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Discussion Guide: Miracle


Movie Synopsis

Filled with exhilarating nonstop hockey action and heart-racing suspense, MIRACLE is the inspiring true story behind one of the greatest moments in sports history - the 1980 United States ice hockey team's triumphant Olympic victory against the Soviet Union. Kurt Russell gives a brilliant performance as the dynamic and determined coach Herb Brooks, who had an impossible dream -- beat the seemingly unbeatable Soviets at their own game. Starting with a handpicked group of 26 undisciplined kids, Brooks coached them to play like they never played before, and turned 20 of them into a team that believed they could achieve the unachievable -- and in the process, united a nation with a new feeling of hope.

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Discussion Questions

  1. After the exhibition game near the beginning of the movie ends in a tie game, Herb Brooks has his team skate conditioning drills late into the night, ending them only after he is satisfied they realize who it is they are playing for. Why does this work with this level of athlete? Could it have backfired?
  2. When Herb Brooks flips over the table in the locker room and accuses his team of quitting on each other, the players respond with renewed fire in the latter portion of the game. Could he have achieved this same effect with a different method?
  3. The players on the U.S. team all come together against a common enemy (the Soviets) in the movie. What are the positive and negative effects of doing this?
  4. What traits of a positive coach does Herb Brooks display? Does he display any traits you wouldn’t expect to see from a positive coach?
  5. The amount of physical and mental extremes the players in Miracle go to are incredible. Why are athletes willing to push themselves like this?

What Parents Need To Know

Parents need to know that Miracle is a 2004 movie based on the true story of the unlikely Gold Medal victory of the United States hockey team during the 1980 Winter Olympics. Unsurprisingly, there's frequent hockey violence during the games and during a practice in which two players who went to rival colleges throw down the gloves and get into a fistfight on the ice. Coach Brooks allows the fight to go on so the rival players can get their hatred for each other out of their system and they can start working together as teammates. While there is certainly a "Hollywood" feel to what was an extraordinary event, the movie also pulls no punches in showing the intense training and practice regimen Coach Brooks put his players through; after a loss before the Olympics begin, Brooks has his players skate a drill in which they skate as fast as they can from the goal line to the blue line and back until some begin to fall or vomit from exhaustion. Occasional profanity includes ""ass," "bastards," and "hell." During a hockey match before the Olympics at Madison Square Garden, fans unfurl a banner that reads, "Soviets Get the Puck Out of Afghanistan." Overall, this is an inspiring presentation of a team who transcended their sport and helped make Americans believe in themselves and their country again.

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Our partner, Positive Coaching Alliance, provides a collection of movie discussion guides, which aim to help you make the most out of movie viewing with your team or child. Movies provide many of "teachable moments" parents can share with their young athletes helping them be successful, contributing members of society.

Sports in this article

Ice Hockey