March 26, 2005 - This 2004 film tells the story of the USA Olympic hockey team that shocked the world by beating the powerful USSR team at the 1980 winter Olympics in Lake Placid. Oh, by the way, the team then beat Finland to win the gold medal. Kurt Russell stars as Herb Brooks, the coach who led the team to victory.

The movie puts the era in context, using pictures of TMI, the hostages in Iran, the gas crisis, and sound from Jimmy Carter talking about a national case of depression. The message: the hockey team provided a miracle for a nation in desperate need of one.

Brooks and his boys, however, weren't really focused on that big picture. They just wanted to win. Brooks wanted to win because 20 years ago he was the last man cut from the last US Olympic team to win a gold medal in hockey. This time, he's intent on building a team that can beat the Soviets and get him that medal. He's also intent on doing it his way.

The film shows how Brooks did it - picking the guys he wanted and then beating them down until they gave him what he wanted. As he tells them on day one, "I'm your coach, not your friend."(or something to that extent).

Overall review: **** The hockey scenes are great. At times, you can see that actual footage from the real games was edited in. Generally, these edits are quick, but they're effective and very well done.

Russell is very good as Brooks, so intent on winning that he can't even find time to pick his kid up from school. Whenever he's with his family, you know he's thinking about how to beat the Soviets.

This is one of the greatest sports stories ever told, and it's told in an outstanding way.