D3: The Mighty Ducks Movie Poster Image

D3: The Mighty Ducks



Predictable sports comedy sequel offers some life lessons.
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Many positive messages here: The importance of loyalty and friendship; hard work leads to success; academically successful students make great athletes. Girls and boys play on the same hockey team, an admirable nod to equality in high school sports. There's even a minor plot about students wanting to change the name of the school's teams because it has a demeaning subtext. But there's also a streak of classism that fuels the film's plot; the established hockey players don't want the Ducks around because they look down on them for being from the "wrong side of the tracks."

Positive role models

The Ducks are tireless and band together when the  chips are down. Some of them are defiant of authority, but peace eventually arrives on both sides. Also, a man gives up his dreams of professional hockey after a family emergency, valuing his child over his ambitions, and doesn't look back.


There's bullying, but it's played for laughs; nevertheless, it's still mean-spirited. A fair amount of rough play at hockey games -- for example, a student flies through a glass wall and hits the bleachers, and students shove each other.


A boy hits on as many classmates as he can, regardless of whether they're attached or not. Teens kiss after a victorious game.


Some swearing from teenagers, including "hell" and "stupid."


REM, Pantera, the Anaheim Mighty Ducks are all mentioned. Logos for sports teams visible.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this comedy, the last of the popular Mighty Ducks franchise, is pretty predictable, but nevertheless offers basic-but-useful lessons about winning on and off the ice that tweens and teens may find relatable. There's little swearing and mild flirting, though the action on the rink is fairly rough-and-tumble. (Though it isn't pro-level bruising and bleeding.) And some bullying behavior is played for laughs, but the ones getting bullied ultimately triumph.

What's the story?

The final film in the Mighty Ducks trilogy has the team transferring to a posh board school, Eden Hall Academy, where their beloved coach Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) has helped them get scholarships after he accepts a can't-refuse job elsewhere. Adjusting to life at this new school isn't going well; many of the popular kids, especially members of the varsity hockey team, aren't exactly welcoming of the newcomers. And their new coach, Ted Orion (Jeffrey Nordling), is a drill sergeant. When the school's board grows tired of their not-so-winning streak, they're threatened with a loss of their scholarships. And tragedy strikes. But triumph is just another game, and a hockey swipe, away.

Is it any good?


The lessons served up in this reasonably entertaining comedy aren't new, especially in movies about team sports: Hard work matters. Overconfidence dooms. Winning isn't everything. Still, there's nothing wrong with being reminded of them, and in this respect, D3: THE MIGHTY DUCKS does its job fine and well. Cheesy as they may be, these lessons are actually useful; wise, too. Also, and this is important for a movie about hockey, the sport is palpably exciting when its on the screen.

It may have even been better if we'd seen more of it, because truth is, the rest is just OK. It's neither amazing nor boring, and it doesn't help that the story arc is predictable from the first slap of the puck: The Ducks ride high on their success. They fail and fall down a few notches. Just as it seems they can't get any lower, they're dealt a huge emotional blow. But an important figure from their recent past, and the requisite pep talk, hoists them back on their skates. D3: The Mighty Ducks doesn't have the thrill of the original, which tapped into that Bad News Bears magic of yesteryear. Still, it doesn't harm its legacy.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what makes the Ducks a strong team: Is it their winning streak (because they don't always win)? Is it their team spirit?

  • What types of bullying did you notice in the movie? Did it seem realistic? Have you ever been bullied? Who can you talk to about bullying?

  • How does this movie compare to others featuring sports teams? Do they all follow a similar formula? Are there ones that don't? What makes movies of this genre compelling for audiences and irresistible to filmmakers?

Movie details

DVD/Streaming release date:September 3, 2002
Cast:Emilio Estevez, Jeffrey Nordling, Joshua Jackson
Director:Robert Lieberman
Studio:Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Sports and martial arts, Misfits and underdogs
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some hockey rough-housing and mild language

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 10 years old October 10, 2014
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written byfonzieg April 25, 2015

Insulting and disappointing finale shouldn't even be viewed by fans or newcomers to the franchise!

All of your favourite characters are back in this dull, predictable and lifeless attempt at a sequel! There is no redeeming qualities here, the new coach is unlikable, the bully humor is not funny at all, nor is the slapstick this time around, and yeah, it's garbage, watch the first two instead, those ones are actually good!


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