If you're a film aficionado who happens to love sports, be sure to check out some of the top hockey movies of all time. These movies portray everything from family-friendly fantasy to gritty violence. However, they all share the positive themes of overcoming obstacles and pushing forward to victory.
In this 1977 film, Paul Newman stars as Reg Dunlop, the coach of a bottom-of-the-barrel minor league hockey team called the Charleston Chiefs. With the exception of Princeton graduate Ned Braden (played by Michael Ontkean), Dunlop's players are pessimistic and shiftless. Everything changes, however, when the Chiefs acquire the three Hanson brothers. With the help of the Hansons' tough playing style, the team is able to rise to the top and gain the approval of local fans. This hockey classic is definitely worth watching, but those viewing it for the first time should be forewarned that it contains some obscene language.
This 1992 Disney movie has always been a favorite among families with kids. In the film, Emilio Estevez plays Gordon Bombay, a lawyer who has been assigned to coach a poorly-performing children's hockey team as part of a community service sentence. Bombay is at first reluctant to lead the team, but he comes to form a bond with the children and bolster their hockey-playing skills. As he builds up the team and leads it to victory, Bombay is forced to come to terms with a humiliating incident that occurred in his own hockey-playing days. The Mighty Ducks has been extremely popular since its original release and has even inspired two sequels.
This 2004 release is based on real events. Set during the 1980 Olympic Games, it recaptures the monumental success of U.S. hockey coach Herb Brooks (portrayed by Kurt Russell). Under Brooks' leadership, the U.S. team managed to defeat the Soviet Union against all odds. Miracle allows viewers to relive this underdog victory that filled Americans with pride during the Cold War. It also serves as a memorial tribute to Brooks, who died the year before it was released.
This 2005 movie chronicles the journey of French Canadian hockey star Maurice Richard (portrayed by Roy Dupuis), who played for the Montreal Canadiens from 1942 to 1960. The film follows Richard ("The Rocket") as he overcomes numerous injuries and proves his immense athletic talent on the ice. It also seeks to demonstrate how much discrimination French Canadians faced in the National Hockey League, which was dominated by English speakers. Richard still remains a hero among French Canadians, and this film shows how his no-nonsense attitude elevated him to that status.
In this 1937 film, John Wayne abandons his usual cowboy role and plays a former hockey player named Johnny Hansen, who is forced to begin playing again as a result of financial difficulties. Hansen leads his team to playoff contention, but faces serious challenges from some gangsters as he strives to achieve the ultimate win. Of course, Hansen faces some romantic distraction in the course of the film as well.