Horses are majestic creatures. It’s no wonder that lots of equine-centric flicks were produced to showcase their adventure, speed, and unique characteristics and personality. From beloved classics to horse racing epics and big-budget action films, many of these movies enjoyed massive success and won the hearts of the viewers. So, if you’re looking for the perfect rainy day movie, one to play at your next family watch party, check out this list of the best horse themed movies of all time that will let you fall in love more with these wonderful animals.
War Horse (2011)
Depicted from Michael Morpurgo’s 1982 novel, War Horse is an enthralling film revolving around the story of a thoroughbred horse named Joey and his relationship with his owner, a young boy named Albert. The two got separated after Albert’s father sold Joey to the cavalry to fight off in the Great War. Albert, never forgetting his beloved equine friend, takes on a harrowing odyssey on the battlefield to search for Joey and bring him back home. Director Steven Spielberg displayed his directorial magic in his film, which features awe-inspiring sceneries, great action, and overflowing emotions of sorrow and love.
Released in 2003, Seabiscuit is a film adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand’s best-selling book, “Seabiscuit: An American Legend.” It tackles the true story of Seabiscuit, a capricious racehorse, with a relatively small frame and was also short-legged, and knock-kneed. Though Seabiscuit was uncharacteristic and was never deemed to dominate the racetracks, he defied the odds through the help of his owner and team. After the initial struggles, Seabiscuit evolved to be a champion racehorse, broke records, earned a lot of supporters across the country, and eventually became the insignia of hope during the Great Depression.
The Black Stallion (1979)
Another novel-to-movie adaptation, The Black Stallion is based on Walter Farley’s book of the same name. The story circles around a boy named Alec and an Arabian Stallion named Black, who became the lone survivors in a tragic shipwreck in Africa. They developed a unique bond and became inseparable, continuing their journey as they return to America after their rescue.
Phar Lap (1983)
Released in 1983, Phar Lap is a New Zealand-made flick based on another true story. This time, it centers on Phar Lap, a champion racehorse, and his inspirational story and glory on the racetrack not only in his home country but also in Mexico and the United States. The movie ends with innuendos that racetrack mafias and gamblers along with conspiracies of gambing fraud led to his mysterious demise.
The Horse Whisperer (1998)
A genuine tear-jerker, The Horse Whisperer begins showing the tragic accident that leaves Grace and her horse gravely injured. The mishap horse left Grace partially amputated, while her horse was deeply traumatized. Thankfully, Tom Brooker, an intuitive horse trainer came into the picture and helped the two recover from their deep-seated, veiled wounds from within.
The Man From Snowy River (1982)
Starring legendary actor Kirk Douglas, The Man From Snowy River proves that not all western films are set in America’s wild west, as Australia also has a jaw-dropping outback to produce films of this genre. In this movie, Douglas plays the role of a wealthy rancher, opposing her daughter to be romanticized by a young man that falls heir to his father’s ranch. Despite such, the young man and his stallion is set to carve a mark of his own. Brimmed with stunning aerial shots, an impeccable soundtrack, and memorable romantic scenes, the movie offers solid entertainment that you shouldn’t miss.
A 2010 biographical sports film by Disney, the movie takes on the story, Secretariat, deemed as one of the most successful thoroughbred racehorses in history. After his father became sick, Penny took the responsibility to run their stable. Despite her inexperience and lack of knowledge, Penny, along with the help of a trainer, led Secretariat into a massive success. Secretariat’s spirit and tenacity shined through and became a Triple Crown-winning racehorse. All in all, it’s an authentic feel-good classic family movie that will bring a smile to your face and heart.
Hidalgo is another racehorse movie, but more treacherous as it involves traversing the Ocean of Fire, a 3,000-mile race across the Arabian Peninsula Desert. Frank Horseman and his American Mustang, Hidalgo, were forced to oblige in the grueling long-distance competition participated by other renowned riders across the globe, but with his reputation and life on the line.
The Crane family’s barn has been emptied for several years due to the financial hardships that took a toll on the family. It was then filled when Ben Crane, the father, adopted a severely injured racehorse, Soñador, who was about to be put down by his owner. The family, including Cale, his daughter, and Pop, Ben’s father, rehabilitated Soñador to make a comeback to the racetrack. As the mare healed, the lost bond within the family was also reconstructed. Eventually, Soñador became triumphant in his return, but the relationship of the family was also rebuilt, making the victory even more rewarding.
National Velvet (1944)
A critically-acclaimed film, winning two out of five Oscar nominations, the National Velvet is an adaptation of the 1935 novel by Enid Bagnold. It told the story of a young girl named Velvet Brown who wins a gorgeous yet inexperienced horse, Pie, in a local raffle. Propelled by her dreams to enter competitions, Velvet trained Pie, overcame all the odds and emerged victorious in one of England’s most grandiose horse races. In 2003, the movie was added to the National Film Registry due to its remarkable cultural significance and contribution to America’s film heritage.