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10 Best Hockey Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

10 Best Hockey Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

(Photo by Magnet Releasing/courtesy Everett Collection)

Let’s talk about the sport that combines sharp blades, blunt sticks, 100-mile-per-hour pucks, and regularly scheduled fistfights. You’d think hockey and Hollywood would go together like and ice and blood, but that sport-to-movie pipeline is still being built, and we’re still a ways off before movies about hockey can compete with football, basketball, baseball, and Jamaican bobsledding.

We’ll start with the 10 best-reviewed hockey movies, with Certified Fresh films at the top. Red Army is a Soviet-focused documentary, especially on the five players that played for the Detroit Wings in the 1990s. (This so-called Russian Five got their own doc of the same name in 2018.) But if you want to see the Soviets get beaten, then check out 2004’s Miracle, which re-stages the U.S. Olympic hockey team victory at the legendary 1980 match.

Goon captures the day-to-day essence of hockey (an accolade typically shared with 1977’s Slap Shot) and an empathically comedic look at the enforcer, a position further explored in doc Ice Guardians.

Hockeyland highlights the role of the sport in a small Minnesota town. And you can’t go this long talking about hockey without mentioning Canada, as YoungbloodThe Rocket 9, and Indian Horse will attest.  Alex Vo

Red Army

#1 Red Army (2014)

Critics Consensus: Fun and fascinating, Red Army delivers absorbing documentary drama for hockey fans and sports novices alike.

Synopsis: Hockey captain Slava Fetisov and four other players form a nearly unbeatable unit known as the "Russian Five," but their coach's brutal regimen leads Fetisov and others to defect from the Soviet Union.

Starring: Scotty BowmanViacheslav FetisovAnatoli KarpovAlexei Kasatono

Directed By: Gabe Polsky


#2 Miracle (2004)

Critics Consensus: Kurt Russell's performance guides this cliche-ridden tale into the realm of inspirational, nostalgic goodness.

Synopsis: When college coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell) is hired to helm the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic hockey team, he brings a unique and brash style to the ice. After assembling a team of hot-headed college all-stars, who are humiliated in an early match, Brooks unites his squad against a common foe, the heavily-favored Soviet team. As the U.S. squad tries to overcome insurmountable odds and win the gold medal, the team becomes a microcosm for American patriotism during the Cold War.

Starring: Kurt RussellPatricia ClarksonNoah EmmerichSean McCann

Directed By: Gavin O'Connor


#3 Goon (2011)

Critics Consensus: Goon is a crude slapstick comedy with well-formed characters and a surprising amount of heart.

Synopsis: Though a misfit among his brainy family members, Massachusetts bouncer Doug Glatt (Seann William Scott) has a knockout punch that lands him a spot on a minor-league Canadian hockey team.

Starring: Seann William ScottJay BaruchelAlison PillMarc-André Grondin

Directed By: Michael Dowse

10 Best Hockey Movies Ranked by Tomatometer

#4 The Russian Five (2018)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: In the late 1980s, the Detroit Red Wings work to finally break their decadeslong Stanley Cup drought by extracting players from the Soviet Union, and in the process, they change the way North American hockey is played.

Starring: Jeff DanielsSergei FedorovViacheslav FetisovWayne Gretzky

Directed By: Joshua Riehl

Ice Guardians

#5 Ice Guardians (2016)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Hockey enforcers struggle to rise through the professional ranks as the role slowly disappears from the game.

Starring: Jay BaruchelBrett HullChris CheliosDave "The Hammer" Schultz

Directed By: Brett Harvey


#6 Hockeyland (2021)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Minnesota is the heartland of US hockey, creating more skaters--on the local rinks and in the NHL--than any other state. Here, the senior boys of rival towns--one an emerging dynasty, the other with a fabled past--face down uncertain futures as they skate for a last chance to etch their names into local lore. Where Texas football has Friday Night Lights, Minnesota high school hockey has Hockeyland.

Starring: Blake Biondi

Directed By: Tommy Haines

Slap Shot

#7 Slap Shot (1977)

Critics Consensus: Raunchy, violent, and very funny, Slap Shot is ultimately set apart by a wonderful comic performance by Paul Newman.

Synopsis: In the small New England town of Charlestown, the local mill is about to lay off 10,000 workers. The town's minor league hockey team, the Charlestown Chiefs, is doing no better. After years of failure, this will be the team's last season. Exasperated player and coach Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) lets the club's recent acquisitions, the Hanson Brothers, play. The brothers' actively violent and thuggish style of play excites the fans. Dunlop retools the team, using violence to draw big crowds.

Starring: Paul NewmanMichael OntkeanLindsay CrouseStrother Martin

Directed By: George Roy Hill

Indian Horse

#8 Indian Horse (2017)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: A Canadian First Nations boy survives in a residential school in the 1970s.

Starring: Sladen PeltierForrest GoodluckAjuawak KapashesitMichiel Huisman

Directed By: Stephen S. Campanelli

The Rocket

#9 The Rocket (2005)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Working-class Quebecois hockey player Maurice Richard (Roy Dupuis) becomes a hero to French Canadians as he stars for the famous Montreal Canadiens in the 1940s and '50s. One of the few French players in an English league, Richard has a chip on his shoulder and suffers subtle racial discrimination at the hands of the owner and other players. When his temper boils over during a game in Boston, he is suspended by league president Clarence Campbell (Tedd Dillon), and his fans riot in the streets.

Starring: Roy DupuisPatrice RobitailleMichel BarrettePascal Dupuis

Directed By: Charles Binamé


#10 Youngblood (1986)

Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.

Synopsis: Dean Youngblood (Rob Lowe) is an exceptionally skilled young ice hockey player trying to make a name in the Canadian Junior Hockey circuit and impress scouts from the National Hockey League. However, he becomes bullied by goon Carl Racki (George Finn), a dirty player who has injured Dean's teammate and friend, Derek (Patrick Swayze). After Dean returns to his childhood home deflated, his father (Eric Nesterenko) tries to toughen up the hockey prodigy for a rematch with Racki.

Starring: Rob LoweCynthia GibbPatrick SwayzeEd Lauter

Directed By: Peter Markle


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