Hockey is often dubbed the coolest game on earth, and moviemakers clearly agree. When you’re not watching your favorite NHL teams in action, kick back with these nine great hockey movies. Whether you prefer classic dramas that spotlight hockey’s Cold War rivalries, hockey comedies for the entire family or documentaries about hockey subcultures, there’s something for everyone.
The Hockey News hails this Disney classic as “one of the greatest hockey movies ever made” with “realistic action sequences that featured real hockey players.” Focusing on colorful coach Herb Brooks (Kurt Russell), Miracle dramatizes the unforgettable gold-medal run of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, which saw a group of college kids upset the powerful Soviet Union team in Lake Placid.
With a strong cast that includes Brooks’ wife, Patti, (Patricia Clarkson) and assistant coach Craig Patrick (Noah Emmerich), Miracle is a feel-good flick worth watching repeatedly.
Rent or buy Miracle now.
‘The Mighty Ducks’
If you like comedies about misfit sports teams who come together to make the championship game, such as the baseball-themed The Bad News Bears, you’ll love The Mighty Ducks.
Under coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez), a cocky Minnesota lawyer, the youth hockey team — who later gave its name to Anaheim’s real-life NHL franchise — learns how to believe in themselves and beat the odds. Full of heart and humor, the Disney hockey movie spawned two sequels.
Rent or buy The Mighty Ducks now.
Phrases like “old-time hockey” and “feel shame” are universally quoted among hockey players, thanks to this R-rated hockey comedy. Slap Shot follows the antics of the fictional minor-league Charlestown Chiefs, who adopt a violent, brawling style to sell more tickets in their small Pennsylvania steel town.
The 1977 New York Times review notes how the portrayal of player-coach Reggie Dunlop (Paul Newman) “maintains an easy balance between star and character-actor.”
Rent or buy Slap Shot now.
The NHL trophy for the most goals each season is the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, named after the subject of this compelling Quebec-shot bio-pic.
The Hollywood Reporter touts “an excellent and impressively athletic performance by star Roy Dupuis.” He plays the Montreal Canadiens’ biggest legend of the 1940’s and ’50s, his blazing eyes symbolizing both his passion to win Stanley Cups and his volatile temper. Also, modern NHLers, like Vincent Lecavalier and Mike Ricci, make cameos as old-time stars.
Watch The Rocket now.
Directed by Gabe Polsky, this award-winning documentary delves into the Cold War politics, inhuman physical training, lack of personal freedoms and extraordinary on-ice synchronicity that the Soviet national hockey team embodied.
Red Army revolves around puckish interviews with former Army captain and Detroit Red Wings star Vyacheslav Fetisov. The Philadelphia Inquirer describes this hockey movie as a “maddeningly entertaining account of the Soviets’ historic domination of the game.”
Watch Red Army now.
‘Legenda No. 17’
This Russian-made bio-pic explores the personality and hockey artistry of the late Valeri Kharlamov (Danila Kozlovsky), who was named to the International Ice Hockey Federation’s Centennial All-Star Team in 2008.
Beautifully shot, albeit somewhat idealized, the movie touches on everything from the Soviet winger’s tutelage under legendary coach Anatoly Tarasov to the 1972 Summit Series against archrival Canada.
Watch Legenda No. 17 now.
Produced by Clint Eastwood and based on Richard Wagamese’s award-winning novel, Indian Horse powerfully relates the story of an Indigenous boy who seeks hockey stardom despite having the deck stacked against him.
Growing up, Saul Indian Horse (Sladen Peltier) faces racism and abuse in Canada’s residential school system for Indigenous people. The Santa Fe New Mexican singles out the acclaimed hockey movie’s “shimmering and melancholic visual feel.”
Rent or buy Indian Horse now.
Many NHL superstars nurtured their love of the game on frozen ponds and outdoor rinks. This engaging documentary on the first annual U.S. pond hockey championship in Minnesota, where it’s truly part of the culture, weaves in interviews with everyone from Wayne Gretzky to Sidney Crosby.
Watch Pond Hockey now.
Imagine what might happen if the NHL’s New York Rangers took to the ice against a team from a tiny town in Alaska. With irrepressible characters like Sheriff John Biebe (Russell Crowe), Judge Walter Burns (Burt Reynolds) and Charles Danner (Hank Azaria), it’s easy to see why Mystery Alaska‘s blend of comedy and drama made it a cult classic among hockey movies.
Rent or buy Mystery Alaska now.
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