This movie has been released previously in Canada in French. The Rocket — The Legend Of Rocket Richard is now out on DVD having just been released 11 December. The DVD contains both English and French versions and I watched both to compare the two. Subtitles are also available — but not recommended.
The film tells the “The Rocket” Richard (neé Maurice). Growing up a young French Canadian, Maurice Richard had a dream to play in the National Hockey League. In those days, there was an enormous amount of discrimination against French-Canadians, especially those who spoke little English — and that, was Mr. Richard. Through sheer force of will he broke into the sport, facing down Campbell several times — and after a particularly biased ruling, Montréal rioted in a historic moment in hockey history.
The Rocket played with a finesse, speed, and the fire that defied all odds and made him a legend, and a man beloved by all hockey fans. This movie is for fans and if you don’t have a deep love for hockey, you may not like this film. I have that deep love of hockey.
Some quibbles: I noticed some differences between the spoken French and dubbed English but my French is pretty bad now so I shan’t hold it against the film. The dubbed version irritates because you see mouths and voices out-of-synch which is common in all dubbed films and, more importantly, you lose a great deal because you don’t realize when he speaks in English and/or in French. I strongly recommend watching in the original French with English subtitles. I know they put it here to widen the appeal, but the English version reduces the impact of the film. Also note that the English version doesn’t translate the French text that appears on the screen throughout the film.
The film is rated “PG” for a few bloody hockey scenes and some foul words. Quite honestly, anyone over 10 can watch this film so don’t keep the kiddies away if they love hockey. Richard is a role model you don’t need to worry about, unlike modern day athletes.
Will the acting win an Oscar? No. But it’s serviceable and the characters are mostly believable. The cinematography is stellar. A journalist friend of mine also received a review copy. She told me the hockey scenes were well done. What an understatement! They were beautiful. Authentic down to the last detail — skates, ice, uniforms, boards, chain link fences, everything. Even people in the crowd standing and blocking the camera view at times: a tour-de-force, mes amis! Pierre Gill and Michel Proulx deserve an Oscar® for their work here.
Fans of current players can see cameos by:
- Sean Avery of the New York Rangers
- Pascal Dupuis of the Atlanta Thrashers
- Ian Laperriere of the Colorado Avalanche
- Vincent Lecavalier of the Tampa Bay Lightening
- Stéphane Quintal previously of the Montréal Canadiens
- Mike Ricci previously of the Phoenix Coyotes
The Richard Story must be seen by all true hockey fans. It’s available at Amazon.Com.
12-23-07 SPECIAL CONTEST:
Win a free copy of The Rocket. You must join our hockey message board to be eligible to win.
Disclaimer: I have been a fan of Maurice Richard for ages and even saw the tribute at the HHOF in his honour, so my review is probably slightly biased. I reviewed a press copy as provided by Palm Pictures.