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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Mighty Ducks is a 1992 movie about a ragtag group of young hockey players and their selfish lawyer coach who learn valuable lessons in teamwork, doing your best, and having fun while playing a sport as opposed to winning at any and all costs. There is some iffy humor throughout that might plant some bad ideas in the minds of more mischievous kids; in an early scene, for instance, a group of kids place dog excrement in a purse they find in a Dumpster with a dollar bill sticking out of the purse in the hopes that someone will pick it up and stick a hand inside it. When a man does this, he chases the kids, trips and falls on his groin area against a wooden beam, replete with "boing!" sound effects. A tween boy passes gas inside a limo, causing everyone to yell and scream and laugh. Kids find a box of Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues in a Dumpster and proceed to rifle through them while making excited comments and sexual innuendo. There is a reference to circumcision, and there's a scene in which a man is drinking and driving and swerves all over the road before being pulled over by the police. Profanity includes "bastards," "pissed," "hell," "suck," "weird-ass," "bitch," and "damn." Still, despite the occasional iffy humor and content, the movie does show through talk and example what happens when the positive values of sports are highlighted.
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What's the story?
THE MIGHTY DUCKS tells the familiar story of an underdog sports team's rise from the bottom. Gordon Bombay's (Emilio Estevez) fast-lane life as a cutthroat attorney takes a turn for the worse when he's arrested for drunk driving. As part of his community service sentence, Gordon must coach a hockey team comprising ragtag neighborhood kids. Though he carries the guilt of a hockey failure and his father's death with him, Gordon, with the help of his team, is able to face his demons -- and his old overbearing coach. In the process, the Mighty Ducks, as they come to be called, learn to work together and accept those different from them.
Is it any good?
This is a fun and frothy family film and a good way to breach the topic of the ever-present pressure to excel in sports with kids. There is a brief foray into single-parent romance, as Gordon courts the mother of one of the players.
Overall, things never get serious for very long, as The Mighty Ducks highlights the camaraderie and laughs of being part of a team. It never really feels like a lecture to kids, so they're likely to enjoy it and hopefully will take from it some lessons concerning competition.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about ways children might deal with high-pressure situations, such as the ones faced by the hockey players in The Mighty Ducks. If Charlie had missed his shot at the end of the movie, what could the team and the coach have done to let him know they still supported him?
What similarities and differences do you see between this film and other sports-themed movies in which a group of ragtag misfit kids learn to play together and start to improve over time?
Why do you think sports-themed movies involving kids are so popular?
How do the characters in The Mighty Ducks demonstrate teamwork? Why is this an important character strength?
- In theaters: October 2, 1992
- On DVD or streaming: April 11, 2000
- Cast: Emilio Estevez, Joshua Jackson, Joss Ackland
- Director: Stephen Herek
- Studio: Buena Vista
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Great Boy Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild profanity and hockey violence
- Last updated: March 11, 2020
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