D3: The Mighty Ducks

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D3: The Mighty Ducks
Dthree the mighty ducks.jpg
Promotional film poster
Directed byRobert Lieberman
Produced byJordan Kerner
Jon Avnet
Screenplay by
Story by
Music byJ. A. C. Redford
CinematographyDavid Hennings
Edited byPatrick Lussier
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
  • October 4, 1996 (1996-10-04)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$22.9 million[1]

D3: The Mighty Ducks (also known as The Mighty Ducks 3) is a 1996 American sports comedy-drama film directed by Robert Lieberman. It is the third and final installment in The Mighty Ducks trilogy and was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and distributed by Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.[2]


After their victory at the Junior Goodwill Games in Los Angeles, California, the Ducks are awarded junior varsity hockey scholarships to Eden Hall Academy, the prestigious prep school that coach Gordon Bombay attended. Bombay announces he is leaving the team to take a job with the Junior Goodwill Games, much to the team’s dismay. His position is filled by former Minnesota North Stars player Ted Orion.

The Ducks clash with Orion's disciplinary tactics and decisions: He starts Julie Gaffney in goal over Greg Goldberg after Julie's superior play in tryouts, directs the team to play defense over scoring, and strips Charlie Conway of his Captain's 'C', declaring the team’s past strategies as ineffective. He is proven right in their first game when the Ducks, cocky at their initial dominance, lose a 9-goal lead and take an embarrassing tie. Orion tells the Ducks they will have to learn "two-way hockey" and not choke when things aren’t going their way.

Charlie meets Linda, a student petitioning to change the school’s team name, the Warriors, as it perpetuates an offensive Native American stereotype. Though she initially writes him off as a mindless jock, the two soon hit it off.

The team faces disdain from most Eden Hall students and parents, particularly the Varsity hockey team into which Adam Banks is recruited. The two teams engage in an escalating prank war, culminating in an unofficial match on the school ice rink where the Ducks are badly beaten. When Coach Orion forbids the old Ducks name and uniforms, declaring "The Ducks are dead", Charlie is fed up with Orion, whom he considers washed-up, and leaves the team with Fulton Reed. Venting to Hans, his and Gordon's mentor, Charlie is further upset when Hans appears to take Orion's side. After skipping school at the Mall of America with Fulton, who proposes returning to public school before pursuing hockey careers, Fulton realizes he might not want to follow Charlie or play hockey for the rest of his life, and suggests Charlie rejoin the Ducks. Feeling betrayed, Charlie sends Fulton away. Later that evening, Charlie learns that Hans has passed away.

Bombay returns for Hans' memorial and takes Charlie back to Eden Hall. He explains to Charlie that Orion was a great pro player who only left the sport to care for his daughter after a car accident. Bombay reveals his own circumstances that led to coaching the Ducks and changing his life for the better, and that he told Orion that Charlie was the heart and soul of the team, hoping they both would learn something from each other. Touched, Charlie agrees to rejoin the team.

At the team bus for the next game, Charlie makes amends with Orion who, surprised by his sincerity, welcomes him back. Fulton has also rejoined, and Adam leaves the Varsity team to return to the JV Ducks. Dean Buckley, the school's headmaster, informs the team that its board of trustees is going to vote to revoke the Ducks' scholarships, due to the unpopularity of their admission and their mediocre performance on the ice. The Dean offers Orion a chance to start a new team but Orion refuses, assuring his team he will fight the decision.

At the trustees’ meeting, no one listens to the Ducks until Bombay arrives, threatening to tie up the matter in court until long after the Ducks have gone on to college and beyond. Faced with a no-win situation thanks to Bombay threatening to sue Eden Hall if the Ducks are expelled, the board reluctantly votes to reinstate the Ducks' scholarships, much to the Varsity team's fury. The JV Ducks and the Varsity Warriors agree that if Varsity beats JV in the upcoming exhibition game, JV will leave the school, but if JV wins, the official team name will be changed to the Mighty Ducks. Orion and the Ducks train hard, focusing on defense around the goal. Orion returns the Ducks' jerseys just before the game, feeling they have finally earned them.

The game begins, and Varsity dominates on offense, but the Ducks' newly acquired defensive skills keep the game scoreless. Varsity resorts to viciously checking every player they can, leaving the Ducks battered by the third period. At the second intermission, Dean Portman, who had refused the school's scholarship, returns to the team with a much-needed spark. The Ducks receive two penalties and must play 5 vs 3. Orion renames Charlie captain and urges him to go for the win. With seconds left, Charlie is on a breakaway but, in a surprise move, passes the puck to Goldberg who scores, securing a 1–0 victory for the Ducks.

Charlie embraces Orion and spots Bombay in attendance. They watch as the Warriors emblem is replaced by a banner with the Ducks' logo, establishing the Eden Hall Mighty Ducks. Linda kisses Charlie, and Bombay departs with a smile, knowing his protege has matured.


The third movie originally was going to be darker in tone and the main antagonists were originally going to be Bulgarians.[3][4][5][6]


Cameo appearance[edit]

Paul Kariya, captain of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (now Anaheim Ducks) when the film was released, makes a cameo appearance during the second intermission of the Ducks/Varsity Warriors game.


Brandon Adams, who played Jesse Hall, is the only actor from the previous film to not reprise his role as a Duck, after appearing in the first two films of the trilogy.


Box office[edit]

The movie debuted at No.4 in the box office[7] and ended up grossing $22,936,273 in the US. It is the lowest-grossing film of the trilogy.[8]


Like its predecessor, the film received negative reviews, and holds a 20% 'rotten' rating based on 15 reviews with an average rating of 3.8/10 on review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes.[9] John Anderson of the Los Angeles Times called the film "a self-reverential salute to Ducks" while also saying that the film was "lazier" than its predecessors.[10] Steve Hedgpeth of the Newark Star Ledger wrote, 'Somebody put this stupid Disney franchise in Deep-Freeze'. Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times wrote that "D3: The Mighty Ducks is a truly dreadful film, a lifeless, massive, childish exercise in failed comedy". Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune called it "dull, stupid, brainless, and dim-witted".

Home video release[edit]

The film was released on DVD in September 2, 2002 and also was released on Blu Ray in May 23, 2017.


  1. ^ "D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996) - Box Office Mojo". Brandongray.com. Retrieved 4 October 2014.
  2. ^ "The 'Mighty Ducks' Trilogy: An Oral History". Time.com. 2014-06-09. Retrieved 2016-10-18.
  3. ^ Lee, Amber. "25 Things You Never Knew About the Mighty Ducks Trilogy". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  4. ^ "'D3: The Mighty Ducks' scrapped an anti-Semitism scene". Jta.org. 10 June 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  5. ^ "In 'D3: The Mighty Ducks,' Team Iceland Nearly Got Redemption". Wbur.org. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  6. ^ Soclof, Adam. "'Mighty Ducks' nearly fought anti-Semites". Timesofisrael.com. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Weekend Box Office". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-01-01.
  8. ^ Box Office History for Mighty Ducks films at The-Numbers
  9. ^ "D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)". Rottentomatoes.com. Retrieved 26 June 2019.
  10. ^ "Third Time's Not the Charm for 'Ducks'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-10-09.

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