THE BEST HORSE MOVIES EVER
As promised, after sharing my favorite golf movies…I am now going to share my favorite horse movies…but there are SO many! I am really not so sure where to start. I may even have to break it up in to two blogs….those that are based on real horses and the stories of their lives and then those that are just wonderful movies about horses and the people that love them! Let’s start with those movies…
THE BLACK STALLION
One of the best children’s books of all-time about horses was The Black Stallion by Walter Farley. In 1979, five years after it was published, the novel was turned into a movie. The story is about a boy shipwrecked on an island with an Arabian Stallion and the friendship he develops with the horse. When the two are saved by a fisherman’s boat, they return home but remain in contact. Soon, Black is trained to be a racehorse and turns out to be fast and Alec trains to be a jockey. Mickey Rooney is amazing (and received an Oscar nomination for his role) as the “trainer” that helps strengthen the bond between the two. Just in case you have not seen this amazing flick…check out the trailer here…
One of my personal favorites that may not come up high on some lists is Dreamer. It has, however, won quite a few awards including the Best Sports Movie at the ESPY Awards and Best Family Film at the Critics Choice Awards. Although I have it in the “Not True Story” category, it IS supposedly based on a true story.
Either way, it is a great movie. Released in 2005, Dreamer is about a horse trainer and his daughter, and how their relationship changes as they work with horses. Kurt Russell is Ben, the father who neglects his young daughter as he works hard to care for his horses. Eleven-year-old Dakota Fanning is Cale, his daughter. It is one horse—Soñador—that bonds the two and finally helps strengthen their relationship after years of neglect and hardships. You will definitely laugh and cry in this one…but it is highly recommended as a wonderful family movie. I think I may rewatch this one tonight! Enjoy the trailer…
One of the oldest horse movies that I can remember is National Velvet. Based on the novel that was published in 1935 it tells the story of a girl named Velvet who trained and rode her horse, Pie, in the Grand National Steeplechase. While fictional, the book was about ordinary people, and in this case, a woman in the ’20s achieving spectacular things.
The movie based on the book was released in 1944. Elizabeth Taylor, at only 12 years old, portrayed Velvet Brown and Mickey Rooney (who acted in 7 horse movies in his career) was the drifter who helped her. The movie picked up five Oscar nominations and is always on any “Top Horse Movie List”. If you are looking for an oldie but a goodie….this one is it!
Hildago came to the big screen in 2004. It’s a biographical western about Frank Hopkins and his horse Hidalgo. Hopkins, in real life, was a professional horseman who was a long-distance rider that supposedly won 400 races; although most of his claims were considered fictional, as he was also a circus performer.
The movie, however, took his exploits seriously, focusing on a horse race in Arabia in 1891. Viggo Mortensen stars as Hopkins and, while the film was “based on a true story,” many of the stories by Hopkins—including the race in this movie—were considered tall tales so I am not looking at this movie as one that is in my “TRUE” category. It is, nevertheless, very exciting to watch and the cinematography is AMAZING!
And my final movie in the “not true” category is War Horse…although as we all know, many horses have scarified their lives for our country and many countries and we can honor them all by watching this movie. I have watched it many times and I have also seen the Broadway rendition. Truly remarkable. Based on the 1982 novel by Michael Morpurgo, Steven Spielberg directed War Horse in 2011 about a thoroughbred horse named Joey.
The story starts with Joey’s birth and then his training by a boy named Albert. However, when Albert’s dad sells Joey to the army when they need money to pay rent after a downpour destroys their crops, Albert watches as his horse is sent off to serve in the war. The story then shows Joey’s work in the war, with Albert eventually enlisting when he reaches legal age. Through the trials and tribulations of World War I, Albert is reunited with Joey. The action and suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat. War Horse received six Oscar nominations including Best Picture. This is truly a wonderful movie that I will watch time and time again. Watch the trailer here…
So…that should keep you busy enjoying some of these amazing horse movies. Stay inside, stay safe, healthy and enjoy the movies! I look forward to sharing the next set of true horse story movies such as Secretariat, Seabiscuit and a few other FAVORITES as well. Stay tuned!