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The Mighty Ducks is a 1992 American sports comedy-drama film, directed by Stephen Herek, starring Emilio Estevez as the main character of the film.

The film marked the beginning of the Mighty Ducks film trilogy; the other two films were D2: The Mighty Ducks and D3: The Mighty Ducks.

It also spawned the National Hockey League team, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (now called the Anaheim Ducks).

PlotEdit

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is a successful Minneapolis defense attorney of the Ducksworth, Saver & Gross firm, who never loses a case, but whose truculent courtroom antics have earned him no respect among his peers.

After successfully defending a client resulting in his 30th win, Bombay is called into his boss's office to be congratulated, but also chastised for embarrassing the judge. Regardless, Bombay celebrates by going out drinking and is subsequently arrested for drunken driving. He is sentenced to community service by coaching the local "District 5" PeeWee hockey team.

Bombay has a history with the sport although his memories are far from pleasant: Years ago, he was the star player on the Hawks. When struggling to cope with the loss of his father, Bombay missed a penalty shot during a championship game which cost his team the title for the first time and disappointing his hyper-competitive coach, Jack Reilly (Lane Smith).

When Bombay meets the team, he realizes the children have no practice facility, equipment or ability to go with it. The team's first game with Bombay at the helm is against the Hawks, the team from the snooty suburb of Edina.

Reilly is still the head coach of the Hawks and remains bitter about Gordon's shortcoming in the game years earlier (even lamenting that they should take the runner-up banner down from that season). District 5 gets pummeled and after the match, Bombay berates the team for not listening to him and the players challenge his authority. For the next game, Bombay tries to teach his team how to dive and get penalties.

Meanwhile, Bombay discovers his old mentor and family friend Hans (Joss Ackland) who owns a nearby sporting goods store, was in attendance. While visiting him, Bombay recalls that he quit playing hockey after losing his father four months before the championship game. Hans encourages him to rekindle his childhood passion.

Bombay approaches his boss, the firm's co-founder Gerald Ducksworth (Josef Sommer) to sponsor the team, something Ducksworth reluctantly agrees to do, after being offered his own jersey. The result is a complete makeover for the team, both in look (as they can now buy professional equipment) and in skill (as Bombay has more time to teach the kids hockey fundamentals).

Now playing as the Ducks (named for Bombay's boss), they fight to a tie in the next game and recruit three new players: Figure skating siblings Tommy (Danny Tamberelli) and Tammy Duncan (Jane Plank) and slap shot specialist and enforcer Fulton Reed (Elden Henson).

The potential of Ducks player Charlie Conway (Joshua Jackson) catches Bombay's eye; he takes him under his wing and teaches him some of the hockey tactics he used when he played with the Hawks. Bombay learns that due to redistricting, the star player for the Hawks, Adam Banks (Vincent Larusso), should actually be playing for the Ducks. He then threatens Reilly into transferring Banks to the Ducks.

After hearing an out-of-context quote about them, the Ducks players lose faith in Bombay and revert to their old habits. Ducksworth makes a deal with Reilly about the Hawks keeping Banks; however, Bombay refuses it, since it would be against fair play, which Ducksworth berated him about when he started his community service. Left with either the choice of letting his team down or get fired from his job, Bombay takes the latter.

Bombay manages to win back the trust of his players after they win a crucial match and Adam Banks proves to be a valuable asset. Because of his well-to-do background, Adam is given the nickname "Cake Eater" by his teammates. The name is, at first, seen as derisive, but then becomes a term of endearment.

The Ducks manage to make it to the championship against the Hawks. Despite the Hawks' heavy attacks taking Banks out of the game, the Ducks manage to tie the game late and Charlie is tripped by a Hawks player as time expires. In exactly the same situation Bombay was at the beginning of the film, Charlie prepares for a penalty shot to win the championship.

In stark contrast to former coach Reilly's attitude (Reilly told Bombay that if he missed, he was letting everyone down), Bombay tells Charlie that he will believe in him no matter what happens. Inspired, Charlie jukes out the goalie with a "triple-deke" (taught to him by Bombay) to defeat the Hawks for the state Pee Wee Championship.

The Ducks and family race out onto the ice in jubilation, where Bombay thanks Hans for his belief in him and Hans tells Bombay he is proud of him. Later, Bombay boards a bus headed to a minor-league tryout, secured for him by the NHL's Basil McRae of the Minnesota North Stars, who remembered Bombay's potential from their youth playing days together.

Although he seems daunted at the prospect of going up against younger players, Bombay receives the same words of encouragement and advice from the Ducks he had given them, promising he will return next season to defend their title.

CastEdit

  • Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay
  • Joss Ackland as Hans
  • Lane Smith as Coach Jack Reilly
  • Heidi Kling as Casey Conway
  • Josef Sommer as Mr. Gerald Ducksworth
  • Joshua Jackson as Charlie Conway, #96
  • Elden Henson as Fulton Reed, #44
  • Shaun Weiss as Greg Goldberg, #33
  • M. C. Gainey as Lewis
  • Matt Doherty as Lester Averman, #4
  • Brandon Adams as Jesse Hall, #9
  • J. D. Daniels as Peter Mark, #24
  • Aaron Schwartz as Dave Karp, #11
  • Garette Ratliff Henson as Guy Germaine, #00
  • Marguerite Moreau as Connie Moreau, #18
  • Danny Tamberelli as Tommy Duncan, #2
  • Jane Plank as Tammy Duncan, #5
  • Jussie Smollett as Terry Hall, #1
  • Vincent Larusso as Adam Banks, #99
  • Michael Ooms as McGill, #7
  • Casey Garven as Larson, #33
  • Hal Fort Atkinson III as Phillip Banks
  • Basil McRae as Himself
  • Mike Modano as Himself
  • John Beasley as Mr. Hall
  • Brock Pierce as 10-year-old Gordon Bombay
  • Robert Pall as Gordon's Father
  • John Paul Gamoke as Mr. Tolbert
  • Steven Brill as Frank Huddy
  • George Coe as Judge

ProductionEdit

"The Mighty Ducks" was filmed from January 22nd to April 11, 1992. It was primarily filmed in Minnesota.

The places in Minnesota that were filmed included Mickey's Diner in St. Paul, Minnesota, Gaviidae Commons at the Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis, Minnesota and the Met Center in South Bloomingdale, Minnesota (in the scene where the Ducks saw the Minnesota North Stars play a hockey game).

The scene where Gordon meets the District 5 hockey team was filmed at Elliot Park in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Hans' repair shop was filmed at 1339 Theodore Wirth Parkway in Minneapolis as well.

The scene where the District 5 hockey team becomes the Ducks & gets their new jerseys, it was filmed at the Cook Memorial Arena in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. Other filmed scenes in Minnesota included Rice Park in St. Paul and New Hope.

The scene amid the ice sculptures was filmed during the St Paul Winter Carnival in Rice Park where the ice sculpture contest occurs. Originally, it was planned for the ice palace that had been built by the Mississippi for the carnival, but an unseasonably warm January was melting the palace which made it unsafe to film indoors.

Some of the young actors in the film who claimed that they could play hockey were lying, they had to be trained before filming began.

Charlie Sheen was offered to play the role of Gordon Bombay, but he turned it down and his brother, Emilio Estevez took the part.

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal auditioned for the role of Charlie Conway, but his parents wouldn't allow him to do the movie, so Joshua Jackson was cast by the producers. Bill Murray was also considered for the role of Gordon Bombay, but he was deemed too old for it.

Actors Elden Ratliff (who played Fulton Reed) and Garrette Ratliff Henson (who played Guy Germaine) are brothers in real life. In order for Elden to be cast in the film, he had to dye his hair color and change his name.

Actress Jane Plank (who played Tammy Duncan) didn't really know how to figure skate and Katie Walhquist was her figure skating double in the film.

ReceptionEdit

"The Mighty Ducks" opened at #2 at the box office, grossing $6,035,133 during its opening weekend.

Domestically, the film grossed $50,752,337.

Critical ReceptionEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, "The Mighty Ducks" holds a 15% rating based on 27 reviews with an average rating of 3.9\10. It was given an audience score of 65% with an average rating of 3.1\5.

Roger Ebert gave the film a two star rating, calling the film was "sweet and innocent" and said that "at a certain level it might appeal to younger kids. I doubt if its ambitions reach much beyond that".

Rita Kempley of The Washington Post described the film as "Steven Brill, who has a small role in the film, constructed the screenplay much as one would put together some of those particleboard bookcases from Ikea".

AccoladesEdit

Young Artist Awards

  • Outstanding Young Ensemble Cast in a Motion Picture: Joshua Jackson, Elden Henson, Shaun Weiss, Matt Doherty, Brandon Quintan Adams, J.D. Daniels, Aaron Schwartz, Garette Ratliff Henson, Marguerite Moreau, Jane Plank, Jussie Smollett, Vincent Larusso & Danny Tamberelli (nominated)
  • Marguerite Moreau: Best Young Actress Co-Starring in a Motion Picture (nominated)

Theatrical TrailerEdit

The Mighty Ducks (1992) Trailer

The Mighty Ducks (1992) Trailer

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