The story of the 1980 U.S. hockey team. In February of 1980, amidst growing Cold War fears, the U.S. hockey team created an unforgettable moment of national pride when they miraculously beat the Soviets o the ice-a win sel... more »ected by Sports Illustrated as the #1 sports moment of the century. Revisiting Lake Placid twenty-one years later, Do You Believe in Miracles? takes a look at the team's emotional climb to gold while exploring the tumultuous political and social landscape of the time. Interviews include U.S. players Jim Craig and Mike Eruzione, coach Herb Brooks, Soviet Players Vladislav Tretiak and Boris Mihailov, American hostage Barry Rosen, and Broadcaster Al Michaels. * Actors: Craig R. Whitney, Walter Mondale, John Powers (VII), Jack O'Callahan, John Harrington (VI) * Format: Closed-captioned, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC * Language: English, Spanish * Number of discs: 1 * Studio: Hbo Home Video * DVD Release Date: January 8, 2002 * Run Time: 60 minutes« less
"I was only five when the U.S. beat the vaunted hockey juggernaut from the U.S.S.R., but the memory is one of the most distinct that I have from my early childhood. Of course at the time I couldn't appreciate the full significance of the victory, but as I've grown older I've become more and more impressed by what occurred. This just wasn't a hockey game, it was great power politics played out on ice, and if you think otherwise, just watch this disc.That's what makes this such an intriguing documentary, in addition to the expected player background and game highlights, and of course Al Michael's famous call, the state of the world in 1979-80 is examined. What is revealed in the process is that literally nothing had gone right for the U.S. in the year leading up to the Olympics. The Iran hostages, the invasion of Afghanistan, oil shortages, etc., etc. Then, along came a group of college kids playing a sport that most Americans knew nothing about, and they started something amazing: people started getting excited about being Americans again.For at least a little while, they were America's team, and the whole country's hopes and fears were placed squarely on their backs. And lo and behold, they delivered in a situation where no rational observer would have expected anything but defeat.Perhaps I'm being overly sentimental, but even if you're only interested in the hockey, this is a great disc. The background material on the players, coach and the team as a whole is superb. Moreover, the build-up to the Olympics is deftly handled; such that by the time the viewer reaches Lake Placid the tension is unbearable.My only complaint, which I've seen in other reviews, is that the entire game is not included on the disc. This is not a particularly long documentary, and there aren't any DVD bonus features, so there would have been more than enough room. Ultimately, though, that's a small complaint about an otherwise superb documentary. This is a must have for any hockey fan...or student of international politics!"
One of the Best Documentaries Around
Jason Waldman | Laguna Niguel, CA, USA | 03/04/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is simply the most moving sports documentary I've ever seen. Produced by HBO, this chronicles the journey of the 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team from unknowns to national heroes."Do You Believe in Miracles?" follows the team from the tryouts in 1979 through the exhibitions they played, including the one against the Russians in Madison Square Garden, and finally, the triumph over the Russians and the Finns to win the gold medal. It includes interviews with head coach Herb Brooks and several players, including team captain Mike Eruzione, goalie Jim Craig, and defenseman Mike Ramsey. But the documentary also does an excellent job chronicling the feeling of America before and after the U.S. won the gold, including the low feelings after the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and during the Iranian hostage crisis. One of the most fascinating interviews in the whole thing is with Barry Rosen, one of the hostages, who didn't find out about the Olympics until returning home months later.Of course the highlight of "Do You Believe in Miracles?" is the victory over the Soviets. The documentary uses footage from the network telecast for the highlights, including the calls from Al Michaels (who is also interviewed here). If you don't tear up when Eruzione scores or when Michaels shouts "Do You Believe in Miracles?", something's wrong. The players reactions afterwards, even though this was done twenty years after the fact, are still very touching to watch.Overall, I think this is one of those sports documentaries that transcends time. Years from now, people will still watch this documentary and still cry when they hear Al Michaels utter "Do You Believe in Miracles?"."
I believe ...
Geoff Wolinetz | New York, NY | 01/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is without question, the single greatest sports documentary to be produced by HBO Sports. To a non-sports fan, born in the last 25 years, this event may seem trivial, almost meaningless in a time where the Cold War has melted, the Iron Curtain raised and the US and Russia allies.But 22 years ago, in the shadow of the Cold War, with Soviet troops in Afghanistan, rising prices at the gas station, spiraling inflation and US hostages in Iran, things were anything but OK in the US and this docuemtenary superbly illustrates the dark times in the US and how a nation's spirits were lifted by a group of college kids who refused to give up. They were led by a colorful ambassador of the game, whose own mind games united an amateur team and allowed them to take down a colossus of Russian professionals.The documentary strings together interviews with former players. Captain Mike Eruzione, Forward Mark Johnson, Goalie Jim Craig all chip in with memories and commentary, as well as Russian goalie Vladimir Tretiak and an Ex-Soviet sports journalist. It's an exhaustively crafted piece, full of clips of practices, exhibition games and exhaustive research, all powerfully narrated to put the cherry on top.Everyone remembers where they were the day the United States of America beat the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 4-3 at Lake Placid, NY. This documentary bring chills up your spine, as Al Michaels screams that famous call "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!""
Could have been better
J. B. Houle | 01/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The documentary is great. Reminding us of what was going on in world events at the time. However, would have been great to have the entire game uncut from start to finish?"
Perhaps The Greatest Coaching Job in the History of Sports
J. B. Houle | Upstate New York | 12/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"A great chronicle of those heady days in Lake Placid nearly 25 years ago. Everyone seemed to find something they liked in this improbable victory. For me it was the coaching job turned in by Herb Brooks. It may be the greatest coaching job in the history of sports. Here are excerpts from an AP article about the late Coach Brooks which says it all:
Herb Brooks was behind the bench when the American Olympic Hockey team pulled off the greatest upset ever at Lake Placid NY in 1980, beating the mighty Soviets with a squad of mostly college players.That shocking victory, plus beating Finland for the gold medal, assured the team a place in immortality.
The young U.S. team was given no chance against a veteran Soviet squad that had dominated international hockey for years and had routed the Americans 10-3 in an exhibition game at Madison Square Garden the week before the Olympics.
On Feb. 22, 1980, the U.S. team scored with 10 minutes to play to take a 4-3 lead against the Soviets. As the final seconds ticked away, announcer Al Michaels exclaimed, "Do you believe in miracles? Yes!"
It remains one of the most famous calls in history. Brooks' leadership helped turn a ragtag team into champions. He had hand picked each player.
"You're looking for players whose name on the front of the sweater is more important than the one on the back," Brooks once said. "I look for these players to play hard, to play smart and to represent their country."
Interviewed years later on why he headed to the locker room shortly after the Miracle on Ice, he said he wanted to leave the ice to his players, who deserved it.
Players kept a notebook of "Brooksisms," sayings the coach used for motivation, such as: "You're playing worse and worse every day and right now you're playing like it's next month."
But, before playing the Soviets, Brooks told his players: "You're meant to be here. This moment is yours. You're meant to be here at this time."
"He was ahead of his time," team member Ken Morrow said. "All of his teams overachieved because Herbie understood how to get the best out of each player and make him part of a team. And like everyone who played for him, I became a better person because I played for Herb Brooks."
Born in St. Paul, Brooks played hockey at the University of Minnesota, where he later coached from 1972 to 1979, winning three national titles. He was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 1990.
When Brooks decided to coach the 2002 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team at Salt Lake City, he was asked why he would return after writing the most improbable story in hockey. "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."
Brooks was the last player cut on the 1960 U.S. gold medal team, and unfairly so, the victim of favoritism by his coach. But he persevered, and played on the United States Olympic Hockey Team in 1964 and 1968. And when he coached the 1980 Olympic Team, he did not repeat the mistake made by his 1960 coach. It was difficult and painful, but he did the right thing selecting the players for his 1980 team. And as they say, the rest is history. Or was it really a miracle? That is left for each reader to decide for themselves.
In an interview at his White Bear Lake home not long before his untimely death, Brooks described to the Minneapolis Star Tribune about watching one of his favorite movies, "Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory."
"You know, Willie Wonka said it best: We are the makers of dreams, the dreamers of dreams," Brooks said. "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."
This DVD deserves to be in every sports fans' library. With it I recommend the book, One Goal: A Chronicle of the 1980 Olympic Hockey Team, if you can find a copy of this sought after collectible."