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
Born: August 5,
Died: August 11,
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)
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
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?
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
to enlarge). Brooks did however later play in
the Olympic games in 1964, and he was the captain in 1968.
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
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
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
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?
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
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.