This article is about the live-action film. For the animated television series, see Mighty Ducks (TV series).
The Mighty Ducks (also known as D1: The Mighty Ducks) is a 1992 American sports comedy-drama film directed by Stephen Herek, starring Emilio Estevez. It was produced by Avnet–Kerner Productions and distributed by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the first film in the Mighty Ducks trilogy.
In the UK, South Africa, and Australia, the film was retitled Champions. Subsequently, UK home releases are now titled The Mighty Ducks Are the Champions, reflecting both titles, as well as to possibly avoid confusion with the sequel (retitled as just The Mighty Ducks).
Gordon Bombay (Emilio Estevez) is a successful Minneapolis defense attorney, whose truculent courtroom antics have earned him no respect among his peers. After being arrested for drunken driving, Bombay 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: he blew a penalty shot, costing his team the title and disappointing his hyper-competitive coach, Jack Reilly (Lane Smith). In fact, the movie later shows Reilly with Bombay looking at his string of championship banners and disgustingly saying that the runner-up banner should be taken down.
When Bombay meets the team, he realizes the kids have no practice facility, equipment or ability to go with it. The team's first game with Bombay at the helm is against Bombay's old team: the Hawks, the team from the snooty suburb of Edina. Reilly is still head coach and remains bitter about Gordon's shortcoming in that fateful game. District 5 gets pummeled and after Bombay berates the team for not listening to him the players challenge his authority. 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, Gerald Ducksworth (Josef Sommer) to sponsor the team, which Ducksworth reluctantly agrees. 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", 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 and he takes him under his wing.
Bombay learns that star player for the Hawks, Adam Banks (Vincent Larusso), actually resides in the Ducks' district boundaries and 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 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 Ducks' trust and Adam Banks proves to be a valuable asset. 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 score a tie and earn a penalty shot in the final seconds of the game. Bombay encourages Charlie to take the shot, reassuring him that even if he fails it will be alright. Charlie manages to score a goal using a technique Gordon taught him.
The movie ends with Bombay boarding a bus headed to a minor-league tryout. Although he seems daunted at the prospect of going up against younger players, he 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.
- Emilio Estevez as Gordon Bombay
- Brock Pierce as Gordon Bombay - 10 years old
- Joss Ackland as Hans
- Lane Smith as Coach Jack Reilly
- Heidi Kling as Casey Conway
- Josef Sommer as Gerald Ducksworth
- Joshua Jackson as Charlie Conway
- Elden Henson as Fulton Reed
- Shaun Weiss as Greg Goldberg
- M.C. Gainey as Lewis
- Matt Doherty as Les Averman
- Brandon Adams as Jesse Hall
- J.D. Daniels as Peter Mark
- Aaron Schwartz as Dave Karp
- Garette Ratliff Henson as Guy Germaine
- Marguerite Moreau as Connie Moreau
- Danny Tamberelli as Tommy Duncan
- Jane Plank as Tammy Duncan
- Jussie Smollett as Terry Hall
- Vincent A. Larusso as Adam Banks
- Michael Ooms as McGill
- Casey Garven as Larson
- Hal Fort Atkinson III as Phillip Banks
- Basil McRae as Himself
- Mike Modano as Himself
- John Beasley as Mr. Hall
- Robert Pall as Gordon's Father
- John Paul Gamoke as Mr. Tolbert
- Steven Brill as Frank Huddy