If there ever were such a thing as the “perfect movie”, it would probably be a horse movie. They have it all! Epic plots, maybe some romance, breathtaking scenery, majestic animals, touching friendships full of respect, gentleness, and acceptance, and they inspire tears like no other genre. In this article, I’ll share with you our top 10 horse movies of all time.
Kicking off our list, we have the tale of the rehabilitation of a horse– and the rehabilitation of a father-daughter relationship who are helping her along the way. The movie Dreamer deserves a ranking in any “top horse movies” list.
You have Kurt Russell playing the horse trainer and father and a young Dakota Fanning playing the daughter. After years of a strained relationship, the two bond over the horse, Soñador, after she gets injured at the track. Ultimately, the Thoroughbred mare makes a comeback, but it’s a heartwarming trip that takes us there.
To this day, Secretariat is one of the most successful thoroughbred racehorses in history. He’s won five Eclipse Awards and is second to only Man o’War in the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s lists of the greatest racehorses of the 20th Century.
Courtesy of the 2010 movie, Secretariat is brought to life on the big screen with Diane Lane being his owner and John Malkovich. Lane plays Penny, a woman who takes charge of her father’s stable despite having no knowledge of horse racing. Her and Secretariat’s harrowing journey of breaking through the male-dominated business and making history by winning the first triple crown in 25 years is every bit as epic as you can imagine.
8. The Black Stallion
Shipwrecked on an island with only an Arabian stallion, “The Black Stallion” is a heart-string-tugging story about the touching friendship that Alec Ramsey develops with the horse. This friendship continues after they’re saved by a fisherman’s ship.
The movie takes us through Black being trained to become a racehorse and Alec becoming a jockey in order to challenge two champion horses. The Black Stallion deservedly received two Oscar nominations, one for actor Mickey Rooney, who played retired racehorse jockey, and one for the film’s editing, which– according to the National Film Registry– made the movie “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.”
7. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
Next up is this nostalgic, iconic movie. Nothing beats watching a wild, majestic horse face an entire army. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron follows the heart-gripping story of a wild mustang who’s captured by the United States Cavalry. Spirit meets a Native American boy who bonds with him and together, they escape and fight to protect their homeland– a romance with a mare is involved.
What this movie shows us is that there’s always going to be a strength that is wild and free that runs through horses’ veins. And even though this is an animated movie about animals, there were no talking horses as you’d expect. They communicated through body language and sounds, just like real horses. And hey, Matt Damon narrated Spirit’s thoughts, so that’s extra motivation to watch the movie.
6. National Velvet
This classic had to be made into this video. National Velvet is the tale about a horse-girl, played by 12-year-old Elizabeth Taylor who wins Pie, a high-spirited horse in the raffle. She decides to train him for the Grand National Steeplechase with the aid of a drifter.
5. The Man From Snowy River
Some of the most breathtaking scenery you’ll ever see in a movie will take your breath away in this coming of age story with Australian cowboys and epic horses. The aerial shots of majestic herds of horses alone make this movie one of the best horse films of all time, but the story is incredibly compelling.
The Man From Snowy River follows Craig, a man who takes up a job with a wealthy rancher and falls in love with the rancher’s daughter. In order to win the daughter’s hand and to restore his honor, Craig finds his fate tied to a stallion.
4. The Horse Whisperer
After a horrific accident that leaves Grace with an amputated leg and a belief that no one will ever want her and makes her horse, Pilgrim, so traumatized that people thought he should be put down, Grace’s mother calls in the help of a “horse whisperer” to heal her family.
This sob-inducing, memorable movie will tug on your every heartstring and inspire you at the same time. Any horse lover will appreciate seeing the rise of Grace and Pilgrim again.
Based on the inspiring real-life journey of an underdog racehorse who won the heart of many Americans during the Great Depression, Seabiscuit depicts how a horse can really make an impact — not only on a person but on an entire nation.
A complex tale of overcoming hardships and finding hope, Seabiscuit speaks about a horse with a limp who gets paired up with trainer Tom Smith. Despite their disadvantages, the two become a symbol of perseverance and survival.
In this epic biographical western, Viggo Mortensen plays distance rider Frank Hopkins as he and his Mustang Hidalgo compete in the Ocean of Fire, a grueling, 3,000-mile endurance race across the harsh Arabian desert against some of the best endurance riders in the world riding pure-blooded Arabian horses.
Motivated with the desire to free the wild horses of the plains, Hopkins and Hidalgo battle prejudice, elements, and injuries.
1. War Horse
It took 5,800 extras and 300 horses to make this cinematic piece of an epic tear-jerker.
Loyalty, perseverance, the deep bond a horse and its owner can have and more are masterfully portrayed in War Horse. War Horse reflects on the magnitude of both the human and animal sacrifice in WWI. For the ten million military personnel who died, eight million horses perished as well.
During the chaos of World War I, a strong bay Thoroughbred named Joey is sold off to the British cavalry. The movie is set both before and during WWI as Joey experiences the devastation of war until his best friend and owner Albert reaches the legal age to enlist.
And that’s a wrap for the top 10 horse movies of all time! Please share this article with family and friends so that they can get a chance to watch these incredible movies!
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