Parents' Guide to

Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation

By Frannie Ucciferri, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Compelling but slow-paced doc about Iroquois lacrosse team.

Movie NR 2017 102 minutes
Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 1 parent review

age 8+


Decent documentary about lacrosse that details its roots and the impact of the game today. High quality and informative, but may move slow for those who are not already passionate lacrosse fans.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

This compelling documentary uses the game of lacrosse to show the Iroquois people's pride and passion for their culture and history, but it tries to do too much. It's like the filmmakers weren't quite sure who their audience was or what type of movie they wanted Spirit Game: Pride of a Nation to be. If it's supposed to be a sports documentary, why not focus more on the charming, competitive Thompson brothers, world-class lacrosse players who flew out in between their professional playoff games to try out for the Iroquois Nationals team? Or, if it's supposed to be a story about hosting the World Championships, why not shine a bigger spotlight on how a nation of only 100,000 people came together to host an international sporting event? And, if the focus is the Haudenosaunee struggle for sovereignty, did there really need to be so much game footage?

But you'll likely forgive the lack of focus because each storyline is so interesting and well-told. With Haudenosaudee leaders speaking for themselves, it's hard not to see the parallel between the Iroquois Nationals' attempts to play lacrosse internationally and the Haudenosaunee attempts to be respected by political and spiritual leaders. The comparison is first implied when Lacrosse Hall of Famer/Onondaga Faithkeeper Oren Lyons talks about having to convince the Federation of International Lacrosse to allow the Iroquois Nationals to compete in a game their ancestors invented. The case only gets stronger when players with Haudenosaunee passports are blocked from traveling and competing overseas and when the Canadian National Team strangely refuses to get their passports stamped by Haudenosaunee officials. In spite of all the politics, the movie ends on a heartwarming note, highlighting the subjects' spiritual connection to the game and their desire to share it with generations to come.

Movie Details

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