It is honestly rare that a hockey film shoots and scores. Goon, starring Seann William Scott as a bruiser with a true heart of gold, lands in theaters and reminds us that there are hockey gods and they occasionally -- over the century since film was first screened -- bless us with gold in the celluloid format. Movie Fanatic presents the Top 10 Hockey Movies of All-Time.
Sure, not the best movie movie out there, but as far as the limited subgenre of film that is the hockey film, the Rob Lowe and Patrick Swayze movie compels in its picture that it paints about life in minor league hockey.
9. The Sweater
The astoundingly heartfelt story of a French Canadian boy who is on the receiving end of a hockey sweater from his favorite team’s rival is an animated short (it’s only 10 minutes). The film captures what it’s like to adore a local hockey team (here, the Montreal Canadians) and be given a gift of a jersey of a rival team (of all things… the Toronto Maple Leafs).
8. The Cutting Edge
Technically not a hockey film, The Cutting Edge is a figure skating movie. Yet, the hockey player at the center of it, as played by D.B. Sweeney, is a classic Hollywood hockey hothead.
7. The Mighty Ducks
Look, Emilio Estevez has financed his entire post-Mighty Ducks career, including amazing pieces of work Bobby, The Way and The War at Home, with profits from this series. The fact that it’s a children’s movie about a hockey team of misfits who triumph is beside the point. The Mighty Ducks is a film that celebrates the art and passion of hockey and inspires our younger generations to carry on the sport’s legacy.
6. The Rocket
One of the best hockey films is from Quebec and celebrates the life and times of the pinnacle of Canadian hockey heroes: Maurice Richard. He is the man at the center of this hockey hotbed of cinematic joy. The man managed to clash with the NHL as much as opposing players and all the while, inspired a Quiet Revolution in Quebec.
5. Mystery, Alaska
The passion of people who cherish the sport of hockey is what sets Mystery, Alaska apart. It is a game frequented by people who have a slightly different view on life than most. To say it’s an acquired taste is too tame of a description of the sport’s appeal. Yet, in Mystery, Alaska -- the movie manages to make a fan out of every soul witnessing the film.
4. Idol in the Crowds
John Wayne didn’t just tame the West -- the Oscar-winning legend wielded a hockey stick with the best of them on screen. Idol in the Crowds arrived in 1937 and brought an ever-growing sport to more masses than it had ever dreamed of. Wayne’s Johnny Hansen, some could say, made the mold of what a Hollywood hockey player should embody.
We cannot say enough about the surprising film that is Goon. It’s a hockey movie, through and through. But, it is so much more. One part a celebration of a sport revered by so many, another aspect finds a love story between two souls destined to join their lives together. And a third ingredient makes this film one of the greatest hockey movies ever made: It doesn’t shy away from the game’s vivacious appetite for violence.
There had to be so much pressure when a ragtag group of actors and filmmakers gathered to capture on film what was essentially a lightning shot of happenstance. Then again, those were the same expectations lofted towards a group of American hockey players seeking to win the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics. What audiences got was an impeccable vision of what that moment in sports history, not solely hockey history, meant to this nation, the world and the socio-political environment.
1. Slap Shot
Slap Shot stars Paul Newman as a lifer hockey player living day to day. The 1977 hockey movie mainstay continued the cinematic effort to bring the sport to the masses in the form of a comedy. Any movie with the Hanson brothers that celebrates those who live for putting a puck in the back of a net has to be the best of its ilk… ever.