell Ralph Cox
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


  • The story of Boston University's Jack O'Callahan being cheap shot by Minnesota's Rob McClanahan during the 1976 playoffs is fairly accurate. However, it was not McClanahan who gave the cheap shot. In fact, McClanahan was not even playing for Minnesota at the time, as he was still in his senior year of high school. The rivalry between the two at the beginning of the movie was put into the movie for dramatic purposes.
  • The movie was filmed in Canada. According to the DVD commentary, the extras who are shouting "USA, USA" are really Canadians.
  • Over 280 miles of film were shot, more than any other Disney movie.
  • Buzz Schneider was portrayed by his son, Billy Schneider, though when they made the decision as to who would portray Buzz, they didn't know about the father-son relation until after casting Billy.
  • This movie is dedicated to the real Herb Brooks, who was killed in a car crash 6 months before the movie was released. His dedication said, "He never saw it. He lived it".
  • Before the match against Norway, the sentence "Seier'n er vår" (Victory is ours) is heard as the stadium is shown. This is a popular sports related "song" in Norway.
  • The PNE Forum at Hastings Park in Vancouver, British Columbia, served as the location of the final fight in Rocky IV for Rocky Balboa's Soviet bout against Ivan Drago.
  • The scene where Herb Brooks makes the team skate back and forth on the ice all night, after their 3–3 tie with Norway, was actually done by the real actors over a span of three days - 12 hours a day. The director wanted the moment to be as realistic as possible. Also, the events that ended the sprints were altered for the movie. In real life, Mark Johnson ended the drill when he smashed his stick on the side of the rink in frustration. The actors mentioned on the DVD that they all agreed that was their least favorite part of the shoot.
  • Many shots of Lake Placid were actually filmed in Rossland, British Columbia.
  • During filming at a residence of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, rowdy residents disturbed filming by hanging USSR flags in the residence windows, reporting the shoot to the fire marshal, yelling distracting taunts at the actors, and even stealing Kurt Russell's chair.
  • Much of Al Michaels' play-by-play during the "Miracle on Ice" game was re-created for the movie. However the final seconds, featuring the famous "Do you believe in miracles?" call from the actual game, was preserved and edited into the film.
  • The movie remains mostly faithful to the actual events, with few changes. In the second period of the Soviet game, the Russians scored the goal and Craig was injured later in the period. In the movie, the producers combined the two plays into one. The Americans scored their third goal at 8:39 of the third period; in the movie this goal is moved up to 4:45.
  • The shot of the scoreboard during the West Germany game showing the caption "GDR" (the conventional abbreviation for East Germany, used here by the IOC) is historically accurate. The mistake was made at the actual game in 1980. Many viewers mistakenly assume this to be a "goof" in the movie.
  • The Aerosmith song "Dream On" is played in the closing credits.
  • Pacific Coliseum was the arena used in the Madison Square Garden scene.
  • In the bonus features, in an interview, Rob McClanahan says that he never really understood why Brooks acted the way he did towards him during the break of the Sweden game until he saw the scene of the incident in the film.
  • ReelSports was contracted to help make the hockey action look realistic.
  • Russell is right handed and had to learn how to write left handed because Brooks was left handed.


  • Best Sports Movie, ESPY Awards (2004)


External links



Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Miracle is a 2004 American 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.

Directed by Gavin O'Connor. Written by Eric Guggenheim.
If You Believe In Yourself, Anything Can Happen.taglines


Herb Brooks

  • You think you can win on talent alone? Gentlemen, YOU DON'T HAVE ENOUGH TALENT TO WIN ON TALENT ALONE!
  • When you pull on that jersey, you represent yourself and your teammates...and the name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back. Get that through your head. AGAIN!
  • [Addressing the team before the US-USSR game] Great moments...are born from great opportunity. And that's what you have here, tonight, boys. That's what you've earned here tonight. One game. If we played 'em ten times, they might win nine. But not this game, not tonight. Tonight, we skate with them. Tonight, we stay with them...and we shut them down because we can! Tonight, WE are the greatest hockey team in the world. You were born to be hockey players. Every one of you. And you were meant to be here tonight. This is your time. Their time is done. It's over. I'm sick and tired of hearing about what a great hockey team the Soviets have. Screw 'em. This is your time! Now go out there and take it!
  • [Speaking to team during the last timeout in the US-USSR game] Listen to 'em (the crowd chanting U-S-A!). That's what you've done. We've come from behind in every game in this tournament so far and we can do it again. We can beat these guys!
  • [Epilogue voiceover] Two days later, the miracle was made complete. My boys defeated Finland to win the gold medal, coming from behind once again. As I watched them out there, celebrating on the ice, I realized that Patti had been right. It was a lot more than a hockey game, not only for those who watched it, but for those who played in it. I've often been asked in the years since Lake Placid what was the best moment for me. Well, it was here - the sight of 20 young men of such differing backgrounds now standing as one. Young men willing to sacrifice so much of themselves, all for an unknown. A few years later, the U.S. began using professional athletes at the Games - "Dream Teams". I always found that term ironic because now that we have Dream Teams, we seldom ever get to dream. But on one weekend, as America and the world watched, a group of remarkable young men gave the nation what it needed most - a chance, for one night, not only to dream, but a chance, once again, to believe.


[Analyzing the players during the tryouts]
Herb Brooks: Take a look at this.
Craig Patrick: What's this?
Brooks: Twenty-six names. [pause] The tough part will be getting it down to twenty before the opening ceremonies.
Patrick: This is the final roster? You're kidding me, right? This is our first day, Herb. We've got a week of this. What about the advisory staff? Aren't they supposed to have a say in this?
Brooks: Not technically.
Patrick: You're missing some of the best players.
Brooks: I'm not looking for the best players, Craig. I'm looking for the right ones.
Patrick: You have Jim Craig to back up Janaszak?
Brooks: Other way around.
Patrick: Other way around? I'm sorry didn't Janaszak just win you a national championship?
Brooks: Janny is a solid goal tender, but we're not playing for the national championship here, Craig.
Patrick: You know people I speak to say that Craig's game has been off since his mom died.
Brooks: They ever see him when his game's on?

[In the aftermath of OC and McClanahan's fight at a practice game]
Herb Brooks: Well, how 'bout it boys? Look like hockey to you? Looks more like a couple monkeys trying to hump a football to me, I don't know. What do you think Craig?
Craig Patrick: Yeah.
Brooks: You wanna settle old scores, you're on the wrong team. We move forward starting right now. We start becoming a team RIGHT NOW! Skating. Passing. Flow. Creativity. That is what this team is all about, gentlemen, not old rivalries. So, why don't we start with some introductions. You know, get to know each other a little bit. Where you from. Who you are. [looks at McClanahan] Go ahead.
Rob McClanahan: [rolls his eyes] Rob McClanahan. St. Paul, Minnesota.
Brooks: Who do you play for?
McClanahan: I play for you, here at the U.
Brooks: [looks at OC] Jack?
Jack O'Callahan: Jack O'Callahan. Charlestown, Massachusetts. Boston University.
Brooks: [looks at Ralph Cox] Over here.
Ralph Cox: I'm Ralph Cox. I'm from wherever's not gonna get me hit!
Brooks: Very good. Everybody on the line, let's go!

[showing the team a new play]
Herb Brooks: Boom he can hit him. Boom. Boom. Boom. We're opening up options. We've got four options off of one play. Allright. Any questions? [silence] Good, let's go.
Buzz Schneider: What the hell is he talking about?
Rob McClanahan: No clue!

[During a halftime break in the US-Sweden game]
Herb Brooks: This is unbelievable. You guys are playing like this is some throw away game up in Rochester. Who we playing Rammer?
Mike Ramsey: Sweden.
Herb Brooks: Yeah. You're damn [topples a refreshments table] right Sweden! In the Olympics! [Turns to McClanahan] What the hell is wrong with you? Put your gear on! I said put your gear on! Who do you play for?
McClanahan: Doc told me I can't play.
Brooks: Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. You got a bad bruise. You know what, put your street clothes on because I got no time for quitters!
Mike Eruzione: Come on Herb! Nobody is quitting here!
Brooks: You worry about your own game. Plenty there to keep you busy. [to McClanahan] A bruise on the leg is a hell of a long way from the heart, [mutters as he walks away] candy ass.
McClanahan: What'd you call me?
Brooks: You heard me!
McClanahan: You want me to play huh? Is that what you want? [rushes Brooks]
Brooks: I want you to be a hockey player!
Brooks: [walking out of the locker room with McClanahan still screaming while other players calm him down] That'll get him going.
Craig Patrick: Oh yeah. I'll clean up!

[The night before the US-USSR game, Herb and Patty Brooks sit at a park]
Herb Brooks:: I got a telegram from a lady in Texas today, and you know what it said?
Patti Brooks: What?
Herb: "Beat those Commie bastards." We're playing a hockey game against the greatest team in the world, and they're the best that's ever played this game. Why can't we just leave it at that?
Patti: Because this is more than a hockey game to a lot of people.
Herb: Yeah and I keep running through them all. Johnson on Mikhailov. Broten on Petrov. Pav against whoever-Ov. We just ... We don't match up, Patty.
Patti: You might want to skip that when you talk to the boys tomorrow. Herb, there's no disgrace in losing to this team.
Herb: Yeah, I know.
Patti: The important thing is, you got this far.
Herb: The important thing? The important thing is that those twenty boys know in twenty years, they didn't leave anything on the table. They played their hearts out. That's the important thing. [leans over and kisses Patti on the cheek, while she rests her head on his shoulder]


  • What America needed was a miracle. What it got was a hockey game.
  • If you believe in yourself, anything can happen.
  • The story of the greatest moment in sports history.
  • Believe.
  • Their game made them winners. Their spirit made them heroes.
  • Do you believe in miracles?


External links

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