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Miracle (2004)
Starring Kurt Russell, Eddie Cahill, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich
based on the 1980 U.S. Olympic Ice Hockey Team and Their Victory Over the Soviet Union at the Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York
Reel Face: Real Face:
Kurt Russell Kurt Russell
17, 1951
Herb Brooks Herb Brooks
August 5,
Birthplace: St.
Paul, Minnesota
Died: August 11,
Patrick O'Brien Demsey Patrick
Mike Eruzione Mike Eruzione
25, 1954

Miracle on Ice 1980 Olympic Hockey TeamMORE TEAM REEL FACES:

Click For Actor/Player Photos

"You know, Willie Wonka said it best: We are the makers of dreams, the dreamers of dreams. We should be dreaming. We grew up as kids having dreams, but now we're too sophisticated as adults, as a nation. We stopped dreaming. We should always have dreams. I'm a dreamer." - Herb Brooks

Questioning the Story:

Are all of the players in the film based on real members of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team?
Yes. All of the players in the film, from the captain Mike Eruzione (Patrick O'Brien Demsey) to the goalie Jim Craig (Eddie Cahill), were based on actual players. The assistant coach Craig Patrick (Noah Emmerich) is a real person as well. You can see more Reel Face - Real Face photos here.

Was Buzz Schneider really played by his son in the film? (touch pic below)
Yes. Minnesota native Buzz Schneider, who scored team USA's first goal in their 1980 upset over the Soviet Union, was portrayed by his twenty-two year-old real life son Billy Schneider. Billy is currently studying business management at the University of Minnesota, the same school where his father played college hockey. Billy played hockey from pee-wees to high school, but his height held him back. He grew to enjoy baseball also, and in 1999 he played in the Legion World Series. Billy played baseball in college until an injury forced him to quit. -Disney

Had any of the actors actually played hockey before in real life?
Yes. The majority of the actors in the film who made up the 1980 Olympic team had significant prior hockey experience.
This included Michael Mantenuto (Jack O'Callahan in the film), who was a theater major at the University of Maine, where he also played Division I hockey. Nathan West, who portrayed Robbie McClanahan, had played in the OHL for a season. Nathan also appeared in 2000's Bring It On with Kirsten Dunst and was a hockey playing extra in Mighty Ducks 2. Patrick O'Brien Demsey (Mike Eruzione) played college hockey for two years, and Eric Peter-Kaiser (Mark Johnson) was a drama student at Potsdam University NY where he was playing Division 3 college hockey.

Did Herb Brooks really miss his chance to play in the Winter Olympics in 1960?
Herb Brooks 1960 OlympicsYes. Brooks was the last person to be cut by coach Jack Riley from the 1960 gold medal winning U.S. Olympic team. At right is a photo of Herb Brooks in his shortly worn 1960 Olympic attire (click to enlarge). Brooks did however later play in the Olympic games in 1964, and he was the captain in 1968. -ESPN.com

How did the U.S. victory over the Russians and subsequent Olympic Gold Medal at Lake Placid in 1980 become known as the "Miracle On Ice"?
The "Miracle On Ice" catchphrase took hold after sportscaster Al Michaels exclaimed, "Do you believe in miracles?" just after the final seconds winded down in the United States' 4-3 victory over Russia. -Disney

What was the national reaction to the United States 1980 victory?
Herb Brooks and Johnny CarsonThe Miracle on Ice was a monumental victory on both an athletic and political level. The nation was looking for a distraction from world events, which included the impending threat of nuclear war, the country's hostages in Iran, and the long lines at the gas pumps. With little good in the news, Herb Brooks and his ragtag hockey team of college kids soon became the national focus. Their victory over the Soviet Union, our Cold War enemy, gave the United States a symbol of hope. It also inflicted upon the Russians a scar of defeat. The players became celebrities, and still remain national heroes. Even U.S. coach Herb Brooks enjoyed the limelight a little. He dropped in for an unannounced appearance on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson on February 27, 1980 (above, right - click to enlarge).

Did any of the players from the 1980 U.S. Olympic team go on to play in the NHL?
Yes. Sixteen of the twenty-seven players from the 1980 Olympic team went on to play in the NHL. See a list of the players and their NHL teams.

Did Herb Brooks ever coach another Olympic hockey team after 1980?
Yes. Herb Brooks first returned to the Olympics in 1998, coaching the French team at the Nagano Games. Then, in 2002, Herb Brooks coached the U.S. Olympic hockey team at the Winter Games in Salt Lake City. To begin the Games, Mike Eruzione led other members of the 1980 Olympic team in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremony. At Salt Lake City, Brooks led the U.S. team to a silver medal, defeated in the final game by Mario Lemieux and the rest of team Canada, who were coached by hockey legend Wayne Gretzky. When asked why he decided to return to coach at the Olympics, Herb Brooks said the following, "Maybe I'm sort of like the players -- there's still a lot of little boy in me," Brooks said. "And maybe I'm a little smarter now than I was before for all the stupid things I've done." - olympic-usa.org

Did Herb Brooks ever coach in the NHL?

Yes. Following his 1980 Olympic victory at Lake Placid, Herb Brooks coached the New York Rangers (1981-85). There he set a franchise record, reaching 100 wins quicker than any other coach in the organization's history. After leaving the Rangers, Brooks coached the Minnesota North Stars (1987-88), the New Jersey Devils (1992-93), and the Pittsburgh Penguins (1999-00). - olympic-usa.org

What were the details surrounding Herb Brooks' death?
Brooks Accident SceneOn Monday August 11, 2003, just six days after his sixty-sixth birthday, while on his way to the Minneapolis airport to board a flight to Chicago, Herb Brooks lost control of his minivan and veered onto a grassy area at a highway intersection north of the Twin Cities. Chucke Menke of USA Hockey said that Brooks was coming from a Hall of Fame celebrity golf event. State Patrol Lt. Chuck Walerius said that an inspection of the accident scene (above, right) revealed that Brooks had apparently not been wearing his seatbelt. His body was found about forty yards from the vehicle, which is thought to have rolled several times. Anoka County coroner's office said that Brook's died of multiple blunt-force chest and abdominal injuries when he was ejected from his vehicle (ESPN.com). The State Patrol's report confirmed Brooks wasn't drinking, speeding, talking on his cell phone or having health trouble before the crash. Officials also said that weather and road conditions were ruled out as contributing factors. The State Patrol concluded that he most likely fell asleep at the wheel (news.mpr.org). The following morning after the accident a makeshift memorial could be seen at the site of the wreck. Commuters slowed down to pay their respects, spotting the hockey jersey and the University of Minnesota hat on the side of the road. - olympic-usa.org

Did Herb Brooks know about the Disney movie Miracle before he died?
Yes. Brooks had visited the sets of Miracle around Vancouver, British Columbia. He had spoken with the actor portraying him on the big screen, Kurt Russell. He talked to Russell about possibly watching a game in which Russell's son played, who is a Tier II goaltender. - Post-Gazette.com

Were any other movies ever made about the Miracle on Ice?
Disney's Miracle wasn't the first movie to depict the 1980 U.S. victory at Lake Placed. In 1981, the TV movie Miracle On Ice aired with actor Karl Malden portraying Herb Brooks and Steve Guttenberg as goalie Jim Craig. The movie is not currently available to buy online, but keep an eye open for it on TV.

1980 Miracle On Ice Game Footage:
Watch the end of the real 1980 Miracle On Ice Olympic hockey game where we hear Al Michaels utter one of the most famous lines in sports history, "Do you believe in miracles!?" Also, check out video footage of Mike Eruzione scoring the game winning goal.